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The western rite in Orthodoxy today

Western Rite

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#41 Mark Harrison

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 12:45 AM

I am painfully aware that much of what Kosta says would be found both highly inaccurate, factually wrong and perhaps even insulting to some of my western rite friends. I am equally aware that some jurisdictions are almost fanatically opposed to the idea of western rite probably because they have over the past millennium had to compensate for their own loss of territory to invasion by telling themselves that they/their nation alone constitutes the fulness of Orthodoxy and that in order to be Orthodox, incomers must pretend to their nationality as the only proper path into Orthodoxy.

The western rite is, according to my own investigation, a very legitimate expression of the fulness of Orthodoxy - when (and only when) it observes the fulness of its own history and genuine liturgical tradition. I understand that this is best exemplified in the western rite as practiced in ROCOR where there is a fully researched and authorised set of services and careful oversight of what is done.

I have seen it said that the western rite existed for a full thousand years of the first millennium, and that the Orthodoxy of the western church was attested to by Saint John Chrysostom himself.

Dragging the recent events (the failings of one man) in the Orthodox Church of France into the "condemnation" of western rite is specious to say the least. I have detailed personal knowledge of that situation and Kosta's comments display a lack of awareness and were better left unsaid. The fall into gnosticism (and worse) has been well documented many times amongst eastern rite groups (including at least one patriarch) and yet it is not a reason for condemning the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom.

Speculation about western rite by those who know little about it is not helpful and it would perhaps be better if it was not offered.

As I understand it, there is a long history of the western rite within Orthodoxy. One ROCOR source has pointed out that the western rite existed within Orthodoxy (both anciently and in modern times), for over 70% of the life of the Church and that for Orthodoxy to be without the western rite is an abberration. It existed, I believe, on mount Athos, in Constantinople and in Jerusalem for several centuries after the Great Schism and has/does exist in modern times under a number of Patriarchates with formal patriarchal/synodical authority for the past 140 years.

Perhaps there are some western rite people here from ROCOR who can correct my facts.

Hieromonk Nikolai


Father, bless!

With all due respect, Fr Nikolai, I have to disagree with you, at least in practice, on the point of the current Antiochian WR. I took a class with Fr Paul Schneirla, I was raised Anglican, I have attended WR parishes (Anglican use). I believe my paper on WR written for Professor Paul Meyendorff is here somewhere. The irony is that the Novus Ordo of the RC Church is closer to an ancient western Liturgy than anything practiced in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is not the theory of a WR that I object to by any means, only what is actually being done. Fr Paul Schneirla handed out WR literature, most of which was comprised of Tridentine era devotionals. There was no study of the Ordo Romanus Primus, or the Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Gallican, or Celtic liturgies, even as a basis for more modern practices. The WR in France, at least, attempted to resurrect the Gallican Rite. There are practical problems with that strategy including not having complete texts, and not having a living continuity. The Gallican Liturgy is not really any more familiar to present day Western Christians than the Byzantine Liturgy.

I start out my paper with a premise that I'll repeat here: I don't believe that the WR can be a priori accepted simply because there used to be a WR; nor do I believe that it can be rejected a priori simply because it is not the Byzantine Rite. I remain as convinced as I was 14 years ago that WR is theoretically fine, but is fraught with numerous complications on a practical level that MUST be thoroughly examined and addressed for it to succeed and flourish as a natural expression of the Church's interior life. This is what I do not see being done by Fr Paul Schneirla, and even the great proponent of WR who got me to take the class agreed that Fr Paul had sorely disappointed him. It was too bad because the issue does deserve serious treatment.

P.S. It's been a while, but my recollection is that it was St John of Shanghai and San Francisco who got the WR underway in France - yes, under ROCOR. The Romanians at some point "took over"; that is, I don't think ROCOR has used WR in a long time, the most recent WR communities were under the Romanian Church. I don't know of a direct connection between ROCOR and the Romanian Church in this area. I suspect there is none, but I just don't know.

#42 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 01:16 AM

Do those who have some sympathy with WR agree that no approval was actually given, though modifications were made to the BCP as used in America and sympathy was expressed for the idea of WR parishes?

