Saturday, August 14, 2010

Romophobia in the WRV

I've been pondering this topic for some time now and I only recently decided that it needed to be brought up publicly. One of the worst things that any of us can do is to pretend that things are what they really are, and writing openly (and using our names rather than shooting like a sniper in hiding, being called "Anonymous"--are we adults who let their yea, be yea, and their nay, nay?) is the only antidote that I know of. I write openly, with my name and I welcome queries and discussions.

So, as the title of this post suggests, I would like to make a couple of observations--based upon my intuition--about the sickness of Romophobia in the Western Rite. I have seen this for some time and I honestly cannot understand it. My incredulity comes from a couple of places: (1) from the mind of the Western Rite itself, and (2) from Orthodoxy. There will be some who will question my Orthodoxy I know, but of those who are serving in our Western Rite parishes, how many studied in an Orthodox seminary? How many were formed by living within an Orthodox (in this case Eastern Rite) community where Orthodox was taken for granted? How many of them checked their assumptions at the door as they came into Orthodoxy, rather than becoming simply "propositional Orthodox" (they just change conclusive propositions from their former way of life and don't let go of their primary assumptions)? I'm not aware of any. I did this myself, preferring to leave a good paying job behind and sacrifice through seminary work. I don't make light of any of the sacrifices that our clergy in the Western Rite have made--they have made very deep sacrifices. I'm simply giving my pedigree as an Orthodox.

Romophobia is an absurdity within the Western Rite because the Rite itself finds its historic character in, um… well… uh… Rome. I rather suspect that there are some who want to make certain that they look as un-Catholic as possible. On the surface several of these folks have tried to put an "English vernier" on their statements, for example, "The Sarum Use" does this or that or the other. If one is honest, one would have to come to the realization that, through Alcuin, the Roman Rite was powerfully effected by the English. But it was digested and developed within the Diocese of Rome. The Western music of the Church, Gregorian Chant, comes from (here comes that awful place again) Rome. It was codified by (oh horrors!) a Pope, Gregory the Great by name. The Canon of the Mass, called the Liturgy of St. Gregory by our WRV, was set in its normative form by the same Pope Gregory I, in his Sacramentary.

But I know that the concerns flow from certain "devotions" that are thought of a Roman: Sacred Heart (a parallel to the Akathist to the Sweetest Lord Jesus); Stations of the Cross (St. Tikhon of Moscow even led meditations on the Stations when he was in Poland before the US--with both Orthodox and Roman Catholics joining in!). The list goes on to include Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, and so on. It is almost as if the Romophobes are looking to the 39 Articles of Religion for a guide to their theology, certainly they are held hostage to the 16th century!

This phobia, and even deep hostility, causes them to desire to recreate the WR according to their lights. They desire "to purify" the texts and make them compatible with their assumptions. One has even gone so far as to change the text of the Exsultet, written by St. Ambrose of Milan in the 4th century. I had no idea that we had a theologian and saint that is so exalted in his powers that he can correct a Saint universally beloved in the Church. How fortunate we must be. But the truth is that it is simply a habit of a former Anglican to create his own liturgy. (I am a former Anglican to be sure, but I want to use what is authorized and not to create something from my own prejudice.)

Some of these folks believe that this will make Protestants feel more welcome in their midst and that their churches will thrive and grow. Well, point out to me one of them that has done so with this mindset. Nada, goose-egg, there aren't any. And yet the (gosh I hate to bring it up again) Roman Catholic Church is bringing in Evangelicals and Protestants in great numbers! Romophobia doesn't seem to be at the heart of those who would look at from where they are. It simply doesn't wash.

Romophobia is also a very un-Orthodox illness. Saying that, I have to admit that I've seen Romophobes in Orthodoxy but they aren't particularly healthy. It is impossible to define oneself by saying what one is not. Such negative definitions ought not to be thought of as yet another form of apophaticism. I have been told that back in the 1940s and 1950s Orthodox clergy were very often good friends with their Roman Catholic counterparts. There was no sense of fear of them, rather most of them saw an historic kinship which needed correction, but which still existed in some sense. With the increase of converts, Romophobia has been imported into Orthodoxy from the outside. There have always been tensions and sometimes there have been martyrdoms on both sides of this fence, but it was never from a phobia.

I find that if one holds to this sort of phobia, then there are many things that one will not be able to embrace that are absolutely part of the Orthodox treasury. Another Orthodox priest and I were speaking about the Romophobic content in our WRV and he asked, why didn't they just become Eastern Rite is they are so fearful of things Roman? As we discussed it further, we agreed that those with such an attitude would have problems with things done in Eastern Rite parishes too. [Veneration of the Belt of the Virgin (yes, I've venerated a fragment of it myself)?] Patriarch Cyril Lukaris found that ultimately Protestantism (which is little else but Romophobia made ecclesial) is incompatible with Orthodoxy. No wonder that there have been so very few genuine Anglo-Catholics who came into our WRV, most were "prayer book Catholics" of some sort or another.

It is not my job to correct these things of course. But I will say that unless they are dealt with decisively, then the WRV will implode from the inside because of several visions vying for predominance. The authentic vision must given and enforced, or it will truly be over. The job falls to the Vicar General and we'll all wait to see what he does. The longer he waits to act, the deeper the disease infects and the less likely will there be a cure. I hope that he recognizes that his experience with Eastern Rite parishes does not help him here because he is not dealing with Middle-Easterners but Westerners who want and need a firm direction and clarity. There is something to letting the Holy Spirit do his work, but that should not be relied upon when the same Spirit has given authority to act. Failure to act, is failure to let the Holy Spirit do his work through us--which he is ever wont to do.

As I said at the beginning, I write openly with my name being known because this must be discussed and resolved once and for all, and no one seems to be doing so. Because I am not in a WR parish currently I needn't fear any reprisals for my comments (except perhaps being forbidden to serve in the WR in some future and unknown case and date). So, my question is this, what is your vision of the WR in Orthodoxy? Is it a reintegration of the Western Church's life into Orthodoxy? or is it a new thing created on the biases of the 16th century Reformation and Romophobia?


  1. I think fascination with the Celtic tradition also carries with it a fantasy for a perceived "non-Roman" tradition, a pure Orthodox Western Europe untouched by Rome that never was. What people do with the Synod of Whitby is almost laughable, thinking that the choices were between Celtic "Orthodoxy" and "Roman Catholicism", even though Rome was fully and canonically Orthodox. As a matter of fact, Rome in the seventh century was the standard-bearer of Orthodoxy when Constantinople was dabbling in the Monothelite heresy.

    The Celtic Church itself was in no way Romophobic, commemorating the Pope in Rome in its anaphora. St. Patrick himself would be quite shocked if he were told that his church was a "pure" because it was "untainted" by any hint of Roman tradition.

  2. Robert,

    You're absolutely right. The "Celtic" church stuff is pretty ridiculous. At the bottom of all of this is a self-created world, which is nothing but fantasy. Those who base their religious and spiritual lives in fantasy are planting an anchor in the clouds… and usually it will fall down on them with disastrous results.

  3. Father-
    Really enjoying this site. Thanks for what you are trying to provide as there isn't a WR blog actively blogging let alone doing this!
    I did have something on the Filioque but that will have to wait until I dig out my source material; I'll get back to you on that.
    Why are you in Michigan and not back in Texas (or as BBT referred to it as Norte Mexico, in the movie The Alamo)?
    Speaking of Texas, why are there more Western Rite Orthodox parishes and missions there than anywhere else? Why are there more Anglican Use Catholic parishes and missions there than anywhere else? What is it that keeps the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth from becoming Western Rite Orthodox or Anglican Use Roman Catholic?
    Now as to the subject at hand:
    Having only attended 1 WRV parish a few times (Saint Michael's, Whittier) I had not really noticed Romophobia but after Mass discussions generally were of the friendly mundane variety. I think many people who become WR do so as a lesser of 2 evils - Rome proper or Byzantine Rite Orthodoxy. Which still begs the question as to why more former Episcopalians convert to Rome with their horrible liturgy rather than WR Orthodoxy? What of the Continuing Anglican groups? They would be more at home in the WRV but for all their talk (esp. the HCC-AR) they make no movement other than the several Charismatic Episcopal parishes recently because that group abandoned it objective to become Orthodox. Current defectors from TEC have opted to form the ANGLICAN CHURCH in NORTH AMERICA, which is being called TEC light or TEC RETRO 1976.
    Well I better stop as I have more but at another time. All this is saddening and maddening and meanwhile due to travel distance I have no where to go. Am I going to have to move to Texas to be spiritually satisfied?

