Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Good and Bad parish, and Ecumenism...

On we go with that series on Good versus Bad parish.

My mother and I went to lunch at Chislehurst this afternoon. We had planned on going to Sevenoaks, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, we parked outside the local Anglican church, a very fine church I daresay. I made a point of taking this photo on my iPhone:

Now just around the corner of this church is another church; a church of the Italian Mission. Far be it from me to single people out but this is supposed to be another one of those so-called ''traditionalist'' parishes. No sung office there, of course, just Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass, Mass and more and more Mass, ad nauseum. This is what genuinely sickens me about the Roman church (leaving doctrinal questions aside for a moment): the complete and utter liturgical void. Romans are arguably the most aliturgical people in the history of civilization. Most big events organised by the Latin Mass Society, for example, will have a high Mass, and possibly some other devotions (such as Benediction, a rosary procession or something), and these people will be pleased with it! They'll go on about how spiritually uplifting it was. Their pilgrimages must be diabolical! Are you telling me that in a parish church with a choir you can't procure any sung Office at all on Sunday? If the Anglicans less than half a mile down the road can manage it, why can't you? It's the Lord's Day for Heaven's sake, at least make some effort! If you can't see the problem with a liturgical diet of just Mass all the time then you're an idiot.

On the way home I was thinking about ecumenism, the SSPX and the fact that Rorate Caeli never published my most recent comment. You see the average traditionalist (unlike we schismatics who can think for ourselves) is stuck in a relentless vicious cycle, constantly ruminating over contradictions because they can't face the fact that their church is riddled with falsehood. Traddies love the SSPX though, and seem to think that the reunion of those lunatics would quicken their cause with august and orthodox Liturgy and the Ultramontane doctrine that goes hand-in-hand with an endless series of low Masses. They despise Anglicans though, and many are so ignorant of Liturgy and history that they condemn the Prayerbook of the Church of England as some kind of compendium of all liturgical heresies whereas see nothing wrong with the liturgical books of 1962 or a fragmented Psalter! Wouldn't the Roman church benefit more from sung Mattins and choral Evensong than yet more low Masses though? The SSPX perpetuate the errors of the pre-Conciliar church and are simply schismatic Ultramontane types, just as unimaginative and stupid as the average pious lady counting her beads in the pew (no offence to the Old Irish Peasant Lady!) - in fact a lot of their clergy are so clearly homosexual that they might as well stop celebrating Mass altogether, don a mantilla and a black frock and join those pious ladies in the pew. But the point is - the most competent liturgical practitioners in the Church of England, in my experience, have little or no interest at all in reunion with Rome. I am not going to presume to tell the reasons for that. Look, however, to the Ordinariate. Most who swam the Tiber in the wrong direction have as little interest in traditional Liturgy as the average Modernist. Then of course there is that hideous cancer, eating away at the foundations of that once illustrious Roman Church - the liturgical books of 1962...hmmmm, methinks that the Roman church has simply had it, and it is time for those to depart who would breathe an air of Tradition undiluted by Ultramontanism.

Here endeth the Lesson.


  1. Thanks be to God.

    And then pews!!! The greatest hindrance to proper liturgical celebrations. We should first eradicate all manners of pews and conspicuous seats in the nave. Leaving only choir stalls and not more than half a score benches along the walls. And remove all those hideous statues of saint Peter Claver wherever possible.

  2. I was at that Church round the corner on Friday for a Low Mass on that Feast Day that you don't like. I consider myself most fortunate to have had that opportunity.

  3. "(leaving doctrinal questions aside for a moment)"

    "Romans are arguably the most aliturgical people in the history of civilization."
    You really have no idea what goes on in most Protestant churches, do you? Or even what the majority of the non-religious would make of this.

    "If you can't see the problem with a liturgical diet of just Mass all the time then you're an idiot."
    Well, there's a convincing argument.

    "(unlike we schismatics who can think for ourselves)"
    And you claim not to be a protestant, when protestantism is written all over comments like this!

    "Wouldn't the Roman church benefit more from sung Mattins and choral Evensong than yet more low Masses though?"
    Possibly, yes. So why not fight for it, rather than raining down ridiculous anathemas and proclaiming yourself God and king and law?