I'd like to know about their services.

Is there any WR presence in the UK or any desire for such?


What do you mean "no approval"? That St. Tikhon did not personally give approval to the service that now bears his name? That may be so, but it was "approved" by a bishop, otherwise it could not be served. Do you think that renegade priests are serving liturgies without the approval of their bishop?

There are several websites that talk to the western rite, some links have already been posted to the forum. What more is necessary to earn the "Andreas Ecclesiastical Seal of Approval ™"?

Just curious....

Herman the curious Pooh

#43 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 01:24 AM

P.S. It's been a while, but my recollection is that it was St John of Shanghai and San Francisco who got the WR underway in France - yes, under ROCOR. The Romanians at some point "took over"; that is, I don't think ROCOR has used WR in a long time, the most recent WR communities were under the Romanian Church. I don't know of a direct connection between ROCOR and the Romanian Church in this area. I suspect there is none, but I just don't know.


Well, I know of at least one monastery that is now part of ROCOR that still celebrates a Western Rite, some information is available here

Herman

#44 Moses Anthony

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 01:52 AM

Father, bless!

With all due respect, Fr Nikolai, I have to disagree with you, at least in practice, on the point of the current Antiochian WR. I took a class with Fr Paul Schneirla, I was raised Anglican, I have attended WR parishes (Anglican use). I believe my paper on WR written for Professor Paul Meyendorff is here somewhere. The irony is that the Novus Ordo of the RC Church is closer to an ancient western Liturgy than anything practiced in the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is not the theory of a WR that I object to by any means, only what is actually being done. Fr Paul Schneirla handed out WR literature, most of which was comprised of Tridentine era devotionals. There was no study of the Ordo Romanus Primus, or the Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Gallican, or Celtic liturgies, even as a basis for more modern practices. The WR in France, at least, attempted to resurrect the Gallican Rite. There are practical problems with that strategy including not having complete texts, and not having a living continuity. The Gallican Liturgy is not really any more familiar to present day Western Christians than the Byzantine Liturgy.

I start out my paper with a premise that I'll repeat here: I don't believe that the WR can be a priori accepted simply because there used to be a WR; nor do I believe that it can be rejected a priori simply because it is not the Byzantine Rite. I remain as convinced as I was 14 years ago that WR is theoretically fine, but is fraught with numerous complications on a practical level that MUST be thoroughly examined and addressed for it to succeed and flourish as a natural expression of the Church's interior life. This is what I do not see being done by Fr Paul Schneirla, and even the great proponent of WR who got me to take the class agreed that Fr Paul had sorely disappointed him. It was too bad because the issue does deserve serious treatment.

P.S. It's been a while, but my recollection is that it was St John of Shanghai and San Francisco who got the WR underway in France - yes, under ROCOR. The Romanians at some point "took over"; that is, I don't think ROCOR has used WR in a long time, the most recent WR communities were under the Romanian Church. I don't know of a direct connection between ROCOR and the Romanian Church in this area. I suspect there is none, but I just don't know.



I'm sorry , but this begins to be more than tedious, it is tiresome!

The way in which to affect change -I've always believed- is not to rail against whatever chosen fortress, to whomever will listen; but if there's really something wrong, then work as tirelessly within the confines of the system to change that which is wrong.

As of this date I've only attended one WR parish (and unless they haul them out after I've left), in the years of my attendance I've not seen a single statue. THere is however in the Prayer Chapel, icons of Ss. Herman, Raphael Hawaweeny, John Maximovitch, Innocent, Blaise, The Virgin Mary (Theotokos), and some others I've forgotten. There is of course in the alter icons of St. John the Forerunner, The Virgin M ary, and Christ seated on the throne of heaven (I do not remember the name of this icon).

I personally was tonsured a Reader, and then ordained a sub-deacon ( a position which has not the restrictions as does other members of the clergy, which I refer to as a glorified reader) by Bishop Basil. The parish is St. Benedict of Nursia. And yes there are icons of the saint and his sister St. Scholastica.