  4. Matthew-

    I think the reason that the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth hasn't done anything yet is two-fold. First, they are in a lawsuit with the Episcopal Church and part of their defense is that they are still what they have been all along. Were they to move either direction they would lose their case (and their property and money). So they can't act on anything just yet.

    The second reason is that the Diocese is not unified in a direction to go. There is a small group who like the idea of the Orthodox, a larger group who like the idea of Rome, and another group who would like to find a conservative and "safe" way to continue as what they are. I would expect that once the suit is decided, parishes, clergy and laity will be going in several different directions. The Diocese and bishop will probably try to keep as many together in a block as possible to make a better arrangement for them all.

    I think the view that the ACNA is TEC retro 1976 is pretty accurate because they have no solved the source of the problems that have developed into what is happening now in TEC. There is women's ordination is some dioceses and not in others (boy that's familiar). They've only turned the clock back but the road forward into the current TEC problems will be much faster for them since it's happened before. They have also embraced Calvinism to an alarming degree. I can't really see a self-respecting Anglo-Catholic entering into communion with that.

    The folks at St. Michael's are not Romophobic and are good folks. It's a solid parish thanks in large measure to the late Fr. Michael Trigg. And they came from a solid group into the WRV which I believe is planning on entering into the Ordinariate as soon as it is possible.

  5. This is indeed an interesting post, but I am not too certain that I agree completely with some of your conclusions. I was for several years a member of Incarnation in Detroit, the original parish; I never really encountered a strong anti-Roman attitude in the parish, and all of the devotions that you mention were practiced and although the rite was in some manner "Anglican" its celebration was completely according to O'Connor's liturgical notes.

    The type of hatred that you describe I have only really seen in the ROCOR's so-called western rite, but please remember that these people, both eastern as well as western, besides their hatred of Rome seem to hate just about everyone; Anglicans, Romans, Oriental Orthodox and not too long ago the Moscow Patriarchate as well (for a very long time they even rebaptised "converts" from other canonical Orthodox jurisdictions !). I completely agree with your assessment of their Sarum fantasies.

    Where I have seen the type of hatred to Rome that you describe within Antioch has been in the three former Evangelical parishes that I have visited. Trust me, never again. Their list of people going to hell or not having the true faith made me wonder why they had not gone to the ROCOR in the first place...who probably would not have received them. They refused to accept me as Orthodox because, at the time, I was still officially a member of an Antiochian western rite parish.

    I would like to mention that I am a graduate of an Orthodox seminary, S Serge in Paris, and was raised in a traditional Russian Orthodox background, I have never felt the need to attack Rome or to consider her as anything but a sister Church; feeling very sorry over the real excesses of Vatican II and the liturgical damage done to the ancient Latin tradition. Having said that I do believe that there are serious differences that separate us, but I do not believe that finger pointing and one-upmanship really does any of us any good.

  6. Two of the handful of genuine Anglo-Catholic clergy the WRV has had in the past were Frs. Angwin (of Incarnation, Detroit), and Fr. Charles Lynch, both of blessed memory. I would expect that you would not have seen any Romophobia there. I remember Fr. Joseph very fondly as I was able to see him regularly in Florida before he died.

  7. "The folks at St. Michael's are not Romophobic and are good folks. It's a solid parish thanks in large measure to the late Fr. Michael Trigg. And they came from a solid group into the WRV which I believe is planning on entering into the Ordinariate as soon as it is possible."

    Thanks for the compliment, Father. St. Michael Parish is truly a blessed place, and Fr. Michael Trigg, the late founding rector, was my spiritual father. St. Michael's continues strong under the leadership of Fr. Stephen Herney, who during weekday masses celebrates the Tridentine mass in English, though he has expressed some desire to learn enough Latin to do it in Latin. The culture that Fr. Michael, of blessed memory, established made possible an Orthodox environment that is not inimical to everything Roman. We regard Roman Catholics not as heretics, but as brethren; errant brethren, to be sure, but brethren nonetheless. That was Fr. Michael's spirit, and that is the spirit he left at his departure from this life.

  8. Fr. John,

    I was directed here by an Anglo-Catholic friend (probably due to comments referencing ROCOR's Western Rite.)

    Romaphobia may or may not exist, but there are other possible answers. One is simply that there has always been diversity in the Western rite. Even during the period when the Franciscans were attempting to spread the Curial use of the Roman rite (Tridentine.) Because someone is English use or Sarum rite is no indication of Romaphobia nor 'liturgical archaeology'. I think a good indication of this would be that the English old Catholic recusants had asked for the Sarum use only a few generations ago. Who put a stop to it was an Anglican convert who opposed it due to it being English Catholic (he had a preference for the Irish immigrants.) That is the same sort of problem that led to the creation of the OCA and ACROD from the Eastern Unia.

    Not all of us are going to be enthusiasts of the Tridentine, because that is not the universal Western heritage. Is the Sarum Northern Catholic? Yes - so is the Dominican use. Is it from Northern France? Only partly so - the Roman Catholic scholar Daniel Rock DD in his study on the Sarum use showed that the rite already existed, and was codified from the books which Old Sarum inherited from Sherbourne and other English churches. That it is so similiar to some uses such as Rouen do not point so much to Norman annihilation of English custom, but rather to long ties between England and France. (Kent possibly was within the sphere of Merovingian rule - just as an example.)

    Of course, that is history: and not the *basis* of what we do, but it is context. ROCOR WRITE simply doesn't have roots in the PECUSA's Anglo-Catholic wing: so we don't have the same biases. (Many of us have been Byzantine rite, a number are bi-ritual, and while some are of Anglican origin - they tend not to be American Episcopalian in heritage.)

    Dale - What did we do to you now? Of course, I know pretty much everyone in ROCOR's Western Rite: and I've not met a Romaphobe yet. I apologize if we weren't up to your ideal. And, no - we don't hate Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholics, etc. We are jealous of our traditions, yes. Some of the things that you claim about us (ROCOR, and the Western Rite) here and in other places is simply not true. Of course, we've never met to talk it out. As far as I know you've never visited any of us?

  9. Ari,

    Thank you for joining in the discussion, I hope you'll continue. In writing this post I had some very specific subjects in mind but I am not at liberty to be too specific. I wish I could be more specific than that but it's not possible. I don't know all of the ROCOR WR parishes so I can't really speak authoritatively about them, although I am aware of a couple of them and I believe my comments are correct concerning them.

    Anyway, I welcome your comments and thoughts.

  10. I am a bit of an oddball Orthodox. I'm a pure-bred America cradle, but my parents were not "convertodox." Inconceivable! Everbody knows that there aren't supposed to be American cradles who aren't nutso hype-Orthodox! But, there you go. My parents never got new convert syndrome, and I'm not a convert. So there.

    Anyway, though I was (naturally) brought up in an Eastern Rite parish, and continue to attend one, I have recently been attending services on weekdays at a nearby Western Rite church, and I love it! I can't put into words what it is; the best I can do is to say that it seems like something that I didn't know I was missing until I found it.

    I've never seen any Romophobia at the church I go to, nor have I seen it at the other two Western Rite churches I've visited. So far as "Roman devotions," the only one I have anything like an aversion to is the Sacred Heart stuff. Just hits me weird, you know? But the Rosary, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross - bring it on! Heck, I even have a fifteen decade rosary I made myself (not that I ever use it - to my shame - but I still made it)!

    When - God and the bishop willing - I get to seminary, I hope to do my thesis on the Western Rite and get enough training to be able to perform the services in the Western Rite. Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

  11. God bless you Reader. The WR is a magnificent way of living the Faith of Christ.

  12. Ari, Fr. Michael's website in England which attempts to proselytize Anglicans begins by attacking both the Roman Catholic Church as well as the Pope of Rome, including for some strange reason a picture of his Holiness (please see: in bad taste. He also fails to mention that he does not consider Anglicans to be Christians and baptizes them. I find that the ROCOR to be basically dishonest; especially since the ROCOR condemned the western rite and officially declared in 1978 that it had no place within the Russian Orthodox Church. The gratuitous attacks made by ROCOR priests, especially Fr. Aidan Keller, against the western rite in the Antiochian Archdiocese, and seconded by Fr. Michael, are well known.

    Please let me know exactly what I have stated is not true?

  13. Dale,

    I took a look at the website that you linked. While Fr Michael's rhetoric is a bit sharp, for the most part he simply sets forth principled theological objections to Rome that the Orthodox have always had (indulgences, infallibility, universal jurisdiction, etc.). To an extent, he is simply reminding Anglicans that the fact that Anglicanism has serious problems does not mean that the theological problems with Roman Catholicism have somehow gone away.

    I don't think simply noting the same theological differences that Orthodoxy has had with Rome for centuries constitutes "Romaphobia"; if it does, then St Photios and St Mark of Ephesus were "Romaphobes" and I, for one, am happy to be in their company.

