Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Christ is the True Leaven that Leavens the Whole Lump


Someone asked the questions of: 1. leavened vs. unleavened bread and 2. the date for Holy Pascha.

If the Western Rite Orthodox were using unleavened bread or keeping Pascha by the Western reckoning, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, since anyone doing that would immediately fall under the anathemas and depositions and excommunications of our Holy Canons and infallible Oecumenical Counsels. But no, leavened bread (though made to look like wafers of unleavened bread) is used, and the date of Pascha can never be changed.

On Leavened Bread: “The ancient question that continues to divide the Roman Catholic and Western Churches from the Orthodox Church regarding the use of leavened or unleavened bread in the Eucharist had to be resolved when the Western Rite parishes were received into the Orthodox Church. The host used in Western Rite liturgies resembles the unleavened wafer used by Roman Catholics and Episcopalians, but in fact it is leavened—although flattened—bread. The use of leavened bread in accordance with Orthodox theology, was required by Metropolitan Philip when he recieved these parishes into Orthodoxy.” – From the Diocesan News for Clergy and Laity, February 1995, Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)

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January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cultural Argument and Archaeology


“Many Westerners have joined our Church and adopted our Eastern modes of worship. Others have asked why they must become Eastern to become Orthodox. Their French and German and English ancestors were Orthodox before the Popes took them out of the Church in the eleventh century, but they were Western Orthodox. Our scholars and theologians have examined this claim, and found it just and reasonable.” – Excerpt from the Report of Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir) to the 1958 Archdiocesan Convention

Question: What is “Eastern” about our rites, just because they were born in the East and Easterns use them. We have generations of Orthodox all over the world who do, as well. Is Christ then Eastern? Are most of the Apostles? We are not far off to be concerned with the talk now of resurrecting gothic mediaeval “iconography”, which is heterodox in so many ways. Why is it, precisely, that converts perceive the rites themselves as Eastern, or is it rather that they prefer a more ethnically homogenous and merely liturgically familiar environment. That’s phyletism – just with a whitebread flavour. Is it really a just and reasonable argument that ones “ancestors” from the 9-centuries ago did something? That’s the same argument that every ethnic group uses in the US to claim entitlement, except this is nine centuries later. And why the rite, but not the whole thing? The Celts would put exile people to the wilderness for adultery; shall we recover their liturgics but leave their piety behind?

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, -- What is Western?, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it Saints or Rites?


Fr. David Abramstov wrote: “Those who live in the West and in the Western stream of tradition must, before God and the Angels and Saints, respect all that is good in her traditions. What is to be done with the ten centuries of Western liturgical life before the Schism? Reject them or ignore them or simply forget them? But St. Leo, St. Clement, St. Irenaeus, St. Gregory, St. Colomban, St. Chad and a thousand more lived by and were nourished upon the Orthodox Western Liturgy and Tradition. Is it by a condescending permission that some desire to celebrate after their example? St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom would give different answers.” – On the Western Rite Edict of Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir)

Response: This issue-substitution (straw man) is quite common. There’s a difference between reconstructing or resurrecting a rite, on the one hand, and venerating Western Saints on the other. If the issue is Western Saints, they can easily be added to our calendars. We can even do this with our own calendars in our homes, as a private devotion, if we don’t want to wait, provided the saints are really Orthodox saints. But this does not require resurrecting every liturgical rite they used. It is certainly reasonable to suggest that only in recovering what is lost in Western liturgical expression, can the full historic expression of Orthodoxy be likewise recovered. Fulness upon fulness. But the question remains whether the justifications being offered for doing it the way it’s being done reflect the fulness of those liturgical expressions, let alone existing liturgical life!

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K is for Calendar?


K is for CalendarIf a goal of the WRV is really to to help people express the Faith in Western forms, does this mean we really need to revert to a substitution of K’s for C’s as in Kalendar? [see westernorthodox.com/kalendar] Should it then be Katholic? Antiokian? Kristianity? Kommunion? Why just the calendar, in this case? Is this like putting the Russian k in ikon, or is it just getting hokey?

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

AA WR uses Roman Catholic Calendar


The Sanctorale calendar of the western rite is the Roman Martyrology, with any post-schismatic heretical “saints” and feasts expunged. The western rite uses the common Orthodox date for Holy Easter, and the Temporale Calendar is based on that date. The Western Rite Vicariate publishes and annual ORDO delineating the feasts, fasting rules, and regulations regarding the Calendar and similar related matters. – St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church 1/16/2008

Note: The Orthodox West for the entire span of their Orthodoxy used the Old (Julian) Calendar rather than the new calendar innovation, so it would not be accurate to deem this a return to the calendar of the Orthodox in the West. Likewise, the fasting rules, time frames for some feasts/fasts, etc. would be quite different.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Pieties, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is a Menu approach to liturgics wise?


Father Michael Johnson: There are some, of course, who will point out that there was considerable liturgical diversity in the early Church – and therefore, why is such diversity not possible and even desirable today? There was indeed considerable liturgical variation from one pl ace to another in ancient times. The reason for this was the simple fact that the average person never got more than 25 miles from his place of birth and communications from one place to another were slow and difficult. Under such circumstances, liturgic al diversity was a natural development and hardly a problem. Today, by contrast, we live in what has been called a “global village” where communications are instant and American families often move several times, from one state to another, while their chi ldren are growing up. Everything in our environment argues for greater uniformity in liturgical practice.

The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 11, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Argument About Antique Furniture


This is a good example quotation from someone who talks of the need not to be Byzantinized (whatever that means), and yet is engaged in all manner of archaeology to get things that no one he’s related to has seen or used in recent memory.

WR people don’t feel the need to be Byzantinized. Icons are just as Western (especially in the English tradition – ref “The Church of Our Fathers” Vol. 1-4 1849-1854 by Dr. Daniel Rock.) They are part of the universal deposit of the faith. The Ordo for the AWRV prescribes ‘Romanesque’ style, which is really Byzantine art in the West. Western liturgy uses fans as well – though those are probably a gift – very hard to find Western style liturgical fans, or good processional crosses anymore (anytime since the 1950s really.) Paleo-Christian style Byzantine processional crosses and fans are close enough except in detail to some of the oldest English examples still in use. – “Aristibule” (from this thread)

Romanesque? So where are all the iconographers trained in that going to come from? When you have to dig up antiques (which I have nothing specifically against), you have no claim to trying to avoid cultural accretions and ethnic differences, however much that confuses culture with rite. It’s like you and I arguing over French Provincal or Elizabethan furniture. How dare you burden me with French Provincal! My heritage is Elizabethan. Now, I’m going to go look that up, and see if I can still get it somewhere. Damned French!

This writer also had this to say, “The arguments against the Western Rite are still based upon a straw-man of what WRO is imagined to be, rather than what it is. We Western Orthodox can’t be anything else but Orthodox – not Roman Catholics, not Anglican Protestants, etc. We don’t have to be ‘Greek’ either. Our rite isn’t up for debate or negotiation either – no more than the continued existence of Greeks, Russians, Serbs, etc.” – Ibid. [emphasis mine – to illustrate the technique of prohibition of questions]

January 11, 2008 Posted by | -- What is Western?, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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