Friday, March 11, 2011

Some interesting news on the Western Rite

On Monday, 14 February, Father Edward Hughes, Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and his duly appointed assistant, Father John W. Fenton, met at the Russian Synod chancery with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR); His Grace Bishop Jerome (Shaw), Bishop of Manhattan and vicar of the Eastern-American diocese (ROCOR); and the V. Reverend Anthony Bondi, Pastoral Vicar for the Western Rite (ROCOR).

This meeting was the first between the hierarchy and leadership of the jurisdictions which oversee all canonical Orthodox parishes in North America which are exclusively Western Rite. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the present situation, and to compare visions in order to foster cooperation in furthering Western Rite Orthodoxy in America.
Read the rest here.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting - western rite in rocor must be very attractive. M

David said...

It is to me, so much I am trying to organize a study society with the hope of a mission in God's time

Anonymous said...

Firstly I do apologize that I must use the Anonymous persona due to being a Priest (in actual fear of retaliation by You Know Who); the meeting I suspect was an introduction and also a fishing expedition for when things just become too intolerable in the Western Rite for the Antiochian Archdiocese. +Philip is losing it or has lost it; and he would be successors have already said they disapprove of the Western Rite and will disband it upon.

Anonymous said...

That also was my take on the meeting. I say this based on the undercurrents in my own WR Antiochian parish - the sense seems to be that it is only a matter of time until we find ourselves at home in ROCOR.

Anonymous said...

Wow, didn't see the dissolution of the WR amongst the Ants coming. Hope the congregations can just re-affiliate, with buildings intact. I knew the late Archimadrite Michael when he was still Fr Elwood Trigg, of the Piskies.

David, shall you be using your site, , any time soon?

Bill, tGf

The Anti-Gnostic said...

What is the reason exactly for the Western Rite? Why wouldn't a convert parish adopt the Rites already in use by the jurisdiction, same as any convert who walks into an existing parish?

I am not hostile to the Western Rite. I just view it as superflous and another ethno-cultural fault line in a Church already full of them.

Chris Jones said...

What is the reason exactly for the Western Rite?

That is a very, very good question, one which the jurisdictions which have a Western Rite haven't always given a clear answer to. That does not mean, however, that there is not a good answer for it.

The best reason for there to be a Western Rite in the Orthodox Church is as a witness to the unity of the Church; and specifically a witness to the unity of the Orthodox Church of today with the Orthodox Church of the West in the first millennium. If the Orthodox Church of today is truly the Apostolic Church, and the Western confessions of today are heterodox and in schism, then the liturgical tradition of the West is the spiritual heritage of the Orthodox Church, because the orthodox faith and practice in which that liturgical tradition developed, and of which it is the expression, continues to be fully confessed and lived out only in the Orthodox Church.

Thus if the Orthodox Church truly is the Apostolic Church, the Western Rite belongs to her just as much as the Eastern Rite belongs to her. If on the other hand the Orthodox Church is not THE Apostolic Church, but only the "style" of Christianity that belongs to the cultures of the East, then there can be no place for the Western Rite in Orthodoxy. Not because the WR violates any theological or canonical norms, but because it violates the cultural norms of Orthodoxy. I am convinced that this is the source of the hostility to the Western Rite from some quarters of the Orthodox Church.

From my point of view, so far from being another ethno-cultural fault line in a Church already full of them, the Western Rite is potentially the antidote to ethno-phyletism, because it is a witness to the unity and catholicity of the Church across cultural and ethnic lines.

That is what I think of as a good answer to the question; but whether that is the answer that would be given by the jurisdictions involved, or by the WR Orthodox faithful themselves ... well, you would have to ask them.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Then the question becomes how closely the current WR hews to the original Rite as practiced by the Western Churches pre-Schism. Unless we are confident that we have reconstructed it completely, then it should be considered extinct.

Practically speaking, the Orthodox WR would be unknown except to a few highly idiosyncratic congregations and theological historians. The torch has undoubtedly been carried by the Russians, Greeks, Serbians, Syro-Lebanese, et al.

I think it's just inviting a debate that doesn't need to happen. But, I hasten to add, your point is well-made and taken.

Anonymous said...

By that reasoning, A-G, the Liturgy of S John Chrysostom should be stripped of all its organic development throughout the centuries. That is not what you intended, I suspect.

Bill, tGf

The Anti-Gnostic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Anti-Gnostic said...

The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom has a history of uninterrupted practice under bishops in the Apostolic succession. So far as I know, The Western Rite does not. Certainly the convert parishes who are its current practitioners don't have that pedigree.

And again who, exactly, would use the Western Rite? WASP converts, basically.

Thus the ghettoization of our parishes by ethnic ancestry continues, and now extended to those of Anglo-Celt extract.

I walked into an Orthodox parish literally off the street after leaving the US Episcopal Church. It never occurred to me that some alternative to the Eastern Rite should exist. When I heard about the Western Rite, my thought was, "What for?"

Chris Jones said...

And again who, exactly, would use the Western Rite? WASP converts, basically.

And what is "WASP" but a shorthand for the principal ethnicity of North America? And, in North America, whom is the Apostolic Church called to evangelize, catechize, and bring into the Kingdom? WASPs, basically.

I just don't see the problem here. Unless "coming into the Apostolic Church" requires "becoming Eastern" for some reason.

In my view, it makes no difference whatever that the WR hasn't been in continuous practice in the Orthodox Church. Any liturgy that is celebrated with the blessing of a canonical Orthodox bishop is a valid Orthodox liturgy -- full stop. If there is a problem with that, it's a problem to be dealt with by his brother bishops, not by lay folk who have no responsibility for such things (because we are not stewards of the mysteries of God).

Dale said...

Actually the vast majority of western rite Orthodox are not WASP's(what a rude word), but Filipinos.

Having said the above, I also question a western rite as well. Hellenism is Orthodoxy and Orthodoxy is Hellenism. Period.