    As for baptizing converts, ROCOR is hardly the only jurisdiction that sometimes does this, and I do not think it is called for to act as if this is a sin against charity. It does not mean that Fr Michael (or ROCOR in general) does not regard Anglican converts as Christians. It means that they take their responsibility as stewards of the mysteries seriously, and that they care about the integrity of the sacraments and of the Apostolic faith. If they have their doubts about whether that integrity can reliably be found in Anglicanism, can you really blame them?

  14. Chris,

    I think that by starting a web site whose stated aim is to convert Anglicans by attacking the Roman Catholic Church is indeed "Romaphobia." Since the Orthodox church does not "re" baptize, condemned as the heresy of Donatism, then the only alternative is that the ROCOR is baptizing those who have never been baptized, and hence, non-Christians. Trying to put a different spin on this is pathetic at best. He also baptizes converts from Roman Catholicism as well.

    I for one have never seen a Roman Catholic site interested in converting Anglicans begin by attacking Orthodoxy; and there is much to attack, besides phyletism there is the reality that the present Ecumenical Patriarch supports the "right" of a woman to have an abortion withing approbation of the Church...but I have NEVER come across such a thing amongst the Ordinariate crowd..EVER.

  15. Dale - no, just who has Fr. Michael baptized that came from the Roman Catholic church? I know for a fact that chrismation for Roman Catholics is the norm here in ROCOR's WRITE (we had one chrismated here just last Pascha.)

    Secondly - it isn't proselytization. We are not addressing those in communion with Canterbury, or Rome for that matter. WE are addressing those who have left either communion due to conscience, who might have an interest in Orthodoxy. Telling the Good News and being available is quite different than proselytization.

    You've never seen a Roman Catholic site interested in converting Anglicans attacking Orthodoxy? What would the TAC's Ordinariate sites be doing? They regularly attack Orthodoxy, Western Rite Orthodoxy in particular - and you have participated in it. Of course, we're against abortion, and against phyletism - yet you seem to have some beef with ROCOR.

    Fr. Aidan Keller is not a representative of the Western Rite within ROCOR.

    Fr. Michael has made no 'gratuitous attacks' on the AWRV either. He has differences with them liturgically, as he - as many of our ROCOR WRITE - were never Episcopalian (American/Scottish BCP heritage.) In fact, he is on good terms with quite a number of AWRV clergy and laity: as am I, Dom James of Christminster, and Abbot David. We are also on good terms with the Antiochian clergy who have served Western rite in Australia. IF there is any animosity, it is not coming from the AWRV in general, nor from ROCOR WRITE (Christminster, Mount Royal, or Saint Petroc.)

    As for the supposed ROCOR condemnation of Western Rite in 1979. Mount Royal was received in 1975 - and remained with ROCOR until the present. Abbot Augustine only passed away (RIP) a few months ago, and Dom David was elevated to replace him (Dom David had been made a reader at Mount Royal in the early 1990s, left for Milan Synod, and returned a few years ago to ROCOR WRITE - I was present during the return, and was in indirect communication with Dom Augustine from 1998 - and he was still ROCOR then.) The English 'ban' on Western rite rather was published by HTM-Boston during the period in which they attempted to take over ROCOR. According to our own clergy, the 'ban' was only on modern liturgy (the Novus Ordo Mass, BCP 1979, or 1928 unedited.) You'll notice that is evidenced by the fact that Western Rite has been continuous in ROCOR - Mount Royal until the present (even though Dom Augustine was retired), and Christminster since 1993. IF the Synod had acted to suppress it in 1979 - it would have been suppressed. It wasn't. So - why are YOU spinning it elsewise?

    Fr. John - I do not believe your comments would be correct concerning any community in the Saint Petroc paruchia (as I have noted with Dale.) It isn't the case with Mount Royal, nor with Christminster (and Dom James regularly attends the AWRV conferences. I have once as well in 2000 at OKC.) So - just who would you be referring to?

  16. Ari,

    My post here is directed at a very specific group within the Antiochian WRV. I don't know the other Orthodox WO to make an honest comment one way or another. I would be happy to say very specifically who I have in mind except that I was asked to keep this in confidence. And while I will keep my word, I was given leave to express the problem in more general terms. I'm sorry that this may have caused some confusion.

    However, let me say that there are those within the AWRV who embrace a specifically Romophobic approach in what they are trying to develop. When asked publicly why they do as they do, they will say that it is because they believe this is the "Orthodox" approach. But recently one of their number let the cat out of the bag.

    I sincerely apologize for the somewhat shotgun effect of the post, but it is the only way that this perverted notion can be made known (given certain confidences) and ended. In weighing the issue, I honestly believe it is a needed conversation.

  17. Fr. Guy,

    As a carmelite priest serving in the Eastern Rite, your post has been most helpful. I also enjoy the dialogue that flows from it. I have a great love for the Orthodox Church and long for full communion between east and west. Some would say the Council of Florence failed due to lack of grass roots support among the Orthodox faithful. Rather than remain in safety, you have invited a conversation on how we can understand one another and return to a united Faith. The Holy Trinity invites us to be one in truth and love. CS Lewis and St. Seraphim of Sarov have been great friends on this quest.

    fr. Jim

  18. Fr. Jim,

    Thank you for your kind words. There is so much that needs to be done and I too hope for the day when we might have "the common chalice." The Council of Florence illustrated some of the worst of both sides I think. But I would have to say that the ingrained anti-Western bigotry (I don't think it can be called anything else) certainly raised its ugly head when the Council was presented in Constantinople. We have a lot of work to do.

  19. The actual text of the ROCOR condemnation of the western rite is as follows; it certainly seems pretty specific about a western rite in the Russian Church, and remember for some "present form" is anything after 1054. A deacon in England (ROCOR) has reiterated that anyone who is genuinely orthodox will quickly reject even the western rite orthodox liturgy and go Byzantine. Here is the text:

    "RESOLVED: The Western rite in its present form was introduced after the apostasy of the West from the Orthodox Church and is not in accord with the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church with which it had been united for the course of many centurles. It does not reflect the Orthodox Church's liturgical tradition. Thus, it does not satisfy converts to Orthodoxy when they familiarize themselves with it to a greater degree, and has nowhere enjoyed success. In consequence of the above, the Council of Bishops does not recognize it as possible to permit the Western Rite in the Russian Church."

    – ROCOR prohibition on the Western Rite, published in January of 1979

    Notice it is not at all specific to the novus ordo! But simply states "western rite."

    In Fr. Michael's site he actually states:

    "his [the Pope's] church still issues indulgences as if he has power over your afterlife - and it still has the ongoing - increasing - problem of widespread paedophile priests."

    I suppose that Fr. Michael has conveniently forgotten the hairy-monks of Texas in his own jurisdiction, or perhaps he thinks, probably quite rightly, that in England this pedophile scandal is unknown. I would consider this type of slander to be the worst sort of "Romaphobia" I can imagine.

    I personally know several Roman Catholics who have been received into the ROCOR via baptism.

  20. Ari states:

    "You've never seen a Roman Catholic site interested in converting Anglicans attacking Orthodoxy? What would the TAC's Ordinariate sites be doing? They regularly attack Orthodoxy, Western Rite Orthodoxy in particular - and you have participated in it."

    The site of which you speak is the "Anglo-Catholic." It has never attacked Orthodoxy, but has raised questions about the true acceptance and viability of a western rite within Orthodoxy. The history of western rite Orthodoxy has not been very positive. If you really wish to see the outcome of a western rite Orthodoxy numbering over ten thousand individuals in several large established parishes, please take some time to see what was done to the Italian western rite parishes in the late seventies...they were simply told to leave. The lies told about the western rite, this time by Antioch, in the "Pilgrimage to Orthodoxy" in England are also well known in English Anglican circles. Hence, the "Anglo-Catholic" has felt, quite rightly, the need to question any offer from the Orthodox if it includes the canard of a western rite. And I thoroughly agree.

    On the "Anglo-Catholic" there has been a certain attack against the Anglican liturgy in Antioch, not too much different than that coming from the ROCOR, declaring that it was "not the way to do such things." Since I was a very good friend of Fr. Angwin who had been tasked with the hard work of compiling this liturgy, I have supported the Antiochian Anglican Use, and still do so. I think it is a remarkable achievement.

    Ari further states (regarding the declaration of the ROCOR against the use of a western rite):

    "IF the Synod had acted to suppress it in 1979 - it would have been suppressed. It wasn't. So - why are YOU spinning it elsewise?"

