Ari, how may we who are involved in this discussion, go about ordering a copy of the shorter and longer St. Colman Prayer Books?
You have stated what to me is very surprising news: that in the 1970s there was a BCP eucharistic rite in use in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, in a mission in Connecticut. What was the name of this mission? Who was the priest? Was it actually Bp. Gregory Grabbe who approved the BCP eucharistic anaphora? What Alcuin Club volume?
Father, you would have to contact Fr. Michael directly about that. As I suggested some years ago ('02-'03) you might reciprocate with him - and with Dom David, Dom James. The issues of distribution are partly economic, and partly guarded because of experiences with those who have acted in bad faith. We had one clergyman in a group outside the mainstream ask for the SCPB, and immediately upon receiving it began lying that it was just a 'Book of Common Prayer'. Fires had to be put out over that - and we still have negative impact from that one person's act (ignorant or malicious.) We've had attempts by those in groups that practice homosexual unions and women's ordination to get the book - some of which had even claimed already on their websites or to others that they did liturgy the ROCOR Western rite way. There is no interest in our sacred rites being used to legitimize such things. Hence it is expected that those who get the books use them, and use them *without modification* - especially helpful for those coming from Anglican or Independent backgrounds that are used to DIY liturgy. (We also don't tend to the liberal/libertarian side of the spectrum - but traditional and conservative. So there is going to be resistance to such an idea as 'open source liturgy'. "The doors, the doors....")
For history - I believe the parish using the BCP was St. Anthony's in Greenwich, and was in ROCOR from the late '60s until Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) was elevated to the Episcopate. The story was passed on to me in '00-'01 by an Oblate of Christminster who in those days was with HTM-Boston. The group had been received with the help of Bp Gregory when he was Chancellor, and then disappeared around '75. From what I understand, his experience with that group soured him on WRITE: according to the Oblate, the parish had experimented with an unadapted BCP. That, and the changes of the RCC and PECUSA in their 1970 missal and 1979 BCP all prompted the 1979 ukase on modern rites not being used. (I would hope that just because a Blanco exists, that some wouldn't blame Orthodox monasticism.) Out of curiosity - do you remember the ROCOR Western Rite parish that used to exist in Atlanta in the 1980s?
The Alcuin Club volume is the 'Russian Observations upon the American Prayer Book, translated imperfectly and selectively by Wilfrid J. Barnes. Though the general gist of that translation is correct: "The committee, after reviewing these "Observations," allowed in general the possibility that if Orthodox parishes, composed of former Anglicans, were organized in America, they might be allowed, at their desire, to perform their worship according to the "Book of Common Prayer," but only on condition that the following corrections were made in the spirit of the Orthodox Church. " It was not carried out - nor is the English liturgy of ROCOR a full realization of that Synodical directive, but only the English eucharistic rite is based on the directives of the original Russian document (and, it was an act of the Holy Synod - as it had been set up for that purpose. 'Committee' is a poor translation on Barnes' part.) You might want to ask Vladyka about the documents surrounding this issue.
Of course, that has nothing to do with the rest of the material in the Saint Petroc books developed by Vladyka, Fr. Michael, and others - which are not based on the BCP, but on the Sarum Missal and Breviary (the English rite, again, is also not an adaptation of the BCP rite - though it shares some material with the 1549 and Non-Juror's liturgy.) The Great Litany is not BCP, nor are the offices used (Matins, Prime, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Evensong, Compline), nor are the Occasional Services. The language will be familiar to former Anglicans, as it is the language of Cosin and the Douai-Rheims - and the general form is familiar, as the BCP - especially the non-Reformed ones - have similarity to the Rites of the Western tradition from whence they derive.
Alpo - the Sarum rite did influence the uses of the Scandinavian churches, and even further afield. There was a general 'body' of uses that were proper to the Northwest: Britain, Ireland, France, the Low Countries, Germany, Scandinavia, and Portugal - all having shared features in rite (the ritual text, ceremonial, ornaments, etc.) Not surprising as the missions in most of those areas largely came out of England.
