Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

He’s not Crucified Yet!


Stations of the CrossIf you’d done a google search three years ago on Orthodoxy and the stations of the cross, you’d have found more material explaining why this post-schism Roman Catholic devotion, as part of a general distortion of the gospel, frames it too much as an obsession with Christ’s “passion” (or suffering). These days, it’s not popular to put up articles like that. Instead, you’ll get information on Orthodox adopting the devotion at ecumenical gatherings or as part of a Western Rite, which in some quarters is showing off its new Roman Catholic getup and gear and fitting in nicely as the ‘Catholicism’ of the golden age (i.e. the 1950s). You know – Catholics w/o all that Vatican II stuff, or a history of pedophiles. Or, if you will, Anglicans w/o women priests and homosexuals.

“The second thing to remember is that this is an imaginative exercise. Its purpose is not a historical examination of “what really happened” on that day in history. It’s about something far more profound. This is an opportunity to use this long standing Christian prayer to let Jesus touch my heart deeply by showing me the depth of his love for me. The context is the historical fact that he was made to carry the instrument of his death, from the place where he was condemned to die, to Calvary where he died, and that he was taken down and laid in a tomb. The religious context is that today Jesus wants to use any means available to move my heart to know his love for me. These exercises can allow me to imaginatively visualize the “meaning” of his passion and death.” – Filipino Chaplaincy, St. Joseph’s Parish, Penrith
“The central reason for avoiding exercise of the imagination in prayer is theological. God is present everywhere. Christ is present by His Holy Spirit in the depth of the being of every Christian living the reality of Baptism into the death of Christ. If we live our Baptism, sealed with the Seal of the Spirit, then the Risen Christ lives in us, by His Holy Spirit, and we live the Risen life in the Spirit. We do not need to imagine Christ as present: He is present: we need to remind ourselves of His presence.” – Orthodox Church of Estonia, Icons, 2/27/08
“The Catholic Faith is caught rather than taught. In this regard, it is vitally important to emphasise such devotions as Benediction, the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross, devotions to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus” – Western Rite Catholic Church
… in 1870 they unanimously agreed that the Pope of Rome is infallible whenever defining faith or morals for the Church… The Orthodox were aghast. Expecting some Catholics to seek refuge in Orthodoxy, the Russian Church approved a Western Rite Mass for them (their offer had few takers). – Pocket Church History for Orthodox Christians
Let us enter the Fast with joy, O faithful. Let us not be sad. Let us cleanse our faces with the waters of dispassion, blessing and exalting Christ forever. – First Friday Matins [The Lenten Spring]
Let us begin the Fast with joy. Let us give ourselves to spiritual efforts. Let us cleanse our souls. Let us cleanse our flesh. Let us fast from passions as we fast from foods, taking pleasure in the good works of the Spirit and accomplishing them in love, that we all may be made worthy to see the passion of Christ our God and His Holy Pascha, rejoicing with spiritual joy. – Forgiveness Sunday Vespers [The Lenten Spring]

It’s an odd thing to watch, this clamour to adopt devotions not out of devotion itself, certainly not out of the heart of Orthodox feeling, but out of a desire to fit a mold. We need to start doing this, add that, and we’ll be having this on Wednesday. By the way, have you bought a rosary yet? At the moment, they’re gearing up for the Passion of Christ. One remembers a hideous film by that name, and we’re not really that far off: When you’d walk into one of the Roman Catholic churches they’d like to emulate, you were greeted with scenes of judgment, Hell, suffering, torture, and gore. And that was before the service.

While the rest of us are with Christ in the desert, battling temptation with him, sharing his fast, as expressed in our presanctified liturgies, the neo-Western Rite crowd, for that’s what they are, will already be going through something the rest of us reserve for the balance and dignity of Holy Week (i.e. Passion Week). While we wait for the sepulchre, they are already calling for the crucifixion, without even a triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. And they will not do it once, but repeatedly. For them, this is an extended time of agony.