Not very long ago Fr. put to the parish a suggestion for those interested, a group for those interested in, but not specifically called to, the rigors of monastic asceticism, Oblates of St. Benedict. It is a minor discipline which they've undertaken, among whom I am numbered. We use; but are not confined to, The Monastic Diurnal. All the Hours are there: Matins, Lauds, 1st and 2nd Vespers, Prime, Small Complines etc., etc.,. Services which are attended are Sunday Matins, Mass/Divine Liturgy, 2nd Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (unction is usually said for those desirous after Mass in the prayer chapel). On Saturdays The Ninth hours is said just before Vespers. And oh yes, the prayer services of Holy Week are said, as are Feast day services for the saints.

Now as to the prayer used after Communion, I ask this: The Kingdom of God is it a present reality; one can put the fingers of his hand upon, or is it more ethereal, mystical, or (oohhh) both. And then again the phrase "....the Mystical Body which is the company of all faithful people...", is this reference to something other-worldly, or that which no one can fully understand, or again both?

Sometimes the slag from the axe we grind, unbeknown to us gets in our clothing, and becomes a problem. This is my last comment about this.

the sinful and unworthy servant;
moses

#45 Hieromonk Nikolai

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 02:24 AM

I confess that I am really getting a little irritated with Kostas' attitude and tone.

Let me Correct him (if he will receive correction) - I have just copied some facts supplied to me by a ROCOR source:

In 1870, after representations to it over several years by Dr. J. J. Overbeck, the Holy Synod of Russia approved the full text of the "Saint Gregory Liturgy" which was the pre-Tridentine Roman rite, for use by Orthodox people.

In 1904, Archbishop (Saint) Tikhon (Belavin) of San Francisco took a copy of the Book of Common Prayer with him to the Holy Synod of Russia and requested the consideration be given to its adaption for use by Orthodox people. I think that he was accompanied and supported in this matter by Bishop (Saint) Raphael of Brooklyn

The Holy Synod set up a Commission to examine the matter. The Commission consisted of Archbishop Tikhon, Bishop Sergius and others.

The Commission reported to the Holy Synod in 1907 after three years of deliberations. The Synod received and approved the report which set out the improvements and deletions necessary to render the services extracted from the Book of Common Prayer as usable, leaving it up to ruling bishops to institute the resulting Liturgy as they decided it useful to do so.

In 1929 the Moscow Patriarchate approved the celebration of the Western Rite in Paris.

In 1936 the Moscow Patriarchate issued an Ukase authorising the setting up of a Western Rite Church in France.

In 1958 Archbishop (Saint) John (Maximovitch) took over direction of the Orthodox Church of France.

In 1958 the Holy Synod of Antioch adopted the provisions of the Holy Synod of Russia of 1870 and 1907 and instructed the American Archdiocese to follow them.

In 1960 the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America published the entire text of the Western Rite as authorised by the 1870 Holy Synod of Russia, in its official Yearbook.

In 1962 the Russian Orthodox Bishop in America, Bishop Dosithius, received the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Royal as Western Rite.

In 1975 ROCOR Archbishop Nikon received the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Royal as Western Rite.

In 1993 Bishop Hilarion (Kapral) of Manhatten authorised the establishment of Christ the Saviour Western Rite Monastery in Rhode Island (since moved to Ontario)

In 1997 Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney blessed Saint Petroc Monastery in Cascades to the Western Rite - and authorised it to set up Monastery missions and parishes throughout his diocese of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific etc. He directed the monastery to research and produce a complete book of Liturgy - including the Hours and all the occasional services such as Baptism, marriage etc., in compliance with the authorisations of the Holy Synod of Moscow.

In 2003 Archbishop Hilarion authorised the Saint Colman Prayer Book which was the result of seven years of work by Saint Petroc Monastery.

There is a whole lot more to this, but if Kosta would just get his facts right, and modify his tone, this discussion would be a whole lot more productive.

ROCOR has had Western Rite for the past 33 years - and it is growing - with Archbishop Alypy of Chicago recently blessing a Priest to Western Rite and the ROCOR Holy Synod approving the reception of three former Anglican parishes as Western Rite at its meeting in late 2007.

Clear approval has been given by at least four Patriarchal Synods in modern times for Western Rite. And I know of Moscow Patriarchate, Romanian Patriarchate and ROCOR current western rite usage.

