Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Credit where it’s due


Liturgy of Saint? Thomas CranmerIt’s time we fessed up and stopped plagiarizing. If you’re going to be Anglican Rite Orthodox, put the words “Liturgy of Thomas Cranmer.” on the cover. In fact, a glorification might be in order. Liturgy of St. Thomas (Cranmer). We have excellent editions of both the old one and the Edwardian Rite, and it’s painful to see their work basically ripped off without proper credit, or stamping Eastern Saints names on it (like St. Tikhon). How un-Western of us. Why the need to appeal to an Eastern Saint for your rite, if it’s a Western rite?

That brings up another point. Western Rite people are going around reversing the meaning of scripture, prophesy, and tradition for this, with novel new apologetics. We all know that Christ will come from East to West, that our tradition accords great meaning to the origin, to what comes “out of the East”. Did you know the new ‘word’ is that, “Well, it’s coming to the West!” Gee, a reversal of our pieties just for a quickie apologetic, and there’s not even a punch line. For shame. Oh well. They’ll probably start wearing their rings on the left hand and crossing themselves backwards too, in the name of whatever anti-Pope came up with that one. Next thing you’ll be hearing is that the WR is closer to the temple worship of old, and then it won’t be long. You guessed it: you’ll hear that Jesus was Western Rite!
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January 24, 2008 Posted by | Western Rite Questions | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

St. Tikhon never heard of it!


Just as attaching the name of St. Gregory to the WRV “Gregorian Rite” is dubious, so is attaching the name of St. Tikhon to any such rite. Fr. Michael also makes the point, as did Roman Catholic author Klaus Gamber, that Orthodoxy has never been about mere adequacy, merely not containing error; Orthodoxy is about the fullness of the fullness of the Faith, and never less.

Father Michael Johnson, pastor, St Nicholas Church, Tacoma, WA:

Second, the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon”: However inappropriate the “Liturgy of St. Gregory” may seem for Orthodox worship, it can’t hold a candle in this regard to the other “western rite” liturgy now in use, which has somehow gotten itself named after a 20th century Russian saint. St. Tikhon served as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America before being elected Patriarch of Moscow in 1917. During his tenure in America, he apparently received a petition for the use of a “western rite” from a group of American Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians. St. Tikhon then forwarded their request to the Holy Synod in Moscow, which examined this proposal carefully and granted the possibility of a “western rite”, provided far reaching changes in the Book of Commo n Prayer were made. The Holy Synod left the final decision to St. Tikhon, who – for whatever reason – never formally authorized the establishment of a “western rite” during his pastorate in America. It therefore seems farfetched in the extreme to name th is liturgy after St. Tikhon. He is not the “father” of this “western rite” in even remotely the same way that St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great are the fathers of the Liturgies which bear their names. Furthermore, even if St. Tikhon had authoriz ed the use of a “western rite”, every administrative decision made by a saint should not be considered infallible.

What, then, is the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon”? First of all, it is not the Eucharistic rite of the Book of Common Prayer as ever approved by the Episcopal Church. Rather, it is based on a strange amalgam commonly known as the “Anglican Missal.” This missal was developed by Anglo-Catholics to make up for deficiencies they perceived in the Book of Common Prayer . The Anglican Missal contains the anaphora and other prayers from the BCP, folded together with parts of the anaphora and other prayers from the Tridentine Mass translated from Latin into King James English. As now used in the “western rite” of the Antio chian Archdiocese, it contains still further additions and corrections made by the Orthodox. A more confusing liturgical hodgepodge could hardly be imagined! The “Liturgy of St. Tikhon” is the Reformation rite of Thomas Cranmer, with additions from the C ounter Reformation rite of the Council of Trent, with still further superficial tinkering in order to make it “more Orthodox.

In defense of this rite, some Orthodox are saying that we should accept it because it contains “nothing heretical.” Unfortunately, that itself is an Anglican argument. An Orthodox rite must do far more than avoid heresy – it must clearly proclaim and tea ch the Orthodox faith. In Communist Russia as in Ottoman Greece, the Orthodox Liturgy alone maintained the faith through long years of persecution. Bearing in mind that Cranmer was probably a Zwinglian who designed his rite to express “the real absence” of Christ in the Eucharist, it is easy to see that the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon” could never meet the basic criterion of being an Orthodox Liturgy.”
The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 17, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Seminal Material | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Restoration or Cobbling Together?


“In summary, the “Liturgy of St. Tikhon” has no historical validity whatsoever. The “Liturgy of St. Gregory” can be traced back to that great saint only in a very attenuated way. The simple fact is, neither of these liturgies represents an authentic retur n to the pre-schismatic Orthodox worship of the ancient Christian west.” – Father Michael Johnson, The Priest. A Newsletter for the Clergy of the Diocese of San Francisco. Issue No. 5, May 1996

January 15, 2008 Posted by | -- Anglican, Western Rite -- Tridentine Mass, Western Rite Liturgics, Western Rite Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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