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Deacon Lance
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« on: May 31, 2003, 05:16:25 PM »

I thought this was a good topic so I started a new thread.

It seems to me the Western Rites cause quite a stir and opinions on them very greatly.  Obviously the AA and ROCOR have no problem with them.  The GOA Metropolitan of San Francisco does not like them and exhibits an attitude very much like that of Archbishop John Ireland toward the Byzantine Catholics of his day.

One of the most consistent arguements I see against the Western Rites is the very Rite they use cannot be considered Orthodox.  They are either: 1. lacking a history of continued use; 2. artificial reconstructions; 3. tainted with Reformer errors.

My question is taking the above in consideration, what Western Rite is ever going to be acceptable to the majority of the Eastern Orthodox?

The only Western Rites with a continuos use are the Roman (with all its variant uses, Tridentine, Novus Ordo, Anglican, Bragan, Lyonnaise, and those of various religious orders),  Ambrosian, and the Mozarabic (albeit a single chapel in the Cathedral of Toledo in our modern day).

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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2003, 05:51:23 PM »

I agree that there are many obstacles to overcome but here are my opinions on the revival of Western Rite Orthodoxy:

I think it should use something very similar to the Tridentine mass as the Tridentine was a codification of many other Western liturgies of the time and shows great similarity to even older rites (like the Ambrosian rite or the Dominican rite of the 1200s).  I think vernacular rather than Latin would be a good idea but am not sure.  The argument agaisnt vernacular is that Latin wasn't vernacular of the West even up until the schism and Latin was used, so this could go either way IMO.  I think the Roman Canon as it is ought to be used.  Here is why I think that:
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Quam oblationem tu, Deus, in omnibus, quaesumus, bene + dictam, ad + scriptam, ra+tam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris: ut nobis Cor+pus, et San+guis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi  

Do Thou, O God, deign to + Bless what we offer  and make it approved, + effective, right and wholly pleasing in every way, that it may be for our good, the + Body and the + Blood of Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  

The biggest change IMO needs to be the offering of Holy Communion under both the form of the sacred wine and sacred bread.  


This would be interesting to see and might be a good missionary too to Tridentine Mass Catholics.  I personally would love it, but not as much as the Byzantine rite.


What should a Western Orthodox Church look like architecturally and iconographically?  
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2003, 05:32:31 PM »

This is an excellent topic.  I would be interested in visiting a Western Rite parish, but the closest legitimate one (which is in the Antiochian jurisdiction) is 3 hours away.  I've heard that there are Western Rite parishes within ROCOR and the Romanian jurisdiction - does anyone know where they are located?  Also, does it seem like the Western Rite parishes are growing?  From what I've read, the history of Western Rite Orthodoxy has been dismal.  I think it would be a huge boon for Orthodoxy to put more energy into this area since the ethnic thing can turn many potential converts away (though it doesn't bother me).  I have great respect for the Eastern cultures, but I also appreciate the art, architecture, and culture of Western Europe and it would be nice to see Orthodoxy embrace the whole European human tradition without necessarily embracing those theological aspects they consider heterodox.

Thanks.
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2003, 05:52:33 PM »

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I've heard that there are Western Rite parishes within ROCOR and the Romanian jurisdiction - does anyone know where they are located?
 

ROCOR has one Western Rite priest in Australia and its version of Benedictine monks living in one monastery in Rhode Island. The Romanian Church used to have a Western Rite group but not anymore.

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Also, does it seem like the Western Rite parishes are growing?

My impression is yes but that's relative. They're still a tiny group but like EOxy in general in the US they've benefited from the convert 'boomlet', taking in a few ex-Episcopalians.

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From what I've read, the history of Western Rite Orthodoxy has been dismal.


IMO it's doomed because its presence in Eastern Orthodoxy is artificial (groundless historically) and not welcomed by all Eastern Orthodox either.

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I think it would be a huge boon for Orthodoxy to put more energy into this area since the ethnic thing can turn many potential converts away (though it doesn't bother me).  I have great respect for the Eastern cultures, but I also appreciate the art, architecture, and culture of Western Europe and it would be nice to see Orthodoxy embrace the whole European human tradition without necessarily embracing those theological aspects they consider heterodox.