    The few places where it continued, all monastic, were places that already exited and the western rite was used by a few old monastics; and it never received any type of support whatsoever even in these isolated communities. The Italians that I above mentioned, when faced with their rejection from the Moscow Patriarchate, did indeed turn to the ROCOR bishop in Geneva; who told them exactly the ruling of the Synod...there is no western rite in the Russian Church. He also told them that he did not consider that they were baptized, even though they had been Orthodox for many years. I know this from personal contact with several of the clergy involved.

    Ari, I do not think that this is the correct venue to air this type of dirty laundry; but do rest assured that I do know what I am talking about...even if it does not please you.

  21. I am very intrigued by this discussion. Having been around a bit and having a lot of exposure to the AWRV and ROCOR-WR I can say that in one place or another much of what everyone is saying is true. This would apply to the WR and ER as well. There are tremendious variations parish by parish in the WR as to matters like devotions. Just as an example at Christminster/Our Lady of Glastonbury (ROCOR-WR) we do Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, but not a Sacred Heart Devotion. The use of the Roman Rite we use is similar to the AWRV St. Gregory but with a lot less "Byzantine tinkering". What variations one would experience would be due to the fact that our setting is a Benedictine foundation with a parish admixture. There were some crazyness in ROCOR about the WR many years ago but for the most part today any negativity is based on ignorance and/or a pet peeve of individuals. With an exception or two at the episcopal level there have been very, very strong support. Just for example Metropolitan Hilarion is visiting us for two days next week and will be participating in the Monastic Horarium including a votive Mass of Our Lady of Glastonbury this coming Wednesday which should have a strong attendance not only of our "regulars" but of local Orthodox clergy and laity.
    If the WR in ROCOR were so poorly supported why is it that Chriostminster and Our Lady of Glastonbury Church are Stavropegial Institutions (as is every WR locale in ROCOR)?

    As I said earlier there have been low points and some real negativity in the past but the WR in the Russian Church has been around for some time and I think is now firmly entrenched. Some of the distortions (such as what happened in Italy) with the MP were residues of the Soviet period but while I am sure one can find exceptions the WR has support there as well. In fact one of the oblates to Christminster is a MP peiest from Europe who has a blessing from his Bishop to celebrate the Roman Mass with an absolutely unaltered Canon! The opinion that if the Roman Mass was Orthodox before the Schism it is Orthodox today is a particulalry strong opinion in Russian MP circles.

    As to some voices in ROCOR that support a more selective and "archaeological" approach to the WR all I can say is that that is just an example of the openess of ROCOR to all sorts of expressions of the WR. Approved for use in ROCOR are two variations of Sarum, the "English" (based on a rendition and correction of the BCP), the Roman Rite (with a few local variations or "Uses") St. Peter, and perhaps one or two more. I would say on a Sunday morning the Roman Rite (even though the overall numbers are small) would be the easy majority and in the MP in the few places where the WR is used the only currently approved Rite.

    As to re-baptism; irrespective of rite ROCOR has been all over the map as has most of Orthodoxy. All I can say is we do not re-baptise as a matter or course but would if there was any question as to form. People coming over from modern Anglicanism or other Protestant denominations would be probably suspect as to validity of their baptism while as a general rule Roman Catholicis would not.

    As to Romophobia one sees that just about everywhere in Orthodoxy not the WR (as a general rule). I for one think the Council of Whitby was a good thing and I am somewhat suspect of nostalga for things Celtic, etc. to the extent that they carry an agenda. The bigest source of Romophobia are evangelical converts and in turn they usually are not too hot about the WR anyhow.
    Reader Polycarp Sherwood

  22. I'm wondering about a couple things:
    One, is "Romophobia" defined as active opposition to the present state of Roman Catholicism and the historical forces that have created its present structure of dogma?
    This term seems slippery to me, like the term racism in American socio-political life. If we don't accept everything in the Vatican for the last 1000 years as good and well, does that make us romophobic?
    Moreover, what would a position of "not-Romophobic" but still opposed to Roman innovations look like/sound like?
    I think that definitions are in order for this discussion.

    One ROCOR WR priest explained it to me that his problem is not Romophobia, (I actually suspect he's a Latinophile) but that he is concerned with the use, in Orthodoxy, of practises based in theology that is suspect. If we hold that the Holy Spirit works to keep the Church whole, and we also hold that Rome left the Church a 1000 years ago, then it seems only logical that things arising in the west after that time cannot be said to be held by the Holy Spirit. Moreover, there can certainly be suspicion of its origin, like the big festival in Medjudjordje. Given these things, care and discernment are not only acceptable but required when dealing with things coming from Rome. Fr Michael Pomazansky wrote quite well against the Sacred Heart cult among the RCs in his book of Dogmatic Theology, and if his writings are taken as true then celebrating it in our churches of any rite would be a problem.
    Is this what you mean by Romophobia?
    What I tend to see, in my limited scope, is that there are those who simply don't trust Rome and approach relations with it cautiously. These seem to be the Romophobes. Then there are those who seem to operate on a two lungs level and who are willing to overlook things that seperate us. Since now the Russians, including Moscow the Third Lung, are now more accepting of WR stuff I think that we certainly can examine these things, but I'm not sure that accepting Rome as she is is going to work out for anything other than talking past each other or ignoring issues that must be clarified in toto and NOT left out to avoid offending the RCs.
    I think that the real heart of this matter is the question paramount to ecclesiology: where is the Holy Spirit. If He reamined with Rome after it left the Church, then we can keep everything Rome has produced since then, including Vatican II. If not, then we should be EXTREMELY careful in adopting things that come from something other that piety guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Toma Mallett

  23. In response to the points raised by Toma Mallett in which he expresses caution as to the Western Rite in Orthodoxy. I don't think there is any differences as to Rome's innovations but I am reluctant to give ground to those who regard the Roman Rite as being "defunct" in any way.

    I provide some lenghty quotes from Bishop Jermome, formerly Fr. John Shaw of ROCOR. Bishop Jerome is a strong supporter (and user) of the Western Rite in ROCOR and the Vicar Bishop to Metropolitan Hilarion.

    "Since the Body of Christ is One on earth and in heaven, the fullness, or entirety, of the Church is always present in it. Thus the unity of the Church includes the one teaching, committed by Christ to the holy Apostles in its entirety, without changes or additions; the unity of the faith and the communion of the Holy Spirit.
    The Church always abides in its fullness; all Orthodox Christians throughout the world and throughout time, are together with us, when we communicate and when we are at prayer in the Church: all the Saints, all our ancestors, all those close to us, regardless of where they are: in this life, or in heavenly abodes.
    In this fullness, there abides not only the Church of Russia, but all the Local Orthodox Churches of all lands and all Orthodox peoples.
    For this reason, there are no “closed” or “destroyed” churches, no “abolished” monasteries, because the Lord God, in whom their departed members abide as part of His Church, is outside of time, and they are eternally with Him.
    One should therefore not suppose that any part of the Church has ceased to exist. For example, the Armenian Church of St. Gregory the Enlightener will always exist in heaven, no matter what the state of the Armenian Church on earth may be.
    The earthly Roman Church separated from Orthodoxy; but the heavenly, Orthodox Church of Rome will always exist, and St Gregory the Dialogist and the other Orthodox Western Saints are ever with us.
    The earthly Armenian Church, and the Roman, fell away from the unity of Orthodoxy, and are deprived of communion with us: but the Armenian and Roman Saints, being in the Kingdom of God in heaven, eternally present that spiritual foundation upon which those Churches can be restored.
    This truth was seen with exceptional spiritual clarity by St John Maximovitch, who restored Western Orthodoxy: he remains invisibly present with us, and his mission lives.
    In other words, to be Orthodox means to be in union with the whole Orthodox Church, and to accept all of its heritage.
    “Walling oneself off from heresy” is impossible; but we must, at all costs, remain within the borders of the Holy Church.
    Therefore, the bishop is not left to his own powers, but is one of the organs of the Body of Christ.
    Since I have now been elected to serve as a hierarch, I see the main goal of that service as working to strengthen church unity.
    Thoughts of church unity led me to the True Church when I was still in my teens.
    My parents and ancestors were of “Anglo” origin, and I had been raised in the Anglican (Episcopal) Church. But one has only to ask where Anglicanism had its origin, when Protestantism began, to see that the Church of England had broken away from Rome, and Rome in turn from the Orthodox Church, and only the Orthodox Church remains in spiritual unity with the Church of Christ and the Apostles.
    From the time I was received into the Orthodox Church, I was blest with such teachers as our ever-memorable hierarchs, Archbishops Nikon, Averky and Seraphim, and among those still on earth Bishop Daniel of Erie and Archbishop Alypy; as well as our new Saint John Maximovitch. They had a great influence on me, and I have a sense of filial love towards them."
    Reader Polycarp Sherwood

  24. Vladyka Jerome says it all and, as is usual, says it very well. Rome left the Church. We therefore cannot assume that what took place in Rome (including it's "development of doctrine" was inspired of the Holy Spirit - neither it's development of spiritual practices (whether or not they might happen to contain little or nothing contrary to Orthodoxy...if for no other reason than that such would confirm error and heterodoxy and encourage souls therein.

