Author Topic: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?  (Read 14270 times)

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Offline Papist

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Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« on: March 14, 2007, 01:58:27 PM »
Can some one explain to me some of the objections that some Eastern Orthodox Christians make against Western Rite Orthodoxy?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline AMM

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2007, 02:24:16 PM »
Fr. Alexander Schmemann I think said something to the effect that the Byzantine liturgy is what unifies the church more than anything else.  I've read various other arguments but can't recall them.

I fully support the WR myself.

Offline aserb

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2007, 03:32:24 PM »
I have heard an objection from a convert priest to EO that it was nothing more than a corrected Anglican service (smirks)
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Offline AMM

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2007, 03:55:04 PM »
I've heard something like that as well.  When you consider how close the Orthodox bishops were to re-establishing communion with the Anglicans in the 20th century, I don't know how valid of an argument that one is.  Aside from that, one need only have experienced the beauty of a high Anglican liturgy to understand it is certainly a tradition worthy of respect.

Offline GiC

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2007, 05:08:59 PM »
I would add that another objection to the western rite is the same as our objection to the Latins who improperly make use of our liturgy. First and foremost it is improper and an attempt to impose upon a jurisdiction other than one's own. Also, it is the false reenactment of a tradition that is foreign to one's Church. Likewise, in both cases of the latins who attempt to use our liturgy and the orthodox who attempt to use a Latin or Anglican liturgy it is a deliberate attempt at proselytism, making the behaviour even more inappropriate.

The issue is not the beauty of a service, the westerners and Orthodox both have beautiful services, but they are services that should only be celebrated within their respective traditions. When a foreign Church attempts to usurp the traditions and liturgics of another it is both inappropriate and disrespectful of the other's tradition.

Offline Papist

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2007, 05:14:55 PM »
I would add that another objection to the western rite is the same as our objection to the Latins who improperly make use of our liturgy. First and foremost it is improper and an attempt to impose upon a jurisdiction other than one's own. Also, it is the false reenactment of a tradition that is foreign to one's Church. Likewise, in both cases of the latins who attempt to use our liturgy and the orthodox who attempt to use a Latin or Anglican liturgy it is a deliberate attempt at proselytism, making the behaviour even more inappropriate.

The issue is not the beauty of a service, the westerners and Orthodox both have beautiful services, but they are services that should only be celebrated within their respective traditions. When a foreign Church attempts to usurp the traditions and liturgics of another it is both inappropriate and disrespectful of the other's tradition.
I thought that you guys believed yourselves to be the true Catholic Church. That being the case, wouldn't the old western liturgies belong to you and not to us? (For the record, I believe the Church in communion with Rome to be the true Church, and thus, all true litergies, easter or western, belong to my Church.  ;D)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 05:16:11 PM by Papist »
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline AMM

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2007, 05:53:55 PM »
Papist, + Metropolitan Anthony Bashir wrote the following which I think addresses your question

Quote
It has been our Orthodox failure that we long spent our energies fruitlessly protesting your Uniate program rather than in imitating it, for we too claim to be the one, true Christ of Christ, outside of which there is no salvation. Within the last quarter of a century the Orthodox Church has tardily corrected this policy, and today there are Orthodox faithful in Europe and America who follow the Roman Latin rite. In my own diocese I have four parishes and a mission that use the latin rite in the vernacular, and I am proud that we have led the way in this movement in the United States. In the last issue of Unitas magazine I read with pleasure the positive appraisal of Western Rite Orthodoxy by a Father Kelleher of the Franciscans of the Atonement.

http://occidentalis.blogspot.com/2006/12/thoughts-on-orthodox-roman-relations.html

I also think a lot of the "one true church" talk tends to be misguided.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 05:54:24 PM by welkodox »

Offline drewmeister2

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2007, 07:49:05 PM »
The problem I have with the Western Rite liturgy is that there hasn't been an Western-style Orthodox Liturgy in the West for some time now, so it is hard to re-create the Liturgy that was once used in the West before the schism.  Maybe with time a truly Orthodox Western Liturgy could re-emerge, but it won't happen overnight and probably won't happen until the West takes on an Orthodox mindset and praxis. 
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Offline Tamara

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2007, 07:54:51 PM »
I've heard something like that as well.  When you consider how close the Orthodox bishops were to re-establishing communion with the Anglicans in the 20th century, I don't know how valid of an argument that one is.  Aside from that, one need only have experienced the beauty of a high Anglican liturgy to understand it is certainly a tradition worthy of respect.

I am not hear to debate the qualities of western Liturgy versus eastern Liturgy but I am not so sure about your statement that the Orthodox church and the Anglican communion were close to re-establishing communion. I think once St. Raphael of Brooklyn studied the doctrines of the Anglican church he quickly let his flock know what he believed to be true. You can read his thoughts below in his letter to the immigrant middle-eastern flock in North America at the turn of the century.

PASTORAL LETTER OF BISHOP RAPHAEL

To My Beloved Clergy and Laity of the Syrian Greek-Orthodox Catholic Church in North America:

Greetings in Christ Jesus, Our Incarnate Lord and God.

My Beloved Brethren:

Two years ago, while I was Vice-President and member of the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union, being moved with compassion for my children in the Holy Orthodox Faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), scattered throughout the whole of North America and deprived of the ministrations of the Church; and especially in places far removed from Orthodox centers; and being equally moved with a feeling that the Episcopalian (Anglican) Church possessed largely the Orthodox Faith, as many of the prominent clergy professed the same to me before I studied deeply their doctrinal authorities and their liturgy—the Book of Common Prayer—I wrote a letter as Bishop and Head of the Syrian-Orthodox Mission in North America, giving permission, in which I said that in extreme cases, where no Orthodox priest could be called upon at short notice, the ministrations of the Episcopal (Anglican) clergy might be kindly requested. However, I was most explicit in defining when and how the ministrations should be accepted, and also what exceptions should be made. In writing that letter I hoped, on the one hand, to help my people spiritually, and, on the other hand, to open the way toward bringing the Anglicans into the communion of the Holy Orthodox Faith.

On hearing and in reading that my letter, perhaps unintentionally, was misconstrued by some of the Episcopalian (Anglican) clergy, I wrote a second letter in which I pointed out that my instructions and exceptions had been either overlooked or ignored by many, to wit:

a) They (the Episcopalians) informed the Orthodox people that I recognized the Anglican Communion (Episcopal Church) as being united with the Holy Orthodox Church and their ministry, that is holy orders, as valid.

b) The Episcopal (Anglican) clergy offered their ministrations even when my Orthodox clergy were residing in the same towns and parishes, as pastors.

c) Episcopal clergy said that there was no need of the Orthodox people seeking the ministrations of their own Orthodox priests, for their (the Anglican) ministrations were all that were necessary.