    "hmmmm, methinks that the Roman church has simply had it, and it is time for those to depart who would breathe an air of Tradition undiluted by Ultramontanism."
    The Church of Rome is (just about) holding itself together, and beginning to actually remind itself that it's supposed to stand for a particular set of beliefs, not whatever-you-please.

    The Church of England, by contrast, seems to be spinning out of control doctrinally, and has no claim at all to orthodoxy, let alone valid episcopal orders or the fullness of Tradition.

    If you most go, then for the sake of your soul, go East, though I doubt you'll find the situation there much to your liking, either.

  4. leutgeb, well to each his or her own poison I guess. I would personally rather go to Westminster Abbey during Edwardtide than to a Roman church for an evening low Mass in honour of the ''Sacred Heart.''

    Evagrius, this blog was started in order to argue for the ideals of sung Office etc, but when I discovered that nobody took me seriously or they were simply not interested I just gave up. I stand by what I said: Romans are simply not interested in Liturgy, or even historical liturgical accuracy. Why have high Mass and sung Office with all the trimmings Sarum fashion when you can have a low Mass at 7 o'clock with novena prayers and a decade of the Rosary?

  5. I am comforted that you cannot walk out the door and leave Rome behind you. You continue to stand in the doorway, head turned round, griping at us who have decided to remain and fight.

    I hope you'll decide that halfway out the doorway isn't the place to be, that working in charity and truth for the renewal of the Church is why God has put you on Earth at this time and in this place.

  6. Patricius: in fact a lot of their clergy are so clearly homosexual that they might as well stop celebrating Mass altogether, don a mantilla and a black frock and join those pious ladies in the pew.

    What exactly did you expect? Football hooligans?

    Gay people say Mass and tell beads, and have for centuries. Clerical gayness is the fundamental force that binds the Church visible together. Of course, the Church vehemently denies the very presence of the force. Recent Vatican statements on the subject read like really really bad satire.

    I don't know how anyone, especially a devout person, could feign ignorance on this subject. Even the most non-observant Catholics are acutely aware of the situation.


  7. Poison? I really do wonder if you consider your use of the English language, Patricius and whether you further you cause by writing in such a way about churches and priests known personally to at least some of your readership.

    Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia etc

    I think that the other commentators thus far have made very valid points.

  8. I suppose the question arises of whether Roman parishes have the competence to celebrate their own liturgical rites.

    What would the response be for example if the RC parish which shares the territory with St. Nicholas were asked to sing Mattins on a Sunday even once?

  9. Patricius, the 'official' Church of England isn't doing that great either, isn't it? I mean, they ordain women, use 'Common Worship' instead of the fine Book of Common Prayer, ... To be honest, I think it's a little bit worse than the Church of Rome.

    That stuff really bothers me.

  10. "a lot of their clergy are so clearly homosexual..."

    The origin of that little gem is enigmatic, but it does beg the question about how reconciled you are to yourself. I'm not sure how many clergy are closet transvestites (as you're implying), but cross-dressing is not the same as being gay. Most of the men I've ever known who've been into that sort of thing are happily hetero.

    Could it be that you're just grumpy and feeling ungracious after a subtle knock back from a boy you fancy?

  11. Off topic, but I seen this linked to over at Orthocath:

  12. To be clear that's comments 3 and 5 that I agree with.

  13. Ludovico, please don't condescend me about homsexuality, which I think I would know more than creates no difficulty for me that homosexual clergy exist. My issue with RC clergy is that they do their utmost to conceal it, and would even fain have us believe that they are in fact as straight as a line when called to task about it (I know that from having asked a priest I suspected once). Where we might differ is in our acceptance of the official RC church's discipline regarding the regulation of homosexuality and homosexually-inclined persons. I may perhaps be forgiven if I do not accept that I have some hideous, crippling ailment, that my feelings (which NO man can judge) are something strange and crooked in me. God made homosexual men for a reason and I think it may be the part of homosexuals to discern their own vocations (their calling to chastity and continence like all men) rather than be dictated to by ignorant people who look at them differently when they're open about it.

    Regarding transvestism - most transvestites of my acquaintance (or at least drag queens and my androgynous Philosopher friend) are homosexual and in relationships. I did not mean to imply that homosexuals are by implication of their sexuality necessarily disposed to transvestism.

