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The western rite in Orthodoxy today

Western Rite

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#1 Mark Harrison

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 09:49 AM

In the course of the thread about the MP and ROCOR, the issue the use of Western Rite arose and I was asked to post my academic work on this topic, It is not my greatest work, and I am definitely open to critical debate, but I am presenting here two different form of essentially the same work for comments.

Both files are in Word format. If you have difficulty opening them, first try to add the .doc ending to the names.

I hope this proves thought-provoking.

MAH

#2 Ken McRae

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 01:49 PM

hi there Mark ~ I can't see them on my puter screen, yet. Is there some new trick to this, or something that I need to learn?

#3 Mark Harrison

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 04:47 PM

hi there Mark ~ I can't see them on my puter screen, yet. Is there some new trick to this, or something that I need to learn?


I don't get it either. Fr Raphael also had a problem the other day with something he tried to post. I'm headed off to Liturgy, I'll see what I can find out later.

MAH

#4 Ken McRae

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:17 PM

MAH


Just curious, but what does the 'A' stand for?

#5 Mark Harrison

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 08:25 PM

It looks like I am getting this to work now, through some manipulation. I am uploading two files in a .zip archive. They are different versions of essentially the same piece I wrote while I was at SVS, though they do vary in what they include, as I recall. They are definitely organised quite differently.

If anyone can let me know if they are able to view these, I'd appreciate it.

Attached Files



#6 Mark Harrison

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Posted 30 July 2006 - 09:08 PM

In the last few years I have had reason to discuss the issue of Western Rite with WR clergy, one of whom in particular has set the matter into a wider context, that I think is worth consideration.

J.R.R. Tolkien, when he set out to write The Lord of the Rings, wished to create an indigenous, genuinely English mythology. It was his opinion that English literature, and English mythology in particular, had been obliterated by the Norman Conquest. Similarly, we can trace the demise of British Orthodoxy (the true Ecclesia Anglicana) to the same event. This particular priest sought to connect a revival of WR with a revival of non-Norman English culture. There is also a ROCOR priest in the UK, who does not practise WR, who sees a value in a revival of non-Norman English Christian culture. This is an intriguing idea in theory, but I have to wonder how it would work out in practise? Is there really a substantial population that would be motivated to foster such a culture? If so, in that context, I can see that the use of WR would be natural and fully appropriate.

Let us imagine for a moment that a whole sector of the Anglican Communion were to finally give up on the Anglican notion of comprehensiveness and turn to Orthodoxy. What kind of difference would, or should, that make to our evaluations of the appropriateness of Western Rite in general? What kind of bearing would that have on the issues I raise in these papers? In reverse, how might the issues I raise be relevant to this hypthetical situation? If it is the conservative Anglicans who are coming to Orthodoxy, are they not going to be looking for a 1662 BCP liturgy? Is this really the most appropriate form of Western Rite? Would a more historically faithful rite have any pastoral usefulness?

These are the kinds of questions I should like to engage in this thread. I wrote those papers over ten years ago now. I am interested in taking a fresh look at the issue, and any constructive criticism is welcome. I remember thinking as I originally wrote that no matter how much I tried to emphasise the point, people still might not be able to separate the issue of the historical merits of Novus Ordo from the obvious fact that it was hijacked by people with their own agenda. The Novus Ordo Missae in the Roman Church never became what it was intended to be. My support for it is not support for the present reality in the Roman Catholic Church, but for the original vision. I note also that from the Vatican on down, attempts to bring the Novus Ordo back in line have begun. A correction of the hideous translations, which are really more like paraphrases, have been ordered, based on a revised, much more honest set of defined criteria. Whatever else he may be, Pope Benedict is serious about translation issues, and for enforcing genuine Catholic teaching throughout the RCC, for better or for worse.

#7 Mark Harrison

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Posted 31 July 2006 - 04:58 PM

Just curious, but what does the 'A' stand for?


Anders

MAH

#8 James M.

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 08:08 PM

Mr. Harrison:

"This particular priest sought to connect a revival of WR with a revival of non-Norman English culture. I have to wonder how it would work out in practise. "

I looked over your papers. I am not sure this will be a real contribution to your question, but maybe it will help get the ball rolling a little bit to at least flesh out some of the issues and background.

