Sunday, 20 July 2014

Some principles...

As I have said, I am broadly in sympathy with those efforts that are to enshrine or revive "Western" rites within Orthodoxy. However, there are dangers. Not just in terms of doctrine and culture but in terms of arbitrary liturgical experimentation and vandalism. There is also the danger that practitioners are just disaffected Anglicans or Papists wishing to continue on as they were accustomed within their respective communions within Orthodoxy - that, in my view, defeats the whole purpose of conversion.

However, before anybody even thinks about Western Rite Orthodoxy then some principles need to be established and some problems need to be addressed. One of the most important, if not the most important, is the question of jurisdiction. In London, for example, there are many Orthodox jurisdictions, the Russians, the Greeks, the Serbs, etc. each with their own bishop. Quite simply this is due to immigration. The problem, of course, is that having more than one bishop within a diocese flies in the face of the Holy Canons. This canonical, but still inevitable, irregularity cannot be allowed to continue but at the same time it cannot be rectified in a day. For most ethnic Orthodox in the UK their religion is one of the dearest connexions they have to their homeland and so to have a bishop and clergy of their own language and custom is, for the time being, a pastoral necessity. I would see the creation of an autocephalous British Orthodox Church, with her own Patriarch and all churches in the land coming under one jurisdiction. I don't know how we would go about that; it might take several generations yet, but celebrating liturgies in English would be a fitting start. Then comes the question of the Kalendar. There is no beating about the bush here: the venerable Julian Kalendar is that kalendar committed to us by the Church. The revision or replacement thereof is deference to the authority of Romish popes and secularisation of the liturgical cycle. The British Orthodox Church would adopt the Julian Kalendar or be accursed.

But I am still treading my own path to Orthodoxy. No doubt if I went in uttering these thoughts I'd be accused of ambition, of meddling, of popery and ostracised. All in good time.


  1. Your proposal for British Orthodoxy makes sense given your premise. But it wouldn't work because after three generations in Britain or America the ethnics assimilate and leave Orthodoxy anyway. Services in English and the Gregorian calendar don't stop that. A British or American Orthodoxy never really gets started. Lest you think I'm being triumphalistic, the same thing happens to the Uniates.

  2. There shall not be a time, well, unless there is some sort of cataclysm dire enough to catapult you to a position of power, and all those who are fundamentally compromised with the modern state right out of power. An example of a good church would be one that marries people without regard to the state, for the state declares things other than marriage marriage, and it has already taken all the traditional rights of the husband and father away. This should have been done years ago, when the feminists started changing things, but it was not, for most find their bread is buttered by female parishioners.

    The nobility were not merely the secular leaders of Christendom.

  3. "The problem, of course, is that having more than one bishop within a diocese flies in the face of the Holy Canons."
    I don't see too much of a problem with "parallel" dioceses taking up the same physical space. I think each church should do what it must to look after its faithful. If there are two or more jurisdictions of different groups who share an area then they should count that as a blessing to work together in full catholic (i.e. universal) spirit.
    The lack of catholicity among certain Orthodox groups was part of the reason I never got on board with them. The recent spat between Antioch and Jerusalem is a perfect example of this.
    With regards to "Western Rite" Orthodoxy, many of them use the Anaphora of Chrysostom rather than the ancient Roman Canon... How Western.

    I have many personal issues with the Chalcedonian Orthodox, but I wish Patricius well in his journey to them.