As for Mark Harrison, sitting in the middle of America, writing only about the Antiochian misuse of Western Rite, apparently unaware of the full history and current western rite activity elsewhere, it seems to me that your paper has a good chance of being misleading rubbish which has the potential to damage the chances of many people to be brought into Orthodoxy.

My ROCOR sources say that the Western Rite that they use (Sarum) was a lineal development of earlier Liturgy used in England, and that Sarum was used continually throughout the second millennium - after the reformation by bthe Roman Catholics in secret in England and later by them openly andv alsio by a few Anglicans intyo the twentieth century. The ROCOR people also have a Liturgy deriving from the 1907 approval, which they say is very different from the Antiochian.

I am Russian Orthodox. I do not approve of the post Schism, very recent Roman Catholic liturgical practices which were common in the Antiochan American diocese, but which, I am told are becoming less common recently, I will not defend them and I don't overly-much care for what they do. I do not care for being cast as if I approved of those practices. There is a world beyond the USA! In that world, Western Rite is, I believe, being very differently applied. It gives me great confidence in western rite to see that in ROCOR it is a monastic work and under close episcopal supervision. That is a western rite that I will defend.

Hieromonk Nikolai

#46 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 08:36 AM

[QUOTE]What do you mean "no approval"? [/QUOTE]

'approve v.t. to confirm; to sanction n.s. approval'. I meant the negative of this.

[QUOTE]it was "approved" by a bishop, otherwise it could not be served.[/QUOTE]

Does a bishop have authority to approve the use in his diocese of a novel form of liturgy? I don't know but I would have thought that approval 'from the top' were needed, the holy synod of his Church. I infer that the Patriarchate of Antioch has approved the use of some form of WR liturgy - is that right? Has any other patriarchate approved it?

[QUOTE]Do you think that renegade priests are serving liturgies without the approval of their bishop?[/QUOTE]

No.

[QUOTE]the "Andreas Ecclesiastical Seal of Approval ™"?[/QUOTE]

Readers, Herman, have no authority to approve anything.

[QUOTE]That St. Tikhon did not personally give approval to the service that now bears his name? That may be so[/QUOTE]

But were those who have locus standi to issue approval influenced in their decision so to do by a belief that St Tikhon and MP had approved a WR liturgy?

'By what authority do you do these things' is a fair question to put to anyone except Christ. I'm not saying I think WR have no authority for their liturgy - I'm only asking, for clarification, from where that authority came.

[QUOTE]Russian prayer books are rather different from Greek prayer books are different from Antiochian prayer books. Why even Russian prayer books are different from other Russian prayer books! But they are still Orthodox.[/QUOTE]

Yes, I know, but the differences are very minor and all these prayer books are accepted by all as Orthodox.

[QUOTE]Do all Orthodox under the Byzantine rite attend vespers, matins, compline, great compline and say all the prayers before and after communion? [/QUOTE]

I don't see what bearing church attendance has on this debate but I hope all Orthodox do say the prayers before and after Holy Communion.

[QUOTE]Are Western rite followers not allowed to use the Byzantine prayers? Because they use one Byzantine prayer are they not allowed to use the Orthodox prayers of any other rite? If I go to a Western Rite Liturgy, am I not allowed to go to an Eastern rite Vespers?[/QUOTE]

How should I know?

[QUOTE]Do they have to be mutually exclusive?[/QUOTE]

My point is this, and I'm sorry if it did not come out clearly.
If WR people want their own form of liturgy, do they want to change other services as well? The difficulty there, of course, would be that the anglican church has no equivalent to many of the main services in the Orthodox Church; I'm thinking just now of the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, the Great Canon and the Akathist. It seems to me that there would be a lack of harmony and consistency in the totality of church life if one service - albeit, the Divine Liturgy - were 'anglicised' but all other services necessarily remained 'Byzantine'. The services at the monastery here are 'Byzantine' but the English language used is based on traditional liturgical English (and is very fine indeed). In church, I feel like an Orthodox Englishman, not a 'Byzantine'.

