Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Greeks...

I have decided, after much thought (though, confessedly, not much prayer) to be received into the Greek Orthodox Church. All my liturgical instincts are crying out: "nay, nay and thrice nay!" The Greeks are not, after all, the most conservative in matters liturgical but in terms of culture, of Christendom and liturgical  language they remain the inheritors of Byzantium. Culture is as important in the history of Christianity as liturgy and in any case my going to the Greeks rather than to the Russians is tantamount to a return to British Orthodoxy. And if we are to establish a new British Orthodoxy I daresay it is worthwhile to do so from Greek rather than schismatic Roman stock. The Roman Rite is a lost cause and modern practitioners, whether RC traditionalist or renegade, just ape the same problems and do any of them listen to a word I say? Of course not. If I said to one of them: "why don't you just leave out the elevations and genuflexions and read the Canon from Te Igitur to Omnis honor et gloria as one uninterrupted anaphora?" Do you think he'd say: "Oh, that's a good idea! Is this the stimulant of an older, more holistic eucharistic theology?" No, I'd be accused of antiquarianism or Protestantism or Jansenism or cafeteria-ism or, dare I say it, "Modernism!"

But that would be no use, would it? Like the renegades with whom I used to celebrate Holy Week (they leave out the Filioque from the liturgical Creed), what is the use of paying deference to the modern Roman Rite, in all its putrescence, when you're really looking for something else? Is there a moral difference between omitting the Filioque and reciting baptismal promises on Holy Saturday? As I have said, the Roman Rite is a lost cause and the hallmark of Popery. Practitioners are little more than puppets and the pope himself is the grand puppet master. There is not one word of the Roman Rite's countless Prayers, pericopes, rubrics, etc that has not passed through the papal system unscathed, so much so that I have actually come to despise it as a bastardised rite altogether, historically destroying and usurping local rites wherever it has been carried, whether by the Jesuits, the Franciscans or by men like Dom Prosper Guéranger (in my view, one of the most arrogant and destructive men of the 19th century - a true contemporary of Pius IX).

You may ask, what about Western Rite Orthodoxy? I am broadly in sympathy with it, except where the modern Roman Rite is concerned (for clarity's sake, where I say "modern" Roman Rite, I mean, naturally, pre-1956 or pre-1911; not the Novus Ordo of Paul VI).

Well, just to let you know.

Kyrie Eleison
Kyrie Eleison
Kyrie Eleison.


  1. Your comments about the Roman Rite are poignant. It's disheartening and in the end a waste of time trying to "correct" it. Western Orthodoxy seems to be a mess, having partially imploded not long ago. Not only the modern Roman Rite is taking word for word with only the necessary changes (Liturgy of St. Gregory), but so is the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (Liturgy of St. Thikon). The former often complete with lace cottas and baroque altars. That seems to be the result of disaffected Catholics and Anglicans just wanting to keep doing whatever they were doing. There is on the other hand a reconstructed Gallican liturgy, the Liturgy of Saint Germanus, though it is heavily russified.

    I've frequently seen the Sarum rite and Stowe Missal being dismissed because of antiquarianism, even from Eastern Orthodox christians. The same goes for insistence on proper liturgical arts. I find that quite unfortunate, especially now that the Byzantine rite is undergoing a renewal of the liturgical arts that is decidedly antiquarian.

    1. In the five years that I've been writing blogs it has only latterly (that is to say, within the last six months or so) dawned on me that I know absolutely nothing about liturgy. All I know now is that the Roman Rite, much like Babylon the Great, is not healed so I shall forsake her.

  2. Good on you, Patricius!

    I'm pleased to see all the percolating (prayers are not always the best, sometimes rather just the machinations of our own minds and souls) has paid off... In my case I left the RCC for the scottish brand of Anglicanism of my birth. Not that I really believe the same as I used to--thank the FSSP for that!

  3. Patriicius
    Please proceed slowly with this. Disagreements with your current or former confession can be a good reason for leaving, but they are rarely a good reason for joining another church. The Orthodox Church is different from Roman Catholicism in far more than liturgy. But in one important aspect we are very similar. Both churches have lots of problems and are run by very fallible people who will at times infuriate you.

    I don't want to discourage anyone from joining the Church but I do want any potential convert to know as far as possible what they are doing, and to be sure that they are embracing Holy Orthodoxy in its entirety. At a minimum I would encourage a good retreat at a monastery as part of your preparation. And be sure you have a long talk with your spiritual father so he knows your background and is thus able to guide you in your reception into the Church.

    Above all though, don't rush. Take your time, pray and fast and be sure this is what is right for you. It is far better to remain outside the Church then enter, only to leave later.

    Prayers for you as you prepare for Holy Illumination and deal with all of the spiritual warfare that is certain to continue and become even more intense.

    Under the mercy

    1. Have no fear, I am not going to be received this Sunday! And I have had two (or is it three now?) years to think about this. I am simply uttering my intention and shall, in the coming weeks, make some enquiries at my local Orthodox church (which happens to be of Greek rite).

    2. LOL. Amen John. Nobody should ever delude themselves that the Orthodox "have it all figured out."

      Clueless bishops, grumpy clergy, insular congregations, cradles angry because they can't smoke practically in the nave, converts embarrassed to realize not a single person so much as looked at the dish they slaved over all afternoon for the parish dinner.

      Welcome to Orthodoxy, Patricius! ;^)

    3. all the above comments apply, Patrick! Heed them well. I'm a convert from anglicanism since 1987 and have some periods of delusion, and dissolution too. But this is where I still find myself now in my 70s and where else could I possibly go? And the beauty and comfort of the services, as well as the pastoral kindness I've found, is what keeps me here.
      Best wishes and my fervent prayers for you!
      Rdr. James Morgan
      Olympia, WA

    4. ...which happens to be of Greek rite.

      They're almost all of Greek Rite. The Greeks happen to do it in medieval Greek or the local Western vernacular.

  4. Go get 'em! Don't ever be discouraged, hang on, don't listen to the naysayers, talk to your priest, pray! Good for you!