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Author Topic: Is Western Rite Most Appropriate For Western Converts - Sensitive Subject  (Read 2323 times) Average Rating: 0
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Studying_Orthodoxy
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« on: November 22, 2013, 08:02:28 AM »

I would be very interested to know what people here think is the most appropriate rite for Westerners. Should they go to the Byzantine rite used by most of the Orthodox world or should they instead attend the Western liturgies of Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Is there anything wrong with a Westerner going for the Byzantine style?

Some have mentioned the example of how the Russians, Serbs, Albanians and others took Byzantine rite when they converted. Yet this has been attributed to the fact that all of these are eastern peoples and were geographically in the sphere of the Byzantine world. Would it be the same for Western people?
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« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2013, 08:42:48 AM »

A lot depends on each convert's background, as well as the baggage they bring along. Were they raised Catholic, Protestant (umbrella term, but whatever), atheist/irreligious, or in some other religion altogether? Did the religious atmosphere at home jive with that around them? Do they want to retain any elements of their previous affiliation or do they want a clean break? And so on.

In short, I don't believe there is a single correct answer, and I would certainly oppose any attempt at imposing uniformity.
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2013, 08:52:54 AM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2013, 08:59:28 AM »

To be honest, I don't even know what a rite or style is in Orthodoxy. What I mean is that I believe Orthodoxy is concerned with the absolute form or truth, first and foremost, and things that have to do with appearance would come second; they are equally important, but they don't have the decisive role.
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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2013, 11:15:02 AM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

Exactly.

When I attended my first Divine Liturgy, I felt at home and was able to participate, even though large portions were in Greek. I recognized the shape or structure of the Liturgy from growing up in a liturgical church.
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« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2013, 12:06:12 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

I'd go a bit further. There is no "East" and "West". There are various kinds of Eastern and Western countries. I'm not an American so I don't knot whether the divide is getting irrelevant in America or not but it's still relevant around here.
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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2013, 02:42:03 PM »

If the cultural issue is not so big then what is the main argument of those who want Western Rite? Do they say that because the West had its own Orthodox tradition prior to the schism that it is worth reviving and therefore there is no need to import from the outside?

What is the main argument for Western rite?
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2013, 03:11:24 PM »

This question operates on the assumption that a "rite" means anything to a convert.

The argument I think has some traction is that some groups are closer to Orthodoxy than others and shouldn't necessarily have to forfeit their patrimony that is in line with Orthodoxy when converting since the Church presumably transcends culture — hence you see the parishes from the Anglican continuum coming to Orthodoxy and adopting an Orthodox liturgy that is very familiar to them.

The exercise in resurrecting incomplete, long-disused liturgies from the seventh century has less traction or viability in my mind.
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2013, 03:24:55 PM »

A lot depends on each convert's background, as well as the baggage they bring along. Were they raised Catholic, Protestant (umbrella term, but whatever), atheist/irreligious, or in some other religion altogether? Did the religious atmosphere at home jive with that around them? Do they want to retain any elements of their previous affiliation or do they want a clean break? And so on.

In short, I don't believe there is a single correct answer, and I would certainly oppose any attempt at imposing uniformity.

Basically, this.  Another practical consideration is the availability of churches of one or the other rite.  Not only would it not be wrong for a Westerner to embrace the Byzantine rite, but he may have no choice in the matter if that's all he has access to in the local church scene. 
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2013, 04:06:43 PM »

This question operates on the assumption that a "rite" means anything to a convert.

Good point.  And for the average American convert - coming in solo or with his or her immediate family - I don't think it does.  As long as they can get enough English in the Liturgy - whether that means the Byzantine or Coptic rite or whatever - they find their footing quickly enough and that (Eastern) liturgy soon becomes their own.  For every one American convert searching for a Western rite, I'd wager there are hundreds more who are simply searching for Orthodox worship in the English language.

The argument I think has some traction is that some groups are closer to Orthodoxy than others and shouldn't necessarily have to forfeit their patrimony that is in line with Orthodoxy when converting since the Church presumably transcends culture — hence you see the parishes from the Anglican continuum coming to Orthodoxy and adopting an Orthodox liturgy that is very familiar to them.