Seems pretty hypocritical to do that and then turn around and complain about the creation and subsequent latinization of the Byzantine Catholic churches 500 years ago, even though there is a logic in Eastern Orthodox thinking to setting up Western Rite stuff. Again, please, no more Uniatism/spite churches.
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2003, 06:30:25 PM »

Good point.  It would indeed be awkward for the Moscow church to open Western Rite parishes in the US while at the same time complain about the Uniates.  The Antiochians probably don't feel themselves as hypocrites since they haven't had to deal with Byzantine Catholicism.  To make another point, I wonder whether opening Western Rite parishes is truly an act synonomous with Catholic forays into Eastern Ritism.  The valid objections to Uniatism have to do with theology, particularly in regards to papal authority in areas where it traditionally didn't have authority, whereas most of the objections I read regarding Western Rite Orthodoxy have to do with aesthetics and personal loyalties to the Liturgies of Basil and Chrysostom.  I also haven't heard any objections among RCs towards Western Rite Orthodoxy, though that would probably change if they started feeling a drain on their parishes.

Another question I have is whether anyone knows what liturgies were used before the 4th-5th centuries?  What documentation do we have that can give us an idea of the form and content of pre-Nicene liturgies?

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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2003, 06:48:50 PM »

Richard,

The Antiochians had to deal with Byzantine Catholicism--they lost half their patriarchate to Rome in 1724.

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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2003, 07:04:31 PM »

Oops!  Got me there.  I guess the Antiochians are in an interesting situation...  Paybacks are hell, eh?

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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2003, 08:35:38 PM »

The Antiochians had to deal with Byzantine Catholicism--they lost half their patriarchate to Rome in 1724.

Thanks in great part to Antioch's appointed (by Constantinople) Orthodox patriarch.  With Patriarch Sylvester began the reign of the Greek patriarchs over Antioch, and he in particular caused many Antiochians to side with the Arab Melkite Patriarch Cyril VI.  The Melkite Church is not some minority entity that forms a pathetic splinter of the Orthodox Church it once belonged to (such as some Eastern European E.C.C.s) but a solid ecclesiastical entity with a patriarch and with which many Antiochians aligned themselves.  Meaning--as I see it--that the Melkite Church, despite the Western after-effects that struck it eventually, remains an organic part of what was once a united Antiochian Church, in a way that other E.C.C.s are not in respect to the Orthodox Churches from which they sprung.

Given the Melkites form an important historical part of this once united Patriarchate, the two Antiochian Churches have strong relations and contacts cemented by both ecclesiastical relations and strong marriage ties.

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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2003, 11:08:56 PM »

I agree that there are many obstacles to overcome but here are my opinions on the revival of Western Rite Orthodoxy:

I think it should use something very similar to the Tridentine mass as the Tridentine was a codification of many other Western liturgies of the time and shows great similarity to even older rites (like the Ambrosian rite or the Dominican rite of the 1200s).

Part codification, part massive pruning job. Why should we go all the way back to Trent, expecially since it is, in its way, as Protestant-influenced as any modern rite?

While we're at it, why not start from a modern rite? How about 1979 BCP RIte II Prayer A? It has an epiclesis (two actually; one on the elements, and one on the people).

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What should a Western Orthodox Church look like architecturally and iconographically?  
 

How many times do I have to say this? Iconography, and most architecture, isn't that important in the West.
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2003, 11:14:36 PM »

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How many times do I have to say this? Iconography, and most architecture, isn't that important in the West.

Only to protestant iconoclasts.  Look at Traditional Roman Catholic Churches in Europe...
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2003, 07:58:54 AM »

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How many times do I have to say this? Iconography, and most architecture, isn't that important in the West.

Only to protestant iconoclasts.  Look at Traditional Roman Catholic Churches in Europe...

No. You have totally missed the point. None of those statues and paintings has any liturgical function. They are all ornament. My son rehearses at a UCC church in Baltimore (it started out life as Evangelical Lutheran) which has really excellent stained glass and wooden statues over the altar. Plop a Marian altar and a tabernacle in there and it would serve as an RC church in a second. (Well, some of the stained glass is a little peculiar.)

If you look at Roman Catholic churches of different periods, you will see vastly different systems of decoration. I remember stepping into St. Michaels church in downtown Vienna and practically being blown back out the door by the loco-Rococo altarpiece. The exterior, by contrast, is almost without decoration. Conversely there are plenty of gothic buildings which are elaborately decorated on the exterior but which, excepting the windows, are relatively undecorated on the interior. Some of the most elaborately symbolic churches are Anglican neo-gothic and romanesque buildings which fairly teem with symbology and imagery.