I do not doubt the sincerity of those who follow the WR and I note that their theology is Orthodox. My own view, which I hope I express without giving anyone offence, is that in these (last?) days we need more unity not diversity of practice. The Divine Liturgies of the Orthodox Church have grown organically over centuries and are part of the living and growing Tradition of the Church. I would have to be doubtful of grafting onto that tree of Tradition a cutting from a different tree. In the Office for the reception by chrismation of converts, the errors and false doctrines of other churches are firmly rejected and belief in the Orthodox Divine Liturgy affirmed. The Orthodox Church was established by God. The anglican church was established by King Henry VIII, and we know what sort of character he was! I would urge any convert, having put his hand to the plough of Orthodoxy, not to look back.

'But hey, that's just me!'

Edited by Andreas Moran, 21 March 2008 - 09:37 AM.


#47 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 01:02 PM

My own view, which I hope I express without giving anyone offence, is that in these (last?) days we need more unity not diversity of practice.


Patriarch Nikon felt the same way about the "Old Believers" but it was him who was "innovating" not them. And look what it has taken to heal that attempt at "unity of practice". Ironic that ROCOR, so often referred to as the "traditionalists" are willing to accept the Old Believers back into the Church without changing their rites and allowing use of "western" rites, which would seem to ENCOURAGE diversity of practice. I think what we need is Orthodoxy of practice, in whatever form, but that might just be me. Ironically, it was a similar desire to promote "unity" of practice by the Catholic Church that chased my little diocese back to Orthodoxy.

Sdn. Mark should be aware that it is my diocese, the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (ACROD) that is still slowly divesting ourselves Roman practices that snuck in during our Uniate captivity, not the Antiochians.

Herman the adopted Nawshe Pooh

#48 Eric Peterson

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 02:44 PM

It doesn't appear that there is anyone on this list with a real, experiential knowledge of the Western Rite who can give clear information on what their rites entail.

I am not a member of a Western Rite parish, but I have prayed the Benedictine Divine Office, which hasn't changed much since 1054. I use the pre-Vat II books, which the Antiochian and some ROCOR WR folks use, and edit them for Orthodox use--deleting post-schism saints and prayers and readings, which they do, too. This is pretty easy to do since most of the Breviary is rooted firmly in the Orthodox period of the Western Church. The Western Rite, Antiochian, ROCOR, et al, celebrate the same saints as the Eastern Rite, but use Western prayers, most of which have not changed much since the schism. What post-schism prayers are used is due to necessity and tradition, and the fact that they have been approved for Orthodox use, and often edited.

As for liturgy, well, that is a matter I am not very familiar with because I've only been to one Mass. But I can say that all forms of the Western Rite liturgies used in canonical Orthodox churches DO have approval from their respective Holy Synods. If they didn't, they'd be in trouble.

The Western Rite folks use a full complement of approved Western services--including the Mass and the Divine Office (the canonical hours of prayers), together with several other Western Orthodox devotions.

If anyone has a problem with Western Rite, they can feel free to take up the issue with the responsible parties, the Holy Synods and Saints who approved such usage.

Those who would favor strictly pre-schism Western Rite will have to go the the non-canonical vagantes. Even the ROCOR Western usages have some post-schism things in them, all approved by the responsible church authorities.

The Gallican rite used by the Western Rite in France under St. John is a reconstruction, incorporating some odd Byzantine elements and other things from here and there. It was an experiment, and not really authentic to real Gallican liturgy. Such things as pure pre-schism uses are hard to determine because of the great liturgical diversity of the 11th century West. (Same goes for the East.)