I agree.  The experience of groups (parishes or entire vagante churches) being received into Orthodoxy is radically different from that of individuals or families, and while I'm sure there are some folks who've sought out the Western Rite in the latter category, I think that it is much more prevalent in the former.

The exercise in resurrecting incomplete, long-disused liturgies from the seventh century has less traction or viability in my mind.

Sadly, I must agree.  Though I bemoan the grievous loss inflicted upon Oriental Orthodoxy when the Nubian Orthodox Church and liturgy were destroyed, when an acquaintance of mine - an intelligent but...eccentric (yeah, that's the word) academic who flirted with Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodoxy and eventually went vagante - said he was thinking about "reconstructing and resurrecting" that rite, I could only gawk at him as if he had two heads.
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2013, 04:29:50 PM »

For every one American convert searching for a Western rite, I'd wager there are hundreds more who are simply searching for Orthodox worship in the English language.

And it'll stay that way as long as WRO is treated as an exception and concession for those who are unable to man up and become Orthodox.
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2013, 04:48:30 PM »

IMO, the Orthodox Church needs to become more visible in Texas. While you have clusters of parishes in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are hardly any here in Texas.
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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2013, 04:55:54 PM »

IMO, the Orthodox Church needs to become more visible in Texas. While you have clusters of parishes in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are hardly any here in Texas.
Oddly enough, Texas has the most Antiochian WRO parishes of any region in the U.S.
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« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2013, 04:56:46 PM »

IMO, the Orthodox Church needs to become more visible in Texas. While you have clusters of parishes in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are hardly any here in Texas.

Step 1: Find more coal in Texas.
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« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2013, 05:18:00 PM »

IMO, the Orthodox Church needs to become more visible in Texas. While you have clusters of parishes in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are hardly any here in Texas.
Oddly enough, Texas has the most Antiochian WRO parishes of any region in the U.S.

Well, maybe about 3 or 4 but ofc it takes transportation and gas.
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« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2013, 05:32:29 PM »

Well, how many WRO parishes are churches that converted as a unit, and how many are missions? There would probably be more WRO churches if the Antiochians and Russians made a higher percentage of their missions Western Rite.
I don't know anything about the rate of parish-founding in those churches, though, so I'm talking out of my hat a bit.
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« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2013, 05:33:28 PM »

I'd go a bit further. There is no "East" and "West". There are various kinds of Eastern and Western countries. I'm not an American so I don't knot whether the divide is getting irrelevant in America or not but it's still relevant around here.

Yeah, but your country is officially Lutheran and Orthodox at the same time. So how big of a difference is it, really? Do Finnish Lutherans view Finnish Orthodoxy as something exotic or foreign; too "Eastern"?
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« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2013, 05:43:18 PM »

IMO, the Orthodox Church needs to become more visible in Texas. While you have clusters of parishes in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are hardly any here in Texas.
Oddly enough, the Orthodox presence predates any Orthodox parish in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.  The Galveston parish is among the oldest on the continent outside of Alaska, and the (Orthodox?) descendants of Philip Ludwell III, the first Orthodox in the New World (even before Alaska) are buried there.
http://orthodoxhistory.org/2013/08/27/photos-from-nicholas-chapmans-ludwell-research-trip-in-texas/

The Orthodox George Fisher served in the Mexican administration in Galveston, and went on to help found the Cathedral in San Francisco in the 1860s.
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« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2013, 05:50:21 PM »

Lots of great answers here. Within the Antiochian Archdiocese, only whole, stable parishes can become Western Rite, and they have to be vetted first for said stability. Not just anyone who wants to join can do so.

And the best answer, IMHO, which has been given already, is that the Western Rite is intended mostly for those parishes whose patrimony and native tradition are close enough to Orthodoxy that the move is relatively smooth and much can be retained. This is why Antioch's Western Rite is based upon the received tradition of the West rather than concocting something from the past, venerable as it may be. On the other hand, much in the received tradition was already ancient, so we aren't talking about a whole lot that had to be adjusted, so to speak.