  14. A reader who wished to remain anonymous commented even so:

    Dear Patrick, These rants are bitter fruits, and do not display either erudition or reasoning at the level of a year ago. I follow your blog regularly, and value it highly, but it now causes me more concern than delight. Could you try to hold on to some basic principle of love, or Christian Charity, when attempting to explain the truth on a subject dear to your heart? What earthly or heavenly use is there in railing against individual popes long dead, or the present incumbent of the papacy, who, like every RC, has to make his way forward towards the Judgment from a given situation which may be extremely uncongenial.
    We are all asked to follow Christ along a diffult road from where we happen to be, and it always leads to Him through Calvary. I suffered very much for over twenty years, living through the gradual deprivation of what liturgical heritage there was in the early 1960's, and all the lies and intrigues and barbarism which surfaced in the Church to create the wasteland you find yourself in now, and are weeping over. But you can DO something positive, rather than write this sort of bumptious abuse of institutions and persons dear to Catholics. Go join Fontgombault, or Clear Creek, or go to Pluscarden, or become an Oblate of one of these, and join them in singing the monastic Offices in the Old Latin psalter which predates St Jerome, according to St Benedict's Rule. Or get a job in Ryde, and attend St Cecilia's. They make the Liturgy the work of their life, and do it within the Apostolic Tradition of the One Church Christ founded. The line you are following leads to schism and an isolated death, rather than a confession (or even martyrdom) in following Christ Who is the Truth, Way, and Life.
    I write this for you out of love for you, not for publication in the comments. God bless you, and keep you sanely balanced in your zeal for Him.

  15. There is so much to agree with in the above posted comments: with Sortacatholic i must agree one hundred percent. The present-day schizofrenic official policy of the Vatican regarding homosexuality - condemned as a disordered inclination by John Paul II - and homosexually-inclined priests - and, since 2005, attempting to deny their very existance and excluding them in future from being ordained to the priesthood - besides being a shock and a spiritual death-blow to me personally - is an anti-traditional novelty, which will cause even more damage to the Church than the new protestant-like Rite introduced by Paul VI to replace the Roman Rite. These grave problems characterising the Church of Rome: the on-going liturgical debacle, the rampant heresy, the institutional dishonesty, the scapegoating of gay priests and the anti-gay hysteria in general (which serves to divert attention from the first three problems ...): these would justify anyone from leaving the Church of Rome for a spiritually healthier and more welcoming altnernative home.
    Alas, i have not found such an alternative, and so stay where i am. I wish you,Patricius, who are younger than I, to decide soon whether you have the strengthneeded to stay within the Roman Church and work and pray for the needed changes, or to move on to another spiritual home which posseses an authentic liturgy and orthodox faith, and the wisdom, justice and charity to accept people as God has made them, recognising the God-given purpose of each and every one.

  16. A "...spiritual home which posseses an authentic liturgy and orthodox faith, and the wisdom, justice and charity to accept people as God has made them, recognising the God-given purpose of each and every one."

    Some of us are trying to offer that, but it ain't easy. There is much more in the way of "crosses" to bear and "confessional martyrdom" to endure and though we may be small, nonetheless, "we're still here".

    It would of course, be lovely to turn the clocks back and re-create times past. But that's a dream and there's nothing wrong with dreams except that they are not reality. Dealing with the present and "what is" whilst looking back to the past with a desire to move forward, I think, is the only practical and Traditional thing to do. The evidence is there littered throughout our books. Making sure that going "forward" is authentically "backward" is a tricky business. Afterall, we see so much with hindsight, but that is not the same perspective as our ancestors saw in their time...

  17. Have you attended many sessions of Evesnog at average cofe parish churches? It can be anything from splendid to unedifying. I take the point about the "structure" being more authentic, monastic, traditional - whatever. But that is because it has essentially been fixed since the Reformation, whose style was itself a sort of interpretation of mediaeval practice, and not because of any conscious choice in favour of tradition on the part of the cofe.

    As for the other issue, I can only agree with you, and even more so with Albertus (who I think has really stuck the problem squarely). However, I do think you're wrong about transvestitism - it is quite different than being a "drag queen", which is, in itself, quite respectable. Well, if my heroine Dame Hilda and stalwart companion Dr. Hinge are to be believed...