I, therefore, felt bound by all the circumstances to make a thorough study of the Anglican Church's faith and orders, as well as of her discipline and ritual. After serious consideration I realized that it was my honest duty, as a member of the College of the Holy Orthodox Greek Apostolic Church, and head of the Syrian Mission in North America, to resign from the vice-presidency of and membership in the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union. At the same time, I set forth, in my letter of resignation, my reason for so doing.

I am convinced that the doctrinal teaching and practices, as well as the discipline, of the whole Anglican Church are unacceptable to the Holy Orthodox Church. I make this apology for the Anglicans whom as Christian gentlemen I greatly revere, that the loose teaching of a great many of the prominent Anglican theologians are so hazy in their definitions of truths, and so inclined toward pet heresies that it is hard to tell what they believe. The Anglican Church as a whole has not spoken authoritatively on her doctrine. Her Catholic-minded members can call out her doctrines from many views, but so nebulous is her pathway in the doctrinal world that those who would extend a hand of both Christian and ecclesiastical fellowship dare not, without distrust, grasp the hand of her theologians, for while many are orthodox on some points, they are quite heterodox on others. I speak, of course, from the Holy Orthodox Eastern Catholic point of view. The Holy Orthodox Church has never perceptibly changed from Apostolic times, and, therefore, no one can go astray in finding out what She teaches. Like Her Lord and Master, though at times surrounded with human malaria—which He in His mercy pardons—She is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8) the mother and safe deposit of the truth as it is in Jesus (cf. Eph. 4:21).

The Orthodox Church differs absolutely with the Anglican Communion in reference to the number of Sacraments and in reference to the doctrinal explanation of the same. The Anglicans say in their Catechism concerning the Sacraments that there are "two only as generally necessary to salvation, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord." I am well aware that, in their two books of homilies (which are not of a binding authority, for the books were prepared only in the reign of Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth for priests who were not permitted to preach their own sermons in England during times both politically and ecclesiastically perilous), it says that there are "five others commonly called Sacraments" (see homily in each book on the Sacraments), but long since they have repudiated in different portions of their Communion this very teaching and absolutely disavow such definitions in their "Articles of Religion" which are bound up in their Book of Common Prayer or Liturgy as one of their authorities.

The Orthodox Church has ever taught that there are seven Sacraments. She plainly points out the fact that each of the seven has an outward and visible sign and an inward and spiritual Grace, and that they are of gospel and apostolic origin.

Again, the Orthodox Church has certain rites and practices associated and necessary in the administration of the Sacraments which neither time nor circumstances must set aside where churches are organized. Yet the Anglicans entirely neglect these, though they once taught and practiced the same in more catholic days.

In the case of the administration of Holy Baptism it is the absolute rule of the Orthodox Church that the candidate must be immersed three times (once in the name of each Person of the Holy Trinity). Immersion is only permissory in the Anglican Communion, and pouring or sprinkling is the general custom. The Anglicans do not use holy oil in the administration, etc., and even in doctrinal teaching in reference to this Sacrament they differ.

As to the doctrine concerning Holy Communion the Anglican Communion has no settled view. The Orthodox Church teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation without going into any scientific or Roman Catholic explanation. The technical word which She uses for the sublime act of the priest by Christ's authority to consecrate is "transmuting" (Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom). She, as I have said, offers no explanation, but She believes and confesses that Christ, the Son of the living God Who came into the world to save sinners, is of a truth in His "all-pure Body" and "precious Blood" (Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom) objectively present, and to be worshiped in that Sacrament as He was on earth and is now in risen and glorified majesty in Heaven; and that "the precious and holy and life-giving Body and Blood of Our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ are imparted" (to each soul that comes to that blessed Sacrament) "Unto the remission of sins, and unto life everlasting" (Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom).

Confirmation or the laying on of hands, which the Orthodox Church calls a Sacrament—"Chrismation"—in the Anglican Church is merely the laying on of hands of the Bishop accompanied by a set form of prayers, without the use of Holy Chrism, which has come down from Apostolic days as necessary.

Holy Matrimony is regarded by the Anglican Communion as only a sacred rite which, even if performed by a Justice of the Peace, is regarded as sufficient in the sight of God and man.

Penance is practiced but rarely in the Anglican Communion, and Confession before the reception of Holy Communion is not compulsory. They have altogether set aside the Sacrament of Holy Unction, that is anointing the sick as commanded by Saint James (see James 5:14). In their priesthood they do not teach the true doctrine of the Grace of the Holy Orders. Indeed they have two forms of words for ordination, namely, one which gives the power of absolution to the priest, and the alternative form without the words of Our Lord, whosoever sins ye remit, etc. (John 20: 23). Thus they leave every bishop to choose intention or non-intention in the act of ordination as to the power and Grace of their priesthood ("Ordination of Priests," Book of Common Prayer).

But, besides all of this, the Anglican Communion ignores the Orthodox Church's dogmas and teachings, such as the invocation of saints, prayers for the dead, special honor to the blessed Virgin Mary the Mother of God, and reverence for sacred relics, holy pictures and icons. They say of such teaching that it is "a foul thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the word of God" (Article of Religion, XXII).

There is a striking variance between their wording of the Nicene Creed and that of the Holy Orthodox Church; but sadder still, it contains the heresy of the "filioque."

I do not deem it necessary to mention all the striking differences between the Holy Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion in reference to the authority of holy tradition, the number of Ecumenical Councils, etc. Enough has already been said and pointed out to show that the Anglican Communion differs but little from all other Protestant bodies, and therefore, there cannot be any intercommunion until they return to the ancient Holy Orthodox Faith and practices, and reject Protestant omissions and commissions.

Therefore, as the official head of the Syrian Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church in North America and as one who must give account (Heb. 13:17) before the judgment seat of the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (I Pet. 2:25), that I have fed the flock of God (I Pet. 5:2), as I have been commissioned by the Holy Orthodox Church, and inasmuch as the Anglican Communion (Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA) does not differ in things vital to the well-being of the Holy Orthodox

Church from some of the most errant Protestant sects, I direct all Orthodox people residing in any community not to seek or to accept the ministrations of the Sacraments and rites from any clergy excepting those of the Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, for the Apostolic command that the Orthodox should not commune in ecclesiastical matters with those who are not of the same household of faith (Gal. 6:10), is clear: "Any bishop, or presbyter or deacon who will pray with heretics, let him be anathematized; and if he allows them as clergymen to perform any service, let him be deposed." (Apostolic Canon 45) "Any bishop, or presbyter who accepts Baptism or the Holy Sacrifice from heretics, we order such to be deposed, for what concord hath Christ with Belial, or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (Apostolic Canon 46)

As to members of the Holy Orthodox Church living in areas beyond the reach of Orthodox clergy, I direct that the ancient custom of our Holy Church be observed, namely, in cases of extreme necessity, that is, danger of death, children may be baptized by some pious Orthodox layman, or even by the parent of the child, by immersion three times in the names of the (Persons of the) Holy Trinity, and in case of death such baptism is valid; but, if the child should live, he must be brought to an Orthodox priest for the Sacrament of Chrismation.

