Welllllll, are there any WR churches in this country with a screen? Looking about, I haven't seen any.
Yes, there are. I know of at least one in the AWRV (in Texas). For ROCOR WRO purpose-built, yes as well (though its not a grand screen, and the chancel is so small no choir could fit in it.) Other ROCOR missions also have them - even if they are simply a doorway in a wall with the cross above the lintel. (Our Benedictine monastery might not - I can't recall. Then again, they are Benedictine in use.)
And I think you have forgotten what you originally asserted:
No, I haven't - and to remind you, the assertion is that they were *miseducated*. If one has an altar rail because their liturgical tradition requires it (the American tradition for Episcopalians did develop so) then the rood screen isn't needed. There were of course American churches built with rood screens, but not as a liturgical feature. In such a case the rood screen was simply Anglophilia - old churches in England have them, isnt that nice, lets have one too. Some very few American churches had the screen and knew what it was for (Alcuin Club, unfortunately had a smaller influence in America than some of us would have liked. Of course, some of us WRO admire them for the work of their members in liturgical scholarship, ornamentation, and as advocates of similar ceremonial. Not for much else though.) The fact is, Episcopalian liturgy and ceremonial needs the altar rail, so it exists. It did not need the rood screen, so they were rare. Their existence is purely due to the two circumstances mentioned above (either Anglophilia or the rarer propoponents of English Use.) Part of my claim, implicit in my original statement, is that if they were properly educated they would have only built rood screens if they adopted the proper liturgy and ceremonial. My own pov, of course, is that to be educated on the matter that they would have been something just like Western Orthodoxy.
But the question is whether the choir area should be so included.
Sorry, but that just isn't an issue for us - it might be for Episcopalians. Our WRO answer is a solid yes - the choir *is* included. We don't have the post-VII practice of 'concelebration', so the choir is where 'concelebrating' clergy are (in surplice and stole.) The tradition (which includes the medieval laws, which existed because of the ecclesiastical tradition) is that the quire is sacred space. The ultimate reason, which we WRO are consciously aware of, is that the quire is a monastic feature. So, yes it is desireable in WRO - though Episcopalians as another religion have their own feelings which pertain to their own use, though not to ours. Again and again, it matters only for WRO as we use buildings constructed for Episcopalian worship (or Lutheran, Roman Catholics, Syriac, Methodist) and must adapt them to our worship (whether the use of such space is permanent, temporary, or occasional has some bearing on how much the fabric can be changed - other considerations also apply. The AWRV has its own standards, as do we - which is why we have such things as our own Ordo, Customary, etc.)
None of this has to do with what denomination is involved. It strictly has to do with how you adapt the form and appointments of a medieval church to modern use.
Whether you like it or not (and I see you don't) it absolutely does have to do whether one is speaking about their denomination, or whether they are speaking about the Church Visible. It isn't about 'adapting a form' either - we use the form according to its proper and original use.
That's fine, in its way, but then the implication of some sort of historical continuity is pretty much a fantasy, unless it traces back through the places these people came from. The various parish histories testify the ubiquity of Episcopal origins, and at that point I see the tradition tracing back through those Victorians.
Implication? No - explicit, and no fantasy. Western Rite Orthodox are Western Catholics, not in communion or belief connected to Protestantism. So, a continuity of *Catholic* tradition - and again I'll point out that the origins are *English Catholicism* not American Episcopalianism (Noting, the Oxford Movement began a scarce 30 years before Western Orthodoxy, and in fact as a concept Western Orthodoxy was in fact older.) Whether a Protestant Episcopalian restores portions of the worship, or we Western Orthodox restore all of it as is right for worship (Orthodox) - there is still a continuity. Our claims to continuity also are due to our being far closer in liturgical and theological agreement with those who existed before the Anglican Communion (in fact, as being identical on our part with those in the first millenium as to the absolutes.) As for the parish histories, no - they aren't 'ubiquitous' as to Episcopal origins. Not *one* of our missions or monasteries is Episcopalian in origin. Many in the AWRV are not either (but rather Old Catholic or Lutheran in origin.) Just off hand, I know for sure of 8 parishes not Episcopalian in origin in the AWRV - from what I do know they have, that is about a third of their numbers? As a fact, WRO historically and at present are not Episcopalian in origin (the origins are largely Old Catholic, and there are no numbers as to 'origins' - but only in America would any likely be ECUSA in origins.) That claim is one you and others will have to put away - it isn't 'only Episcopalians', 'ubiquitous', or anything else of the sort. Sure, there are many of Episcopalian origin, but of the sort that wouldn't have stayed Episcopalians. The recommendations of the Liturgical Commitee of the Russian Synod in 1907 were only begun due to Western Christians wanting to restore visible unity with what they believed to be the Church (Orthodoxy) - if they believed that the PECUSA was it, there would have been no initiative for St. Tikhon to respond to. The facts of those existing parishes from 1977 onwards in the Antiochian Patriarchate exist for the same reasons - the PECUSA is not where they belonged, either in liturgy, praxis, morality, or for any other reason (as a side-note, a few of those had already left the ECUSA for the PNCC, or other groups before becoming Orthodox. There are also some AWRV missions that began as collections of 'orphan' Western Christians and not as a 'converting parish'.) I'll point out, if you read Overbeck - corporate reunion was never the basis of WRO. The idea was always 'individual by individual, stone by stone, parish by parish' - not limited to Anglicans, Episcopalians or any other group.
I'll make a counter-charge of 'fantasy' - particularly in the way of Episcopalian self-assessment as to their own identity, claims to spiritual or temporal authority, ownership of English/Scottish/American heritage or leadership, etc. Neither the COE or ECUSA *ever* had unified spiritual leadership over Western Christians in our countries. The whining about Western Rite Orthodoxy (which has gone on at least 140 years) seems to be more out of jealousy and particularly uncharitable - especially towards us Western Christians who would have no spiritual home otherwise - noting that the Orthodox Church *is* our natural and promised home. It is also disrespectful towards the bulk of the Orthodox Church, disrespectful of its claims to being the visible Church of Christ in toto. These are Absolutes (ie, generalized principles) that can be illustrated by the particulars. In example, no liturgy that is legally in use in the Anglican communion is used by Western Rite Orthodox (no 1979 American BCP or ASB or CW or 1662 English BCP, etc.) Lex orandi, lex credendi
in our case means that how we worship is not acceptable to Episcopalians or Anglicans (either in its exclusivity vs. 'comprehensiveness' or in its Orthodox elements.)