Implicit in this mistaken obsession with the Passion is the notion that the primary work of Christ’s Incarnation is pouring out his agony and suffering as propitiation for the wrath of God – the very quasi-Calvinist and eminently Latin juridical approach to the Atonement that the Orthodox have rejected all this time as a facet of hyper-Augustinism. If the filioque were translated into a soteriology, it would look like this. In the same way, Orthodoxy has rejected the neo-Nestorian worship of body parts (e.g. the Sacred Heart). In the same way, the Orthodox have warned against the use of imagination in prayer (e.g. the Rosary). All we need now is a weeping Romanesque madonna and a teenager with a fatima-like vision, and we can scrap all this stuff about not being just the Roman Catholics’ kissing cousins.

Indeed, some Western Rite proponents cite building the Western Rite as an ecumenist bridge as their actual motivation – desiring to Give Rome a Home when they ‘unite with us’ – they fail to realize that, when that happens, the Roman Catholics do not become Orthodox, but rather we become Roman Catholics. Rather than giving them a home, the Western Rite finds it’s home in Rome. Perhaps that’s why they don’t yet have Western Rite bishops; they’ll be getting a new one, to put it mildly.

Statue from St. Augustine's Church in Denver (WRV)Then too, instead of an icon painter, trained in the ancient patterns, perhaps, as is now done, a local artist of any sensibility can be commissioned to carve the Madonna. It will not be long then before we can turn to modern composers, likewise, to do musical settings for our liturgies, for there is no difference. Besides, organ music could use the revival. Make no mistake, adopting Latin pieties is also a matter of also adopting the dominant culture, whether of the Renaissance or the post-modern. Sure, we’ll start out being 50 years behind – not the Church of Antiquity but the Church of Antiques, yesterday’s Rome, a living time capsule for the disenchanted contemporary. A museum of devotion from the most recent bygone golden age.

Let us ask: if we’ve no problem with all these heterodox pieties, not only post-schism but, if you think about it, Post-Christian, then why have a problem with heterodox mystics like St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, yea even St. Ignatius of Loyola? Why not? If you’re going to do it, do it boldly. Don’t be surprised when those books come out in “Orthodox” editions, with accompanying studies of their ‘benefit’ and ‘virtue’ – though, by then, there won’t be any need to publish Orthodox editions anymore. And if these Franciscan devotions are to be the norm, why not equip the churches with statues of Francis? Think it couldn’t happen? Don’t be too sure. In fact, why don’t we just make a list of post-schism Roman Catholic devotions, visions, mystics, saints – basically everything but doctrines (we’re saving those for later – though even then, not always) – put them in a book, and call it a manual for the new Western Rite? Seriously: why not? What, exactly is wrong with it? This is the question we put to Western Rite adherents.


Advertisements

February 27, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite -- Sacred Heart, Western Rite -- Stations of the Cross, Western Rite -- The Rosary, Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

WR Ecclesiology?


Branch Theory“We are called to help recover the Orthodoxy of the ancient West so that East and West can once again be united.” – Susan Wallace, Again Magazine, Winter 2007

One has to ask: Which is it? An ecclesiology that claims the Church is not already united, or one that looks to ecumenism to join what cannot be joined? In the ambiguity of such statments, either or both may be surmised.

February 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Ecclesiology & Ecumenism, Western Rite Questions | , , , | Leave a comment

A Cause for Bigotry


“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” — St. Paul

The institutionalization of divisions between us comes not so much from acts of the Church as from Orthodox publishing and media. The term “cradles” in contrast with “converts” is one example, fitting well in the glossary with “ethnics” and “non-ethnics” (by which everyone means ‘Americans’, the cultural hegemony of the age and exporters of Walmart, even if they can’t bring themselves to say it). And we don’t hear Christ anymore who, consistently, showed us that we all need to convert. The apostles were cradle-Orthodox, lest we forget. Everyone converts. Everyone is born anew into Christ. Some just do it earlier than others. And as for ethnics/non-ethnics (or Jew vs. Greek – same thing), it’s just another example, on the one hand, of the equation of ‘American’ with a political-cultural-religious concept that is clearly demonic. And on the other hand, it shows we don’t believe our own gospel. We don’t; you know it, and any independent observer can see it.

