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Author Topic: Schmemann on The Western Rite  (Read 34316 times) Average Rating: 0
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sinjinsmythe
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« on: May 26, 2003, 02:37:36 PM »

Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
The Western Rite
Notes and Comments

The article of my esteemed colleague Father W. S. Schneirla in the Spring ‘58 issue of the Quarterly and the recent Edict of the Syrian Archdiocese authorizing, under certain conditions, the use of the Western Rite within the Antiochian jurisdiction make the problem on the Orthodox Western Liturgy a very urgent issue for the Orthodox Church in America. It calls for much thinking and a very careful study of its various theological, spiritual and practical implications. The Edict signed by Metropolitan Antony Bashir specifies that:

". . . The mode of reception of groups desiring to employ the western rite and the character of the rites to be used, as well as the authorization of official liturgical texts, either in Latin or a vernacular, or customs, shall be determined in each instance by a commission of Orthodox Theologians familiar with this field . . ."

In this brief article, I do not pretend to even mention all the aspects of so complicated a matter. All I want is to raise a few questions which in my opinion are especially important.

Let me first of all make it clear that theoretically I find myself in basic agreement with Father Schneirla. The unity of rite in the Orthodox Church is comparatively a late phenomenon and the Church never considered liturgical uniformity a conditio sine qua non of her unity. No one who knows the history of Christian worship will deny the richness of the Western liturgical tradition, that especially of the old and venerable Roman liturgy. One may even ask whether the liturgical unification performed by Byzantium and which deprived the Orthodox East of the wonderful liturgies of Alexandria, Syria, Mesopotamia, etc. was in itself a wholly positive achievement. Last but not least, it is obvious that in case of an eventual return of the West to Orthodoxy, the western Church will have her own Western Liturgy and this will mean a tremendous enrichment of the Church Universal . . . In all this and thus far my agreement with Father Schneirla is complete.

My doubts concern not the theoretical, but the practical aspect of the whole problem. Yet by practical, I mean something much more important than the simple question of prerequisites which would make a definite rite formally acceptable as "Orthodox". No doubt, in advocating the Western Rite, Father Schneirla is ultimately moved by practical, i.e., missionary considerations: its acceptance by the Church should make conversion to Orthodoxy easier for Western Christians. Such is also the main motivation of Metropolitan Antony’s Edict: "it (i.e., the Western Rite) might serve the . . . purpose of facilitating the conversion of groups of non-Orthodox Western Christians to the Church . . ." Maybe it is unfair to point out that the scholarly and objective analysis by Fr. Schneirla of the various Orthodox experiments in the Western Rite hardly substantiates this optimistic assertion, for some future experiment can achieve a greater measure of success in such corporate conversion. The center of my doubts is not here. For me, the only important question is: What exactly do we mean by conversion to Orthodoxy? The following definition will, I presume, be acceptable to everybody: it is the individual or the corporate acceptance of the Orthodox faith and the integration in the life of the Church, in the full communion of faith and love. If this definition is correct, we must ask: can the "conversion" of a group or a parish, for which its spiritual leaders have signed a formal doctrinal statement and which hasretained its Western rite, however purified or amended, can such a "conversion" - in our present situation, i.e., in the whole context of the Orthodox Church as she exists in America today - be considered as a true conversion? Personally, I doubt it very much. And I consider this growing interpretation of conversion in terms of a mere jurisdictional belonging to some Orthodox Diocese, of a "mimimum" of doctrinal and liturgical requirements and of an almost mechanical understanding of the "Apostolic Succession" as a very real danger to Orthodoxy. This means the replacement of Orthodoxy of "content" by Orthodoxy of "form", which certainly is not an Orthodox idea. For we believe that Orthodoxy is, above all, faith that one must live, in which one grows, a communion, a "way of life" into which one is more and more deeply integrated. And now, whether we want it or not, this living faith, this organic spirit and vision of Orthodoxy is being preserved and conveyed to us mainly if not uniquely, by the Orthodox worship. In our state of national divisions, of theological weakness, in the lack of living spiritual and monastic centers, of unpreparedness of our clergy and laity for more articulate doctrinal and spiritual teaching, of absence of a real canonical and pastoral care on the part of the various jurisdictional centers, what holds the Orthodox Church together, assures its real continuity with tradition and gives the hope of a revival is precisely the liturgical tradition. It is a unique synthesis of the doctrinal, ethical and canonical teachings of Orthodoxy and I do not see how a real integration into the Orthodox Church, a genuine communion of faith and life may be achieved without an integration in the Orthodox worship.

I agree with Fr. Schneirla and I have said it on several occasions, that our liturgical tradition has to be purified from many local, antiquated and sometimes utterly un-Orthodox elements and practices. Nevertheless, it stands at present as a living bond of unity and "koinonia".