Orthodoxy is Orthodoxy, regardless of cultural trappings, important as they can be. Rite really shouldn't matter. But there is some deep truth to the fact that some Christians are better suited to work our their salvation within a Western context of Orthodoxy, rather than an Eastern. Thank God our hierarchs and saints had the wisdom to recognize this.
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« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2013, 05:55:41 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine.


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« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2013, 05:59:29 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

I'd go a bit further. There is no "East" and "West". There are various kinds of Eastern and Western countries. I'm not an American so I don't knot whether the divide is getting irrelevant in America or not but it's still relevant around here.
It was looking at a Gothic church in Finland where the cohesion of the Western tradition hit me.
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« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2013, 06:00:11 PM »

IMO, the Orthodox Church needs to become more visible in Texas. While you have clusters of parishes in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are hardly any here in Texas.

Step 1: Find more coal in Texas.

I guess oil just isn't as compatible with the Orthodox phronema  laugh

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

Indeed. I've moved around a lot of different states quite a bit in the short time I've been Orthodox. The one time I've been close enough to a WR parish to actually attend, it would have been in another language anyway.

To address the OP, there is no over-arching "Western" to whom a robust Western Rite would appeal. Outside of the RCC, most Americans who bother going to church enough to have a church tradition are going to be Evangelicals, for whom any rite would be alien. It doesn't matter for an Evangelical if their prayer book has prayers from the BCP, Breviary, or one of the Byzantine/Russian collections- the very act of praying out of a prayer book is going to be a strange experience. It doesn't matter for an Evangelical if the chanting is done in Gregorian, Anglican plain-style, Byzantine, Georgian, Obikhod, etc- the very fact that there is no piano, no tunes past 1700 or so, and no "Worship/music leader/minister" taking over front-and-center from the clergy during pre-specified "this is singing time" is a new experience.

Even many converting to Orthodoxy from a more liturgical Protestant or even Roman Catholic tradition are doing so after the previous tradition having been a stepping stone out of Evangelicalism. When the liturgical tradition itself was a form of adjustment, and the language of the liturgy is not "in the blood" due to having been raised in that tradition, I think any culture shock from the mere liturgy of St John Chrysostom will not be all that great (attending a parish where English is not used, however, will definitely have an affect).

For these people, it makes more sense having a better translation of the Eastern Rite into English. And this is where I think the Anglican rite and it's Orthodox derivatives can help out. I think anyone attempting an English translation of the Eastern Rites should be required to first spend no less than five years using nothing but the Anglican prayers for morning and evening prayers (and for priests/bishops who wish to translate, using the Anglican Missal). More, during this time I think in addition to regular Scriptural and spiritual reading, these translators should be required to read only Shakespeare, Spencer, Milton, Tennyson, Eliot, and a host of other English/American poetry. After five years is spent immersed in this poetic tradition, and at least a little bit of the poetic mindset is absorbed, then and only then should translation be attempted. I think the same (that is, five years immersed in the local poetic tradition) should go for anyone attempting to translate the Byzantine Liturgy into the native tongue.

That said, I think a case could be made for having more Western rite parishes and more support for new Western Rite missions and such. Not for "Westerners" in general, but as an outreach for Westerners coming from more liturgical backgrounds, who might have become attached to the language of Cranmer or the Roman Rite. This is more of a "niche" here in America, and is shrinking into a "niche" in the European countries where atheism is becoming dominant, but a greater emphasis on Western Rite might make more sense in Europe than in the States.
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« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2013, 06:17:50 PM »

No. I converted from Roman Catholicism (Latin Rite), and didn't give a second thought to liturgical continuity or whatever you'd call it. It was only when I broadened my horizons beyond "You can either be Western or Byzantine" (which is essentially how many RCs see things) that Orthodoxy even began to make sense to me as a thing in the first place. If you were to try to get me to come to a "Western Rite" anything just because I'm not Coptic, I would pelt you into unconsciousness with cans of fava beans and feel nothing for you. Nothing.
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« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2013, 06:18:10 PM »

IMO, the Orthodox Church needs to become more visible in Texas. While you have clusters of parishes in places like Pennsylvania and New Jersey there are hardly any here in Texas.