The liturgy makes no reference to any of this. Part of the reason one sees such much variation in custom when western church architecture is discussed (e.g., the various discussions of the rood screen) is that rubrics and such do not mention any of these objects.
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2003, 10:29:13 AM »

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No. You have totally missed the point. None of those statues and paintings has any liturgical function. They are all ornament.

Great point, Keble. Since you've laid off the Real Presence, I've enjoyed your postings very much.

You've pointed out one of the down sides of western Catholicism in practice, something I've noticed and occasionally commented on too, as I do on my Orthodox Tradition page.

I've also been puzzled/amused by liturgical-looking Protestant churches (that would make better Catholic churches than most Catholic churches) with congregations that don't seem to know or care what the symbols mean.

Because iconography eventually became integral to the Byzantine Rite, in a slow process described by Wybrew, Novus Ordo-ish iconoclasm is a virtual impossibility in the Orthodox churches. Glory to God.
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2003, 11:34:06 AM »

I do wonder however, what sort of role religious art played in the West before Renaissance art was born.  It is said that before then, there was more resemblance to icons in Western art.  Whether a stronger theological stress on iconography existed at the time is one question that I'd like answered.

Whether Western art has ever had a liturgical function in that distant past is also something I ask myself.
 
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2003, 12:58:08 PM »

I've also been puzzled/amused by liturgical-looking Protestant churches (that would make better Catholic churches than most Catholic churches) with congregations that don't seem to know or care what the symbols mean.

Well, a lot of people aren't going to care because they are not of a mindset to care.

Quote
Because iconography eventually became integral to the Byzantine Rite, in a slow process described by Wybrew, Novus Ordo-ish iconoclasm is a virtual impossibility in the Orthodox churches. Glory to God.

Novus Ordo isn't where this iconoclasm came from. "Efficiency" is what did it. Post WW-II RC buildings tend to be sparing of decoration; modern architecture pushed the trend along. Big expanses of brick are cheaper than big expanses of fresco, after all. And when money is no object, the resulting excess of decoration is not necessarily favorable-- consider the National Shrine.
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2003, 01:11:05 PM »

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Novus Ordo isn't where this iconoclasm came from. "Efficiency" is what did it. Post WW-II RC buildings tend to be sparing of decoration; modern architecture pushed the trend along. Big expanses of brick are cheaper than big expanses of fresco, after all. And when money is no object, the resulting excess of decoration is not necessarily favorable-- consider the National Shrine.


Sounds like you too read, liked and agree with Thomas Day.
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2003, 03:06:07 PM »

I've read Why Catholics Can't Sing, but I had already noticed the phenomenon around here. Recent churches tend to be big boxes without any care for orderly liturgy (or much involvement in it). Some of the buildings are striking-- there's a po-mo interpretation of the plan of St. Gall near us-- but what goes on inside is typically terribly dreary. I've seen some exceptions-- St. Andrew's in Wheaton (Md.) is a hideous building but the Irish priest I heard there was of gold, and the church in Middletown is really strange but effective, largely because it has a priest and a congregation who care about liturgy. They even sing.
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2003, 04:22:23 PM »

The placement of the communion rail, the placement of the altar against the back wall (opposed to how the byzanitnes plase their altar tables) and other little things like that should be replicated in a Western Rite.  So there are little pieces of Architecture that do matter...
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2003, 04:56:38 PM »

Communion rails come and go; shelf altars are far more common (because they save space) but there have always been freestanding altars. Also, I don't believe it has ever been rubricated which side of the altar one stands on. (Not that I don't think that one side is as good as the other-- I personally prefer facing away, and I can argue for facing away. The point is that the rubrics tend to tell you what to face, not where you have to stand.)
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« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2003, 06:37:52 PM »

"IMO it's doomed because its presence in Eastern Orthodoxy is artificial (groundless historically) and not welcomed by all Eastern Orthodox either."

I would argue that it's not groundless historically, all the western Churches who weren't under the Pope before 1054 like England and Ireland(1066 for the UK) certainly weren't Byzantine in everything they did. I don't particularly like Western Rite, but I don't think it's artificial either.
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« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2003, 07:25:42 PM »

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I would argue that it's not groundless historically, all the western Churches who weren't under the Pope before 1054 like England and Ireland(1066 for the UK) certainly weren't Byzantine in everything they did. I don't particularly like Western Rite, but I don't think it's artificial either.