FWIW, I am aware of this "green fields of England" view of the Western Rite as the same once held in the Anglican diaspora in the states. This latter formed the least significant portion of the US Anglican diaspora, and thus would seem to represent an insignificant base. Yet in reality, the presumption of the form of the Wester Rite after this manner really pushes too far. I think the justification of a Western Rite - if it needs separate justification (and I am not sure that it does need further justification than that it has been approved by at least one canonical hierarch) - may lie along these lines. For it may be supposed that English worship varied according to mandates of the conquest. This in turn may be supposed to have varied according to the Frankish conformity - the same force which distracted the Roman church from its traditional positions into the innovations that authored the Schism and more. Therefore if these premises are accepted, the English people in particular did not officially approve the changes wrought....and there are those who even suggest that passages of protest in the Magna Carta provide evidence of this. Accordingly, it may be supposed that prior to 1066, English usage may have been Orthodox in content though not in form. I have seen pretty much this sort of argument made in pieces if not implied in whole. I don't have a particular issue with this portion and simply accept the facts as given...though admit that for the most part, the documentation is a little light by contemporary standards.

Yet I think you are right to question whether revival of English worship that fits the description of Orthodox worship in content though not Byzantine form need conform to this "Green fields" sort of notion. The events if correctly described do not and should not mandate reconstruction - if it were authentically possible - of an earlier and since abandoned liturgy - just because it was followed prior to the conquest. Thus I agree with you here.

To take it further, though the same notion may be said, as you point out regarding the St. Tikhon and St. Gregory Rites as approved.....as to whether this is the "ideal" form, the point that should not be lost (unless I am mistaken) is that both of these were in fact in use at the time of adoption and approval, and both were approved. Approval counts for much. Your paper seems to have been written prior to publication of the Orthodox Missal, so it is possible as well that the final form approved by the Antiochians had not come under your review. And I guess part of the response should be 1) to question the "ideal" portion - as if, and 2) to question the notion of what the basis of approval should be: content of faith, or utilitarian measures for facilitating conversion. Bear in mind that the wholesale medieval conversions tended to be affairs of state more than affairs of conscience....and in my view the latter truly are one-by-one.

I have attended a Western Rite parish following the Rite of St. Gregory. I would have to revisit Overbeck's piece on this to see if he really accomplished an Orthodox defense of the same, but my guess is there is either already a good case (and hence its approval) or the case is sufficiently obvious to those more learned than I, but simply as yet not written and/or available. If the latter holds, I suspect that the misgivings voiced before the spread of actual experience with these Western Rites may have shifted either to grudging acceptance, or acceptance with specific reservations. Yet I can personally attest to the utility of the Western Rite in building a body of "like me" worshippers that remove some of the foreingness that seems to put off many otherwise would-be converts. Personally, I have found acclimation to the Byzantine Rites of assistance in its clarity and simple, direct statements of the faith that so often elude us here in the West (thanks to our variance from the True Faith)....but I also think time will ameliorate this. I speak for many who come to Orthodoxy without their spouse....who find that the Western Rite provides hope of familal reunion that wholesale abandonment of all western practices for the sake of Orthodoxy does not offer alone.

Hope this helps.
In XP

#9 Moses Anthony

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 01:18 AM

The parish which received me into Holy Orthodoxy, was a GOA parish, which formed a Pan-Orthodox community with a small group of the AOA jurisdiction.
However when the priest was transferred the only AOA parish left was the one next door, who belonged to the Western Rite Vicorate of the AOA. I have been there since the priest, and family friend, was transferred south of here.

I have found that the majority of those of the Vicariate have come from the Anglican Communion, mostly Episcopalians disenfranchised by the theological moves of the denominatioin. The theology is definitely Orthodox, however the style of worship, shall we say accutrements, are those familiar to them . That is it's Western Rite Orthodoxy prior to the schism.

The one thing which another sub-deacon said to me was, that the style of the Byzantine Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy, had a better flow to it .

a sinful and unworthy servant
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#10 Mark Harrison

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 11:47 PM

This posting was inadvertent. See following post.

#11 Mark Harrison

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:17 AM

I have found that the majority of those of the Vicariate have come from the Anglican Communion, mostly Episcopalians disenfranchised by the theological moves of the denominatioin. The theology is definitely Orthodox, however the style of worship, shall we say accutrements, are those familiar to them . That is it's Western Rite Orthodoxy prior to the schism.


Yes, the majority are ex-Episcopalians, as I am. At one time, people were saying that it is not reasonable to expect Anglicans or Roman Catholics to adopt the Byzantine Liturgy. I cannot agree with that for two reasons: The main reason is that my own experience, and the experience of all of my own ex-Anglican, now Orthdoox friends, has been adoption of the Byzantine Rite, with the sole exception of the priest to whom I referred previously. Even his daughter, however, who is a friend from our seminary days, has always been in a Byzantine Rite parish. It is far from impossible or inconceivable for Western Christians to adopt the Byzantine Rite.