And then the last question: is it quite correct to define our rite as "Eastern" and therefore "foreign to all the Western Christians have known" to quote the Edict? I would like to suggest a rather sharp distinction between "Eastern" and "oriental". No doubt there are many oriental features, oriental ingredients in our liturgical life. No doubt also, that for many Orthodox this "orientalism" seems to be the essential element. But we know that it is not essential and we know that progressively all these "orientalisms" are being eliminated in a very natural and spontaneous process of adjustment of our cult to the American life. But then what remains and what can be described as "Eastern" is nothing else but the Biblical and the Patristic "content" of our liturgy. It is essentially and structurally Biblical and Patristic, and therefore, it is "eastern" in exactly the same measure in which the Bible and the Fathers, or rather, the whole Christianity can be termed "Eastern". But have we not proclaimed time and again in all our encounters with our Western brothers that it is this "East" precisely that constitutes the common and the catholic heritage of the Church and can supply us with a common language which has been lost or distorted? The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom or the Easter Canon of St. John of Damascus, are, I believe, much closer to that common and Catholic language of the Church than anything else in any Christian tradition. And I cannot think of any word or phrase in these services that would be "foreign" to a Western Christian and would not be capable of expressing his faith and his experience, if the latter would be genuinely Orthodox . . .

These considerations, however fragmentary and incomplete, lead to the following conclusion: I think that in the present situation of the Orthodox Church in America, the Western Rite, theoretically justified and acceptable as it is, would, instead of "facilitating conversion", dangerously multiply spiritual adventures of which we had too many in the past, and which can but hinder the real progress of Orthodoxy in the West.

- Alexander Schmemann

St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. 2 - New Series, No. 4, Fall, 1958, pp. 37-38.
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2003, 03:23:49 PM »

Thank you Brother Sinjinsmythe , I completely forgot about the Western Rite Orthodoxy and will explore it further.

james
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2003, 08:47:49 PM »

Just completed a visit to Western Rite Orthodoxy, read Lux Occirentalius ak " The Orthodox Western Rite & the Liturgical Tradition of Western Orthodox Christianity ", The Rite (Liturgy) of St. Tikhon and The Rite of St. Gregory, various articles about St. Tikhon and my brain cells are melting.

I think a will have a Bud Light and re-lax  Roll Eyes.

james
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2003, 11:05:45 PM »

There is also an article by Fr. Michael Johnson on this at The Orthodox Research Institute and here is one by Heiromonk James Deschene, a western-rite Orthodox monk at The Euphrosynos Cafe.
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2003, 12:15:37 AM »

Some how I knew Bro Nicholas would respond, especially regarding St. Tikhon, as I have been in the dark regarding this great Saint. I will indeed visit your link.

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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2003, 02:28:40 AM »

Just completed a visit to Western Rite Orthodoxy, read Lux Occirentalius ak " The Orthodox Western Rite & the Liturgical Tradition of Western Orthodox Christianity ", The Rite (Liturgy) of St. Tikhon and The Rite of St. Gregory, various articles about St. Tikhon and my brain cells are melting.

I think a will have a Bud Light and re-lax  Roll Eyes.

james

Bud Light?!?  I command you to immediately go to your local store and buy a decent import or microbrew.  No self-respecting Orthodox Christian should drink that swill if they can help it.  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2003, 08:13:06 AM »

Thanks, sinjin.

I enjoyed Fr. Schmemann's article. I think he makes some good points.

However, I also can see the other side. The West was Orthodox up until the Great Schism and so was its liturgy. Shouldn't there be some effort to recover (or preserve) that heritage?

Just the same, I share some of Fr. Schmemann's reservations. Although by heritage a westerner, I prefer the Eastern Orthodox liturgy.

What does everyone else think? What sorts of problems could the Western Rite cause?

Many of us pray for a return of the RCC to the Orthodox fold. What implications does this issue have for that one?
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2003, 10:06:47 AM »

Linus, the "paste and copy" function on my PC doesn't seem to be working, but one of the possible problems I see is the appearance of a Western Rite Uniatism in Orthodoxy (something which I now glean from the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America or the very, very few Western Rite institutions within the ROCOR).

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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2003, 11:09:25 AM »

In my brief readings on the Western Rite, I have to agree Hypo, it sounds like a "reverse uniatism" of sorts.

Really, what is appealing about western rite Orthodoxy? Isn't it the "Illumination from the East" that makes Orthodoxy so appealing? I feel that western rite orthodoxy is nothing more than an attempt to create a hybridized frankenstein

just my 2 cents
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2003, 11:32:43 AM »


While I think using the Anglican liturgy is uniatism, I think using a pre-schism Western Liturgy is fine. its not my cup of tea, but St. Tikhon was all for it and St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco told the French, "Don't ever let anyone tell you that to be Orthodox you have to be Eastern". As long as it is pre-schism theology and praxis, I guess it can be western.

