The Communion of Saints

The Communion of Saints
I hope there's room for me.

Welcome all - especially Mancunians.

Hello anybody lost in the blogosphere. Welcome to the ruminations of a politically left of centre, Man United supporting, blues loving, history-fixated, Catholic wanderer. Be warned, I am a bit of a curmudgeon.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Orthodox confirm their Orthodox Worship - where now for the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church?

Over the past few years, whilst divisions have grown among members of the Anglican Communion, several parishes have looked to the Orthodox Church to find a home. Something I found unlikely given the difference in rites and there has been controversy among the Orthodox about this.
An answer seemed to be provided in the Orthodox Church providing an oversight which allowed a Western Rite, in this case an Anglican one. One tended to hear of the Anglican rituals being slowly eroded by local Orthodox bishops and now the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia have promulgated this decree:

I am not sure how this effects those of the Western Rite overseen by the Antiochean and Romanian Orthodox but it has effects for all those of the ROCOR, which include the three Western Rite parishes here in the UK.

I am guessing that the now deposed Bishop Jerome, who had oversight of this Vicariate since 18th May, 2011, has been seen to be making things to easy for former Anglican priests to become priests of the ROCOR and lax in the implementation of Eastern Divine Liturgy.


  1. The big problem has been the fact that Jerome, off his own bat, has been willy-nilly ordaining men of independent Anglican and vagante backgrounds who have next to no theological training whatsoever and no real understanding of Orthodoxy. The ROCOR hierarchy has been looking for an excuse to shut down the WR for years and the Nathan Monk debacle was the straw that broke the camel's back. On another blog a prominent ex-WRO (now a Benedictine monk at Stamullen Priory in Ireland) of the Antiochian Vicariate posted the following:

    "As much as I hate to say it (because I still have many friends in the AWRV) I would not be at all surprised if, upon the (almost certainly) inevitable elevation of Archbishop Joseph of LA to the office of Antiochian Metropolitan, knowing his opinions on the WR, he might follow ROCOR's lead. . . .

    One of the great problems of Western Rite Orthodoxy is the absence of canonical structures. Essentially, WRO, wherever it has existed, has been entirely at the whim of Byzantine primates and their synods. Orthodoxy simply does not have in its canonical toolkit anything like the jurisdictional structures that Catholicism has developed to protect ritual minorities (ordinariates, personal prelatures, etc.); nor does it have the means (as has the Catholic Church) to update its canon law to develop such solutions.

    The other great problem, of course, would be the lack of specifically WR training and formation programs ensuring the continuation of the rite. For instance, the vast majority of AWRV communities whose founding priest had passed away have not been able to survive, either because no priest could be found for them, or they simply decided to go Byzantine.

    And the last great problem would be the lack of cohesion and vision among the WRO, and this comes from differing visions of what constitutes the Orthodox Faith and how "far gone" the Latin Church is understood to have been in different periods of its existence. The sheer number of different liturgies authorised in the former RWRV (1928 BCP, Tikhonian, at least two different versions of Sarum, Tridentine, reconstructed "Gallican", and all of the above in various forms of Byzantinisation) is undeniable proof of the problem."

    Rome was excoriated by many for the hoops it seemed to make prospective Ordinariate clergy jump through before it would give the go ahead for ordination. The ROCOR mess just serves to illustrate the wisdom of the approach Rome took.

  2. You state the case well. I have had concerns about the unrealistic expectations of many who have chosen to go the way of the Western Rite, not least given the unbending attitude of the Orthodox in all matters of Liturgy. An attitude that is laudable in many ways and unlikely to be open to the difference presented by a 'Western Rite'.
    I was completely thrown by the totally unByzantine appearance of the most recent addition to the ROCOR Western Rite, Holy Cross in Omaha, Nebraska, from ACNA.
    I have always believed that the Ordinariate process made sense, even if it has been painful.