The enthusiasts for much that’s being done in the name of “Western Rite”, will claim that any criticism, any questions that don’t roll over for straw men, appeals to authority, and sometimes outright lies, are also creating a division. It’s like blaming the central park jogger, really, for being dressed in too short a skirt. What the WR gang has done, though, is initiate a fundamental assault on Orthodox ecclesiology, and then claim that if we don’t evolve with it, we’re divisive. The factious man is the one who attacks the holy doctrines of our faith in the first place. Continue reading

January 22, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, -- Phyletism, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Western Rite as Ecumenist Bridge


“With the reception of “western rite” parishes into Orthodoxy, there were some who felt that the Uniate ideal had now found its proper home. Comparison of Western Rite Orthodox to Eastern Rite Catholics is, of course, inevitable. And, we should keep in mind that historically, Rome has often held up its Eastern Rite Catholics as a bridge to union with the Orthodox.” – Father Michael Johnson, The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

And… will it work? The answer is a resounding maybe:

Continue reading

January 14, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, -- Ecclesiology & Ecumenism, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Western Rite as Phyletism


The following comments by Father Michael Johnson have very serious implications in an age of US “American” imperialism, escalated attention to immigration, and when the culture of the West is viewed as monolithic and a kind of super-ethnicity or over-culture, a universal cultural-ethnic ghetto:

“A knowledgeable Orthodox Christian, if asked about the Church’s greatest need in western Europe and the Americas today, would probably respond with a single word: unity. In this regard, the Byzantine liturgical tradition has been of inestimable value in h olding the Church together. On the other hand, ethnicity has probably been the greatest force for disunity. Ethnic heritage, of course, does not have to be a divisive factor. One can be proud of one’s heritage while celebrating the fact that one is part of a Church that is truly multiethnic (as opposed to “non-ethnic”, as the alternative is sometimes wrongly presented.)

How does the “western rite” fit into this need to bring the Church together as a truly multi-ethnic community, united by faith and worship? Unfortunately, the “western rite” can be viewed as a kind of “super-ethnicity” which is just the opposite of what t he Church needs today. Narrow as their ethnic view might have been, and as much as they may have insisted unwaveringly on the use of their own language, Orthodox Christians have always shown a willingness to use a common form of worship – until now. For all intents and purposes, the use of the “western rite” takes ethnicity one step further. Not only do these converts insist on using (an archaic) form of their own language, but they also insist on using an exclusive liturgical rite that is common to no one but themselves.”

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

January 12, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Questions of Faith


The question of rites is precisely not, has never been and cannot be a mere question of rites per se , but is and has always been a question of faith, of its wholeness and integrity. The liturgy embodies and expresses the faith, or better to say, the experience of the Church, and is that experience’s manifestation and communication. And when rites, detached from their nature and function, begin to be discussed in terms of “acceptance” and “rejection” or “likes and dislikes”, the debate concerning them becomes meaningless. – Fr. Alexander Schmemann (SVTQ 24/4, 1980)

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

Western Rite or an Eastern Rite informed by the West


The point has been made more than once that it is one thing to venerate Western Saints, and even to adopt Western prayers from the ancient tradition. It is quite another to establish a parallel rite in the same communities.

“For many people, the eastern and western rites are two entirely different and self-contained “blocks” ruling out, as an impure “hybridization”, all contacts and mutual influences. This, however, is wrong – first of all, historically. In a sense, the entire history of Christian worship can be termed a history of constant “hybridizations” – if only this word is deprived of its negative connotations. Before their separations, the east and the west influenced one another for centuries. And there is no exagg eration in saying that the anaphora of St. John Chrysostom’s Liturgy is infinitely ‘closer’ to the Roman anaphora of the same period than the service of Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer is to, for example, the Tridentine Mass.” – Father Alexander Schmemann (1920-1983) (SVTQ 24/4, 1980) The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 10, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mechanical/Legal Approach to Liturgics & Conversion


The Protestant Notion of a “bare essentials” cannot become a methodology for the adoption of a rite, catechetical instruction, or reception of converts.

“What makes a western rite Orthodox? For many proponents of the western rite, all it takes is a few additions and a few deletions, e.g. “striking the filioque ” and “strengthening of the epiclesis.” This answer implies, on the one hand, that there exists a unified and homogenous reality identifiable as the western rite and, on the other hand, that except for two or three “heretical” ingredients or omissions, th is rite is ipso facto Orthodox. Both presuppositions are wrong.” – Father Alexander Schmemann (1920-1983) (SVTQ 24/4, 1980) The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Quotes


Justifying the rite can easily obscure the mentality of some of those who use the rite to create a homogenized ghetto of non-ethnics, in resistance to the supposed monolithicworld of ethnics out there. In reality, often enough, its just a ghetto of middle-class American values, and the other issues are symbolic.