I'd take the Divine Liturgies of Ss. Basil & John Chrysostom over the Sarum Liturgy any day though.
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2003, 11:45:22 AM »

Brother Nicholas,

Enjoyed reading the post from your site, however the other one was not.

I think St Tikhon's quote went " Orthodoxy is not for a small circle but is universal for all " or something to that effect.

If the liturgy is pre Tridentine and traditional I do not see a problem, but that is seen through Latin eyes.


In Christ,
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2003, 12:00:43 PM »

"... the Light of Orthodoxy is not lit for a small circle of people. No, the Orthodox Faith is Catholic; it is a commandment of its founder, Go into all the world ... (Mark 16:15) It is our obligation, therefore, to share our spiritual treasures, our truth, our light, and our joy with those who do not have these gifts ..." -St. Tikhon
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2003, 02:09:31 PM »

Quote
Really, what is appealing about western rite Orthodoxy? Isn't it the "Illumination from the East" that makes Orthodoxy so appealing? I feel that western rite orthodoxy is nothing more than an attempt to create a hybridized frankenstein

Orthodoxy shouldn't just be reduced to Byzantium.  The pre-schism Western Tradition is just as legitimate as the current Byzantine Tradition.  Some of the ancient Western liturgical texts are just amazing...why throw away half of our Tradition?
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2003, 02:19:57 PM »

I am pretty convicted that the Western tradition lies with the Latins.
I think it incredibly difficult to assume an eastern spirituality when one is practicing western liturgy.

Just my opinions of course.
Bobby

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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2003, 02:23:44 PM »

Western Rite Orthodox do not need a Eastern Spirituality, but rather an Orthodox spirituality. Me, I prefer the Eastern spirituality as I imagine most here do as well, but for those that do not, why not allow a Western ORTHODOX spirituality, Liturgy & praxis to exist, as it it did pre-schism.
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2003, 02:29:22 PM »

I think a can of worms is being opened with the introduction of western rite Orthodoxy.

There hasn't been an organic development of Western Rite Orthodoxy, maybe so, but not as heavily as its eastern counterpart. With the advent of the schism and split, western rite orthodoxy died, and then all of a sudden here in the 21st century we start it back up again.

Maybe I don't understand the situation. I still think western rite orthodoxy is inorganic and playing with fire.

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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2003, 02:34:46 PM »

Quote
I am pretty convicted that the Western tradition lies with the Latins.
I think it incredibly difficult to assume an eastern spirituality when one is practicing western liturgy.

The problem though is the Latins have utterly squandered their own Tradition.  

There is no vast abyss seperating the early East from the West, IMO.  There is a good little booklet out by the center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies (I think?) that shows how very similar Celtic Monasticism was to the deserts of the East.  Those Saintly Celts would have used the same liturgical texts that a modern Western Rite would.  So it is possible to have a truly Orthodox spirit even in an ancient Western setting.

I would agree with you though if it would simply be a matter of a parish switching jurisdictions but staying basicly the same in approach.  I.e. RC parish de-popes and enters the jurisdiction of the Antiochians but keeps the RC approach and liturgy.  When I say Western Rite I mean the idealized Pre-Shcism West which is vastly different from current practice in the West.
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« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2003, 08:59:15 PM »

Brother Nicholas,

I appreciate your tolerance of the West.

Pokoj,
james
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2003, 08:09:41 AM »

There is no vast abyss seperating the early East from the West, IMO.  There is a good little booklet out by the center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies (I think?) that shows how very similar Celtic Monasticism was to the deserts of the East.  Those Saintly Celts would have used the same liturgical texts that a modern Western Rite would.  So it is possible to have a truly Orthodox spirit even in an ancient Western setting.

If that's what they wrote, then they're fantasizing. The truth is that almost nothing is known about Celtic practice. We have lots of devotional material and prayers, but the sort of rite they used is utterly unknown. The impression one has from the conduct of the council of Whitby is that it was something that wasn't too hard to adjust to Roman usage, but beyond that there is little definite that can be said.

Quote
I would agree with you though if it would simply be a matter of a parish switching jurisdictions but staying basicly the same in approach.  I.e. RC parish de-popes and enters the jurisdiction of the Antiochians but keeps the RC approach and liturgy.  When I say Western Rite I mean the idealized Pre-Shcism West which is vastly different from current practice in the West.  

Um, I don't think so. A pre-schism Roman rite is a lot less different from (say) a Tridentine rite than an Eastern rite of similar age is from a modern Eastern rite.

DIfferences occur on different levels. Clearly there are disputes about specific words and phrases (e.g. the Filioque). It seems to me that this is the level on which actual western rite introduction is happening. I think the phrase "Frankenstein rite" needs a lot more justification than it's getting, but anyone who is quite familiar with the unaltered rite can see that it is, to some very limited extent, a composite. Beyond that, one sees a lot of rationalized criticism which I can't take very seriously. It's easy to say that one has some "sound" reason for this or that aspect of western worship, but the value of almost all of this, to my mind, is questionable.