#49 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 11:59 PM

I've had a look at the so-called Liturgy of St Tikhon. It looks to me like a high anglican mass with an epiclesis which resembles that in the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. There may be nothing heretical in it but for me the point is that it doesn't contain enough. It does not seem to me fully to proclaim the Orthodox faith. I cannot see that taking a heterodox service and inserting an approximation to the Orthodox epiclesis makes that service Orthodox. The Divine Liturgy is mystically entwined with Christ and His Church as the body of Orthodox faithful. The Liturgy evidences the depth and fulness of the theology of the Orthodox Church. It is in the Liturgy that the Church is made manifest in the world in time and space but also eternally because the Liturgy has a strong eschatological dimension. It is the high point of Christ's saving economy, the summation and consummation in this life of God's purpose for man. The Liturgy and even the church in which it is celebrated take a man and lead him through the whole progress of the life in Christ. Every part of the Liturgy serves these purposes; the psalms, hymns, prayers, litanies, readings and even the actions and movements make present the whole Divine dispensation from the Incarnation onwards. The Liturgy, because of its fulness, is the supreme expression for the faithful of the theology and dogma of the Church regarding our salvation. The Liturgy evolved by the action of the Holy Spirit to express this dogma. How can an invented liturgy with no basis in Orthodox Tradition do the same? If dogma is altered we remain the same: if dogma remains the same we are altered. The Liturgy of St Tikhon serves only the narrow aim of providing Holy Communion but lacks as it seems to me the fulness of dogmatic expression.

#50 Olga

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 02:07 AM

Another matter which should be considered is this: What prayers are read/recited/chanted by the clergy in the altar during a western-rite liturgy? It is not only what is heard by the congregation during the service which is important. It would be interesting to compare these "inaudible" prayers with, say, those of the Liturgies of Sts Basil or John Chrysostom. There is a tremendous amount of theology in these prayers. To use Andreas' expression, would the WR priestly prayers fulfil the criterion of "the fulness of dogmatic expression"?

#51 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 06:15 AM

Another matter which should be considered is this: What prayers are read/recited/chanted by the clergy in the altar during a western-rite liturgy? It is not only what is heard by the congregation during the service which is important. It would be interesting to compare these "inaudible" prayers with, say, those of the Liturgies of Sts Basil or John Chrysostom. There is a tremendous amount of theology in these prayers. To use Andreas' expression, would the WR priestly prayers fulfil the criterion of "the fulness of dogmatic expression"?


Olga, a copy of the The Divine Liturgy according to the Rite of Saint Gregory
Antiochian Archdiocese - Western Rite Vicariate
can be found here

http://members.aol.c...las/liturgy.htm

If this is not the correct liturgy, perhaps someone can post a link to the correct one.

#52 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 09:43 AM

I find that I can take my copy of the Tolleshunt Knights book of the Liturgies and use it as a prayer book. I couldn't do that with these WR liturgies. I'm thinking, for example, of the prayer to the Mother of God, 'Mindful of our most holy and undefiled, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary . . . ' which we chant three times before the Little Entrance. We bow to her icon during the censings as well. The choir sing 'Hail thou that art full of grace' after the epiclesis. Without the Mother of God there would be no salvation - where in these WR liturgies is this reflected? I look also at the prayer of the priest said during the Cherubic Hymn. This includes the words, 'For thou art both he that offereth and he that is offered. Thou dost receive and art given.' In these words, there is a profundity of meaning concerning the Eucharist as what Archimandrite Zacharias calls, 'an exchange of lives'. There is nothing like this in the WR liturgies. The Divine Liturgy is incomparably rich, far more than a rite understood as ceremonial observance. Consider the many volumes of commentaries there are on the Divine Liturgy, attesting that it is an inexhaustible treasury. Non-Orthodox who encounter the Divine Liturgy experience another world. Was it not the Divine Liturgy which persuaded the envoys of St Vladimir that the Orthodox had 'found the true faith' and led to the conversion of Kievan Rus? Many non-Orthodox who attend the Divine Liturgy find it, in the word of a colleague I took to the monastery here, 'overwhelming'. The Divine Liturgy is, said Father Sophrony, the centre of our lives. It is celebrated by Koreans, Japanese, Ugandans, English, Aleuts, Finns, Icelanders . . . why will it not do for American ex-Episcopalians? But at the end of the day, my concern is that the WR liturgies are not from Tradition and so have no warrant. Do not Episcopalians turn to Orthodoxy for the fulness of its Tradition? Why then contrive something which is not from that Tradition and why not embrace Tradition, particularly that part of it which is the centre of our lives, in its fulness?

Edited by Andreas Moran, 22 March 2008 - 11:24 AM.