  18. I think that the posting is great when dealing with the important issue of a sound liturgical life in parishes; but soon seems to degenerate into a rant about issues that are not at all liturgical and tend to be perhaps too personal?

    Regarding the complete death of the offices in parishes, this is indeed true, and in some areas is far, far more recent than thought. When I was a child, many, many years ago, it was still possible to attend services in Roman Catholic parishes that offered a sung Lauds before Mass and ended the liturgical day with sung Vespers, usually on Sunday followed with Benediction; this is indeed all gone now.

    I agree that the so-called traditionalist Catholics who only want tradition so long as it is pretty and easy are just as problematic as the modernists; having pastored such a place, just try to get them weaned off Saturday evening masses (In Latin of course), or if one wants a real fight, try returning to pre-Vatican I fast laws! Good luck!

    But once again, Albertus, who seems to have an absolute wealth of wisdom, has indeed posited the problem: "Where to go?" And this is a real issue. Byzantium? Were we must hate ourselves (I wait the "sic" Meister here); Anglicanism? Which may in some localities preserve beautiful liturgy, but often celebrated by a priestess? Or Independent Old Catholicism, there are three Independent Old Catholic parishes in the large city about one hundred miles from where I now live, and all of them, besides ordaining women, have adopted the novus ordo; so the situation does become complicated. The PNCC has adopted, wholesale, the modern liturgy.

    I also think that we need to be more circumspect when dealing with the reality of said or spoken services. One must look at such developments from a more pastoral standpoint. Personally, I prefer that all services be sung, even if only between the priest and a single cantor; but this is not always feasible. But the alternative might be what has happened in some of the Eastern traditions, where the parish churches are locked between Sunday afternoon and the next Sunday morning, with no daily offices or mass offered at all. I lived for a time in a city where amongst the many, many large ethnic Orthodox parishes none offer any services except for the Sunday and main holy days, the only one to offer a daily round of services, including matins, mass and vespers was the very small, and despised, western rite Orthodox parish (it has since been closed by the Byzantine authorities). If done properly, said services can be dignified and have a quiet sobriety which is very conducive to worship.

    Since I cannot really seem to offer an alternative other than to stay where God has perhaps placed us and try to remain loyal to the Tradition, I am ending with a very interesting video of a sung Lauds followed by sung Mass in the Roman tradition in a small western rite Orthodox community:

    Unfortunately, do not expect this tradition to last too long within Byzantium. If one doubts that, here is the web page of the former flagship parish of the Antiochian Western rite Vicariate. One may notice that the Roman tradition is nowhere to be found, it is all Byzantine:

  19. I was listening to a talk given by Monsignor Keith Newton at the Anglican Use Conference yesterday, and he said that Cardinal Levada at the CDF personally told him that one of the key bits of the "Anglican Patrimony" he wanted to see enriching the Latin Church was the regular sung Office which, he lamented, had almost disappeared from Latin church life.

  20. One needs a slide-rule to work out what one's getting

    Sunday services
    8am Holy Communion - every week
    9.30am Parish Eucharist - first, second, fourth and fifth Sundays of the month
    9.30am Family Eucharist - third Sunday of the month
    9.45am All Age Worship - first Sunday of the month
    11.15am Matins - every Sunday (third Sunday with choir)
    6pm Evening Prayer - second and fourth Sundays of the month
    6pm Evensong - first Sunday of the month
    6pm Healing and Wholeness - third Sunday of the month

    10am Holy Communion - every Wednesday morning

    Not sure how the 'all age worship' (i.e. children's nonsense) at 9.45 fits in with 9.30 Communion. And Mattins only sung once a month, likewise Evensong.

    AND, what of the 'worse than 1962' abuse of having Mattins AFTER Mass? eh? Go round and nail your anathemas to their door.

  21. @Pete - nice one!

    @Mystra - the actors who played Hinge & Brackett are usually classed as "female impersonator"... which is quite different to a pub cabaret personality or Hen-night host which is a "drag queen" otherwise known as a "cock in a frock"... which is different again from a Transvestite who is normally trying to do away with their "member" as opposed to a "transgender" who has actually done away with it... as opposed to a "cross dresser" who is dressing up in his wife's or women's clothes for kicks - sexual or otherwise! There are shades between these practices but I believe you'll find this assessment generally pretty accurate.