    It never fails to amaze me that so many - particularly we converts to Orthodoxy - look outside of the authentic Tradition of the (Orthodox) Church for devotional practices and spiritual nourishment. What is there post-schism is heterodox...and at the same time there is such an almost-infinite wealth of spirituality within Orthodoxy (both east and west) that no one could ever taste of it all in a single life-time.

    The Apostle teaches us that there is one Lord, one Faithh, one Baptism. That is why those coming from heterodoxy rightly receive the one Baptism that is of one Faith of the one Church - Orthodox. Chrismation is certainly correctly (and often incorrectly) used as circumstances permit. But an argument can be (and is) made that the theology of the Mystery of Baptism is either misunderstood or ignored by those who *refuse* Baptism to converts, whether from Rome or any other heterodox Christian or non-Christian origin. Those who do not understand what the heresy of "Donatism" is would do well to learn about it and stop demonstrating their ignorance by attempting to use it to buttress their own agendas, whatever they may be.

    There is a difference between being "Christian" and being joined to Christ's *Church*. That's why the Church has for centuries made reference both to Orthodox and to heterodox Christians.

    What St. Tikhon did (or is claimed to have done), what St. John of Shanghai, or any other saint, or Father, or individual in the Church may have done is only relevant as to information: not only is the Pope of Rome not infallible, but neither is any saint or other Orthodox Christian. Only the Church is infallible, in Council and in its acceptance of the consensus of the Fathers. It's dangerous for those who are not in ROCOR to point out the failures of some in ROCOR (or to point to some of her luminaries or other Russian Church luminaries as an example to be followed when that example may sometimes be seen to be deficient) when there is not an ecclesiastical jurisdiction in which far more troubling things can be pointed out. Something about glass houses comes to mind.

    We remember the acceptance as a Priest into an Orthodox jurisdiction by the wave of the hierarch's hand in a hotel room. A married former Roman Catholic priest-monk under solemn vows, he had left his monastery and married a nun (also under solemn vows) from the convent to which he was assigned as a chaplain while neither of them were either released from their vows or laicized, and he served as a PECUSA/TEC minister until he wanted out. That reception certainly sends mixed messages about almost everything ecclesiological! Even so, years later, that Priest - having learned that Orthodoxy is not just the (Roman) Catholic church without the pope - eventually repented of it and was finally received into the Church and made no further pretense to Priestly orders. He died an Orthodox Christian, which was his greatest wish.

    Fr. Anthony

    - to be continued -

  25. First of all, I apologize for the length of this whole comment post: I wrote it before I learned the hard way that it was too long. Since I'm obsessive-compulsive, I couldn't just *edit* it...

    So - if it works - here's the final part:

    * * * * * * * * * *

    We are a bi-ritual parish of the ROCOR and began serving W/R with a blessing from our local Bishop and from Synod years ago. Recently Bishop Jerome from Synod visited us for our Feast (July 11/24 - the Translation of the Relics of St. Benedict - specifically *authorized* by the ROCOR Synod and added to the calendar on the date which is also the Feast of St. Olga, a rather important and highly-venerated saint in the Russian Church) and while he did not serve the W/R Liturgy for logistical reasons - like no W/R vestments - he presided, he and his Deacon and attendants Communicated, and he bestowed the Pontifical Blessing (in Latin) at the end of the Gregorian Liturgy. Likewise, photographs of our W/R services have appeared on ROCOR web-sites at least as often - probably more so - than photographs of our E/R services.

    We have a small but serious group of Oblates of St. Benedict, scattered over four states - provided for in our founding Constitution and By-Laws established in 1983.

    So much for ROCOR official condemnation of the rite.

    Oh, and ROCOR does not hate anyone: Rome, Anglicans, Oriental Orthodox, the Moscow Patriarchate, not even AWRV! While there may be individuals who lack charity, God expects us to pray for them, that His Grace will turn their hearts. Whether in ROCOR or in other Churches.

    The title of the opus that began this discussion is "romophobia-in-wrv." It's important that "phobia" properly means "fear" - not "hatred" - of it's object. While I neither fear or hate Rome (she was my mother - though an errant one - for the formative years of my life), I understand those who do fear Rome - that is, the church of Rome - and who hate it's errors.

    They fear Rome because any one who is even slightly literate and informed about Rome, its history and ambitions, can be expected to understand that it not only claims authority over all Christians, but makes little secret of its ecclesiolgy, which might be summed up: Resistance is futile - you will be assimilated.

    They hate the errors of Rome because they recognize that those errors are soul-destroying.

    We might forgive the caution with which those who recognize Rome's errors approach what might be seen as incorporation of those dangers into the life of the Church.

    Oops! Forgive any's late. It's almost midnight...better get to bed so I can be ready to serve the Gregorian Liturgy in the Octave of Transfiguration in the morning. Yikes! I sure hope Synod doesn't find out!

    Fr. Anthony

    * * * * * * * * *
    V. Rev. Protopriest Anthony Nelson
    St. Benedict Russian Orthodox Church
    Oklahoma City, OK USA

  26. Well at least Fr. Nelson has settled the fact that yes indeed ROCOR does re-baptise converts. Fr. Thomas Hardy in England testifies to this as well...including the re-baptism of Catholics (including a former monk of the Roman Catholic Church...anything you wish to add Ari?).

  27. It would also appear that the BCP usage of Fr. Michael is not Orthodox; since it was not part of the Roman mythological Church of a thousand years ago according to Fr. Nelson. I am very happy to have Fr. Nelson finally settle what I have been saying all along about the ROCOR. One suspects that by the time they are done with a so-called western liturgy the only western thing about it will be the use of a Gothic style chasuble! It would appear that the group in Canada actually praying that dreadful papist prayer of the rosary better stop it! And stop it now!

  28. All Orthodox Churches will baptize converts, including Roman Catholics. Let's remember the ecumenical uproar caused in France when the Church of Constantinople baptized seven Trappist monks, including the renowned patristics scholar Dom Placide Deseille. After the baptisms a Constantinople bishop re-ordained them as priests and deacons (whatever their former Catholic rank was.)

    Here in New Zealand our very actively missionary-minded Greek Metropolitan Amphilochios is at work baptizing all Roman Catholics.

    When I was a Serbian priest for 16 years I baptized all Catholic converts, including two priests and a nun. You will find that Bp Longin in the States is doing this.

    In the Russian Church Abroad it varies from diocese to diocese.

    In 1972 when the question came up in Synod of the Russian Church Abroad and some bishops wanted, as a counter to ecumenism, to mandate baptism for all converts regardless of origin there were other bishops who disagreed (Canada for example) and said that they would continue with the practices of pre-revolutionary Russia. So the synodal resolution on the matter simply recommended baptism for all but left the decision in the hands of the local bishops.

    In this diocese of Australia and New Zealand (mine) the policy of baptizing everybody was never adopted but the diocese stayed with the pre-revolutionary ways of doing things. If you have a copy of the Hapgood service book you will find these various methods of reception detailed there.

    Fr Ambrose
    ROCA - Australia and New Zealand

  29. Curiouser and curiouser! Simply shows a complete lack of theological unity. The Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholics were received in the 1930's via a telegram from the Roman Catholic Church! And they continue to receive Roman Catholics via reception of communion and they are in communion with Constantinople. It all seems to be nothing more than personal opinion even within each jurisdition. Gee...I hate Catholics this week, so I demand they be rebaptised! Oh changed my mind! I hate Anglicans this now, not Catholics, so they must be rebaptised...and on and on it goes!

  30. Sorry! I meant that the Carpatho Russians were received from the Roman Catholic Church by Istanbul via telegram!

  31. This all reminds me of a professor of mine in seminary. He was received from the Greek Catholics via vesting in the Russian Cathedral in Paris, when he went to Greece they refused to allow him to con-celebrate unless he was chrismated,which he was. Later on Athos they refused to con-celebrate and accept his priesthood unless he was baptised, which he was. But at no time did anyone demand that he be re-ordained! It is this kind of action and attitudes towards the sacraments that make the Byzantine Orthodox look like either fools or idiots. Perhaps batooska Nelson can reacquaint himself with Donatism. It would appear that he has no idea what it is.