#53 Father Anthony

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 01:40 PM

Andreas,

First, I think it is worth noting the vitality of the life of these western rite communities that attest to their authentic Orthodoxy. Second, I find many of the arguments regarding liturgical practices to be based on opinions. How are these opinions to be regarded as superior to numerous commissions and authorities of the Church that have studied the issue and have granted the approval? Most of the same arguments offered regarding this liturgy regarding the priest's prayers can be turned around in most liturgical practices regarding the Byzantine liturgies. Those prayers are never read aloud in most cases, thus appearing not known by the majority of the faithful.

I find it hard to accept that, for some reason, 20 missions and parishes in the United States have been carrying the banner of heresy, while in all cases they are just trying to live out their faith. If you traveled in the USA far and wide, you would be probably hard pressed to ever encounter these communities. Their potential to cause serious "harm" to the Church seems rather minimal at best.

Some people here seem to have an axe to grind regarding ex-Episcopalians. Though most in the Antiochian Western Rite are from that background, the remainder are from Lutheran and Roman Catholic backgrounds. I would say that it is time to maybe start really doing some learning regarding the history and praxis of these communities before passing summary judgment that seemingly is made out fear and ignorance more than anything else.

It is also worth noting that in many cases, the Western Rite has been a liturgical bridge that has helped those that have fled from their original churches to Orthodoxy make a transition which in the case of several parishes have then after a long period of time then convert their liturgical practice to the Byzantine ritual.

Many of the posts seem to be focused on only one of the two approved liturgies of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate in America, the Liturgy of Saint Tikhon. Some of the criticisms may even be valid, but do they really constitute a charge of heresy or warrant a condemnation of all non-Byzantine services? I do not think that case has been made. I do find it odd that so much anger and consternation is being directed towards parishes that the antagonists will most likely never attend to begin with. God will judge, we don't really have to. By their fruits will they be known, and I have yet to see any seriously "bad" fruit spoiling the Church at this point. Some people don't like the western rite. I get that. Some people are not all that enamored with the Byzantine rite, hard as that might be for some to hear. May the Lord allow us to "...see our own faults and not judge our brothers..." particularly in this Holy Season.

In IC XC,
Father Anthony+

#54 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 04:39 PM

I think I have to agree with Fr. Anthony. It is one thing to say how well the Byzantine rite expresses Orthodoxy. It is something else all together to denigrate another rite that has been approved by bishops that are in communion.

If you have a serious problem with it, take it up with the bishops in question rather than insult sincere Christians, particularly now in the Lenten season.

#55 Paul Cowan

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 05:13 PM

Here is the list of all Western Rite Churches in America.

St. Paul's was sponsored by my Parish and is just down the street from where I live. I admit I have not attended a service there yet, as I serve at my own Parish. I consider it "rude" to abandon my priest to go "visiting". Reading their website, I don't "see" anything wrong with what they believe. Wafers versus leavened bread for communion seems odd though.

Paul

Are they right or wrong? Who am I to say? I am still trying to learn the proper movements in my alcolyte responsibilities.

#56 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 08:18 PM

I find many of the arguments regarding liturgical practices to be based on opinions. How are these opinions to be regarded as superior to numerous commissions and authorities of the Church that have studied the issue and have granted the approval?


We are not Roman Catholics. The opinions of the people matter and should not be dismissed by 'commissions and authorities' which are not infallible. It was the opinions of the Greek people which led to the rejection of the Council of Florence which had been entered into by the Church authorities of those days. It's why St Mark of Ephesus is a saint. I have read that Fr Alexander Schmemann was and Metropolitan Kallistos is doubtful of the WR liturgies and there are Orthodox websites carrying criticisms of them.

I find it hard to accept that, for some reason, 20 missions and parishes in the United States have been carrying the banner of heresy


Who has accused them of heresy and on what grounds?

I do find it odd that so much anger and consternation is being directed towards parishes that the antagonists will most likely never attend to begin with.


Who is angry? I cannot see that anything I have posted is an expression of anger. Consternation? We are discussing an innovation albeit one sanctioned by some local bishops. The use by Orthodox Christians (who, at their reception into the Church, accepted the Divine Liturgy) of liturgies which are not within the Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church is a legitimate matter of concern. We are all the Church, the Body of Christ. What happens anywhere in the Church is a matter for all.