In the case of the death of an Orthodox person where no priest of the Holy Orthodox Church can be had, a pious layman may read over the corpse, for the comfort of the relatives and the instruction of the persons present, Psalm 90 and Psalm 118, and add thereto the Trisagion ("Holy God, Holy Mighty," etc.). But let it be noted that as soon as possible the relative must notify some Orthodox bishop or priest and request him to serve the Liturgy and Funeral for the repose of the soul of the departed in his cathedral or parish Church.

As to Holy Matrimony, if there be any parties united in wedlock outside the pale of the holy Orthodox Church because of the remoteness of Orthodox centers from their home, I direct that as soon as possible they either invite an Orthodox priest or go to where he resides and receive from his hands the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony; otherwise they will be considered excommunicated until they submit to the Orthodox Church's rule.

I further direct that Orthodox Christians should not make it a practice to attend the services of other religious bodies, so that there be no confusion concerning the teaching or doctrines. Instead, I order that the head of each household, or a member, may read the special prayers which can be found in the Hours in the Holy Orthodox Service Book, and such other devotional books as have been set forth by the authority of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Commending our clergy and laity unto the safekeeping of Jesus Christ, and praying that the Holy Spirit may keep us all in the truth and extend the borders of the Holy Orthodox Faith, I remain.

Your affectionate Servant in Christ

+ RAPHAEL,
Bishop of Brooklyn,
Head of the Syrian Greek Orthodox Catholic Mission in North America

Offline AMM

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2007, 09:01:26 PM »
St. Raphael I think astutely noticed and pointed out several things, probably most importantly some of the incoherence that was present in the church (and that was the era of Phillips Brooks IIRC).  That's when the cracks started to show in the PECUSA.

There had been long standing dialogs and exchanges in Europe though, going back at least to the Non Jurors.  I'm also fairly certain that up until the 1950's, none of the Orthodox Churches present in the U.K. would take converts from the Church of England.  I believe the hierarchs:

A. Didn't want to offend the CofE. (Bishop Kallistos I think was first turned down by the Russians before going to the Greeks.)
B. Still believed some sort of reconciliation might very well happen.

A skeptic might point out that the Protestant wing of the CofE would have scuttled the whole thing.  We'll never know, and of course now it's a moot point.

The documents on this page are worth a read - http://anglicanhistory.org/orthodoxy/index.html Especially at the end in regards to orders.  Some of them were written probably twenty years after the piece posted by St. Raphael.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 09:02:22 PM by welkodox »

Offline Timos

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2007, 10:54:49 PM »
The problem I have with the Western Rite liturgy is that there hasn't been an Western-style Orthodox Liturgy in the West for some time now, so it is hard to re-create the Liturgy that was once used in the West before the schism.  Maybe with time a truly Orthodox Western Liturgy could re-emerge, but it won't happen overnight and probably won't happen until the West takes on an Orthodox mindset and praxis. 

I've never seemed to understand this pov...Liturgy is not created. It's developed. The liturgy that came out of Vatican II was created. The Roman Mass as far as I know, is very ancient and was NOT changed at the Council of Trent- it just formalized or sort of set it in stone.

Offline Aristibule

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2007, 05:38:23 AM »
To answer the original question:

Quote
Can some one explain to me some of the objections that some Eastern Orthodox Christians make against Western Rite Orthodoxy?

In every case of criticism, it can be reduced to one of two factors: ignorance or fear. Most criticisms of Western rite Orthodoxy from other Orthodox come because they don't understand nor have experience of what Western rite Orthodoxy is. There is often a deep ignorance of Western history and liturgics, or at best a cursory or warped knowledge (as often with converts, who didn't know their own heritage to begin with.) In ROCOR Western Rite, we've never had a visitor who left a critic - direct experience of the worship, prayer and praxis shows it is Orthodox, not confusing, nor bringing in heterodoxy. There, of course, have been a few instances of irregularities with some Western rite congregations, just as there has been with Byzantine rite congregations. Those few instances have been damaging beyond their actual import (ie, the Connecticut parish under Bp Gregory Grabbe, some reports from a few AWRV works, the defection of the Clerks Secular of St. Basil, the deposition of Gilles Bertrand-Hardy, etc/_ However, by far criticism seems to be mostly from converts who came from very damaged Western communions, so they cannot imagine anything Western as good. As a whole, though, Western rite Orthodox tend to be very traditional as regards dogma and practice, and by and far less problems with regards to irregularity in theology and praxis than many Byzantine rite communities in the West - which brings me to the second factor: fear. Besides the deep ignorance of Western rite, there is also often criticism based upon unfounded fears. These fears can take the shape of worries about confusion in Orthodoxy (which hasn't been a problem in the 150 year practice of WRO, nor between Greek and Slavic usage, or Old Rite.) Most often they are fears related to jurisdictional power - some have hopes that their own jurisdiction will have a future hegemony over all other Orthodox in various parts of the West. Sometimes the fear is that WRO will damage ecumenical relations (usually only a fear in the liberal parts of Orthodoxy - those who think we are one step away from union with the Anglicans or Romans.) All in all, however, the fears are unfounded - no one is forcing Western rite on anyone, and it doesn't present a confusion for the faithful as long as ignorance is taken to task. The happy thing is that both the ignorance and fear can be dispersed. It should be noted - there are cradle Western Rite Orthodox, and have been for some time. And, there are also cradle Orthodox (Greek and Russian) who are/were in the Western rite - much as Fr. John Meyendorff had noted in his book "The Orthodox Church" (1962/1964). Unfamiliarity then is the big issue - the criticisms would melt away if they were compared to the full light of reality. As it stands at present, I have yet to hear a criticism that is firmly based in reality or has any truth to it.
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Offline jmbejdl

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2007, 07:12:53 AM »
To answer the original question:

In every case of criticism, it can be reduced to one of two factors: ignorance or fear. Most criticisms of Western rite Orthodoxy from other Orthodox come because they don't understand nor have experience of what Western rite Orthodoxy is. There is often a deep ignorance of Western history and liturgics, or at best a cursory or warped knowledge (as often with converts, who didn't know their own heritage to begin with.) In ROCOR Western Rite, we've never had a visitor who left a critic - direct experience of the worship, prayer and praxis shows it is Orthodox, not confusing, nor bringing in heterodoxy. There, of course, have been a few instances of irregularities with some Western rite congregations, just as there has been with Byzantine rite congregations. Those few instances have been damaging beyond their actual import (ie, the Connecticut parish under Bp Gregory Grabbe, some reports from a few AWRV works, the defection of the Clerks Secular of St. Basil, the deposition of Gilles Bertrand-Hardy, etc/_ However, by far criticism seems to be mostly from converts who came from very damaged Western communions, so they cannot imagine anything Western as good. As a whole, though, Western rite Orthodox tend to be very traditional as regards dogma and practice, and by and far less problems with regards to irregularity in theology and praxis than many Byzantine rite communities in the West - which brings me to the second factor: fear. Besides the deep ignorance of Western rite, there is also often criticism based upon unfounded fears. These fears can take the shape of worries about confusion in Orthodoxy (which hasn't been a problem in the 150 year practice of WRO, nor between Greek and Slavic usage, or Old Rite.) Most often they are fears related to jurisdictional power - some have hopes that their own jurisdiction will have a future hegemony over all other Orthodox in various parts of the West. Sometimes the fear is that WRO will damage ecumenical relations (usually only a fear in the liberal parts of Orthodoxy - those who think we are one step away from union with the Anglicans or Romans.) All in all, however, the fears are unfounded - no one is forcing Western rite on anyone, and it doesn't present a confusion for the faithful as long as ignorance is taken to task. The happy thing is that both the ignorance and fear can be dispersed. It should be noted - there are cradle Western Rite Orthodox, and have been for some time. And, there are also cradle Orthodox (Greek and Russian) who are/were in the Western rite - much as Fr. John Meyendorff had noted in his book "The Orthodox Church" (1962/1964). Unfamiliarity then is the big issue - the criticisms would melt away if they were compared to the full light of reality. As it stands at present, I have yet to hear a criticism that is firmly based in reality or has any truth to it.

This seems entirely correct to me. I've never heard a criticism of the western rite that seemed reasonable, though maybe there is one out there that I've yet to come across. I see no problem with the western rite at all. I wouldn't want to be a part of it personally, but that's just because I prefer the Divine Liturgy to either a traditional Anglican service or the RC Mass. In fact I prefer it to sucha a degree that I've said before and reiterate it now, that I would continue to travel the distance i do now to get to an eastern rite parish even if a western rite one opened up 5 minutes walk from my house, but this is entirely a matter of personal preference.

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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2007, 08:24:49 AM »
I have heard an objection from a convert priest to EO that it was nothing more than a corrected Anglican service (smirks)

But one of the Western Rite Liturgies is precisely that. The Liturgy of St. Tikhon of Moscow which is in use in Churches of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate is actually a modified form of the Communion Service of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church.
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Offline AMM

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2007, 08:33:17 AM »
That doesn't make it a valid or even a good objection.

I think Aristibule is dead on saying what is going on is FUD.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2007, 08:38:52 AM »
That doesn't make it a valid or even a good objection.
That is precisely what I'm saying welkodox. ;)
To say that Western Rite Liturgies are "nothing more than a corrected Anglican service" is neither a slur on them nor an inaccuracy.
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Offline AMM

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2007, 08:47:10 AM »
That is precisely what I'm saying welkodox. ;)
To say that Western Rite Liturgies are "nothing more than a corrected Anglican service" is neither a slur on them nor an inaccuracy.

I gotcha.  In the case of what aserb posted I believe that was the substance of the objection though.  In that case I think that when Aristibule said the following

Quote
by far criticism seems to be mostly from converts who came from very damaged Western communions, so they cannot imagine anything Western as good.

that the nature of the comment reflects this.  Western = Bad.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2007, 08:53:08 AM »
To answer the original question:

In every case of criticism, it can be reduced to one of two factors: ignorance or fear.

Well, not exactly. 

My only problem with the WR is this: it was an artificial insertion into the Orthodox tradition at a moment in time, which is highly unusual.  To wit: The Western Rite Liturgies that had been Orthodox once upon a time were not practiced in the Orthodox Church for 700 or 800 years, and then were re-introduced.  So the WR was not organically developing within the Church tradition as the Liturgy of John or Basil were.  It was then re-introduced to Orthodoxy in order to fill out the tradition, but by doing it in this manner it is a forced major change in the tradition of the Church of the past 7 or 8 centuries.  Now, if I'm wrong and indeed there have been communities that were practicing the WR and were in communion with us for all this time, then it isn't an artificial insertion but rather just a natural expansion of something that is useful for many. 
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2007, 09:24:49 AM »
My only problem with the WR is this: it was an artificial insertion into the Orthodox tradition at a moment in time, which is highly unusual. 
I'm not sure what qualifies it as being "artificial". If the Church sanctifies something, it's sanctified. The Western Rites may have been out of Communion with the Orthodox Church for 600 years- but why would that in itself be a reason not to reintroduce them? St. Nektarios ordained Subdeaconesses 1400 years after the Church stopped ordaining them... because he saw a need for them in the particular situation the local Church of his time found itself.
Today, the Church is also faced with particular problems. When entire Anglican parishes decide to convert to Orthodoxy, the Church answers their immediate needs by establishing them with a Liturgy they immediately recognise. This has happened with three former Anglican parishes here in Australia- two of which came under ROCOR and one under Antioch. If the Western Rite is a way of return to the Orthodox Church for our separated Western Christians, why should we deny it to them? That would be like refusing to throw a rope out out to save someone who has fallen from the Ship and pull them in simply because the rope doesn't have a lifebuoy attached to it. Shouldn't we make use of every means at our disposal, even if it means tying a plastic bottle on the end of the rope?
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2007, 10:02:27 AM »
I'm not sure what qualifies it as being "artificial". If the Church sanctifies something, it's sanctified. The Western Rites may have been out of Communion with the Orthodox Church for 600 years- but why would that in itself be a reason not to reintroduce them? St. Nektarios ordained Subdeaconesses 1400 years after the Church stopped ordaining them... because he saw a need for them in the particular situation the local Church of his time found itself.
Today, the Church is also faced with particular problems. When entire Anglican parishes decide to convert to Orthodoxy, the Church answers their immediate needs by establishing them with a Liturgy they immediately recognise. This has happened with three former Anglican parishes here in Australia- two of which came under ROCOR and one under Antioch. If the Western Rite is a way of return to the Orthodox Church for our separated Western Christians, why should we deny it to them? That would be like refusing to throw a rope out out to save someone who has fallen from the Ship and pull them in simply because the rope doesn't have a lifebuoy attached to it. Shouldn't we make use of every means at our disposal, even if it means tying a plastic bottle on the end of the rope?