Step 1: Find more coal in Texas.

Hey there....just across the border here in New York's southern tier, most of the Eastern Christian families are descendants of 'refugees' who had sense enough to have left the mines. My grandfather spent about a year working the mines in Nesquehoning, PA and said the heck with that and moved to Jersey!
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« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2013, 06:37:01 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

I'd go a bit further. There is no "East" and "West". There are various kinds of Eastern and Western countries. I'm not an American so I don't knot whether the divide is getting irrelevant in America or not but it's still relevant around here.
It was looking at a Gothic church in Finland where the cohesion of the Western tradition hit me.

St. John's church in Helsinki?

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« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2013, 07:02:38 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

I'd go a bit further. There is no "East" and "West". There are various kinds of Eastern and Western countries. I'm not an American so I don't knot whether the divide is getting irrelevant in America or not but it's still relevant around here.
It was looking at a Gothic church in Finland where the cohesion of the Western tradition hit me.

St. John's church in Helsinki?


No, Turku Cathedral

There was also a Gothic Crucifix in the National Museum, which reminded me of one I had just seen in Warsaw.
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« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2013, 07:08:06 PM »

Finnish RC bishop was ordained in that cathedral. It was fairly beautiful service for a Novus Ordo.

yle.fi/elavaarkisto/artikkelit/isa_teemu_sippo_katolisen_kirkon_piispaksi_41662.html#media=41663
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« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2013, 07:26:13 PM »

My attitude to the WR is that even if, for most converts, it would be no less alien than the Eastern Rites, it would be a shame to let it slip away into history when it could be recovered by the Orthodox Church fairly easily.
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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2013, 07:26:48 PM »

For every one American convert searching for a Western rite, I'd wager there are hundreds more who are simply searching for Orthodox worship in the English language.

And it'll stay that way as long as WRO is treated as an exception and concession for those who are unable to man up and become Orthodox.

I understand your frustration, and I certainly don't regard the Western Rite as a "concession for those who are unable to man up and become Orthodox" (one of the most wonderful and learned priests I know is WRO), but I think that in North America at least, what I've mentioned above has more to do with the fact that for most potential converts, rite - if it enters into the equation at all - is tertiary to (a) the Orthodox Faith and (b) the use of English as the primary liturgical language.  Many North Americans come from non-liturgical backgrounds (as FormerReformer has mentioned) and others aren't really conscious of themselves as being "Western" in any specific religious or cultural sense.  Still others, who do come from liturgical backgrounds, would feel offended and patronized if relegated to a specific rite because they were not of Eastern extraction (see dzheremi's unnecessarily violent, fava-bean flinging post!).  What percentage of the Orthodox churches in Finland would you say are Western Rite?  And what liturgy do they use?  Which Western tradition is it derived from?
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« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2013, 07:30:11 PM »

I would be very interested to know what people here think is the most appropriate rite for Westerners. Should they go to the Byzantine rite used by most of the Orthodox world or should they instead attend the Western liturgies of Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Is there anything wrong with a Westerner going for the Byzantine style?

Some have mentioned the example of how the Russians, Serbs, Albanians and others took Byzantine rite when they converted. Yet this has been attributed to the fact that all of these are eastern peoples and were geographically in the sphere of the Byzantine world. Would it be the same for Western people?

