Let me say that I've enjoyed this thread. GiC, I want to commend you for bringing up the contrast between living tradition vs. "reconstructed" tradition; it's about the only point folks have made that could stand against the current western rite experiment. It's still apparent to me, though, that this is a legitimate move on behalf of Antioch and ROCOR. My comments below will attempt to explain why.
How outlandish of me to refer to the Instructions that my former Metropolitan, of Most Blessed Memory, gave on the matter. Heaven forbid I would have sought the advoce of my Bishop.
Yes, yes, you even reply as he did to the Rev. Paul Schneider, Vicar of the Western Rite. Allusion noted.
We are in a difficult pastoral posistion of having to deal with Priests and Parishes who, while under the Great and Ancient Patriarchate of Anitoch, have divorced themselves from the Tradition of the said patriarchate.
Divorced? Hardly, as Antioch has allowed them to do this. It's not as if they came in, then went western rite!
Thus, the decrees of the Metropolitan directed HIS Priests not to involve themselves in this radical departure from the Liturgical Customs of the Eastern Churches
Again, departure? Divorce? First, this is not an originally Eastern-Rite (ER) parish network that decided to strip down the ER so they could be something else. They are western in character. Secondly, I can completely understand his saying, "no concelebration with them," as you'd have to be bi-ritually ordained by your bishop to concelebrate; I don't know of anyone who's ever been qualified to do that since Ss. Cyril and Methodius (maybe St. John Maximovitch?). But to say "no contact with them, don't attend their services" is to turn a blind eye to the diversity that's always existed within the Church for various reasons.
(Strange how people will be up in arms about the removal of a few prayers to shorten a service, but will openly support a complete and utter destruction of the Liturgical Customs of the Eastern Church),
No one's attempting to destroy the Eastern Rite. Calm down and stop overreacting. This, as I've said, is western in character, and in no way is set up to effect change within ER parishes. We are, however, affirming that which is already Orthodox within the anglican and RC rites and filling in the rest as Orthodox. You're right in saying that it's not the same as what Episcopalians and Catholics do, as are you right in saying that what any western rite parish is doing is not the same as what happened pre-schism. But liturgies have always had give-and-take throughout the centuries, with this region pulling from that region's liturgy to put this prayer here or there, etc. No, it's not done willy-nilly--much deliberation and prayer should go into this--but it has been done. Often.
forbade Priests who did not dress themselves in the Vestments of the Church from Celebrating in HIS Churches (Heaven forbid we require priests to dress like priests, wouldn't it just be great if we could have Clown Liturgies instead?), and sought to protect the Faithful under HIS Omophorion from this departure from Orthodox Tradition.
I know this was already addressed, but why the jump from western rite (a venerable practice which has had its place in the Church) from necessarily making the way for Clown Liturgies (a joke which is a mere innovation with no apostolic support)?
As I am opposed to the Unia in the Latin Church, consistancy requires me to hold a similar view of the so-called 'western rite,' for me to take a more sympathetic posistion would require that either I accept the intrusion of the Unia as legitimage or embrace the hypocracy of conflicting posistions, neither of which I find acceptable.
Pardon me, but bull. The Unia was set up as a direct effort to pull Orthodox parishes into communion with Rome (and, thus, heresy, divorcing them from the Church's dogma). The Unia is based on prosetylization, while the WRO are groups of western Christians who have themselves, of their own volition, come over to the Church. None of this "Episcopalians in communion with Antioch," identity crisis nonsense.
The easiest solution would be for the so-called 'western rite' parishes to start acting Orthodox, and embrace the Liturgical Traditions of the Orthodox Church.
Eastern. For western rite parishes to start acting eastern
and embrace the traditions of the Byzantine
Rite. This is what should be said. As has been mentioned, rite means absolutely nothing in terms of belief. Correct doctrine, along with apostolic, eucharistic worship which has been approved by a canonically recognized Orthodox bishop is what makes one Orthodox. Period.
why make the Host look unOrthodox?
As yBeayf correctly stated, the more ancient (and still extant) tradition was the wafer-esque style. It's just that it doesn't look Byzantine. Byzantine =/= Orthodox.
Finally, to address GiC's comments about accepting the rites of heterodox bishops (i.e., the Archbishop of Canterbury) who return with their flocks to the Church, well, I'd say that'll never happen short of a miracle, but let's say it did. You'd still wind up with something FAR removed from the Eastern traditions and something that, really, would only be about a step away from what the AOAA WR is doing now. So I ask: apart from the formality that the WRO would (in this hypothetical situation) now have their own, WR bishop to be WR (in almost the exact same way) under, how would the problem which the late Metr. Antony perceived be any different? We'd still have a western "foreign element" within a Church that has long been exclusively eastern (really, exclusively monoritual, thanks to the 13th Century decree that wiped out all other eastern liturgies in favor of the imperial one) worshipping in a way that is distinct (not divorced) from the eastern liturgies, and that is almost identical to what the AOAAWRV is doing now.