I didn't say it wasn't sanctified, I'm saying that the introduction (or in this case, re-introduction) of the WR was done in a way that is different from natural and organic liturgical development, especially of this kind.  From the beginning there were different liturgies (probably numbering in the dozens in the first century of Christianity) which were pared down to a smaller number.  But it was the use of the Liturgy over time in varying areas that led to differences arising between ER and WR.  Now what we have is the introduction of the WR back into Orthodoxy after being absent for so long - so we're introducing a different liturgical tradition that has to the current church not developed over time within the Church, but rather (a) developed a thousand years ago, (b) has spent time developing outside the Church, and (c) .... {darn, I can never remember the 3rd point in any of my 3-point lists.  I think I've reverted to always making the 3rd point something like "I love you" or "so, there!" but that's not the case here.}

Regardless, my issue with the WR is in the manner of introduction.  I don't have a problem with its presence in the Church, especially considering the hierarchs of the Church (including the EP) condone or bless its presence. 

"If I could turn back time, if I could find a way..." I would have introduced it differently into the Church, and maybe it would be more widespread than it is now.
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2007, 10:06:11 AM »
"If I could turn back time, if I could find a way..." I would have introduced it differently into the Church, and maybe it would be more widespread than it is now.
Sorry if I misunderstood you.
Perhaps if you could say what you would do differently, I could better grasp what you mean.
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2007, 10:14:52 AM »
I probably would have allowed a gradual introduction of elements of the WR in the parishes where it was determined to be pastorally expedient, instead of switching overnight... slowly add the difference in readings, entrance, etc. and move gradually from the Liturgy of John to the WR.  Then both groups (those who like the WR and those who prefer the ER) would see the inter-relationship, the beauty in the other, etc, and it would keep it as a gradual development and a pastoral consideration that grows in an semi-organic fashion.  By the time those parishes have switchted to the WR from John's liturgy, the rest of the Church would have greater knowledge of the rite, and the other jurisdictions would have enough time to evaluate and accept, rather than just rubber-stamping what the Russians or Antiochians are doing and saying that "it's good for them" (because that's what in essence has happened).
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2007, 10:46:42 AM »
I have mixed feelings about the WR usage.  I intellectually realize that pre-Schism western liturgies are just as Orthodox, but I think too much time has passed for them to be so quickly adopted back into the liturgical practice of the EOC.  My knee jerk reaction is that the WR liturgy is anachronistic and somewhat of a re-creation.  (Sort of like neo-pagans recreating religious rites that never existed or haven't existed in that form for who knows how long- and before anyone gets cramps in their fingers from furious keyboarding, I am not saying our WR Orthodox brothers are neo-pagans.  WR liturgies do have at least historical basis and the Truth of Christ behind them.) 

When I first converted 14 years ago, I remember asking my priest about the WR.  To paraphrase him, he explained that conversion is an all or nothing  prospect.  There is a benefit to making a full break with one's Western liturgical past.   He told me that becoming Orthodox (from Lutheran) would eventually cause me to develop a completely different world view and mentality (Eastern vs. Western) but that it would take time.  Well, it's taken 14 years and he was right, at least in my case.  The Eastern Orthodox Church is what it is precisely because of that difference in mindset and spirituality.

I also have to agree with someone who pointed out that the one great unifying factor of Orthodoxy is its common liturgy.  I would also add spiritual practices such as our common fasting rules.  We are struggling for Orthodox unity on so many fronts, I'm not sure exactly where the WR is going to eventually fit into the scheme of things.  And say what you will, the universal use of the Latin  mass also achieved the same thing for RC's for a very long time.

That ultimately leaves one question - what to do with the WR (as if that is a question or decision for the laity to even banty around).  Or no decision may be needed.  As quickly as the WR was introduced it may also organically change and adapt, or fade away in an equally organic manner.
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #23 on: March 15, 2007, 10:54:40 AM »
Quote
To paraphrase him, he explained that conversion is an all or nothing  prospect.  There is a benefit to making a full break with one's Western liturgical past.   He told me that becoming Orthodox (from Lutheran) would eventually cause me to develop a completely different world view and mentality (Eastern vs. Western) but that it would take time.

Conversion is not something one does half-heartedly.  I could not disagree more with the rest of this though.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2007, 11:30:36 AM »


When I first converted 14 years ago, I remember asking my priest about the WR.  To paraphrase him, he explained that conversion is an all or nothing  prospect.  There is a benefit to making a full break with one's Western liturgical past.   He told me that becoming Orthodox (from Lutheran) would eventually cause me to develop a completely different world view and mentality (Eastern vs. Western) but that it would take time.  Well, it's taken 14 years and he was right, at least in my case.  The Eastern Orthodox Church is what it is precisely because of that difference in mindset and spirituality.


I cannot accept that one must become byzantiumized in order to fully express his or her Christianity. Christ did not come to only save byzantine Culture only. He came to save all men of all places. Look at the OO Church. They do not use byzantine liturgy and, in fact, their liturgy may be older. In the west, even before the schism, the Latins used a  differen liturgy than the Byzantines and yet, they were still fully integrated Christains.
One of my probelms with the Eastern Orthodox Church is that you are expected to adapt another culture in order to become a member. I am not Greek. I am not Russian, I am not Romanian, etc. I applaud the the Antiochian Orthodox Church for recognizing the problem with expecting people to convert to another culture in order to follow Jesus.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 11:39:07 AM by Papist »
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2007, 11:46:31 AM »
Quote
One of my probelms with the Eastern Orthodox Church is that you are expected to adapt another culture in order to become a member.

Blanket statement Papist, and a read through this thread would show many people who are Orthodox have no issue with the WR.  Also, every church as a culture which one adapts when joining it, whatever that culture may be.

I do agree though, I think it's good the AOA has given the WR support, which is why I posted the comments of Metropolitan Anthony.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 11:47:31 AM by welkodox »

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2007, 11:58:10 AM »
I am not against Western Rite for those who find a home in our WR parishes but I have noticed these communities do have a problem attacting new members. They initially start off well but over time cannot attract converts as well as the Eastern Rite parishes do. I have seen two of them fade away over time as their members pass on. One WR parish fell apart after a few years when their priest died suddenly. I have wondered if the reason many of them do not succeed is because most of their members are former Episcopalians and they are not accustomed to reaching out and bringing more people into the community. But then again, it sometimes takes years for these folks to make the switch to Orthodoxy so I guess we should expect growth to be much slower. When I see Eastern rite parishes started by former evangelicals they do not seem to have this problem. They know how to bring in new members and these parishes flourish. They also attract Orthodox Christians who want to hear the services in English. Also, I notice that not all ex-Episcopalian priests and their parishes choose WR when they enter Orthodoxy. I wonder why? I am not criticizing the WR but I notice that it struggles to succeed even when the bishops are supportive of WR.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2007, 12:02:26 PM »
Quote
When I see Eastern rite parishes started by former evangelicals they do not seem to have this problem. They know how to bring in new members and these parishes flourish. They also attract Orthodox Christians who want to hear the services in English.

Tamara, you're throwing chum to the sharks here including this one!!!!