My second reason is that to say that Western Christians should be expected to follow a Western liturgy is to pre-judge the issue of the fitness of Western liturgy as suitable for Orthodox practise. On the one hand, we cannot say that it is unsuitable simply because it is not Byzantine, but we also cannot say that it inherently suitable simply because the existence of Western Rite is an historical reality. The present reality and the historical reality may or may not correspond. That is an issue that needs to be determined, not prejudged in either direction.

This leads to a second point: the simple fact is that what is being done in WR parishes in the AOA is NOT pre-schism. It is Tridentine (16th century). Whether it is the Anglican or the Roman ordo missae, it is essentially the Tridientine rituale that is being followed. Certainly some of those practises, especially various rites surrounding Baptism and Holy Week can be traced back as far as the fourth century in terms of their origins, but that doesn't mean that either the texts of the prayers or the ritual is the same. For example, the Stations of the Cross sprang from the same practise in Jerusalem as the Byzantine reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels during the Mattins of Holy Friday. In Rome, they kept the act of making a procession from one place (statio) to another. In Constantinople, they preserved the readings, which have varied relatively little over the centuries. (I wrote my M.Div. thesis on the Byzantine lectionary for Holy Thursday-Pascha.) There are other points in which the Roman practise reflects the ancient Jerusalem practise to which the pilgrim Egeria bore witness toward the end of the 4th century, and to which the Armenian lectionary bears some testimony at the beginning of the fifth century.

It is not possible, however, to jump from this to saying that the Tridentine ordo and rituale are 'pre-schism.' That is just too much of a stretch. If you want to learn about pre-schism ritual, read the Ordo Romanus Primus, which reflects the pontifical liturgy at Rome toward the end of the 7th century. Ironically, it is far more like the Byzantine Rite on the one hand, and the Novus Ordo Missae, which WR people, Anglican or Roman, are trying to escape because it is so mixed up with the theological deviations and other modernisms of the present-day Anglican and Roman communions.

The desire to escape the abuses is noble, of course. It is also true that the Novus Ordo was hijacked. But it is of critical importance that a genuine study and consideration of WR in the Orthodox Church separate the issues of what is happening in Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism from the historical study of the Ordines Romani in their own right. By separating those issues, we can come to a much better understanding, a far more balanced perspective how the present-day WR practises fit into the life of the Orthodox Church.

It should also be noted that liturgy is more than a dry statement of dogma. It is not sufficient that the doctrines stated in the texts of the prayers not contain theological error. Liturgy involves our entire being and our entire worldview. There is an ancient liturgical axiom that says: lex orandi, lex est credendi ('the rule of prayer is the rule of faith'); there is a natural correspondence between how we worship and what we believe. Even if the doctrinal statements are in any given prayer are orthodox, how we worship will colour how we receive and process those doctrines and live them out. There is a phrase in the Anglican Canon that reads: 'Who made there by His one oblation of Himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world.' As the commision requested by St Tikhon observed, these words need to be considered in their historical context. They were intended to be a refutation of the theology of the Eucharist as sacrifice. On the other hand, young people who grow up in WR parishes, in which there will be a proper context for understanding this phrase, will receive it in an Orthodox manner, understanding that Golgotha cannot be historically repeated. Christ's Sacrifice of Himself on the Cross was a one-time deal; but we, through our offering of bread and wine, 'do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts which now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed Passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto Thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto by the same.' This can be easily compared to the Byzantine corresponding Byzantine text and seen to be substantially identical. But then, the following paragraph in the Book of Common Prayer, the Invocation, was seen as categorically needing to be augmented to express a clear invocation of the Holy Spirit to make the Holy Gifts the Body and Blood of Christ.

I am NOT saying that WR is necessarily flawed, but I do believe that both the history of the Western liturgy and the very way in which Western worship communicates the faith, are areas that need examination. I deliberately included here evidence that would favour the use of the Anglican canon, as well as evidence that points to problems which far greater and more authoritative people than I have observed. I did so with the hope of demonstrating how complex the matter is. This is why I have always said that WR can neither be justified simply on the basis of the historical use of Western liturgy in the Orthodox Church, nor condemned on the simple basis of it not being Byzantine.

MAH

See next post.

#12 Mark Harrison

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:40 AM

Having said all that I in the previous post, I am thinking about some of the things that James and I have a thought. Perhaps what really needs to be done to arrive at sound conclusions is to begin by setting forth the quesitons. As Ambassador Sarek said in Star Trek: The Seearch for Spock, 'It is difficult to know the answer when one does not understand the question.'