This is not a reprint but an abbreviated excerpt of four quotations (addressed to WR Orthodox) from an article here (1/8/2007):
[we tried to link to it, but his links don’t work]

1. The reality is that most Western Orthodox Christians (that is, Orthodox Christians living in the West and possessing a Western culture) are Byzantine Rite and see no contradiction between their rite and their culture. Most of them have never heard of you.

2. When you use sarcastic phrases like the oh-so-mystical East, you give yourself away as being as much of an East-hater as you believe your brothers in the Byzantine parts of the Orthodox Church are West-haters. Many of you used to be Episcopalians besieged by utter heretics. It’s okay, though—you’re now among the Orthodox. You’re no longer besieged. You can take the battlements down and lower your weapons. Yes, there are folks in the Orthodox Church who do not understand you or even suspect the validity of your Orthodoxy. You won’t help them to accept you fully by sarcasm or a fortress mentality, however.

3. You were received into this Church and not into the pre-Schism Western Church. That means that you can’t pretend that people like St. Gregory Palamas aren’t relevant to you. For one thing, there is no East-West dividing line for what is needful in the Church, and for another, those to whom you rightly look for inspiration in the ancient West absolutely had zero problem with adopting the “Eastern” language and theology of their time (where, quite frankly, most of the serious doctrinal work was being done, due to heresy). They even adopted liturgical customs! It’s not a question of what’s appropriate to “the East” or “the West,” but what is Orthodox. Anything else is really a form of phyletism.

4. You do not have more in common with either the Roman Catholic or Anglican communions than you do with the Byzantine Rite Orthodox. Thinking or speaking as though you do is really just a schism waiting to happen.

January 8, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Western About it?


“Indeed, one does not have to be an “authority on the West” in order to know that liturgical development in the West was shaped to a degree unknown in the East by various theologies, the succession of which – and the clashes of one with another – constitute western religious history. Scholasticism, Reformation, Counter-Reformation, etc., have all resulted in sometimes radical liturgical metamorphoses and all have had a decisive impact on worship. Therefore, one should speak today not of the western rite, but of western rites, deeply – if not radically – differing from one another, yet all reflecting in one way or another, the western theological tragedy and fragmentation. This does not mean that all these rites are “heretical” and simply to be condemned. It only means that, from an Orthodox point of view, their evaluation in terms merely of “deletions” and “additions” is – to say the least – inadequate. For the irony of our present situation is that while some western Christians come to Orthodoxy in order to salvage the rite they cherish ( Book of Common Prayer , Tridentine Mass, etc.) from liturgical reforms they abhor, some of these reforms, at least in abstacto , are closer to the structures and spirit of the early western rite – and thus to the Orthodox liturgical tradition – than the later rite, those precisely that the Orthodox Church is supposed to “sanction” and to “adopt.” – Father Alexander Schmemann (1920-1983) (SVTQ 24/4, 1980) The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 8, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reservations: Bishop Kallistos (Ware)


“I understand that there are “western rite” groups in the USA which are using what is basically an Anglican rite, with a Byzantine epiclesis inserted into it. I have some reservations here.

The Anglican service is in large part the work of Cranmer, who was Zwinglian in his theology (i.e., he did not believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist): do we make his rite “Orthodox” simply by inserting a Byzantine epiclesis? Indeed, is it right to take the Byzantine epiclesis and insert it into a western liturgical text where it does not properly belong? It is said that St. Tikhon of Moscow, while Archbishop of North America at the start of this century, blessed a rite of this sort. But how carefully was he able to examine the question? And if he were living today, would he recommend the same course? If we Orthodox are indeed to use a western rite, then there needs to be a full discussion on a pan-Orthodox level to clarify what western rite we should employ.” – Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 6, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unity vs. Diversity


“I will speak only of the situation in Britain, for I am not qualified to express an opinion about America. Here in Britain we Orthodox, few though we are in numbers, are fragmented into a multiplicity of “jurisdictions”; but at least we are united in the use of the same rite – the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. If a “western rite” is introduced here, it will add still further to our fragmentation. Is this desirable? . . . Is this pastorally helpful? – Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 5, 2008 Posted by | -- Ecclesiology & Ecumenism, Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Ethnic About Eastern Rite


