I found out several months ago I literally lived about five minutes away from a ROCOR WR mission for several years without even knowing it existed. I guess it's a former Anglican(?) priest who appears to have built himself a house chapel in his basement. The ROCOR website claims his congregation to be less than ten, though from the looks of his website, that may be an overstatement. There is another pretty active WR congregation (Antiochian) about twenty minutes away, whose priest (a former Lutheran, I think) regularly participates in local pan-Orthodox services (usually in his WR vestments) and is known to many. Yet the ROCOR mission remains rather mysterious.
I find the whole thing quite strange.
I love my ROCOR WR brothers and sisters, but there is quite a lot about their whole...I don't even know what to call it, "collective mentality" that I find very strange indeed. Spend enough time in the Occidentalis Yahoo group where many of them congregate, and you'll get a sense of what I mean. I'm sure Antioch has its share of this, but I've never experienced it.
And I can't help but think a lot of this has to do with their movement away from reintegrating Western catholic liturgical life with Orthodoxy towards an attempt to recreate the past. When your mindset is one of rejection
, it would seem you can't help but attract people that have negative, puritanical, even fundamentalist
attitudes. And when you can't accept the simple resuming of the living Western tradition, you open the floodgates towards DIY liturgy, each personal notion of what true "western orthodoxy" is supposed to be given equal footing resulting in strange things like a 5th c. French liturgy on the plains of Iowa. What is the connection?
I really don't mean to disparage them and I wish the RWRV nothing but the best, honestly. I hope they emerge from this situation stronger and headed in the right direction. But I think more than a shuffling of certain individuals will need to take place.