  32. I am surprised that anyone whould look at Orhtodoxy for consistencey in a lot of areas such as Baptisms, Ordinations, etc. ... I gave up on that a long time ago. If anyone is looking for something wrong (or at least upsetting to their sensibilities) then Orthodoxy is where you will find it. I still think warts and all Orthodoxy is a much better place to be than those who are outside of the Church. I think I made it clear earlier that the Western Rite in ROCOR has a lot of different expressions and those who agree with each other on this or that matter are probably in the minority. I am sure that some of what we may do from time to time at Christminster/OLG will not be what Fr. Anthony Nelson would do. I think what is particulalry good is that ROCOR, for the most part, is open to testing what is legitimate and pleasing and what is not. I for one am not adverse (within certain limits) to using post-schism devotions (some have roots that are pre-schism) that are not contrary to Orthodox belief. I know for certain that Fr. Anthony believes this is a poor practice. I guess this will sort itself out someday but I am not terribly concerned about getting into a big debate. There are variations in the Eastern Rite as well and may I point out I have been to Greek Churches that have had the most Vatican II treatment you could imagine. How would you like "Just as I Am" tooted out on an organ complete with Baptist robed choir at communion? I think that would give most people a lot more cause for alarm than some WR parish people doing the Rosary which in turn is an adapation of reciting the Psalter for those who had no ability to read in the middle ages. (5 mysteries x 10 Hail Mary's x 3 cycles = 150)
    I am sure that if ROCOR Bishops have any major issue with what we do they will say something.
    I have heard some of the strangest (and even disturbing things) said by Orthodox including some people in ROCOR... so what? I cannt control what others do and say and ultimately the only person I am responsible for is myself. I am sure if you are looking for something wrong with the ROCOR WRITE you will find it.
    Reader Polycarp

  33. Dear Dale,

    Recommend that you read

    1) this small essay by a Melkite Catholic on the different approach to the validity of extra-ecclesial Sacraments caused by Augustinian and Cyprianic theology.

    Message No. 20 at,13357.msg185268.html#msg185268

    2) The last official statement from the Church of Constanople, in 1875, which recommends that the variety of practices in the reception of converts be left to the decision of each Orthodox Church until such time as a Council can meet and formulate a common policy.

    Dragas, G, "The manner of reception of Roman Catholic converts into the Orthodox Church", Myriobiblos Library, 1998

    You also need to consider that some converts actually have a strong desire to be received by baptism. Someone has mentioned Hieromonk Michael Mansbridge-Wood. Now Fr Michael was the Archdeacon of London when he came to the Russian Church and he himself sought to be baptized. He had had several wives and divorces in the past as an Anglican and he wanted to have all that cleansed through Baptism. It was a wise move since he had the thought of being made an extra-territorial bishop for the Western Rite and he needs a "clean slate" to be consecrated. I recall pointing out to him (but it was already after his Orthodox baptism) the teaching of Saint Ambrose: Baptism washes away all sins but not marriage.

  34. Ari wrote: "Fr. Aidan Keller is not a representative of the Western Rite within ROCOR."

    Of course he is a representative, along with the other 3 WR priests within the Russian Church Abroad - Abbot David, Dom James and Fr Michael.

    Fr Aidan Keller is well thought of and his various liturgical publications (Sarum) are approved by the Metropolitan for sale in all Russian Church Abroad bookshops. Fr Michael's on the other hand are restricted to the members of his paruchia and it has always been difficult to obtain copies in the past.

  35. Just to clarify on the matter of devotions. Devotions are essentially private. Parishes usually do not organize (as a public effort for example) the Rosary but individuals might very well do them. I think I made it clear when I earlier wrote "some WR parish people doing the Rosary". To that end there is circulating a version of the Rosary that is corrected for Orthodox usage that I know a number of WR people use. Some will use different devotions and to that end I cannot be a judge of other people's practices. People here may pray the Rosary but it is not Christminster/OLG that is doing so as such. I can say I do from time to time but I have not been runnning around asking people what they do themselves. We do have on sale knotted ropes that would be suitable for doing the Rosary but we sell all sorts of books and other devotional material as well. If doing the Rosary is not for someone then I am OK. It is not essential in any way.

  36. Phobia seems to have been on both sides at the Council of Florence. Pope Eugene IV issued the Bull "Cantate Domino" at the end of the Council. In it he consigns to everlasting fire not just the Orthodox schismatics but also Jews and in fact every person living who is not subject to the Roman Church. Quite terrifying!

    "The sacrosanct Roman Church, founded by the voice of our Lord and Savior.... firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."

  37. So is anyone going to answer me?
    I should like to hear the impressions of the owner of this blog on this topic. What exactly is "Romophobia" and what parameters make one Romophobic or not romophobic? Without common definitions we are only talking around each other.
    I also wish to know more about Dale. I am interested to know where you think the Holy Spirit permeates? Are you an Orthodox Christian yourself, or a student of religion in general? I ask becuase I am interested in what you think it means to have "One LOrd, One Faith, One Baptism"? If there is "One Baptism", and baptism is the prerogative of the Church as guided by the Holy Spirit, then whence is the baptism of unitarians or presbyterians or even Rome? I agree with statments made by a preist of acquaintence - there is no such thing as "re-baptism", there is only a baptism inot the Church.
    AS for consistancy, you are forgetting that the canons are not a legal structure like they are for the vatican. The canons are to guide the Church, and bishops can determine that the better path is to allow something via economia if it is in the best interest of a convert or Christian and in keeping with the general ethos of the Church. If one bishop exercises economia in one way, but another does not do the same, then this doesn't affect unity, only visible uniformity. If one goes to Athos, which has it's head pastor who requires one thing, then they are within their rights to exercise their authority within thier jurisdiction. If someone doesn't like that they assert their authority over themselves and their practises, then he can remain in the area where the desired economia is allowed.
    As for me, and I would like to share this with you Dale, I have found that thknning about these global issues is distracting and frustrating. AS for me, a layman, my duty and right is to take any issue up with my bishop, and according to what he says my duty is obedience. I think it is EXTREMELY dangerous for individuals, expecially layman, to make blanket negative stataments about an entire synod of bishops as if we are in a position to judge them. Our ecclesiology is such that when they get together they will be guided by the Holy Spirit. Robber Councils are possible, but never permanent, and the Will of the Holy Spirit will prevail so that the gates of hell don't prevail. I think a layman can certainly choose WHICH bishop to trust and obey, but to make lashing comments about one or several bishops while sitting under the omophor of still another is spiritually damaging to the self. I agree with the above poseter who offered that devotions are private, and these should be arranged with the direction of one's pastor.
    It is surely just as bad if Greeks do Vatican II type stuff as it is if WR folks do something off the hook. However, I'll let my bishop tell them that they're ate up.
    This leads back to my starting point. I do fear Rome, I fear their intentions and their endgame, as well as the really left-field things John Paul II would say. I fear their Fatima and Medjudjordje, as well as the cult of body parts of Our Lord and His Mother (Holy big Toe of Jesus, pray for us). It doesn't feel right to me, and I know that Bishop Peter would never do these things. Neither, of course, would my Patriarch Ilia. But what this translates into is whom I have chosen to trust. I trust Bishop Peter, Met Hilarion, Patriarch Ilia and Met Kallistrate. I don't trust the Romans. If that is Romophobia, then I'll have to admit guilt.
    I'm a big fan of St Ignatius, and I think that his estimation of the bishops office and prerogatives should be my standard as well.

    Fr Anthony, you have oblates in only 4 states?

  38. Is Roman Catholicism hostile to Orthodoxy?

    Nobody who is reasonably acquainted with the history of the contact between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy will doubt that the desire of Catholicism for centuries past has been the extinction of Orthodoxy. There has been a mere 40 years since Vatican II when Rome has adopted a different tack, but is 40 years enough to convince the Orthodox that the leopard has changed its spots? It did not convince Metropolitan Anthony Bloom of London, 30 years after Vatican II.

    What he said is worth noting since he was a Russian hierarch who had actively participated for decades in the ecumenical dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholics.

    He was unable to attend the annual Synod in Moscow in 1997 and he made a written report to the Patriarch and Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and in part his report reads:

    "Our relationship with Roman Catholicism

    "It is time we realised that Rome is only interested in extinguishing Orthodoxy. Theological encounters and 'accords' on the basis of texts lead us up a blind alley, for behind them there looms a firm resolve of the Vatican to swallow up the Orthodox Church."

    The whole thing is in "Sourozh" the diocesan magazine of the UK Russian diocese, SOUROZH, 69 (August 1997), 17-22.