Excellent Response to the Ethnicity Argument and the Cultural Argument:

“If we wish to help western persons joining Orthodoxy, the best way is to offer them the possibility of attending the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in the English language. There is nothing “oriental” or “ethnic” about this Liturgy. True, it was written in Greek and not in Latin; but then Plato and Sophocles wrote in Greek, yet we recognize them as part of our shared European culture. The same is true of St. John Chrysostom. We English can feel thoroughly at home in his Liturgy – as I know from my own experience.” – Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996 [emphasis added]

January 4, 2008 Posted by | -- Phyletism, -- What is Western?, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comment from a RC forum


“As I can’t imagine it being accepted that a local hierarch, or a single hiearchichal structure of a jurisdiction would be accepted to be authorized to radically change the Divine Liturgy unilaterally, I simply cannot see how it is accepted that they may introduce these innovations (of a western rite mass for Orthodox), pronounce them orthodox motu proprio , and have it be accepted that world Orthodoxy stands behind them. Looking back on the decisions to adopt the Gregorian Calendar or Nikonian rites, (Not half the leap of faith!) I am left scratching my head how it can be asserted that the introduction of these various rites, can be seen as Orthodox …

So aside from not being under the pope and having married priests, how are you thinking this would be a better match for them then Rome?” 7/29/07 ASimpleSinner

January 3, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

France. Treasury of Good Things?


“Well! Behold a great event! It is a marvellous thing for us to learn of the revival of Orthodoxy in the West. But I am not surprised that this movement comes from France, this France which has already given us so many beautiful and sweet things.” – Pat. Athenagoras (of unhappy memory)

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Weirdness | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is reasonable to ask…


“We are now witnessing a dismantling of the traditional values and piety on which our [Roman Catholic] faith rests. Added to this state of affairs is the shocking assimilation of Protestant ideas brought into the Church under the guise of the misunderstood term ecumenism with a resulting growing estrangement from the ancient [Orthodox] Churches of the East; that is, a turning away from the common tradition that had been shared by the East and the West.”

It is reasonable to ask whether, in creating a rite specifically for those fleeing the dismantling of their confessions, we risk dismantling our own confession in the process, which has never been something shared with the heterodox over “bare essentials” of doctrine (itself a Protestant notion) which merely need a bit of help. Make no mistake, good, old-fashioned Anglican, Protestant, and Roman Catholic thinking, piety, and worship are more alien to us, than their latest innovations are to the refugees. They still have far more in common with each other, than either their ecumenist or continuing jurisdictions have with Holy Orthodoxy, and a hasty, inadequate catechesis, quick ordinations, and relatively instant mission creation without sufficient time to live the Orthodox Faith (assuming their host churches can really teach them that at all), is unfair to them, offensive to the confessions they’ve fled, and dangerous to the salvation of all involved, ourselves included.

As one current Anglican said, “If they’re going to convert to Orthodoxy, they should convert to Orthodoxy, and not just treat it as a door to remaining Anglican but without the responsibility to live in a Anglican community.”

January 1, 2008 Posted by | -- Catechesis & Conversion, -- Ecclesiology & Ecumenism, -- Evangelism, Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The WRV = Unilateral Shift in General Policy


“More recently, some Orthodox churches have also accepted the policy of admitting a “Western rite” to be used not by entire ecclesiastical bodies joining corporately the communion of the Orthodox Church, but by smaller splinter groups, who seceded from these Western churches to join Orthodoxy. As is well known, the Roman Catholic Church was–and is– following a similar policy in reverse by accepting small (or big) splinter groups into its own communion with the proviso that they would keep and preserve their Eastern rite.” – Fr. John Meyendorff, SVTQ 1980

One may express concern that this really is, therefore, a shift in general policy in the history of Orthodoxy (there are exceptions, but these demonstrate the rule), and therefore really is a matter for pan-Orthodox consideration rather than the unilateral behavior that resulted in Bishop Anthony’s encyclical, which few have shown that they understand in this light. But this is indeed precisely the driving problem that he addresses.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ER is the Mother-Rite of America and Orthodox World


Fr. John Meyendorff writes: “It is also true, however, that since ths schism which occurred in the Middle Ages, Orthodoxy has *in practice* been preserved in the framework of an “Eastern” civilization, and its tradition has been shaped by the Great Church of Constantinople, i.e. Byzantium. It is from there that it spread to many other areas, and it is the Byzantine liturgy, translated into many languages, which has served for centuries as the principal, and sometimes the only vehicle for the living tradition of the Orthodox faith. In this Byzantine liturgical form, Orthodoxy was also brought to America.

