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Author Topic: Western Rite Orthodoxy?  (Read 3462 times) Average Rating: 0
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The Caffeinator
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« on: September 05, 2003, 09:42:29 PM »

What is the general feeling among the Orthodox of Western Rite Orthodoxy, and how does this differ from Uniatizing from the West?
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Keble
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2003, 07:16:06 AM »

.... bowl of petunias ....
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The Caffeinator
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2003, 08:59:42 AM »

I'm afraid I don't follow. Huh
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2003, 09:30:21 AM »

I'm afraid I don't follow. Huh

"Here we go again," is what flashed through the mind of a bowl of petunias that had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet, according to Douglas Adams in "A Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

--

Chapter 19

And the next thing that happened after that was that the Heart of Gold continued on its way perfectly normally with a rather fetchingly redesigned interior. It was somewhat larger, and done out in delicate pastel shades of green and blue. In the centre a spiral staircase, leading nowhere in particular, stood in a spray of ferns and yellow flowers and next to it a stone sundial pedestal housed the main computer terminal. Cunningly deployed lighting and mirrors created the illusion of standing in a conservatory overlooking a wide stretch of exquisitely manicured garden. Around the periphery of the conservatory area stood marble-topped tables on intricately beautiful wrought-iron legs. As you gazed into the polished surface of the marble the vague forms of instruments became visible, and as you touched them the instruments materialized instantly under your hands. Looked at from the correct angles the mirrors appeared to reflect all the required data readouts, though it was far from clear where they were reflected from. It was in fact sensationally beautiful.

Relaxing in a wickerwork sun chair, Zaphod Beeblebrox said, "What the hell happened?"

"Well I was just saying," said Arthur lounging by a small fish pool, "there's this Improbability Drive switch over here ..." he waved at where it had been. There was a potted plant there now. "But where are we?" said Ford who was sitting on the spiral staircase, a nicely chilled Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster in his hand.

"Exactly where we were, I think ..." said Trillian, as all about them the mirrors showed them an image of the blighted landscape of Magrathea which still scooted along beneath them.

Zaphod leapt out of his seat.

"Then what's happened to the missiles?" he said.

A new and astounding image appeared in the mirrors.

"They would appear," said Ford doubtfully, "to have turned into a bowl of petunias and a very surprised looking whale ..."

"At an Improbability Factor," cut in Eddie, who hadn't changed a bit, "of eight million seven hundred and sixty-seven thousand one hundred and twenty-eight to one against."

Zaphod stared at Arthur.

"Did you think of that, Earthman?" he demanded.

"Well," said Arthur, "all I did was ..."

"That's very good thinking you know. Turn on the Improbability Drive for a second without first activating the proofing screens. Hey kid you just saved our lives, you know that?"

"Oh," said Arthur, "well, it was nothing really ..."

"Was it?" said Zaphod. "Oh well, forget it then. OK, computer, take us in to land."

"But ..."

"I said forget it."

Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.

And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.

This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.

Ah ... ! What's happening? it thought.

Er, excuse me, who am I?

Hello? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life?

What do I mean by who am I?

Calm down, get a grip now ... oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It's a sort of ... yawning, tingling sensation in my ... my ... well I suppose I'd better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let's call it my stomach.

Good. Ooooh, it's getting quite strong. And hey, what's about this whistling roaring sound going past what I'm suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that ... wind! Is that a good name? It'll do ... perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I've found out what it's for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What's this thing? This ... let's call it a tail - yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can't I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn't seem to achieve very much but I'll probably find out what it's for later on. Now - have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?

No. Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I'm quite dizzy with anticipation ... Or is it the wind?

There really is a lot of that now isn't it?

And wow! Hey! What's this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ... ow ... ound ... round ... ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was "Oh no, not again".

Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.

---


« Last Edit: September 06, 2003, 09:38:38 AM by TomS » Logged
The Caffeinator
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2003, 10:05:27 AM »

I see that this is old hat. I'll be happy to let it go. Smiley I'll just look through the forum to see what else has been posted on the subject.

I'm learning that in EO culture, you have more polite ways of telling people to change the subject than perhaps in the Scholastic West. LOL. How eccentric!
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2003, 10:14:47 AM »

No, you misunderstand. What Keble posted did not MEAN that you should not continue this thread.

If you look through the board you will see the same issues coming up over and over. It is FINE to bring up an issue that YOU were not involved in in the past, or that you want to ressurect because you have more information or additional questions.

As they say -- "There's nothing new under the Sun"

Please continue.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2003, 10:15:45 AM by TomS » Logged
Edwin
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2003, 10:46:19 AM »

I'd like to hear an answer to Culture Warrior's question. If Western Rite Orthodoxy is impossible, then what am I, as a Westerner, to think of the claims of Orthodoxy? Doesn't it follow, if there can't be a Western-Rite Orthodoxy, that Western Christians ought to remain (or become) Roman Catholics and work for union from the Western point of view? The alternative would surely be to hold that there is something fundamentally un-Orthodox about Western Christianity from the get-go (i.e., from AD 200 or whenever it was that Christians started worshipping and theologizing in Latin). And I can't accept that.

It isn't that I, personally, would have problems worshipping as an Easterner. I like Eastern liturgy. It is more beautiful and interesting than Western liturgy, while Western liturgy feels more familiar and homey to me. So I could be part of a parish of any Rite quite happily. The question is one of principle. I can't accept that there is something illegitimate about Western liturgy. Which means that there must, in principle, be a possibly legitimate expression of Western worship. Either in the form of Western-Rite Orthodoxy, or in the form of one of the Western churches (presumably Catholicism).

I understand the historical and political reasons why the Orthodox are angry about "Uniatism." But the existence of so many Rites in the Catholic Church is one of the reasons why in the past I've been inclined to think the Catholic Church had the better claim to catholicity.

What this really boils down to is my fear that becoming Orthodox (which I've been seriously considering) means becoming Eastern and rejecting the Western tradition of Christianity in toto. And that I could never do.

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2003, 05:17:15 AM »

I'm learning that in EO culture, you have more polite ways of telling people to change the subject than perhaps in the Scholastic West. LOL. How eccentric!

Dear CW,

our dear friend Keble is Episcopalian and intends staying so unless the Holy Spirit gives him and his wife a huge shove East.  Cool

unworthy John.
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Seraphim Reeves
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2003, 10:34:32 AM »

Quote
If Western Rite Orthodoxy is impossible, then what am I, as a Westerner, to think of the claims of Orthodoxy? Doesn't it follow, if there can't be a Western-Rite Orthodoxy, that Western Christians ought to remain (or become) Roman Catholics and work for union from the Western point of view? The alternative would surely be to hold that there is something fundamentally un-Orthodox about Western Christianity from the get-go (i.e., from AD 200 or whenever it was that Christians started worshipping and theologizing in Latin). And I can't accept that.

Save where bigotry is the problem (and sadly, there are some Orthodox who probably have sneaking doubts about anything western, even if it was way before the schism), I think the real debate within Orthodoxy over "Western rite Orthodoxy" is the issue of authenticity.

By this I mean, how "authentic" are the various attempts at a "Western Rite" Orthodoxy?  For example, some of the western liturgies in use now in the various "western parishes" (like in the Antiochian Archdiocese) are simply modified versions of the Anglican missal, or in other cases, modified versions of the Tridentine Rite (either modified to remove things offensive to Orthodox teaching, or add things that were dropped but shouldn't have been - for example, adding a solid epiklesis, which western liturgies used to have, and in the case of the Tridentine missal, removing references to "merits" of saints which imply the whole theology surrounding indgulences, etc.)

Arguably, these reconstructed liturgies are now "technically" Orthodox, along a strict doctrinal line - but do they really express the Orthodox faith as the ancient western liturgies, whose specifics are no longer certain in all regards, and which, when we compare them to these modern "Orthodox-ized" rites, are in fact still quite disimilar in important respects?  It is also argued that there is a certain artificiality in trying to ressurection usages which, aside from the uncertainties, have not been lived in for centuries.  A big part of Orthodoxy, particularly it's idea of apostolicity, is continuity - and simply put, the continuity of an authentic "Western Orthodoxy" ended centuries ago.

Those are not trivial matters.  Some on this "contra" side have argued, and I think persuasively, the best thing to do for a "western Orthodox" mission, would be to simply treat it as a mission!  That is to say, translate all of the liturgical books into a dignified English, build Churches which (within the norms of the canons) appeal to a more western temprament and aesthetic, and encourage devotion (including iconographic presence in those Temples) to genuine "western Orthodox" Saints (like Ambrose, Patrick, John Cassian, Gregory, Boniface, etc.).  This would be, arguably, the "organic" and traditionally Orthodox thing to do.

Personally, I'm a bit of a fence sitter on this.  While I wholly agree with the critiques made of the "corrected western liturgies" (I think they should be provisional, at best), I'm willing to entertain more optimism about some sort of re-acquasition (at least in part) of old, distinctively western practices.  For example, there are ancient western paschal rites which you simply do not find in the east, but I do not see what the terrible harm would be in bringing them into play for western Orthodox missions.  I also do not buy some of the arguments put forward by the more ardent critics of "western rite Orthodoxy" (like the argument that the introduction of anything distinctively "western" in terms of liturgy would somehow alienate Western Orthodox Christians - that they might feel alienated if they were to attend "Byzantine" services, or go on pilgrimages say, to Jerusalem, where there obviously would only be Byzantine usages.)

It's also worth noting that there were some very prominent supporters of the growth of a distinctively "Western Orthodoxy" - including two Saints (St.Tikhon, the martyred Patriarch of Moscow, and St.John of San Francisco, the miracle-working Archbishop who ministered and reposed in America) that I can think of right off the top of my head.

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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2003, 11:11:34 AM »

There's plenty of material to support a restoration of the Old English rite. In fact I am organising a day workshop on the Chant of the Old English Church for early next year. Not that I know much about it - but there is a good choral group - Opus Anglicanum - who have already run the workshop, but it was too far north for me to get to. So I am seeing if I can organise the same workshop in the south.

Father Aidan Keller - of the non-canonical Milan Synod - has done a lot of work, as have other, including Anglicans from the 19th century onwards.

I'd like to see a Western Rite based on the Old English rite. That would be both authentically Orthodox and we have more than enough information about it for it to not be an experiment.

But I am happy enough using an Eastern Rite and don't see it generally as an obstacle to mission. There can be a Western Orthodox ethos even with an Eastern Rite. In my own circumstances in the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate we are under no pressure to become Egyptian in culture, indeed when we have held pilgrimages to such places as the shrine of St Eanswythe at Folkestone we have been joined by large numbers of Eritrean Orthodox in an expression of the universality of Orthodoxy.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2003, 11:26:23 PM »

Seraphim and Peterfarrington,

Thanks for your replies. I understand the concerns about "artificially" resurrecting a Western Rite. The Anglican Missal is a fine thing, but there is something a bit stuffy about it--I don't find the "Anglican traditionalist" ethos terribly appealing, actually. It's too high-faluting for real Orthodoxy. My concern is not so much with the specific form Western Rite Orthodoxy has taken but with the possibility of being Orthodox in a Western manner, whatever form that might take. I'm actually somewhat of a Slavophile (or more precisely a fan of Eastern European culture generally, since my major experience in that direction has actually been in Romania), and I know enough Greek to follow the liturgy in that language, so it isn't so much a personal question as it is a question of principle.

I become particularly uncomfortable when I hear Orthodox writers waxing eloquent about the differences between East and West, as if "East" was intrinsically Orthodox and West was flawed from the beginning. If I do become Orthodox, I would want to be absolutely certain that I was not committing myself to some such attitude.  And if Western Christianity is intrinsically valid and can be purified from its errors, then it should be theoretically possible for a Western-Rite Orthodox liturgy to exist, whether such a liturgy was identical with that currently practiced under the auspices of Antioch or not.

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2003, 12:23:07 AM »

Edwin, there are so many pre-Schism Saints of Western origin (who has not heard of the Venerable Bede, St. Hilda of Whitby or St. Martin of Tours?) venerated in the Orthodox Church to make anyone very comfortable with the fact that Orthodoxy clearly recognizes the holiness inherent in the Pre-Schism West.  Many of these are English, Irish, Scot, Welsh and French, but Italians and Spaniards, and even some Germans, are in the number of recognized Saints as well, and these Saints still appear on the calendars of various Orthodox Churches of Byzantine Rite.  St. Stephen, King of Hungary, heretofore recognized as a Saint only in the Roman Catholic Church, was recently added to the calendar of Orthodox Saints by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, +BARTHOLOMEW I.

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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2003, 01:16:33 AM »

To add to Hypo's list... it has been my experience (as a former RC) that Saint Leo the Great is especially venerated more in the Orthodox Church.  I have also noticed this trend with Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Ambrose of Milan.  Also I think I have personally come to appreciate Blessed Augustine more now than ever before....it was reading his Confessions several years ago that made Catholicism alive in my heart (cradle RC, but not overly practicing in the early years) and eventually led to my coming to Orthodoxy.  I guess I personally don't see a distinction between "Eastern" and "Western" in the early church....to me, admittedly unedecated in these kinds of matters, I don't see such a divide until after the Photian schism.
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2003, 11:12:42 AM »

I support the idea of Western Orthodoxy.

It is unfortunate, perhaps, that Western Orthodoxy is not more widespread.  My mother is completely alienated by Novus-Ordoism of the Roman Catholics, but she can't bring herself to attend my Orthodox parish (which uses only English in its services except for one or two ektenias during Divine Liturgy, and has exactly one member over the age of majority who is cradle Orthodox).  I got her to attend one Divine Liturgy with me, and she said it was like going to a foreign country.  If there were a Western Orthodox parish in Indianapolis, she might be willing to go there.

I know there are those out there who believe Western Orthodoxy is just reverse-Uniatism, but if we really believe that Orthodoxy is the true faith, should the Western expressions of it be shut out?

I do agree there are practical problems.  Simply deleting the Filioque from the Creed or inserting a descending epiklesis into the Eucharistic Prayer does not make for an Orthodox phronema.  There are problems in filtering out the protestant and scholastic components from Western Christianity.

Fortunately, IANAB (I am not a Bishop), so I will thankfully not be asked to determine the details of implementation. Smiley

Oh, and by the way and for myself, I prefer the Eastern phronema, so I will happily stay where I am.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2003, 11:13:09 AM by NDHoosier » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2003, 02:50:39 PM »

I see we're getting the "authenticity" argument this time instead of the "historicity" argument.

The deeper issue is that this is a convert issue. Answers therefore tend to be heavily correlated to the degree with which the speaker wants to deny the authenticity of the convert's former faith. Denying converts their rites is a means towards denying the authenticity of that faith.

And that leads to another authenticity issue. When one starts advocating continuity-- which isn't necessarily bad in itself--  one has to confront the reality that, because of simple geography, Orthodoxy was reduced to Eastern Orthodoxy, and thus a continuity of Western tradition is impossible to trace through it. Hence it is inauthentic for anyone in Orthodoxy to reject a modern Western rite and attempt to substitute for it some modified ancient rite, because the East really doesn't know anything about those rites-- at least not if the continuity theory is going to have such weight. The authenticity of Western rites (at least for our purposes) traces through the Roman Catholics and separately throught the Anglicans.

This undoubtedly accounts for some of the nonsense that one hears. For instance, one hears a lot of talk about Saxon "orthodoxy" (vs. the Norman "heretics"), but it's utter rubbish. English spirituality has its own character, but their's no meaningful doctrinal or praxis difference between the Saxons and the Normans.  Then there's the "we have to fix the epiclesis" issue. Ironically, fixing the epiclesis is western, because officially the western position on liturgy is revision.
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The Caffeinator
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2003, 03:32:33 PM »

Quote
Dear CW,

our dear friend Keble is Episcopalian and intends staying so unless the Holy Spirit gives him and his wife a huge shove East.  

unworthy John.

Okay, John,

But let me remind you that Rome is also to the East. Cool
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« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2003, 05:10:35 PM »

Very well put Keble.

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« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2003, 03:36:31 PM »

"Let noone tell you that to be Orthodox you must be Eastern"  

These are the words of St. John (maximovich) the wonder working archbishop of Shanghai and San Fransisco.  He spoke them on the occasion of ordaining a Bishop, not for ROCOR, but for the French Orthodox Church which used exclusivly a western Rite.  St. John himself celebrated with this Rite to determine whether or not it should be used and was a solid proponet of the preschism saints of teh West.

Just something to ponder.

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