Looking at the overall form of the rite, matters are very different. Western rites have basically the same parts that they had pre-schism; there are differences in wording, and modern Anglican rites put the parts in a quite different order. One can fit any Anglican or Roman rite, of almost any age, into churches ancient and modern without having to alter the rite or the building.

By contrast, what the average person sees as being the chief differences beween modern western and eastern rites are all eastern innovations. A lot of the parts of a western liturgy are there, but they are nearly buried under a plethora of litanies and hidden behind a wall of icons. Now, people come to Orthodoxy for a lot of different reasons. Some few people, like Gilquist, argue themselves into Orthodoxy and thus have no commitment ot a western rite anyway. Perhaps more people are like the Russian visitors to Constantinople, and they clearly enter Orthodoxy with a commitment to the Eastern rites that they first saw.

Those who ask for Western rites are not in these categories. They come to Orthodoxy as refugees from their former churches. That's precisely why they want to bring their rites with them: they were faithful, and they have fled from unfaithfulness (as they see it).

Which leads us to the answer of why a preschism rite is actually unsuitable. Nobody really wants it. Nobody in the East wants to be taken back so far, because they would have to take down the iconostasis and prune back the liturgy radically. Nobody in the west sees the point-- it has a "let them eat cake" quality.

What I see happening here, at bottom, is this notion that anything western is contaminating. I personally don't see a choice of eastern over western spirituality; but then, I'm a Damned Protestant, so what do I know? It seems to me that the real intent is that those who enter Orthodoxy are to be stripped entirely of their spiritual heritage. That is a severe problem for people who are coming to Orthodoxy because they are trying to remain faithful, because it states that, up until their conversion, they were never faithful.
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« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2003, 08:37:51 AM »

I should add a specific criticism of some of Schmemann's remarks. He makes a distinction between "Eastern" and "oriental" which is a bit hard to fathom, lacking (as it is quoted, anyway) any specific examples. But I should object to these words. It seems to me that behind "oriental" lies "local", and behind "Eastern" lies "Catholic". The problem is that since the East now claims the Catholic, there is nobody left to argue for anything Western. In pratice (as is happening in this very discussion) there tends to be no distinction between Eastern and oriental, because the local has been made Catholic.

I will be blunt. The politics of Orthodoxy versus the rest of Christendom makes it impossible for Orthodoxy to investigate this on its own. It must engage in real discourse with the real West in order to know anything about things Western. It cannot keep itself honest on its own. That is why real acts of charity towards some who come from the west are being treated with suspicion if not outright displeasure.
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« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2003, 09:01:48 AM »


[What I see happening here, at bottom, is this notion that anything western is contaminating. I personally don't see a choice of eastern over western spirituality; but then, I'm a Damned Protestant, so what do I know? It seems to me that the real intent is that those who enter Orthodoxy are to be stripped entirely of their spiritual heritage. That is a severe problem for people who are coming to Orthodoxy because they are trying to remain faithful, because it states that, up until their conversion, they were never faithful.


Keble,

 You are making some good points here (for a Damned Protestant  Wink). I share your concern about everything Western being viewed as contaminated. As a convert to Orthodoxy I too have been faced with the struggle to combine my western liturgical inheritance (in my case the Tridentine Mass) with my turn to the Christianity of the east. For me, my liturgical inheritance is very precious and I could not disown it. However, I've had to accept that I could no longer in conscience remain within the Roman Church of my forebearers and I made the transition to the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom without any difficulty.

Ours is a ROCOR mission parish here in Ireland where we are mostly converts, and with only occasional cradle Orthodox 'ethnic' visitors.  From my perspective the Byzantine liturgy is really no more foreign or exotic than some restored 'Celtic' rite would be. I think we need to exercise caution in all this Celtic business anyway, and I speak as a subscriber to the yahoo celticorthodoxy list! It seems to me that there is a lot of romantic antiquarianism in the quest to find or reconstruct pre-Schism 'Celtic' liturgy, and we could easily get lost in the Celtic Twilight.

For myself, I feel no compulsion to pretend to be some kind of pseudo-Russian, I am an Irishwoman and as an Irish Orthodox I took the name of our pre-eminent Irish female saint  as my Orthodox name. We have icons of St Patrick and other Irish saints in our church and our priest runs a website on Celtic saints at http://www.orthodoxireland.com/celtic.htm

I personally find this approach of eastern liturgy with geniune appreciation of our Celtic past perfectly satisfying. I continue to pray in Latin and do Gregorian chants at home and at my chrismation I made my profession of faith by singing the Credo in Latin to the traditional Gregorian melody. I see no contradiction or tension here at all. I'm western Orthodox and proud of it, although on March 17th in Ireland, it is very hard to be on the Julian calendar!