First of all, Catholic Western Europe, including England and Ireland, was under the Pope as its patriarch, even though it wasn't all Roman Rite - there was a Latin rite used by the Irish that's long extinct and another Latin rite, the Gallican Rite, used by the French (or perhaps at that point in history one should say the Franks).

Keble already has done a good job on this board of arguing that the notion of the English Church as this Orthodox paradise destroyed by those Awful Romans in 1066 is a fantasy, or as I would say, rank BS.

Western Rite Orthodoxy is artificial and unhistorical for at least two reasons.

1. Reconstructing extinct rites doesn't mean there will be a real following for those rites and there probably won't be.

2. Nobody really does this anyway, though some Orthodox pretend they do. They mimic traditional Roman Catholic liturgical practices and copy Roman Catholic and usually Anglican texts, sometimes byzantinizing them by adding things like the epiklesis to 'make them Orthodox', an unhistorical bastardization as wrong as Eastern Catholics' self-latinizations (tearing down icon screens and putting up statues to 'make it Catholic'). As Keble has pointed out well, this dishonest, willy-nilly borrowing from all over history is also characteristic of the undisciplined ways of vagantes.

Appropriating things not from one's own church's history and calling them 'Orthodox' is as stupid and arrogant - and perhaps just as born from some kind of inferiority complex? - as the dad in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' claiming every word is English comes from Greek or Mr Chekov on 'Star Trek' claiming Russians invented and discovered everything.

Yes, the Chalcedonian Church was one until well into the medieval period, but Orthodox even back then meant the Byzantine Rite church of the Greek eastern Roman Empire and Catholic meant the Pope's patriarchate. Both sides did and do use both words but those are the monikers that stuck.
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« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2003, 07:35:26 PM »

Amen, Serge!

Keble already has done a good job on this board of arguing that the notion of the English Church as this Orthodox paradise destroyed by those Awful Romans in 1066 is a fantasy, or as I would say, rank BS.

Pristine Orthodox England--as condescending and bloody irritating as Catholic Byzantium or Byzantine Catholic Hagia Sophia.  

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« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2003, 07:37:57 PM »

Thanks, Samer.

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Pristine Orthodox England--as condescending and bloody irritating as Catholic Byzantium or Byzantine Catholic Hagia Sophia.

And I dare say some of the same people who are fond of this fairy story were also furious at EWTN when someone on one of its programs called Hagia Sophia Byzantine Catholic.
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« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2003, 10:02:32 PM »

Western Rite Orthodoxy is artificial and unhistorical for at least two reasons.

1. Reconstructing extinct rites doesn't mean there will be a real following for those rites and there probably won't be.

No problem here, never mind the issue of actually being able to really resurrect them anyway.

Quote
2. Nobody really does this anyway, though some Orthodox pretend they do. They mimic traditional Roman Catholic liturgical practices and copy Roman Catholic and usually Anglican texts, sometimes byzantinizing them by adding things like the epiklesis to 'make them Orthodox', an unhistorical bastardization as wrong as Eastern Catholics' self-latinizations (tearing down icon screens and putting up statues to 'make it Catholic'). As Keble has pointed out well, this dishonest, willy-nilly borrowing from all over history is also characteristic of the undisciplined ways of vagantes.

Now Serge, surely you must realize how foolhardy it is to try to co-opt my argument in support of a position with which I do not agree!

Way back at the beginning we had a passage dealing with a distinction between what is Eastern (that is, Orthodox) and what is oriental (that is, of eastern usage but otherwise adiaphora). Now we are back at the same problem again, because nobody knows how to make a post-Schism Western Rite Orthodox.

This is where we get into trouble with "unhistorical".  These compromise rites are highly historical; the history they represent is that of those who actually desire them. It is those refugees from the real West, the current West, who desire to have their own rites carried with them. The further development is that of tinkering them to make them palatable to the Eastern heriarchs who receive the refugees and permit them their rites.

It is pretty plainly this same history that makes them objectionable. Nobody has taken me up on my challenge to "Orthodoxify" the 1979 rites. I suspect that one decided problem would be the lack of much to change. They already have an epiclesis, and it tends to closely resemble the byzantine type.