  39. Toma,

    I've answer the comments to this entry for some time because the conversation has taken on a life of its own, I've moved to newer posts after several days, and because I had answered the question about Romaphobia earlier to Ari--although perhaps not as succinctly as you might have liked. This was my general answer:

    "My post here is directed at a very specific group within the Antiochian WRV. I would be happy to say very specifically who I have in mind [and the exact points] except that I was asked to keep this in confidence. And while I will keep my word, I was given leave to express the problem in more general terms. I'm sorry that this may have caused some confusion.

    "However, let me say that there are those within the Antiochian WRV who embrace a specifically Romophobic approach in what they are trying to develop. When asked publicly why they do as they do, they will say that it is because they believe this is the "Orthodox" approach. But recently one of their number let the cat out of the bag."

    What I have in mind here, again in general terms because I can't get into the specifics, is that terror of anything that which has developed in the West and which they automatically identify as Roman whether or not the antecedents of these items are to be found in the Western Christian life of the Church. It is the fear of anything Roman (and indeed their definition is quite flexible and moving so it's very difficult to be too specific about it) is what I am calling Romaphobia.

    I hope that helps.

  40. Thanks Fr. John - that does help. Sorry that the thread has attracted the 'usual suspects' that try to tear down the Western rite.

    Dale - again, I've seen Roman Catholics within the past year received into ROCOR by chrismation. I had asked the Metropolitan, and my own clergy about my own reception by chrismation some years ago - and was told not to worry about it. The Russian tradition is that of chrismation for those who have had a Trinitarian baptism in water. That is the norm in the Moscow Patriarchate (and, they have a large number of converts amongst the Lithuanians who have been similarly received.)

    Fr. Ambrose likes to pop up here and there to attack Fr. Michael. Don't let it worry you. He also tries to use Fr. Aidan as a wedge. I'll reiterate: Fr. Aidan is not the spokesman (or our example) for ROCOR WRITE. We have a Metropolitan (whom we are directly under), and our WRITE clergy - Fr. Michael, Abbott David, Dom James, etc. They've been doing Western rite in ROCOR (along with Dom Augustine) since 1975 uninterrupted - and the Russian Church altogether since 1962. So, if Fr. Aidan celebrates using a Western text in an Eastern space, or with a mixture of any details East-West (and I think that is due to what he has available) - that isn't the norm in ROCOR WRITE. It certainly isn't a new norm - Fr. Aidan has only been with ROCOR for a short time, and there has been no move to place all of the rest of us under him, or to conform to his vision of Western rite. You can look at how it has been celebrated for the past five decades in ROCOR and see that it is without Byzantinization. Of course, with some opposition from ROCOR clergy (as we see here) who operate along with clergy from non-Orthodox groups who also oppose Western Rite Orthodoxy.

    As for "Fr. Michael's texts" (which are not simply Fr. Michael's texts, as they were the ones developed directly under the Metropolitan's hand) are approved in all of ROCOR, and in use in seven dioceses of ROCOR at present. There are more than three ROCOR priests serving Western rite. That the SCPB has less wider distribution is due to a couple of factors: the first being that we simply haven't had donations towards publishing books to the extent that the Milan Synod did (where Fr. Aidan began publishing) - so all of our work coming from within ROCOR is dependent pretty much on what we can fund ourselves. Secondarily, there are some 'iffy' characters outside of the Church who will use 'official' books to make themselves look legitimate, while doing some things we wouldn't want associated with. The combination of limited resources and that we are a missionary society means that we are not focused on book sales, but on getting texts only to those who are going to use them within Orthodox missionary work.

    So - I can understand you, Dale, when you write: "It would also appear that the BCP usage of Fr. Michael is not Orthodox; since it was not part of the Roman mythological Church of a thousand years ago according to Fr. Nelson." I think you meant someone else, as Fr. Anthony said no such thing here. ROCOR Western rite is 'diverse', but not in the sense of wildly diverging visions: the norm of an Orthodox Roman rite in a general English usage seems well established (the norm for the Saint Petroc paruchia, Mount Royal, it could even be said for Christminster.) That local use at each place differs is not un-Orthodox. I'd worry about the anti-WRITE arguments of Byzantine folk (and TAC folk, Milan Synod, etc.) if they had any element of truth to them. That their arguments are based often on lies, at best on misconceptions, sure isn't winning me over. It makes me all the more determined to be a good Orthodox Christian within my culture, speaking my language, and keeping the traditions/customs not contrary to Orthodoxy (and, I think St. Gregory the Great had very good advice for St. Augustine of Canterbury along those lines.)

  41. Thomas asked me:

    <Fr Anthony, you have oblates in only 4 states?

    And in at least one eastern European country...

  42. The majority of the WR parishes use either the Episcopalian liturgy or the 20th-c. (pre-Vatican II) Roman Catholic service, or a shortened form of the old Western divine office as kept up by the Roman Benedictines till about Vatican II. The majority usages are those associated with and approved within the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate (AWRV). All other usages are minority usages, including those of Christminster; Dom Augustine; St. Petroc; St. Gregory Press (Milanese-New Jersey); St. Hilarion Press (Milanese-Austin); Gallican rites; etc. It should also be noted that the "Milanese" usages were originally guided, advocated, and promoted by traditionalist voices within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Much translation and other work was shared back and forth, starting in the 1970s, between the ROCOR and the Austin-New Jersey axis of Western rite communities. We in Austin would sing, chant, and pray texts and music adapted to English from Latin by Fr. John Shaw (now Bishop Jerome), written by his own hand. So these various usages do not always fall strictly within, or according to, boundaries of the respective churches or groups.

    For example, all these services published by St. Gregory's Press, are used in church by Abbot David (Pearce) in Florida, with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion. They can be called Milanese, but also the Use of Holyrood, or of Dom David, depending on the "vantage point" of the one coining the names.

    It is likely that, in the future, a more unified picture will emerge ritually, across Western Rite Orthodoxy. For the time being, it is not necessarily a bad thing that everything is still not cut-and-dried.

    [The above courtesy of Hieromonk Aidan (Keller)]

  43. I think that one must distinguish between a reticence to accept Orthodoxy's Western heritage, and a reticence to accept heterodox elements which sprang up in the West after the Schism. These latter came in very often under influence of heresy or spiritual insobriety. For example, there are things which came from the untested visions of heretical persons, some of which were rather odd. The Stations of the Cross, for example, contain much that may be described as fantastical. They commemorate historical "events" which may well never have occurred, which have no basis in an Orthodox understanding of Christian history.

    The Canon of the Mass was sanctioned, blessed, celebrated with holiness by many generations of Orthodox Saints. But no Orthodox Saint has engaged in a cult of the Sacred Heart, which would be improper theologically and from the point of view of watchful sobriety.

    I baptized a Roman Catholic man into the Christian Orthodox faith on the day of Pentecost this year. There is nothing incorrect about that. There is also nothing incorrect when the procedures are properly followed, to receive Catholics into the Church by chrismation. In our Russian Church Abroad, both techniques have been used countless times, and the underlying theology is the same. On Mt. Athos, they would always baptize the Catholic convert; are they not Orthodox, there? But I would never say that a priest who received by chrismation, or even by the third rite (confession), had acted wrongfully, if he was following all instructions from his Bishop.

    When several visions vie for dominance, the result need not always entail an implosion. It may entail a fusion, a rise and fall, a plurality, or other possibilities. The Holy Spirit does guide the Church into all truth, so all problems will be taken care of eventually, through the grace of the Spirit. This is a miracle in which we can trust. But we must be locally vigilant, since any one portion of the Church can fall away from the Church. This often starts with a mistrust of the Church as she is and has been.

    In the case of worldly intrigues, there is the dictum "Follow the money." In the case of these spiritual conundrums, one might coin the dictum, "Follow the Saints."

    I myself am interested to learn more about this report that St. Tikhon led Stations of the Cross. Was it really that, or was he leading the Passia?

    About myself, I really am not a representative of the Western rite in our Russian Orthodox Church. I think there are more worthy candidates for such a post. I am just a monk who loves and occasionally celebrates the Western rite, in an old form. I look up to my betters, such as Abbot James and Abbot David.

    Hieromonk Aidan+
    a sinner

  44. It would appear that if one has two members of the ROCOR, there are at least four differing versions of the Faith. The synod makes a declaration, who cares? If I want to accept it, fine; if not, fine. It is all a personal opinion anyway. If one bishop decides one thing and another bishop decides the opposite, simply choose whichever position suits one best! It is all a personal opinion, based upon "feelings" anyway.

    To baptize or not...well it depends how one "feels" that day, or if one likes the candidate or not (how else does one explain such a wide variety within the same denomination?). Abortion? Well, that seems up in the air as well; the Ecumenical Patriarch supports a woman's right to choose, some Russian bishops, or pretend Russian bishops, are opposed...well, I guess it is all up to what one's personal "feelings" about it!