Brigid
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« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2003, 11:50:10 AM »

Keble, adding litanies does not drasticly change the Liturgy and your repeating it does not make it so. In the west a rood screen was used and a lack of one now is a bigger change than one becoming an iconstasis.

Your point that the Tridentine Liturgy is close to the pre-schism western Liturgy (while the Novus Ordo is not) is true, but your accusation that the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is radically different is incorrect.  For the last 1,000 years the Liturgy of Orthodoxy has been very stable.
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« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2003, 11:50:18 AM »

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From Keble: By contrast, what the average person sees as being the chief differences beween modern western and eastern rites are all eastern innovations. A lot of the parts of a western liturgy are there, but they are nearly buried under a plethora of litanies and hidden behind a wall of icons.

I do not see how the iconostasis, which dates from at least the 4th century and possibly earlier, and some additional litanies (based as they are upon Scripture) are such tremedous "innovations." They seem to be rather legitimate additions or developments.

Surely limiting the laity to receiving the Eucharist in one kind (a practice condemned by Pope St. Leo I) and turning the priest's perspective from altar to congregation are greater and more significant changes.

All in all, however, I agree with those who see no harm in the ancient Western Rite. Absolute uniformity in liturgical practice has never been a standard of Orthodoxy; it couldn't have, because once the Church expanded beyond Jerusalem such uniformity as then existed gradually (or maybe not so gradually) ceased to exist.

As a convert from Protestantism, however, I am not inclined to want to celebrate the heritage of western Christendom, since I associate it with the errors from which I fled for refuge to the Eastern Orthodox Church. But that is not a judgment upon the Western Rite, merely an expression of personal preference.  Grin

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« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2003, 12:30:46 PM »

Which leads us to the answer of why a preschism rite is actually unsuitable. Nobody really wants it. Nobody in the East wants to be taken back so far, because they would have to take down the iconostasis and prune back the liturgy radically.

Is this necessarily the case, though?  If the Western rite Orthodox used a pre-schism Western rite, would this require the Eastern Orthodox to change aspects of their Byzantine rite?  I wouldn't have thought so.
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2003, 12:38:34 PM »

I suppose in theory a Western Orthodox rite is admissible, but I have problems with the inorganic generation of the rite that is now in use in these parishes.  I think a more organic, restored Western rite would be preferable, but the issue is how to do this.

Personally, I'm not attracted to it spiritually, but I will admit that in the (seemingly unlikely) scenario of reunion between Rome and Orthodoxy there will be some sort of Western rite and it will be rather different from the Byzantine/Orthodox rite (as it always was).

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« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2003, 01:23:39 PM »

This IMO looks pretty darn like an Iconostasis: http://www.odox.net/Liturgy-Western-Culture.htm

This entire Monastery does a great job of taking the pre-shcism Orthodox West and using it today.  Check out this entire page and see what they have to offer...some intersting info on it.
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« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2003, 02:13:17 PM »

If you check " Liturgical Text Projects" at odox.net you will find no Filioque in the Western Liturgys  Grin

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« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2003, 03:09:02 PM »

Christus resurrexit! Vere resurrexit!

Jakub,

What did you, a traditional RC at heart, think of the Western Rite stuff that monastery has to offer?  I was of the traditional RC mindset (before becoming Orthodox) and really enjoyed the website.  There is some really coll stuff (and solidly Orthodox) that Byzantine elitests miss out on.  

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« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2003, 03:18:01 PM »

My views are pretty well known to many here so I hesitated about writing in this thread but here are a few comments.

Byzantine Rite < orthodoxy, catholicity

Please, no more spite churches/reverse Uniatism. I understand the Eastern Orthodox thinking behind it, given EOxy's view that it alone is the true church and its agnosticism about anyone else, but I'm sure most here understand how hurtful and hypocritical it appears to Catholics and others, especially when some EOs complain about Uniatism as a proselytism tool, even though that was centuries ago.

Just like 'Catholic is Roman' or 'Roman is more Catholic than Byzantine', byzantinocentrism among the EOs does come off as arrogant and bigoted, as does the byzantinization of the current traditional Western rites now used by some EOs. Just as wrong, stupid and unhistorical as the self-latinizations among the Byzantine Catholics.

There is no explicit epiclesis in the Roman Canon - because it is older than the two Byzantine anaphoras.

The business about these EO-ified Western rites being a return to preschism Roman practice is, frankly, rank bullsh*t, although the traditional Roman Rite (Sarum, Tridentine, etc.)'s 'core' is the same as in the early medieval period - the same Canon, for example, and even a lot of the same propers.

No - what most real Western Rite Orthodox use is a slightly byzantinized Prayer Book Anglo-Catholic service.