Most converts from a western christian confession go into the Eastern Rite anyway.  What's the point in shuffling them automatically into a WR parish?  Is it to say  to them "You're not Orthodox enough."  That's how many Eastern Rite laity and clergy view the western rite:  as something Orthodox-lite.  What's next?  If your family is of German origin, should you find the nearest parish which has the greatest amount of people of German descent?  Or if you're Italian?  All this needless talk is predicated on two things:  1)  WEstern converts are too stupid to worship in the eastern rite  2)  we need categories for everything (just like those Protestants we're trying not to be like)
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« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2013, 07:31:12 PM »

We're Byzantines. No WRO around here. I'm probably one of the few Finns who are aware that WRO exists.
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« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2013, 07:36:56 PM »

I would be very interested to know what people here think is the most appropriate rite for Westerners. Should they go to the Byzantine rite used by most of the Orthodox world or should they instead attend the Western liturgies of Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Is there anything wrong with a Westerner going for the Byzantine style?

Some have mentioned the example of how the Russians, Serbs, Albanians and others took Byzantine rite when they converted. Yet this has been attributed to the fact that all of these are eastern peoples and were geographically in the sphere of the Byzantine world. Would it be the same for Western people?
Why would I have wanted to join the Western Rite over the Byzantine Rite when I converted, anyway? Growing up an Evangelical Protestant as I did, both rites were equally foreign to me.
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« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2013, 07:39:40 PM »

I would be very interested to know what people here think is the most appropriate rite for Westerners. Should they go to the Byzantine rite used by most of the Orthodox world or should they instead attend the Western liturgies of Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Is there anything wrong with a Westerner going for the Byzantine style?

Some have mentioned the example of how the Russians, Serbs, Albanians and others took Byzantine rite when they converted. Yet this has been attributed to the fact that all of these are eastern peoples and were geographically in the sphere of the Byzantine world. Would it be the same for Western people?

Most converts from a western christian confession go into the Eastern Rite anyway.  What's the point in shuffling them automatically into a WR parish?  Is it to say  to them "You're not Orthodox enough."  That's how many Eastern Rite laity and clergy view the western rite:  as something Orthodox-lite.  What's next?  If your family is of German origin, should you find the nearest parish which has the greatest amount of people of German descent?  Or if you're Italian?  All this needless talk is predicated on two things:  1)  WEstern converts are too stupid to worship in the eastern rite  2)  we need categories for everything (just like those Protestants we're trying not to be like)
I worshiped as a Lutheran in the Middle East, so I know the situation in the opposite direction.

"go into the Eastern Rite anyway."  Few have any choice.

I know that Romanian Pentacostals and Baptists worship separately from their American brethren, because of cultural differences.
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« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2013, 07:42:28 PM »

I would be very interested to know what people here think is the most appropriate rite for Westerners. Should they go to the Byzantine rite used by most of the Orthodox world or should they instead attend the Western liturgies of Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Is there anything wrong with a Westerner going for the Byzantine style?

Some have mentioned the example of how the Russians, Serbs, Albanians and others took Byzantine rite when they converted. Yet this has been attributed to the fact that all of these are eastern peoples and were geographically in the sphere of the Byzantine world. Would it be the same for Western people?
Why would I have wanted to join the Western Rite over the Byzantine Rite when I converted, anyway? Growing up an Evangelical Protestant as I did, both rites were equally foreign to me.
My response as well. And let me add that Western Rite may appear a little "too (Roman) Catholic" for Evangelicals and others who may have that bias.
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« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2013, 07:43:23 PM »

Within the Antiochian Archdiocese, only whole, stable parishes can become Western Rite.

Not always.  Our parish (St. Gregory the Great in DC) was started from scratch (before I joined).  The pastor-to-be was a former Episcopal priest who had converted to Orthodoxy and gathered together a group of interested Orthodox laity and potential converts in the DC area in association with SS Peter and Paul parish in Bethesda.  They worshiped and met together for some time, and then he was ordained, the converts were chrismated, and the mission got started.  Later we moved out on our own and attained parish status.
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« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2013, 07:45:27 PM »

I would be very interested to know what people here think is the most appropriate rite for Westerners. Should they go to the Byzantine rite used by most of the Orthodox world or should they instead attend the Western liturgies of Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Is there anything wrong with a Westerner going for the Byzantine style?