    The western liturgy, or any tradition outside of Byzantium, well it all depends how one "feels" about it. And it seems that it is taken as such a joke anyway that all kinds of personal make-believe liturgies are approved because no one cares anyway. It is a liturgical hobby for many one suspects.

    Basically it appears that Byzantium is not too very different from the Protestant Episcopal Church, just different gets the "feeling" that the only thing important is the old calendar and to "feel" that God does not listen to prayers from a parish with pews. Oh, and beard length. And finally, lay people are never allowed to question.

    As an aside, regarding the manner of reception of converts in the old Russian tradition is as follows: please see:

  45. Ari wrote: "Fr. Ambrose likes to pop up here and there to attack Fr. Michael. Don't let it worry you. He also tries to use Fr. Aidan as a wedge."

    Dear Ari, your mendacious mentor is known for his waspish attacks upon all and sundry, upon the Antiochian WR brethren and upon people such as Hieromonk Aidan (Keller) who advocates for the Sarum Rite.

    Do you remember his pugnacious words against Fr Aidan (Keller): ""Given that mission must be the main preoccupation of Western Rite... it is imperative that the Keller version [Sarum] not succeed and that he not be given any further forums from which to publish his liturgical opinions."

  46. Keller's "Sarum" rite is about as Sarum as I am Romanian...and I ain't!

  47. Peace, love, harmony, respect, and group hugs for the Otherdox. But God forbid we should harbour any feeling of respect, love, or a wisp of peace towards an Orthodox priest, of moderate views, whose liturgics displease us. That cockroach must be stripped of any priestly title. Wait, that's not hateful enough; we mustn't use his Christian name, either.

  48. Dear in Christ, Dale, with all due respect, take a look at this:

    and tell me what exactly in that liturgical text is NOT Sarum. Good grief!

  49. Father Michael Mansbridge-Wood has been masquerading on Occidentalis under a false name and that rather drags the integrity of ROCA's Western Rite and its priests into disrepute. Perhaps he is also "Dale"? "Dale" shares a lot of Fr Michael's "I eat wasps for breakfast" personality. :-) But we love the old curmudgeon!

  50. Thank you Athair, I rather consider being accused of being Fr. Michael as a compliment, but, alas, I am not he.

    I have respect for his demand concerning the purity of the western rite, he does not celebrate with a Russian style square altar, he does not think that a Russian style ikonostasis is part of the Sarum tradition, including the opening and closing of doors, he does not replace the maniple with epimaniki, or the cincturn with a zone, topping it all off with a 19th century style monastic Klabook calling it Sarum!

    I especially like the old web page of Fr. Keller in which he proves the use of a Byzantine style ikononstasis in the western rite by having a picture of the parish of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre in Paris, never explaining that it is a Greek rite Melkite church! I could go on and on and on...

    But I must give Fr. Keller credit for his understanding of western rite liturgical music; too bad this is not applied to the rubrics of celebrating the tradition.

    Here is a Sarum rite celebration:

    Here is the Russian version al la Keller:

    Need one say more?

  51. As Orthodox Christians (priests, monks, and seminarians no less!)we do a fine job (on the internet certainly) or providing an example that we are nothing more than sinners. I came to this post because I am interested in WR. Instead I was reminded of John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

    Rdr Raphael Shelton

  52. I have been on the fringes of WR for 30 years (thanks to my oldest priest friend being Antiochian WR) and the relationships between the WR groups have always verged on open warfare! But the initial article, although its is well justified, is necessarily of a slightly negative tone as it speaks of "Romophobia" among the Antiochians and the comments followed suit.

  53. Mountzionryan

    I agree. The conversation has become ad hominem on this post, which I dislike a great deal. If I knew how to turn off the comments for this post only I would do so. The post is old and no longer needs further comment, especially of the sort that it has received.

  54. Just a note - Fr. Michael is *not* known for 'attacks' on AWRV. Quite the contrary - he has long worked with those doing Western Rite work in Australia, and maintains good relationships with many in the AWRV. There are, after all, some English use folk in the AWRV that we are close to. There has been nothing of the sort of 'open warfare' *between* Western Rite - the closest thing to warfare have been the constant attacks on Western rite by a very few elements in the Eastern rite (some of whom are posting here.) Dale Griffiths is right in this regard. Fr. Michael, Fr. David, Fr. Barry, myself, nor the rest of us have attacked *anyone* nor been on the 'verge' of warfare. We are protective of our heritage, and can be defensive when faced with this prolonged attempt to hijack or destroy the work of Western rite in the Orthodox Church.

    As for 'false identities' - we've heard that false accusation before. Some folks off in Ohio or somewhere were accused of being me some years back. Fr. Michael has done nothing of the sort to drag anyone into disrepute. If anything, the sheer amount of opposition and lies told about him suggests that he must be doing something right - as it sure seems to stir up the devil.

    And yes, Dale - I agree: Fr. Aidan does very well with the chant publications. A rite is so much more than just a text: it includes rubrics, chant, ornaments of the minister and the church, architecture, even popular piety. While I'm not against restoration of older practices (this is what Trent claimed to do in fact), there can be a danger with archaeological restoration in misunderstanding and thereby restoring things that never existed based upon misinterpretation of the evidence.

  55. Ari wrote:

    "As for 'false identities' - we've heard that false accusation before. Some folks off in Ohio or somewhere were accused of being me some years back. Fr. Michael has done nothing of the sort to drag anyone into disrepute."

    Sad to say Fr Michael has been masquerading as "Fr Owain Harrison" on Occidentalis for several years. He was caught out last month. It was quite a shock to members of the list and it raises questions about integrity and probity, especially when this "Owain Harrison" writes in support of Fr Michael!! Definitely not cricket, old boy!

    Perhaps there are BRITE priests who do such things but I have not heard of it. With the Romophibia among some WR clergy of which Fr Guy has written and the lack of personal honesty among others, one can appreciate that there is a need for closer episcopal supervision. I am sure, Ari, that you can see this need also.

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  58. This old discussion was certainly rocking and rolling, wasn't it?

    My name was brought up, so I would like to address that part. Have I denounced aspects of the Antiochian forms of WR in the past? Yes. Have some in the AWRV denounced aspects of the forms of WR I published which are now used in the ROCOR? Yes. Have I done it with sharp polemicism? Not in years. The grace of Christ conquered me. So please let's bury the hatchet.

    The explosive growth of the RWRV (by 2013, at least 40 priests now serving chapels and parishes and monasteries in the Western Rite) is sufficient proof that the 1978 decision (against Western Rite of an unknown type) has been replaced by the current decisions. Under the benevolent leadership of Metr. Hilarion, the sky's the limit for the RWRV. However, looking 100 years ahead, we need to also work diligently to ensure that brotherly ties develop among our ER and WR communities. The Church of France (ECOF) achieved hegemony, but lost it.

  59. Actually, Michael Mansbridge-Wood is his real name. It has been since 1991 when I was born. I'm his daughter. Granted his entire history before '91 was purely fabricated. The years are correct, but the details are false. He has good reason to lie about it, none of which I will tell you. But I can assure you that is in fact his true name.

  60. Oh wow. Still the same person as the last comment. I just dropped down laughing when I saw the name "Owain Harrison" show up! That's an alias he uses to defend himself. He has for more years that any of you would know! Oh wow! I never thought I'd see that name brought up. Wow, this man is definitely my dad.

  61. Now, Anonymous, it is your daughterly duty to pray and intercede for your dad. Thus love for him can start to penetrate and fill your heart, as your prayers continue day after day, year after year. "Honour thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, that thou mayst live a long time, and it may be well with thee." (Deut. 5:16). I wish you the best, in this activity of the spirit and heart.

  62. The lady may have an understandable grievance against her father. He cannot enter the States for fear of arrest over unpaid alimony. In fairness, he himself denies that and says he cannot enter the States because of his espionage work for the British Government and that he was deported from that States for that reason. A most fascinating man who only a month ago joined a dissident Russian Church group which was founded and is headed by a former colonel of the GRU USSR (equivalent of US CIA), Prokopiev, currently “Metropolitan” Raphael Motovilov.

  63. Regarding the following: Even if his history prior to 1991 had been purely fabricated, his true history is now well known. Any search engine will provide this. Also the "good reason" for him to perhaps want to muddy the waters is clear.

    Anonymous September 9, 2012 at 11:18 PM
    "Actually, Michael Mansbridge-Wood is his real name. It has been since 1991 when I was born. I'm his daughter. Granted his entire history before '91 was purely fabricated. The years are correct, but the details are false. He has good reason to lie about it, none of which I will tell you. But I can assure you that is in fact his true name."