Their churches are very beautiful and their faith and worship are quite orthodox, as are those of the Byzantine Catholics - but they are as odd and unhistorical IMO as the Byzantine Catholics are, under the Pope of Rome and cut off from the Orthodox Churches whence they came.

And the supposed re-creations of preschism Roman Rite uses and other Latin rites likewise are beautiful and orthodox but they're fake because there is no living, unbroken tradition of using them. It's historical re-enactors in church - British Museum religion. I can't see such getting any real following.

Good points about the 'Celtic Twilight', Brigid and others - fakers such as vagantes seem very enamored of such because as Keble wrote, little is known of it so the fakers can project whatever agenda they have against real churches onto 'Celtic spirituality'.

St Hilarion's Monastery has gone from being fake Old Catholic to being fake Orthodox. In other words, vagante-land. Pretty straight-arrow as far as such go, and their appreciation of both Eastern Orthodox and medieval western Catholic practices is admirable - but they're not the Church.

Vagantes fascinate me ’cos they scare me - the conservative and orthodox of the lot remind me of me. They illustrate the mess one can end up in if one's ecclesiology goes off the rails.
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« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2003, 03:23:00 PM »

I understand the Celts used a Latin rite but not the Roman Rite until later. St Patrick never celebrated Mass in Gaelic, but in Latin. The rites probably weren't that different.

I still think talk of the humongous Catholic Church 'returning' to the Orthodox Church sounds like Taiwan hypothetically trying to order Red China around.
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« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2003, 03:44:30 PM »

Very well put, Serge.

You said pretty much what I have been thinking but too scared to say.

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« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2003, 03:52:50 PM »

I understand the Celts used a Latin rite but not the Roman Rite until later. St Patrick never celebrated Mass in Gaelic, but in Latin. The rites probably weren't that different.

I still think talk of the humongous Catholic Church 'returning' to the Orthodox Church sounds like Taiwan hypothetically trying to order Red China around.

Nice one Serge! It's often forgotten that St Patrick was a Romanized Briton and that his famous Confessio was written in Latin. The official ending of the 'Celtic church' in Ireland is attributed to a process of Anglicization and Romanization begun in the 12th century. The present day Catholic/Anglican diocesan structure in Ireland dates back to the Synod of Kells/Mellifont in 1152, the same year that a papal bull by Pope Adrian IV donated Ireland to the English King Henry II! Twenty years later the Council of Cashel submitted its Church decrees to Henry for confirmation. The Irish Church was now in line with Roman observance and its Bishops were under the English crown.

There are some surviving liturgical texts  from the early Irish church including the Stowe Missal, which warns of 'disputing overmuch on God's mysteries'. It is this text which the so-called Church of the Culdees led by 'Archbishop' Maelruain promotes today. Personally I would rather be within the authentic canonical church than this sort of group. The fact that so many of these 'Celts' are based in California might also have something to do with it  Cheesy

Celtic Christianity can often be no more than  a vague, nebulous thing on which to hang all sorts of fantasies from eccentric antiquarianism to 'New Age' thinking.

Brigid  

PS There are some good essays at the site www.celticorthodoxy.org for anyone interested in the subject.
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« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2003, 04:41:33 PM »

This IMO looks pretty darn like an Iconostasis: http://www.odox.net/Liturgy-Western-Culture.htm

This entire Monastery does a great job of taking the pre-shcism Orthodox West and using it today.  Check out this entire page and see what they have to offer...some intersting info on it.  

That picture is of a rood screen.  The accompanying text asserts that iconostates (sp of plural?) where in the west, but does not give any evidence to support this assertion.  Thus, it is not proven.  Further research is in order.

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« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2003, 04:58:20 PM »


[What I see happening here, at bottom, is this notion that anything western is contaminating. I personally don't see a choice of eastern over western spirituality; but then, I'm a Damned Protestant, so what do I know? It seems to me that the real intent is that those who enter Orthodoxy are to be stripped entirely of their spiritual heritage. That is a severe problem for people who are coming to Orthodoxy because they are trying to remain faithful, because it states that, up until their conversion, they were never faithful.


Keble,

 You are making some good points here (for a Damned Protestant  Wink). I share your concern about everything Western being viewed as contaminated. As a convert to Orthodoxy I too have been faced with the struggle to combine my western liturgical inheritance (in my case the Tridentine Mass) with my turn to the Christianity of the east. For me, my liturgical inheritance is very precious and I could not disown it. However, I've had to accept that I could no longer in conscience remain within the Roman Church of my forebearers and I made the transition to the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom without any difficulty.

Ours is a ROCOR mission parish here in Ireland where we are mostly converts, and with only occasional cradle Orthodox 'ethnic' visitors.  From my perspective the Byzantine liturgy is really no more foreign or exotic than some restored 'Celtic' rite would be. I think we need to exercise caution in all this Celtic business anyway, and I speak as a subscriber to the yahoo celticorthodoxy list! It seems to me that there is a lot of romantic antiquarianism in the quest to find or reconstruct pre-Schism 'Celtic' liturgy, and we could easily get lost in the Celtic Twilight.