Some people are not all that enamored with the Byzantine rite, hard as that might be for some to hear.


By Byzantine rite, Father, do you mean the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom? Are you saying that there are Orthodox Christians who do not like this Liturgy? If that is so, the world is madder than I thought.

May the Lord allow us to "...see our own faults and not judge our brothers..." particularly in this Holy Season.


Judging is one thing: having an appreciation of what goes on in the Church may be another. Legitimate enquiry is not judging.

If you have a serious problem with it, take it up with the bishops in question rather than insult sincere Christians, particularly now in the Lenten season.


Sincere Christians can be in error. Protestants are very sincere. I cannot see that I have insulted anyone. This is, I repeat, a legitimate matter for enquiry. How is it insulting to ask why some who become Orthodox cannot accept the Divine Liturgy which is the very centre of Orthodox life?

I felt that I had expressed myself in a moderate way. The debate had been progressing in a measured way with considered arguments and opinions put forth. Some members have sent me PMs agreeing with my point of view. I have accused no one of heresy; indeed, I said I noted that it had been said that the theology of the WR people is Orthodox and agreed that the WR liturgies provided Holy Communion (apparently). I felt that in what I said I was, in my own inadequate way, upholding Orthodox Tradition. I would expect those who do not share my opinions to take them up point by point as would be normal and proper in any intellectual debate. It is unfortunate that instead the temperature has been raised somewhat by my apparently being seen as polemical, without foundation in my view. Having said, that, snow has started falling quite thickly as I have been adding to this post so some rise in temperature might be welcome - but not in this forum, please!

I think it is unhelpful to call the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom (and that of St Basil) 'Byzantine' as though to be Orthodox means becoming Greek. Many countries, from Russia onwards, have embraced Orthodoxy and made it their own within their culture. But all these countries embraced the Holy Tradition of the Church which is 'one, holy, catholic and apostilick'. They embraced the Divine Liturgy as the central pillar of the Orthodox faith. As Archimandrite Zacharias once said to me, 'we need invent nothing - all is provided for us.'

Edited by Andreas Moran, 23 March 2008 - 08:49 AM.


#57 Nina

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 12:22 AM

Wafers versus leavened bread for communion seems odd though.


Hmm... now you got me curious. I have been reading this thread with great interest and listening to both sides and trying to understand since as I have mentioned previously I was completely ignorant about this until this thread was revived recently. Now I have read and learned from both sides. However:

Can someone like Herman, who is knowledgeable about the western rite, explain for me please (I guess for Paul and others also): why wafer/unleavened? I read some time ago something from Elder Phylotheos Zervakos and he was very adamant about us Orthodox using leavened bread for the Holy Communion, besides other issues that he was discussing.

#58 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 01:13 AM

Hmm... now you got me curious. I have been reading this thread with great interest and listening to both sides and trying to understand since as I have mentioned previously I was completely ignorant about this until this thread was revived recently. Now I have read and learned from both sides. However:

Can someone like Herman, who is knowledgeable about the western rite, explain for me please (I guess for Paul and others also): why wafer/unleavened? I read some time ago something from Elder Phylotheos Zervakos and he was very adamant about us Orthodox using leavened bread for the Holy Communion, besides other issues that he was discussing.


History is pretty clear that pre-schism, both unleavened & leavened bread were used and for many centuries it wasn't considered a problem. It was only in the work up to the split that it become an issue. There are valid reasonings on both sides of this one.

#59 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 08:46 AM

Dear members - please note the amendments, given in italics, to my post № 56.

#60 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 09:20 AM

History is pretty clear that pre-schism, both unleavened & leavened bread were used and for many centuries it wasn't considered a problem. It was only in the work up to the split that it become an issue. There are valid reasonings on both sides of this one.


Are you sure about this, Herman? I can't quote any canon or patristic authority but I thought it was forbidden in the Orthodox Church to use unleaven bread and that the use of leaven bread had been constant. Unleaven bread is for sorrow and fasting - leaven bread is for the joy and feast which is the Divine Liturgy.




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