That is precisely the problem. The refugees come to Othodoxy because they were faithful and intend to remain faithful. But acknowledging this too much tends to lead back to the admission that there is real faith in the West already. If the 1979 rites (never mind 1928) are not that unOrthodox, then what of those that continue to use them?

Now, these people from the Milan Synod (or wherever they come from) are another story. It's one thing to inject some Eastern elements into Western rites. If one admits that this is what is happening, I don't see a falsification per se. Claiming to recover a Western history that is plainly a fabrication out of a mixture of periods and places starts to slip into the fraudulent. But the accountability of this, notice, is extra-ecclesial. In this case it is accountability the practice of history.

This brings up a further point. To whom are the users and modifiers of Western rites accountable? How can it not be the West? It is the West that knows Western practice, after all.
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« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2003, 10:12:45 PM »

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Now Serge, surely you must realize how foolhardy it is to try to co-opt my argument in support of a position with which I do not agree!

OK, sorry, Keble - I didn't intend to misrepresent you. Now that you've reminded me, I remember the problem you had with my argument about what's 'unhistorical' but I thought I accurately alluded to your depiction of vagantes.
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« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2003, 12:59:49 AM »

"Orthodoxify" the 1979 BCP? The same book that has an inclusive language Psalter? Simply adding an epiclesis is unecessary-didn't Nicholas Cabilsas (sp?) already mention 800 years ago that the Roman Rite already had an ascending epiclesis, or something like that? It seems like too many liturgical "reformers" in the West over the past 40 years or so have an inferiority complex with regards to Orthodoxy-Western Christendom has its own homegrown liturgies that don't need epiclesies (or whatever the plural is) tacked on.
There's also the many petitions to the saints, and adding a more sacrificial character to the Eucharistic Canon-something with the Book of Divine Worship, used by Anglican-Use RC's, has rectified.

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« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2003, 09:07:35 AM »

"Orthodoxify" the 1979 BCP? The same book that has an inclusive language Psalter?

I suppose I would have to ask, what is wrong with an "inclusive language" psalter?

Quote
Simply adding an epiclesis is unecessary-didn't Nicholas Cabilsas (sp?) already mention 800 years ago that the Roman Rite already had an ascending epiclesis, or something like that? It seems like too many liturgical "reformers" in the West over the past 40 years or so have an inferiority complex with regards to Orthodoxy-Western Christendom has its own homegrown liturgies that don't need epiclesies (or whatever the plural is) tacked on.

Well, you could put it that way, or maybe you could say that the reformers felt that introducing certain eastern elements "enrich" the rites. (That is in fact the word I have consistently seen used.)

Quote
There's also the many petitions to the saints, and adding a more sacrificial character to the Eucharistic Canon-something with the Book of Divine Worship, used by Anglican-Use RC's, has rectified.

It must be admitted that petitions to the saints are in themselves an enrichment. They are not necessary to the rite. As far as the "sacrificial character" is concerned, the impression I get is that this is an RC-versus-the-world issue.
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« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2003, 03:21:33 PM »

A way out of this trap is to remember that the faith is universal - catholic - and includes but transcends East and West ...

But does that not argue for Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Maybe this is where the 'Frankenstein' image comes in. I remember visiting a Western rite parish for vespers and then joining them for their theological instruction afterwards. What this instruction appeared to consist of was forgetting all their Anglican instruction and starting over again with Eastern instruction.

Here I see many problems. This mounting of an Eastern head on a Western body cries out for criticism. Let's start with the rite itself. After the fraction the Agnus Dei will be sung. Some will no doubt argue that the canons of Trullo state that this language cannot be used; Trullo, however, is not an ecumenical council because it had next to no participation from the West. Nobody in the West has ever accepted Trullo's canon concerning the "Lamb of God".

What happens theologically thus is not Catholic. It is only Eastern. What does one do with the long tradition of Western theology when most of it is conceived in isolation from the Wast, just as Eastern theology continues to develop in isolation from the West?

That's something else about this "Saxon Orthodox Church". It is not Eastern, and it doesn't know the East past a certain (and pretty early) point. 1054 is not a magic point; even ignoring the political aspects of the split, the differences start much earlier and the likenesses extend much later.

This leads to a bad case of "not invented here" syndrome. But it also leads to the much more serious problem that, after the fact, it seems to me that it is almost impossible for the East to re-evaluate the West, because it refuses to be advised by the West (because, after all, they are heretics).
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