David - I would point out that your views of the Western rite and our clergy in particular *are exactly the same* as they were when you were a vagante Anglican earlier this year. So just who is importing just what? Yes, many vagantes have joined the Orthodox Church in both Eastern and Western rites. Many of them good clergy and laity - some not. We've received clergy from Old Catholics, Milan Synod, Exarchate of Alexandria, French Orthodox - all sorts. We even have now liturgy being used in ROCOR now that was brought in from vagante groups in the past three years. We're not Puritans. One could remember St. Gregory the Great's advice to St. Augustine of Canterbury - to Christianize what was outside the church (even the pagan temples), and to use what he found in the Gallican rites that were 'pious', of 'religion', and 'upright' or 'true'. St. Gregory the Great's advice certainly applies to our present mission. That being said - the majority of us in ROCOR WRITE do use one or other of the rites found in the SCPB. Some have brought in versions with more modern translations (e.g. 'ages of ages', rather than 'world without end' - the latter of which Dom Augustine argued for the retention of, and which all the original Mount Royal books retain.) The uses we have in the SCPB (Mount Royal, Sarum, English - and even Celtic) have canonical reasons for their use, and a tradition of use in the Russian church, and thus fit in with what has been done before. It would be ridiculous though to overthrow long-standing ROCOR Western rite tradition to force a use on everyone that has been imported from a separated body - and for what? It would be foolish, if not only because those who might wish so are simply not aware *what* ROCOR and the Russian Church has done with Western rite over the past century and a half.
The problem with modern scholarship is that it just as easily operates from modernist or post-modernist assumptions. Scholarship rarely agrees, rarely reaches a consensus, and is fluid in that it changes with the decades. Theories rise and fall, schools co-exist and vacillate in their importance. If we make 'scholarship' the requirement for our use - then we *have* become the modern Anglicans. That is exactly the impulse that has produced the modern 'Common Worship' or even the Novus Ordo mass. Scholarship is limited by the scholar - what he is able to perceive by his experience, by mental mistakes he makes. Even the 'peer review' process can be flawed, particularly where several minds pass around a flawed meme. There will be then some resistance against ideologies being imported into the Western rite of ROCOR that derive from something else than Orthodoxy. That being said - we do need cooperation in mission. But, respectful debate cannot happen when it begins on false premises. Spreading false tales, playing 'secret agent', and stirring up trouble are certainly not the way to get our clergy 'out of their shell'. (And, some of us have tried to drag them out of their cells into the 21st c. fields - there's work to be done.)
Fr. Michael is definitely not in danger of importing any Anglican attitudes: that is all just a straw-man employed by those who wanted to remake ROCOR's Western rite in their own image (a vagante attitude if there ever was one.) He is quite critical of those Anglican and vagante attitudes, which often show up in a virulent anti-Westernism, or a desire to Reform the Orthodox Western rite - without having spent any time in it. Fr. Michael is a sincere, prayerful, and most Orthodox man of God. So is Fr. Barry. They are much loved and respected by those who truly know them.
I can appreciate the zeal of the convert as well - but a little realism is called for. The Byzantine rite missionary outreach to Westerners has not achieved all that great of success in the West. In the South, it is as old a mission as the Western rite: and still lacks proper parish churches, lacks vocations, has aging clergy population, and a lack of connection between the other jurisdictions (I shouldn't have to point out the obvious - ROCOR, MP-ROCUSA, OCA, UOCUSA, ACROD, etc.) It has never been a major concern through most of Orthodox presence in the modern West. A few attempts at an English language Byzantine rite were abject failures (the Toombs affair, for instance.) English speaking Byzantine rite can be found in all sorts of camps as well - there is no unity to it, partisanship for all sorts of jurisdictions, spiritual fathers, translations, adopted national customs and identities. There has been no major impact on our societies - not yet. In fact, in some parts it is precisely 'dropping out, and tuning in'. So it is quite a bit premature to speak of it as a 'success' in those terms... we're just not there yet.
There might also be more connection with AWRV than you or others realize. We maintain a close relationship with some in the AWRV. Dom James does as well - particularly with others in the AWRV or pro-Western rite AOC Byzantine clergy. I do not think that imposing one liturgical use or another would help mission at all. For someone in the Eastern rite to suggest it? I would counter with 'you first'. See if you can get your parish to switch to doing liturgy in the Greek mode - or even if they would want to merge with St. George, Hobart so as not to duplicate efforts? How successful has the Russian mission in Hobart been in producing/keeping stable and pious clergy candidates for their parish? See if the Old Rite folk are willing to convert over to Nikonian now as well - I doubt most would consider that a helpful suggestion. Within a day's drive of myself are a handful of different Byzantine rites: Greek, Antiochian, Ukrainian. Those that use English rarely ever use the same translation. The ordering of the services are different, what services they have, the chant, rubrics, ceremonies, customs. The irony of that being - even with the small differences in the Western rite, they are still less different from each other than the differences one has in the Byzantine rite.
PS - I'm not Aristobule. That is someone else - Aristobulus is also someone else (and on this forum.) I am Aristibule - but I'll answer to Arwystli Og, Aethelraed/Aelred, or Ari.