We can all go on coming up with opinions as I have done for fifteen years now; but after these past fifteen years, I am moving toward the conclusion that what really needs to happen is to have knowledgeable people put forth questions from various perspectives, which can then lead to a truly in-depth, comprehensive study.

Any thoughts?

#13 James M.

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:29 PM

Mr Harrison:

"…what is being done in WR parishes…is NOT pre-schism….(but) Tridentine. If you want to learn about pre-schism ritual, read the Ordo Romanus Primus… ironically, it is far more like the Byzantine Rite..”

Don’t know where you find this and if so, how it differs from AOA’s Rite of St. Gregory.

Ah, sounds like…..your opinion of the Western Rite reduces to: “If these two rites are the answer, then can I look at the question again?” I take this both from your Norvus Ordo comments and the sense that 1) you seem genuinely amenable to the project, but 2) not to its present resolution. But I do take the sense that your interest is genuine.

My guess is that the appropriate forum you want is an academic seminary bulletin board rather than here, or as part of some Synod consideration for evaluating the Western Rite on behalf of your jurisdiction. I wonder whether your interest is more than intellectual interest, and if so, whether or not you have considered attending the Western Rite’s conferences? That might be an appropriate place to start. There is also “The Credo” journal, but I’ve only seen one copy, and that might provide an alternatively useful discussion place. My guess is you need to be in touch with similarly knowledgeable people. On the other hand, maybe you've already been there, done that, and simply intend this more as idle curiosity.

I wish I could say I'm the man to help you, but you already know I'm not! But if you would like some help pushing forward, I will try to get you some contact info that could be helpful.

In Christ,
Skip

#14 Mark Harrison

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 05:28 AM

Mr Harrison:

"…what is being done in WR parishes…is NOT pre-schism….(but) Tridentine. If you want to learn about pre-schism ritual, read the Ordo Romanus Primus… ironically, it is far more like the Byzantine Rite..”

Don’t know where you find this and if so, how it differs from AOA’s Rite of St. Gregory.

Ah, sounds like…..your opinion of the Western Rite reduces to: “If these two rites are the answer, then can I look at the question again?” I take this both from your Norvus Ordo comments and the sense that 1) you seem genuinely amenable to the project, but 2) not to its present resolution. But I do take the sense that your interest is genuine.

My guess is that the appropriate forum you want is an academic seminary bulletin board rather than here, or as part of some Synod consideration for evaluating the Western Rite on behalf of your jurisdiction. I wonder whether your interest is more than intellectual interest, and if so, whether or not you have considered attending the Western Rite’s conferences? That might be an appropriate place to start. There is also “The Credo” journal, but I’ve only seen one copy, and that might provide an alternatively useful discussion place. My guess is you need to be in touch with similarly knowledgeable people. On the other hand, maybe you've already been there, done that, and simply intend this more as idle curiosity.

I wish I could say I'm the man to help you, but you already know I'm not! But if you would like some help pushing forward, I will try to get you some contact info that could be helpful.

In Christ,
Skip


Sadly Skip, it is not an interest that I have the leisure to indulge at the present time.

My interest is mixed. Until relatively recently, I was rather opposed to WR in practise (as you accurately surmise); at the same time, it has been a fascinating idea, and in theory, I do think it is a worthwhile endeavour. I have to admit that one day I'd love to serve as a sub-deacon (which I am) in a Latin-rite Mass.

I found the text of the Ordo Romanus Primus in a book at St Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, NY; which is not too far from St Vladimir's. I went there looking for materials on the history of the Roman liturgy. If you read the paper I posted (it's not my greatest work, but it is a beginning), you should find a footnote reference. I don't remember it off hand.

The Ordo Romanus Primus is an outline of the Pontifical Liturgy in Rome from the 7th century. For one thing, the celebrant faced West (toward the people) for the canon. He stood on the East side of the altar throughout the Mass, but faced East (that's right) at many points. If you are familiar with the Byzantine Hierarchical celebration, the bishop stands at his cathedra (also known as the 'High Place' or 'synthronon') on the east side of the altar at the reading of the epistle and Gospel. Psalms (like the Gradual) were more complete and included (more like the responsorial psalms in the Novus Ordo. However, they would have been executed in Gregorian chant - more like an expanded prokeimenon in the Byzantine Rite. The lavabo was more than symbolic. The bread used with leavened and the celebrant would want to rinse any crumbs from his fingers. The canon is, of course that which is used in the Tridentine Mass, the ancient Roman Canon Missae. If you have ever watched a Papal Mass from the Vatican, it is more akin in its ethos to the Ordo Romanus Primus than are averge RC parish celebrations.