Parishes started by former evangelicals have their own problems and issues.  They also "attract" other Orthodox Christians for various reasons.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2007, 12:12:37 PM »
I am not against Western Rite for those who find a home in our WR parishes but I have noticed these communities do have a problem attacting new members. They initially start off well but over time cannot attract converts as well as the Eastern Rite parishes do. I have seen two of them fade away over time as their members pass on. One WR parish fell apart after a few years when their priest died suddenly. I have wondered if the reason many of them do not succeed is because most of their members are former Episcopalians and they are not accustomed to reaching out and bringing more people into the community. But then again, it sometimes takes years for these folks to make the switch to Orthodoxy so I guess we should expect growth to be much slower. When I see Eastern rite parishes started by former evangelicals they do not seem to have this problem. They know how to bring in new members and these parishes flourish. They also attract Orthodox Christians who want to hear the services in English. Also, I notice that not all ex-Episcopalian priests and their parishes choose WR when they enter Orthodoxy. I wonder why? I am not criticizing the WR but I notice that it struggles to succeed even when the bishops are supportive of WR.

Part of this may be due to the small number of WR parishes to begin with - the ER parishes have more cross-parish support, and more resources available to them regarding their liturgy and whatnot.

Of course, there could be a definite difference in mentality and that may be causing the difficulties.  Who knows?
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2007, 12:28:09 PM »
Tamara, you're throwing chum to the sharks here including this one!!!!

Parishes started by former evangelicals have their own problems and issues.  They also "attract" other Orthodox Christians for various reasons.

Andrew,

Relax. ;) I think it is important to understand what works and what doesn't work in order to help all of our communities thrive. I have been critical of ethnic parishes, parishes with guru priests (tend to be parishes started by former evangelicals) and now I am mentioning problems I see with WR. It doesn't mean I want to see WR end. But understanding the dynamics and cultures of the different types of communities is necessary if we want to see growth. Western Rite as been around for awhile but we do not see that many WR churches even in the Antiochian archdiocese. I think if we are really want it to succeed we need to find out why it has remained such a small part of American Orthodoxy.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2007, 01:08:54 PM »
Blanket statement Papist, and a read through this thread would show many people who are Orthodox have no issue with the WR.  Also, every church as a culture which one adapts when joining it, whatever that culture may be.

I do agree though, I think it's good the AOA has given the WR support, which is why I posted the comments of Metropolitan Anthony.
You are correct. It is a blanket statement. I should have worded my response more carefully. However, this is what it look like from the outside looking in. Although there are manny who post here who support the western rite, its lack of availability makes it appear that the Eastern Orthodox Chruch at large expects people to become Eastern in order to be Christian.
As for adopting culture, the Greeks were not expected to adopt jewish culture in order to become Christians. So, while we may have to adopt a "Church" culture when converting, it is unecessary to adopt an ethnic culture.
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« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 01:14:25 PM by Papist »
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2007, 01:19:44 PM »
Although there are manny who post here who support the western rite, its lack of availability makes it appear that the Eastern Orthodox Chruch at large expects people to become Eastern in order to be Christian.

In general yes, that is true, the Eastern expression is mostly the norm.  By the same token however I would say the reverse is true in Catholicism in many/most instances.

Quote
So, while we may have to adopt a "Church" culture when converting, it is unecessary to adopt an ethnic culture.

Here again I disagree with you.  Each church has a culture, and it is never 100% religious.  Every culture is also "ethnic", it just doesn't seem that way if its your culture.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 01:20:09 PM by welkodox »

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2007, 01:31:13 PM »
In general yes, that is true, the Eastern expression is mostly the norm.  By the same token however I would say the reverse is true in Catholicism in many/most instances.
I don't think this is as true with the Catholic Church. First of all, we have ove 21 sui juri Churches that use liturgies that range from those of the Assyrian Chuch of the East, to the Byzantine Liturgy, to the Arabic Liturgies of the Copts, to the Western Liturgies. Furthermore, Catholic Churches to adopt the Cultures of their surroundings, adapting to where those Churches are. For example, in Africa, the Church does not use incense but white flowers, because that holds more meaning for the African cultrue. Furthermore, there is a very cultural use of liturgical dance that is very reserved and is an expression of reverence in Africa (not the insane dancing of that we experience here in the west and should be kicked out of all churches).
Here again I disagree with you.  Each church has a culture, and it is never 100% religious.  Every culture is also "ethnic", it just doesn't seem that way if its your culture.
While I agree that every Church is affected by ethnic culture, It need not be as demanding as it is in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Here in New Mexico, there are a great deal of Catholic Churches that are influenced by the Hispanic Culture. This makes sense since New Mexico has a large hispanic population. There are also many Churches that would simply be American in Culture. However, the ONLY two Eastern Orthodox Churches in Albuquerque where I live are Greek and Russian. Must a Hispanic in NEW MEXICO adopt GREEK or RUSSIAN culture in order to server Christ? When I start to see Spanish Orthdox Chruches that cater to the Hispanics here, then my position will change.
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2007, 01:38:12 PM »
When faced with the clear  improper teaching of PECUS,I would have jumped at the chance to enter into a western Rite Parish using the St Tikon Liturgy  adapation of the 1891 Prayerbook,but there was none in the area I lived.  I had always been taught that the "Church of England was the Orthodox Church for English speakers" (a quote given seperately by three of the Episcopalian priests I had from childhood to adult hood) thus in the absence of a western Orthodoxy, I looked to the eastern Orthodoxy.  

After 18 years, my world view and understanding changed from a western view to an eastern view and I am happy to be in the Eastern Orthdodox church. Even so, I would happily go to a western Rite Orthodox Church if for no other reason than to feel at home again with the memories of my loving family and the culture (thats right) culture that is my own heritage. It is that which converts struggle with, the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land. Until Orthodoxy  and American culture adapt (or perhaps the better word would be blend) to create an American Orthodox culture ,it will not matter if we are East or West, there will always be a sense of us being the emigrant in the Orthodox Church.

