I, too, have yet to encounter a good argument against nurturing a Western Rite as part of the Orthodox mission in the Western world. Some people have put forward concerns that could possibly come to fruition if not carefully guarded against, but the re-establishing of the Western Rite in the Western world has largely been accomplished without those potential problems.
I think it often seems like it's "only for Anglicans" because, at least in the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate, only whole, established parishes could be received as Western Rite. And if you really think about it, where should they be expected to come from if not High Church Anglo-Catholics?
There are many differences between a Western Orthodox church and one that uses the Byzantine expression, but they are external, surface differences and not anything of substance. We hold to the same faith, venerate the same saints, etc. The vestments are different, the music is different, the prayers are different, the liturgies are different, the customs are different, the architecture is different. But they are different ways of doing the same thing.
Exactly, and thank you.
If I remember correctly from my reading of The Orthodox Church, Bishop Ware spoke of there being several contacts between Anglicans and Orthodox in returning to communion with one another so it does seem like it *could* work out (I do wonder why it's specifically Anglicans, though, and not Lutherans or another Protestant group).
Further to the point, though, is that (at least in my understanding, and please correct me if I'm wrong) if you are attending an OCA parish, then travel or whatever and visit a ROCOR/Antiochian/Greek/etc parish, you can still receive communion, but obviously would want to talk to the priest beforehand and let him know you're Orthodox so he knows not to refuse you. The point being it's not the service/customs of the service that are of issue - you're still in communion. Why not so for a church using a different Rite that is Orthodox in heritage, belief, customs, and so on? Does the failure to do so not imply that Orthodox = Byzantine?
And to your last sentence: I know the prayers are different (see http://oca.org/orthodoxy/prayers/evening-prayers
). I don't know about the songs, but on occasion St. Basil's Liturgy is used and it's not a far stretch to assume the customs are going to differ across different churches. Isn't the point of it being [country/people group] Orthodox Church is because it descends from those who have a strong Orthodox presence in their home countries? Ie Russian Orthodox Church doing things in the Russian manner, Greek Orthodox Church doing things in the Greek manner, etc?
I don't see it as being something completely foreign and ridiculous as, for example, trying to pass off a Guatemalan rite as having existed in 100AD. Again, I'm still learning, so someone please do correct me if my logic is off, but this is just how it appears to me.
It is certainly not only for Anglican converts-I have met EO cradles who have gone WRO.
The best thing, if you can, would be to get in touch with a WRO parish near you. Unfortunately, in much of the West, they are few and far between right now.
Thank you. Quite honestly, I'm hoping to do so. I don't know when, but it's something I definitely want to do. I do have to ask, though - where do the priests come from?