The source book may have been A Short History of the Western Liturgy.

MAH

#15 Rostislav M-P

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 07:01 PM

Not being one who particularly adores frankish contrivances, I don't particularly see an Orthodox need to preserve the integrity of frankish masses and their protestant descendants. Since the latins themselves have pursued this course (numerous "liturgical protestants" have as well) for a generation, it really isn't all that necessary to archaeologically unearth and reinsert frankish masses, tridentine and otherwise. If one were to review the "Eucharistic Prayers" for Novus Ordo rite IV (current missale), an Eastern Orthodox Christian might be pleasantly surprised (General plagiarisms of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil). Likewise anglicans and methodists have perenially made use of good ole St. Chrysostom. Thus an Eastern intrusion is not as unwelcome practically as some archaists would protest.

In other words, Orthodox Western rite does need codefied forms but should not limit itself to archaeological speculations to present its codefications. Definitely a stated epiklesis in whatever is done in the PROPER ORDER and no confiteor or talk of merits or hint of anything alluding to analogia entis. I think it would be good to "restore" the Roman Canon by reviewing its Alexandrian parent and reinserting at least the sequence of requisite prayers. The Tradition will set what is presented as the "accepted use" for posterity and even for those outside the Church, latins and protestants. As it will be a use in the Church. Let the Orthodox liturgists, however, reinforce, their Western rite masses with pre-schism ordos--Sarum, Gallican, Camaldolese, etc. and edit away tridentinisms and protestant accretions. Thus the ritual will be pre-schism and the rite will be neo-Western, BUT ORTHODOX FINALLY.

As an aside, I am not so liberal in my views regarding originally Orthodox Western rites, be they the Mozarabic, Gallican, Milanese, etc. These forms should be preserved intact, if they are to be used, with their ordos. One must remember that the Milanese rite, for instance, was an imperial rite and concelebrated by Eastern and Western Orthodox prelates. It is not our place to unmake or improve what was Orthodox.

However, frankish renditions of liturgy are at best vandalisms of Orthodox rites by heretics and open to Orthodox review.

Lastly, to make Western Rite possible in Orthodoxy above all else it needs stability. It needs people who recognize Orthodox ecclesiology and the boundaries of the Church, who respect her canonical structure. It needs to be rooted in the Tradition and reinforced with a regular prayer life and sacramental witness. It needs Orthodox prelates to take it seriously and mentor as well as discipline it. It needs monastics and presses to share its spirituality and cultivate its piety in the modern day. It doesn't need married bishops, statues, anglican comprehensiveness, organs, post schism "saints," and liturgical disorders where more than one liturgy is celebrated by one priest on one altar per day. It cries for stability and structure and needs to be liberated from quackery and heterodox understandings of purpose. The vocation of Western rite can be fulfilled, but it requires will and work and resources to get it done. Let's at least in future make a point of churching sincere Western riters (and Eastern riters!) properly so that a foundation can eventually be laid.

Malleev-Pokrovsky

Edited by Rostislav M-P, 20 February 2008 - 11:15 PM.


#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 12:26 AM

And I don't see an Orthodox need to insult and call names, but hey, maybe that's just me.

#17 Rostislav M-P

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 12:31 AM

Just stating things as they are, for there seems to be alot of confusion out there about what is Orthodox and what is not. Some people really don't know and deserve alot better than "another 'Christian' denomination." Orthodoxy is THE Church. All others are outside.
Malleev-Pokrovsky

#18 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 01:14 AM

Perhaps you should read awhile here and see that there is less confusion here than you may be accustomed to. Otherwise I am so glad that you are here to make us all wiser.

Proverbs 9:8-9

#19 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 10:47 AM

I go along pretty much with Rostislav. There's no need to add to what we already have. It's typical of converts to something that they want to mess about with what they converted to. Let all Orthodox of past present and future sing from the same hymn sheet.

#20 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 12:59 PM

I go along pretty much with Rostislav. There's no need to add to what we already have. It's typical of converts to something that they want to mess about with what they converted to. Let all Orthodox of past present and future sing from the same hymn sheet.


Right, wrong or indifferent, it is one thing to agree or even state a position. It is another thing to be arrogant in that position.

It is also generally not a good idea to resort to or depend on stereotypes to make an argument. What is often referred to as "typical" ain't always so typical. Let all Orthodox, past, present and future, sing in harmony from the same theology, expressed as best suits the mileu it is being expressed in. Otherwise we are in danger of not singing from the same hymn sheet as those in the past. Or so it seems to this bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh




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