Thomas

« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 01:40:08 PM by Thomas »
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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2007, 01:40:15 PM »
Must a Hispanic in NEW MEXICO adopt GREEK or RUSSIAN culture in order to server Christ? When I start to see Spanish Orthdox Chruches that cater to the Hispanics here, then my position will change.


this is the crux of the argument that Papist is putting forth and one that we should stick to.  I even agree with his assessment.  it is simply not right that a mexican must, for all intents and purposes, become russian, greek, or whatever, in order to feel welcome in an orthodox church.  there are exceptions (and thankfully growing ones) but, for the most part, it cannot be denied that non-slavs (or non-arabs or whatever) are often put off by the strong ethnic nature of orthodox churches.  sure, roman catholic churches can and do have strong ethnic identities, but the underlying implicit assumption is that the practices stemming from those particular identities are subservient to the actual faith they express.  

the feeling that most people get from orthodox churches is quite the opposite.  particular ethnic expressions of faith become so important that the underlying faith itself can seem to an inquirer to be subservient to the expression. (PLEASE NOTE MY USE OF ITALICS)  Alot of it has to do with the general ignorance of Orthodoxy, but not all of it.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2007, 01:49:19 PM »
I don't think this is as true with the Catholic Church. First of all, we have ove 21 sui juri Churches that use liturgies that range from those of the Assyrian Chuch of the East, to the Byzantine Liturgy, to the Arabic Liturgies of the Copts, to the Western Liturgies. Furthermore, Catholic Churches to adopt the Cultures of their surroundings, adapting to where those Churches are. For example, in Africa, the Church does not use incense but white flowers, because that holds more meaning for the African cultrue. Furthermore, there is a very cultural use of liturgical dance that is very reserved and is an expression of reverence in Africa (not the insane dancing of that we experience here in the west and should be kicked out of all churches). While I agree that every Church is affected by ethnic culture, It need not be as demanding as it is in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Here in New Mexico, there are a great deal of Catholic Churches that are influenced by the Hispanic Culture. This makes sense since New Mexico has a large hispanic population. There are also many Churches that would simply be American in Culture. However, the ONLY two Eastern Orthodox Churches in Albuquerque where I live are Greek and Russian. Must a Hispanic in NEW MEXICO adopt GREEK or RUSSIAN culture in order to server Christ? When I start to see Spanish Orthdox Chruches that cater to the Hispanics here, then my position will change.
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The Orthodox church is just now beginning to emerge from its captivity under the Ottoman empire and communism. We do  not have all the resources of the Catholic church and many of our people are still held captive by their notions of nationalism and Orthodoxy. But our true heritage is one of evangelism. Sts. Cyril and Methodias, St. Gregory the Great and St. Innocent are our guides. Once the majority of Orthodox Christians reclaim the heritage of our great saints then we will see churches which cater to specific ethnic groups.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2007, 01:49:58 PM »
I don't think this is as true with the Catholic Church. First of all, we have ove 21 sui juri Churches that use liturgies that range from those of the Assyrian Chuch of the East, to the Byzantine Liturgy, to the Arabic Liturgies of the Copts, to the Western Liturgies.

I won't dispute with you overall that the communion of Catholic churches is more diverse.  Clearly it is.  That doesn't mean however that it doesn't have a certain dominant ethos/polity/style.  You yourself have said you're a Catholic first and a member of a particular church second.  Many of the characteristics of being "a Catholic first" I would posit are actually extenions of aspects of the Latin Church.

Also, despite it's diversity, numerically the Latin church dwarves all others.  In most places you go in the world you will also only have one option in terms of which sui juris church to join.  All of these reasons are why I think the situation when seen in perspective is really not all that different.

Quote
Furthermore, Catholic Churches to adopt the Cultures of their surroundings, adapting to where those Churches are.

So do Orthodox churches.

Quote
While I agree that every Church is affected by ethnic culture, It need not be as demanding as it is in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Each church has a human culture attached to it, whether these cultures are good/bad, etc. is subjective.

Quote
Here in New Mexico, there are a great deal of Catholic Churches that are influenced by the Hispanic Culture. This makes sense since New Mexico has a large hispanic population. There are also many Churches that would simply be American in Culture. However, the ONLY two Eastern Orthodox Churches in Albuquerque where I live are Greek and Russian. Must a Hispanic in NEW MEXICO adopt GREEK or RUSSIAN culture in order to server Christ? When I start to see Spanish Orthdox Chruches that cater to the Hispanics here, then my position will change.
Many Blessings in Christ

This is just a false dichotomy.  Ethnic diversity isn't an issue, whether or not a Roman Catholic parish is Anglo or Latino in orientation regarding human culture, it's still the same in terms of liturgy, theology, and so on.  Those I would assume are the things you think count in terms of diversity, the religious content.  What if I was a Melkite or a Maronite in rural New Mexico, or the state of Montana, or Mississipi?  I'm pretty much out of luck, because much like most of the rest of the world the Latin church is the norm.

Also, I believe there are Orthodox Churches here and in Latin America that use Spanish and have adapted to those cultures.

Schultz

Quote
but, for the most part, it cannot be denied that non-slavs (or non-arabs or whatever) are often put off by the strong ethnic nature of orthodox churches.

Maybe in some cases, definitely not in others.  I wouldn't generalize.

Quote
sure, roman catholic churches can and do have strong ethnic identities, but the underlying implicit assumption is that the practices stemming from those particular identities are subservient to the actual faith they express.

We believe no differently in Orthodoxy, even with all our "ethnicity".  In the United States I think what has happened is people have adopted low church Irish Catholicism and made that the norm which everyone assumes is the standard.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2007, 01:53:21 PM by welkodox »

Offline Schultz

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2007, 02:02:09 PM »

Maybe in some cases, definitely not in others.  I wouldn't generalize.


I'm really not trying to generalize.  Note that I said that there are exceptions, and growing numbers at that. 

I guess I'm also (at least trying, I think) to look at it from the point of view of someone who's not necessarily a "religion geek", so to speak, as we all here are to some degree.  Evangelism in the United States is something that both Catholics and Orthodox don't do very well, at least with respect to our *ahem* Evangelical brothers and sisters.  I think that's largely because they preach Christ first.  Catholics and Orthodox seem to speak religion first with Christ as the focus.  I remember Fr. Schmemann of blessed memory saying something about Christ not coming to bring religion, but the Kingdom of God, the peace and the joy in the Holy Spirit.  Sure, our religion is the way in which that peace is made manifest on earth, but the more I look around at both Orthodox and Catholic churches, religion is preached first, not Christ. 

IMHO, Christ should be preached first and then religion is shown to be the way to Christ.
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Offline AMM

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2007, 02:04:34 PM »
I don't disagree with a word of that, and the fact is the Evangelicals are eating our collective (Catholic and Orthodox) lunches.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2007, 02:11:10 PM »
The Orthodox church is just now beginning to emerge from its captivity under the Ottoman empire and communism. We do  not have all the resources of the Catholic church and many of our people are still held captive by their notions of nationalism and Orthodoxy. But our true heritage is one of evangelism. Sts. Cyril and Methodias, St. Gregory the Great and St. Innocent are our guides. Once the majority of Orthodox Christians reclaim the heritage of our great saints then we will see churches which cater to specific ethnic groups.
Good points. I look forward to see how the Eastern Orthodox Church thrives without the political oppression that it has had to deal with in the past (that is if putin doesn't take Russia back to the days of the Soviet Union ;)).
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Papist

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2007, 02:15:36 PM »
I won't dispute with you overall that the communion of Catholic churches is more diverse.  Clearly it is.  That doesn't mean however that it doesn't have a certain dominant ethos/polity/style.  You yourself have said you're a Catholic first and a member of a particular church second.  Many of the characteristics of being "a Catholic first" I would posit are actually extenions of aspects of the Latin Church.

