Saturday, July 13, 2013

Oremus blog on ROCOR's Western Rite announcement

From the blog Oremus, which centers on the Western Rite within Orthodoxy.

The most notable feature of this document is what is in part 8), which mentions WR clergy and communities adopting "the order of divine services of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, while preserving certain particularities of the Western Rite." This could easily be taken to mean that WR shall cease in the ROCOR. However, there are many unanswered questions. Does "order of divine services" signify the Eastern Liturgy, or something more generic such as "the essential requirements and rules of Eastern liturgics?" The older forms of Roman rite fulfill almost all, if not all, the conciliarly-enacted requirements for Eastern liturgics. Do "particularities of the Western Rite" include such things as the Roman rite Ordinary and Canon of the Mass, or is it a reference to use of Western musical styles in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, e.g.? What part 8 truly means, will not be clear until the coming epistle's contents become known.

I do not take this document to signal the end of the Western Rite in the ROCOR, but rather the inauguration of a cautious period in which the boundaries for the Western Rite will be determined. The way is still open for all Western Rite clergy of the ROCOR to continue in their service to the Church. Pending receipt of the epistle expected in future, there is nothing in this document (as it seems to me) which would prevent WR priests from carrying on as usual this Sunday, using the liturgy they know.

Bishop Jerome and Monk Anthony were formerly assistants to the Metropolitan and no longer are. This may not impact the typical Western Rite priest much, as to the performance of his sacred duties. He will surely have to ask the Metropolitan about things he would formerly ask the assistants about.

The path of service to the Church has not been closed to either Bishop Jerome or Monk Anthony, although they have received different duties than before.

So all hangs on the coming epistle. And who knows when it will appear? In the meantime, our thoughts and prayers are with all the Western Rite clergy and faithful of our Church, who may be feeling that their world is ending. Please know, brothers and sisters, that it is changing, but not ending. You have our love, prayers, support, and acceptance. Don't be discouraged. The lesson learned, that it's not good to defy Church authority and the express instructions of one's Metropolitan, is sobering but need not discourage anyone.

And so we go forward in faith.

It is of interest that the Western Rite Vicariate is referred to in the document, and nowhere in the document is the Vicariate dissolved or closed. Apparently, the Vicariate continues to exist, but without a named vicar.

1 comment:

  1. I guess my comment on your previous post may have been a little quick, given your clarification. But still, they word it ambiguously but it does suggest that WR parishes will be brought into sync with ER customs and forms (while being able to keep some forms.....). It sounds like a reaction on the part of the synod.

    Something the synod could consider: the Divine Liturgy of St. Germanus of Paris. It is Western, but it appears to be one where an ER Christian or priest or bishop would be more than comfortable, and one where an Eastern bishop can serve.