Meanwhile, the Christian Tradition of the West was embroiled in changes and crises, which we, as Orthodox, cannot consider uniformly legitimate. And today, the schism still exists, and differences in faith show themselves in different forms of worship.” – SVTQ 1980

One cannot help but further observe that not only have the Orthodox, who used the Eastern Rite, preserved the living Faith of Orthodoxy, but also transmitted it to the Celts, the Russians, to America, Australia, and so on. The Eastern Rite, in some sense at least, is our Mother, just as those Churches are our Mother Churches.

In the case of the US, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South (OCA) replied to the Pat. of Constantinople concerning the latter’s assertion to be Patriarch of our Mother Church, that in fact the Russian Church is the Mother Church of the Americas; it is from her that our churches came, and from her so many American Saints. The Orthodox roots of America, one may conclude, our in the Russian Church, the Eastern Rite, and the Saints who brought them both to us. The idea that Westerners who wish to truly convert now insist on a different rite, begs the question of whether they or we any longer truly regard it as conversion. It may be argued quite reasonably that the American Orthodox tradition lies in continuity with, not irregularity regarding, our great Mother Church of Russia and her holy, righteous, and glorified Saints of America. One might ask, in this sense, then, what Antioch has to do with it, and whether this pushing so hard for the WRV to become the norm is with these things in mind.

December 13, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

East Currently Keeps Western Tradition


“Indeed, if the Orthodox Church claims to be the witness and custodian of the true Christian faith, in its original and undivided catholicity, it should not be limited ethnically and culturally.It should not project the image of being only an “Eastern” church. And actually, it recognizes and cherishes the traditions of the Christian West from before the schism. It venerates St. Hilary of Poitiers, SS. Leo, Gregory and Martin of Rome, St. Benedict of Nursia, St. Patrick of Ireland, and hundreds of others, as saints.” – Fr. John Meyendorff 1980 SVTQ

December 12, 2007 Posted by | -- What is Western?, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Platonism, Fullness of Faith, Unity, Open Debate


Fr. John Meyendorff: “I will not try to enumerate here all the dimensions of the issue, which clearly involves the very nature of the current Orthodox witness in the world. The Orthodox Church has never considered its liturgy to be frozen once and for all in the limited cultural forms of tenth-century Byzantium. Of course, these forms are unequalled as an expression of the Tradition of the Church, but even they, as Fr. Schmemann likes to insist in his writings, have been often misunderstood and misinterpreted in categories of a platonizing symbolism of doubtful quality. On the other hand, if it wants to be credible in the West, the Orthodox Church can and should not only liberate itself of that which is unauthentic in its own historical past, but also assume everything which is true and beautiful in Western Christianity. But, in so doing, it must avoid simplifications, amateurism, superficiality, deceit and arrogance, which it so easily condemns in others. The liturgy is not a game of arbitrarily interchangeable rites, but an act of faith reflecting our salvation in Christ within the unity and the catholicity of the Church.

The debate about the Western rite is, therefore, both ecclesiological and pastoral. It is concerned with the relationship between the *lex orandi* and the *lex credendi* in the Catholic Church–a relationship which has remained very real in Orthodoxy, and has been greatly loosened in the West–and with concrete needs of the Orthodox mission. It is not about the legitimacy of a Western rite as such, but about the real situation of today’s Western Christianity, about the confused religious situation in America today, about the highly responsible task of building up an American church truly Orthodox and genuinely united, and finally about the issue of Christian unity in general. What is also needed is a joint pan-Orthodox decision on the matter, and therefore a preliminary open debate.1980 SVTQ [all emphasis ours]

December 11, 2007 Posted by | Western Rite -- Pan-Orthodoxy, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: