Just got back from a weekend visiting my friends anastasios and his wife at the renowned St Vladimir's Seminary
just north of New York City. Went to the round of services, Saturday Vigil and Sunday Liturgy, and was gobsmacked - an awesome adaptation of Russian Orthodoxy to today's America, all in English, not at all liberal and entirely orthodox. One of the few Vigils I didn't hate! The singing was amazing, partly because the choir of seminarians and wives were augmented by people going to a music conference. (With a goodly sampling of Greek droning and that camel music anastasios likes so much
There were only minor differences in externals - a low, open iconstasis (like Bishop Kallistos [Ware] described St John of Kronstadt making) and the prothesis/proskomedia chapel (with the -Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-+-+-+-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦ table) not in the altar but in a room next to it, visible to the congregation. Prime at the end of Vigil was reconfigured, shorter using a different psalm. And everybody speaks the Our Father at services.
The chapel is named after the Three Saints or Three Holy Hierarchs, the founding fathers of Byzantine theology - SS. Basil, Gregory Nanzianzen and John Chryostom - and has a icon with little reliquaries (with writing in Latin - they must have come courtesy of the Catholic Church) of all three embedded along the bottom.
And they've got that Anglo-American punctuality I like so much! They even stopped the chanting of the sixth hour to start Liturgy on time.
Everything the high-church Caroline and Non-Juror divines in 17th-century Anglicanism (who knew the writings of the Church Fathers) and that the legitimate, pre-Vatican II Catholic liturgical movement wanted is a reality in the liturgical life at St Vlad's.
Got to do some reading too - learnt that since the early 1300s the metropolitan of Kiev lived in Moscow, and that around the time the Russian Church had councils proposing reforms (shortly after 1905) Bishop Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the future founding first hierarch of ROCOR, studied the Old Believers and wanted to reconcile them all to the official Church, partly to strengthen the Russian Church in the southern and western part of the empire vs. the Eastern Catholic church there.
The OCA is great! Bobby, you're in good hands.