Some have mentioned the example of how the Russians, Serbs, Albanians and others took Byzantine rite when they converted. Yet this has been attributed to the fact that all of these are eastern peoples and were geographically in the sphere of the Byzantine world. Would it be the same for Western people?
Why would I have wanted to join the Western Rite over the Byzantine Rite when I converted, anyway? Growing up an Evangelical Protestant as I did, both rites were equally foreign to me.
My response as well. And let me add that Western Rite may appear a little "too (Roman) Catholic" for Evangelicals and others who may have that bias.
which of course confirms the raison d'etre of WRO.
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« Reply #36 on: November 22, 2013, 08:21:35 PM »

I would be very interested to know what people here think is the most appropriate rite for Westerners. Should they go to the Byzantine rite used by most of the Orthodox world or should they instead attend the Western liturgies of Western Rite Orthodoxy?

Is there anything wrong with a Westerner going for the Byzantine style?

Some have mentioned the example of how the Russians, Serbs, Albanians and others took Byzantine rite when they converted. Yet this has been attributed to the fact that all of these are eastern peoples and were geographically in the sphere of the Byzantine world. Would it be the same for Western people?

Most converts from a western christian confession go into the Eastern Rite anyway.  What's the point in shuffling them automatically into a WR parish?  Is it to say  to them "You're not Orthodox enough."  That's how many Eastern Rite laity and clergy view the western rite:  as something Orthodox-lite.  What's next?  If your family is of German origin, should you find the nearest parish which has the greatest amount of people of German descent?  Or if you're Italian?  All this needless talk is predicated on two things:  1)  WEstern converts are too stupid to worship in the eastern rite  2)  we need categories for everything (just like those Protestants we're trying not to be like)
I worshiped as a Lutheran in the Middle East, so I know the situation in the opposite direction.

"go into the Eastern Rite anyway."  Few have any choice.

I know that Romanian Pentacostals and Baptists worship separately from their American brethren, because of cultural differences.

Heck, up in these parts, the Russians and Ukrainians accomplished the impossible: they have a 'Russian Ukrainian Baptist Church' - (kind of like the 'dogs and cats living together' line from Ghostbusters....) I mention them, but I will not link their website.
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« Reply #37 on: November 22, 2013, 09:06:54 PM »

If the cultural issue is not so big then what is the main argument of those who want Western Rite? Do they say that because the West had its own Orthodox tradition prior to the schism that it is worth reviving and therefore there is no need to import from the outside?

What is the main argument for Western rite?

Those who have gone Western Rite say that they appreciate the Anglican or Roman Rite and do not feel at home in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

However, at my first Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, I immediately felt at home as the Divine Liturgy was very sacred, absolutely beautiful, inspiring, and most importantly, so heavenly. As we stood in attentiveness and awe, we felt lifted up into Heaven itself, and indeed, during the Liturgy, if one has eyes to see, one is surrounded by all the angels, saints, and martyrs, as those witnesses surround us. My husband and I were in tears of joy.

On the contrary, at the Western Rite, where we are told to stand, sit, and kneel at different times, it felt too ritualized, and all these rubrics (when to stand, sit, or kneel) were a serious hindrance to our being attentive to the moment and to our worship of God as some older person clacked their teeth when we did not kneel fast enough.
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« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2013, 09:09:48 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

 Or care about a WR parish.
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« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2013, 09:23:38 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

 Or care about a WR parish.

When I visited a Western Rite parish, the priest told us that the WR used to be viewed as a temporary phase of becoming Orthodox.  Once a catechumen was instructed and received into Orthodoxy, they were expected to "grow up" and gradually work their way into the Eastern Orthodox parishes, and it used to be that the Antiochians would accept WR parishes into the ER parishes.

Now, however, once a new group of converts have expressed an interest in starting a WR parish, they are expected to commit to the WR and stay there. When that happens, seasoned WR parishioners would move or would gradually find their way into an ER parish. What ultimately happens, is that there is a continual flow of people from the WR into the ER. However, with the establishment of the Oblates of St. Benedict, more people have found a home in WR Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2013, 09:33:51 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine. WR is such a tiny niche anyway that most Westerners don't even have an opportunity to visit a WR parish.