Also, despite it's diversity, numerically the Latin church dwarves all others.  In most places you go in the world you will also only have one option in terms of which sui juris church to join.  All of these reasons are why I think the situation when seen in perspective is really not all that different.

So do Orthodox churches.

Each church has a human culture attached to it, whether these cultures are good/bad, etc. is subjective.

This is just a false dichotomy.  Ethnic diversity isn't an issue, whether or not a Roman Catholic parish is Anglo or Latino in orientation regarding human culture, it's still the same in terms of liturgy, theology, and so on.  Those I would assume are the things you think count in terms of diversity, the religious content.  What if I was a Melkite or a Maronite in rural New Mexico, or the state of Montana, or Mississipi?  I'm pretty much out of luck, because much like most of the rest of the world the Latin church is the norm.

Also, I believe there are Orthodox Churches here and in Latin America that use Spanish and have adapted to those cultures.

Schultz

Maybe in some cases, definitely not in others.  I wouldn't generalize.

We believe no differently in Orthodoxy, even with all our "ethnicity".  In the United States I think what has happened is people have adopted low church Irish Catholicism and made that the norm which everyone assumes is the standard.
You raise some very good points and I must say that I agree that the Eastern Catholic Churches are faced with the very same challenges that the Eastern Orthodox Churches are with regard to culture. And, yes the relgious content should primary, the ethnic expression secondary. I agree with you on that. It just seems that it is the other way around at time in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. However, I am by no means an expert on the matter, nor do I claim to be one. I am simply sharing my observations, as limited as they may be.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2007, 02:17:53 PM »
I'm really not trying to generalize.  Note that I said that there are exceptions, and growing numbers at that. 

I guess I'm also (at least trying, I think) to look at it from the point of view of someone who's not necessarily a "religion geek", so to speak, as we all here are to some degree.  Evangelism in the United States is something that both Catholics and Orthodox don't do very well, at least with respect to our *ahem* Evangelical brothers and sisters.  I think that's largely because they preach Christ first.  Catholics and Orthodox seem to speak religion first with Christ as the focus.  I remember Fr. Schmemann of blessed memory saying something about Christ not coming to bring religion, but the Kingdom of God, the peace and the joy in the Holy Spirit.  Sure, our religion is the way in which that peace is made manifest on earth, but the more I look around at both Orthodox and Catholic churches, religion is preached first, not Christ. 

IMHO, Christ should be preached first and then religion is shown to be the way to Christ.
AMEN!!!!! Often talk of Jesus is dwarfed by talk of jurisdictions, liturgical languages, the proper inflection of intonations during the liturgy.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Tamara

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2007, 02:33:33 PM »
I'm really not trying to generalize.  Note that I said that there are exceptions, and growing numbers at that. 

I guess I'm also (at least trying, I think) to look at it from the point of view of someone who's not necessarily a "religion geek", so to speak, as we all here are to some degree.  Evangelism in the United States is something that both Catholics and Orthodox don't do very well, at least with respect to our *ahem* Evangelical brothers and sisters.  I think that's largely because they preach Christ first.  Catholics and Orthodox seem to speak religion first with Christ as the focus.  I remember Fr. Schmemann of blessed memory saying something about Christ not coming to bring religion, but the Kingdom of God, the peace and the joy in the Holy Spirit.  Sure, our religion is the way in which that peace is made manifest on earth, but the more I look around at both Orthodox and Catholic churches, religion is preached first, not Christ. 

IMHO, Christ should be preached first and then religion is shown to be the way to Christ.

Bradley Nassif, an Antiochian Orthodox theologion, has spoken about this problem that you recognize. If you go to this site you can hear an interview with him on Ancient Faith Radio. Go to this site: http://audio.ancientfaithradio.com/interviews/nassifdownload32.mp3

In one an interview with AGAIN magazine he said:

First, it is possible to be “sacramentalized” but not “evangelized.” By that I mean it’s possible to be religious but lost. Our people can go to church every Sunday, take communion, tithe, even be ordained, but still not know God. That is a great tragedy that can be easily overcome by our own mystical theology.

Second, we need to focus on the centrality of Christ, not the centrality of “Orthodoxy.” Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not against the creeds, councils, and Fathers of the Church, nor am I minimizing the fullness of the tradition. How could I and still be Orthodox? Rather, I’m against the formal, dead sort of Orthodoxy. Too often we become obsessed with Orthodoxy as a sick religious addiction. We think that just because people go to church, they must know God, when in reality many do not. Just because the Gospel is formally included in the liturgy doesn’t mean that our people have understood and appropriated its message. Many of our churches really need to recover the evangelical dimensions of the faith. I believe our Church is ready for renewal, and I’m ready to help the bishops and priests if they wish to ask me, because I’m fairly certain about where the Church has been and where it needs to go in light of our mystical theology.

Third, we need to be clear about the gospel and make it the core of our life and ministry. Following our Trinitarian and Incarnational vision of life, we need to constantly recover the personal and relational aspects of God in every life-giving action of the Church. We need to be clear about the message we preach. Jesus, in His Trinitarian relations, died for our sins on the cross, rose from the grave, and is coming again. He is Lord of all, and that needs to be proclaimed in every way possible, which is exactly what our liturgy does.

The most urgent need in world Orthodoxy at this time is the need for an aggressive internal mission of rededicating or converting our priests and people to Jesus Christ. The Great Commission demands it. But we aren’t focusing on that. Instead, we’re constantly contrasting ourselves with the Catholics or Protestants and letting that dictate the emphases of our ministries. This is very dangerous because it takes our attention off the Lord and onto theological differences. As a theologian, I know very well that differences do matter and it’s important for our people to become aware of them—especially in the Bible belts. But enough is enough. We’ll be better off spiritually if we take massive action to help our parishioners simply grow in theosis (divinization).

Offline Papist

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2007, 02:44:26 PM »
My apologies if I have offended anyone in this thread. I am merely sharing some of my own observations; however, mine may be entirely invalid since my experience of Eastern Orthodoxy is not as broad as that of the other members of this forum. Furthermore, I am not denying that my own Church has problems, especially in in the United States. Again, if I offended anyone, I ask your forgiveness.
Many Blessings in Christ,
Chris
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Elisha

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Re: Western Rite Orthodoxy. What is the problem?
« Reply #44 on: March 15, 2007, 02:59:29 PM »
Anyone know how many WR parishes and adherents there were 20 years ago (or even 10-15) vs now?  If it has at least been maintaining or even growing, I think any criticism is moot if this is the case.

Criticism:  Anachronistic, not organic, blah blah
Fact:  It has already existed for 75+ years and is growing, so whuddya gonna do about it?