Yes, indeed.  From my reading, many who espouse "Celtic Christianity" go to it with a idea of "This was the warm, egalitarian mutual woman affirming, nature loving Christianity before those Awful Romans took over".  A sort of allergic reaction to things Latin maybe.  But since little is known, they "reconstruct" i.e. make it up.  Then you get the things like "St. Brigid was  *really* a goddess who was taken over by the evil misogynist RC's" new age stuff.  (gag and also *bang head on keyboard*).

All this makes me wonder if the proponents have actually read Patrick's "Confession" or for that matter "The Tain" for a classic Irish work.  Not warm and fuzzy, but an epic.


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« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2003, 05:04:02 PM »

I thought this thread was concerning the Western Orthodox Rite, not the Byzantine/Roman Catholic Rite.

Some of us are just bitter, and a little narrow sighted.

If my brother falls into a pit, do I berate him while he is in the pit, or do I wait and help him out and then discuss how it came to be.

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« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2003, 05:06:42 PM »

Quote
From Keble: By contrast, what the average person sees as being the chief differences beween modern western and eastern rites are all eastern innovations. A lot of the parts of a western liturgy are there, but they are nearly buried under a plethora of litanies and hidden behind a wall of icons.

I do not see how the iconostasis, which dates from at least the 4th century and possibly earlier, and some additional litanies (based as they are upon Scripture) are such tremedous "innovations." They seem to be rather legitimate additions or developments.

Surely limiting the laity to receiving the Eucharist in one kind (a practice condemned by Pope St. Leo I) and turning the priest's perspective from altar to congregation are greater and more significant changes.

I am working on a bit of a theory that the giving only the Bread to the laity seems to coincide with what is called "The Little Ice Age".  Grapes used to grow in southern England and Northern Europe but then the temperature cooled and this ended.  If there is only a small amount of wine and this must be imported, as many records and Medieval cookbooks refer to wine coming from Spain or other southern climes, but wheat still grows, thus there is bread, then could there be a corrolation? If there isn't any, it can't be  given after all.  More research....

Quote

All in all, however, I agree with those who see no harm in the ancient Western Rite. Absolute uniformity in liturgical practice has never been a standard of Orthodoxy; it couldn't have, because once the Church expanded beyond Jerusalem such uniformity as then existed gradually (or maybe not so gradually) ceased to exist.

As a convert from Protestantism, however, I am not inclined to want to celebrate the heritage of western Christendom, since I associate it with the errors from which I fled for refuge to the Eastern Orthodox Church. But that is not a judgment upon the Western Rite, merely an expression of personal preference.  Grin

 

But not all hold to this.  Some of the heritage of Western Christendom has been been examples of great faith, evangelism and beautry dedicated to the Glory of God.  This is something I've been thinking about for the "Why I am" thread.  

Ebor
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« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2003, 05:12:37 PM »

I do not fully follow the idea of 'organic/not organic".  Things have been grafted onto Christianity before, starting with the gentiles.  I recall the picture of the Vine with the wild grapes grafted onto it and thus becoming part of the Vine.  

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« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2003, 07:06:14 PM »

........
I still think talk of the humongous Catholic Church 'returning' to the Orthodox Church sounds like Taiwan hypothetically trying to order Red China around.

Sort of as in the way those Romans felt about those pesky Christians infesting the catacombs? Smiley

or rather: Size DOES matter?Huh? Huh

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« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2003, 10:04:50 PM »

Surely limiting the laity to receiving the Eucharist in one kind (a practice condemned by Pope St. Leo I) and turning the priest's perspective from altar to congregation are greater and more significant changes.
I am working on a bit of a theory that the giving only the Bread to the laity seems to coincide with what is called "The Little Ice Age".  Grapes used to grow in southern England and Northern Europe but then the temperature cooled and this ended.  If there is only a small amount of wine and this must be imported, as many records and Medieval cookbooks refer to wine coming from Spain or other southern climes, but wheat still grows, thus there is bread, then could there be a corrolation? If there isn't any, it can't be  given after all.  More research....

Why theorize when Rome already has a reason the switched to one form anyway?
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« Reply #39 on: May 28, 2003, 10:26:09 PM »

Thanks, Brigid.

Ebor is giving the practical reason behind the change, -¥-+-¦-+-+-¦-¦, and I think her idea is brilliant. Never knew the climate was so different 1,000+ years ago such that grapes grew in southern England.

BTW, remember the furore a while back when a priest on EWTN called Hagia Sophia 'once the world's greatest Byzantine Catholic church'?