 Or care about a WR parish.

When I visited a Western Rite parish, the priest told us that the WR used to be viewed as a temporary phase of becoming Orthodox.  Once a catechumen was instructed and received into Orthodoxy, they were expected to "grow up" and gradually work their way into the Eastern Orthodox parishes, and it used to be that the Antiochians would accept WR parishes into the ER parishes.

Now, however, once a new group of converts have expressed an interest in starting a WR parish, they are expected to commit to the WR and stay there. When that happens, seasoned WR parishioners would move or would gradually find their way into an ER parish. What ultimately happens, is that there is a continual flow of people from the WR into the ER. However, with the establishment of the Oblates of St. Benedict, more people have found a home in WR Orthodoxy.
If flows in the opposite direction as well. I've know converts to ER and ended up WRO, and even cradle ER who became WRO.
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« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2013, 09:50:16 PM »

St. John's church in Helsinki?


No, Turku Cathedral

There was also a Gothic Crucifix in the National Museum, which reminded me of one I had just seen in Warsaw.

Beautiful churches, both of them!
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« Reply #42 on: November 22, 2013, 11:41:04 PM »

The East/ West divide is exaggerated and is getting more irrelevant every day. Westerners going to Eastern liturgy is just fine.


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« Reply #43 on: November 23, 2013, 12:04:49 AM »

The general tone of the responses in this thread reminds me not to expect any large reception from other traditions in the near future.

I also think that the OP's question is a better one than some want to give it credit for.  Unless, of course, we wish to remain a largely ethnic or tiny niche church within Western Christianity. 

I think the question relates to a much broader view than the several journey, path, etc. stories mentioned in this thread. There are significant portions of the Anglican Communion and Roman Catholicism--just to name two, and two which are far far larger than Western Orthodoxy--that are being alienated from their respective churches.  The issue of which rite would be most appropriate for guiding and receiving these people into the Church shouldn't be dismissed so easily.

The notion that there is no "East v West" issue seems to be an incorrect and reactionary response to the question too. Yes, both are Orthodox, and yes the "Eastern mind" stuff  is pretty overplayed, exaggerated, or downright bogus.  That said, I've been to Byzantine and Western Rite parishes, and there can be a big difference between them.  Many of the practices that Sleeper describes are simply not done in Byzantine Rite parishes, and vice versa.  So sorry, when asking about "East v West" in the context of rites, there is a difference.  And these differences may affect the Church's appeal to certain populations.

Sure the individual's perspective matters, but I think the OP was thinking broader than the considerations of a smattering of oddball converts that wind up on this forum (I include myself in that number).

My personal, poorly researched and completely unqualified opinion--more of a gut feeling than anything--is that an Anglo-Catholic style Western Rite (if that can further develop and iron out some of its... issues) may be better for large-scale appeal in the broader "West," but that the Byzantine Rite is obviously the most widespread and developed.  It will thereby be the most dominant, prevalent, and able option, while also appealing to many interested in its practices or those disaffected with Western Christianity.  It's not crucial--a rite is a rite--but people (maybe not us) should be thinking about this question if we are to actually bring people to the faith.  I'm still not sure to what extent we're supposed to, but that's another topic.
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« Reply #44 on: November 23, 2013, 12:16:47 AM »

Schema-monk Fr. Gabriel Bunge's thoughts on conversion to Orthodoxy and the Western tradition are quite relevant and poignant.

Interviewer: "Of those who are wavering—do you think they could go in the direction of Orthodoxy, or might they instead give up everything?"

Fr. Gabriel: "The only way I see it happening is if they turn to their own Orthodoxy, because unless God works an unprecedented miracle that turns everyone to Byzantine Orthodoxy, there is a whole culture at work to prevent it. It is not just a matter of texts, or formulas. But they must turn back to their own Orthodoxy, their own traditions. For all these years, when I wrote my little books, my aim was this: as a monk, to help people have a spiritual life, to rediscover, reintegrate their own spiritual heritage, which is of course the same as ours; because we have the same roots."


Source: http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/65138.htm
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