Well, the way some EOs appropriate early medieval western Catholicism and call it 'Orthodox' strikes me as similarly unhistorical and arrogant... even though I understand why they are saying it (the same reason a Catholic called Hagia Sophia Catholic - belief in one true church).

(Disclaimer: Brigid, I understand 'where you're coming from' and in no way is this attacking you personally.)

Big-O Orthodox, even before the separation, meant the church of the Eastern Roman Empire. England and Ireland never were in that empire.

In the same period, the Latin Church already was known as big-C Catholic. That's what England and Ireland belonged to.
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« Reply #40 on: May 28, 2003, 10:26:28 PM »

If Orthodoxy is to be a missionary Organization, it must reach out to Western Christians in a way they can understand.  some people are mystified and drawn in by Byzantine practices.  But many, and at  one time including myself, are turned off by Byzantine Practices (I'm an American durnit not a Greek, Russian, Serb, etc.).  Also we fail to realize the drawing point of Orthodoxy when we focus on the rite and ritual as important though they be.  The main drawing point for Orthodoxy (and I'm sure Nik would agree) was TRUTH, not some rite or ritual.  

If Orthodoxy is Truth incarnate, than it only follows reason that the Western Rites should be restored.  As for me, I would greatly prefer a Western Liturgy and praxis (say the Sarum, Gallican, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, or Gregorian Liturgies) over the Eastern tradition any day.  I am a Westerner.   But Orthodoxy is, or at least should be, our main focus and thus, even though it is Eastern Tradition, I will be becoming Eastern Orthodox.

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« Reply #41 on: May 28, 2003, 10:45:27 PM »

Let me post interesting excerpts from comments that were recently posted at he Euphrosynos Cafe about this very topic of pre-schism Orthodoxy in Britain. (Posted at http://www.euphrosynoscafe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=160&start=20)

In 1054, however, the final and complete break between Rome and Constantinople took place, and was sealed by a fearful anathema. From that moment it became imperative for all members of the Roman Patriarchate to separate from their cursed head on earth if they were to remain members of the Body of Christ Whose Blessed Head was in heaven. One is therefore struck to learn - and the believer in Divine Providence can hardly consider it a coincidence - that from 1052, two years before the anathema, until the completion of the Norman Conquest of England in 1070, the English Church was in fact not in communion with Rome, and was only reintegrated after the most bloody genocide of the English people!  

King Edward died on January 5, 1066. One year and one day after his death, on January 6, 1067, the Roman Catholic William the Conqueror was crowned king of England in Westminster Abbey. Then began a terrible campaign of pillage and bloodshed by the Conqueror against the English people, which culminated in the pseudo-council of Winchester in 1070, when papal legates deposed the Orthodox Archbishop Stigand, who had refused to crown William, and placed the Roman Catholic Lanfranc in his place. On October 15, 1072, the last English Orthodox bishop, Ethelric of Durham, after anathematizing the Pope, died in prison at Westminster, and the grace of the priesthood left the English land, in accordance with King Edward's prophecy. The last part of this prophecy remains to be fulfilled...
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« Reply #42 on: May 28, 2003, 11:11:06 PM »

very interesting Nicholas
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« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2003, 11:13:05 PM »

Joe,

Why does "Western" = "easily adaptable to America" and "Eastern" = "For Greeks, Russians, Serbs, etc."?  What does ethnicity have to do with liturgical rite?  A hundred years ago you might not have become a Roman Catholic because they were "German" or "Irish" or "Italian."

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« Reply #44 on: May 28, 2003, 11:23:05 PM »

Quote
I am working on a bit of a theory that the giving only the Bread to the laity seems to coincide with what is called "The Little Ice Age".  Grapes used to grow in southern England and Northern Europe but then the temperature cooled and this ended.  If there is only a small amount of wine and this must be imported, as many records and Medieval cookbooks refer to wine coming from Spain or other southern climes, but wheat still grows, thus there is bread, then could there be a corrolation? If there isn't any, it can't be  given after all.  More research....

A couple of points for your research, Ebor. First, for your theory to make sense you would have to show that communion in one kind began in the North, where grapes are scarce. I don't think that was the case.

Second, as an historian who has a special interest in the Germanic barbarians, I can say with some degree of assurance that wine began to be imported into the North at a pretty early date. If grapes were grown in southern England it was long before that area was known as "Angle-land," perhaps even before the Celts got there. I could be wrong, but I don't think any grapes were grown in England under the Anglo-Saxons. Remember, they arrived in Britain as pagans and were converted under Pope St. Gregory the Great and the latter St. Augustine.

The Germanic tribes, including the Anglo-Saxons, obtained wine in trade and as booty; the only native wine they knew was mead (honey wine), a product for which Britain was famous indeed. Roman colonists introduced viniculture to the middle Rhein and Mosel regions and among the Scandinavian (from Borgundarholm/Bornholm) Burgundians.
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