    "Trans" whether -vestite or -gender are more often than not heterosexual rather than homosexual which seems to be the disposition of most drag queens. Female impersonators may or may not be homosexual but are actors playing female characters.

  22. Oh and if you're wondering how I know so much about it... I minister in Brighton, UK!

  23. Dear Canon Lloyd,

    Thanks for the clarification! I was indeed wondering just that as well!

    By the way, very much enjoy your video celebrations of the Mass.

  24. The video found at , and recommended by Dale, is, indeed, interesting. Nevertheless, whereas the Mass is undoubtedly “in the Roman tradition”, the celebration of Lauds, which precedes it, follows the Western Monastic Diurnal. The sort of public celebration of an Office function depicted in the video would be unknown to virtually any Roman Catholic parish church today. It would appear that any interested group of ‘Westerners’ must return to Orthodoxy before it can be free to revive the celebration of Western Offices; and that is hardly surprising.

    There is much to commend in this service. At Lauds, the plainsong from the Antiphonale Monasticum has been sympathetically adapted for use with a text that is in an appropriately liturgical Early Modern English form. Indeed, the psalms appear to be sung to the Coverdale translation. The congregation takes an active part in singing—antiphonally—these plainsong melodies; and—given that congregational participation—the quality of the singing is, on the whole, quite admirable. At Mass, Credo I is sung—without the F-word, of course—, rather than that trite Credo III. The Sign of the Cross is made in an Orthodox manner: that form that, even someone as late as, Anti-Christ Innocent III witnessed as still being used in the West in his own time. The women—including some, generally, well-behaved girls—all have their heads covered. There is none of that prissiness, so often observed in Anglo-Catholic churches; rather, the ceremonies are performed with the same kind of sober and ‘matter of fact’ competence that one usually encounters in Russian worship.

    Nevertheless, it is far from perfect. My first objection would be to question why Lauds—in isolation—had been chosen as the Office to precede Mass. Traditionally, in the Roman Rite, Lauds were never separated from Mattins; the sole exception was at Christmas, when the First Mass—that one appellated as being “at cock-crow”, and not the “Midnight Mass” that it has subsequently become—was sandwiched between Mattins and Lauds. The separation of Lauds from Mattins in public celebration is a very recent phenomenon in Roman Catholicism. I think that it might first have raised its ugly head when Anti-Christ Pius XII introduced a truncated form of Lauds into, that invention of his, the bowdlerized service known as the “Easter Vigil”; but I look to Rubricarius to supply the details.

    Secondly, I have objections on the ground of taste. Why does the Altar have a gradine festooned with six candlesticks, flowers and a ‘tabernacle’? Why do two of the severs wear hideous short ‘cottas’ when a third can be seen properly dressed in a full-length traditional surplice? Why are there serried rows of seats in the nave? Where is the Rood screen; where are the choir-stalls? I suppose that the American singers can hardly be blamed for their ghastly mispronunciation of English, replete with additional schwas in the place of ‘r’s.

    Finally—and most seriously—there are practices that are, quite simply, heterodox. I might include the waving of a wafer, hideous statues, “Stations of the Cross”, the use of musical instruments, and instances of wordless singing. Really, can the supporters of the Western Rite be surprised when Orthodox authorities ‘clamp down’ on their celebrations if this is the best that they can produce? Are they so liturgically inept not to realize that an educated Orthodox—perhaps one expecting to see some reconstruction of mediaeval Western practice—viewing this would be likely to recoil in horror?

  25. [Continued]

    In a recent conversation, Patricius posed me a question: if Western liturgy were to be laid on a metaphorical operating table and have every non-Orthodox element removed, how much would be left? What I have seen in this video does not represent a pre-schism Western Rite, its essence, or even what might have been seen in a Western mediaeval church. Instead, it confirms my worse suspicions concerning those who agitate for an Orthodox Western Rite: that they know little about the Rite that they claim to be attempting to preserve other than a few superficial external details of recent origin. Rather, it supports the views of such Orthodox authorities as Metropolitan Kallistos and, the late, Hegumen Gregory (Woolfenden)—both of whom might, otherwise, have been expected to be sympathetic towards the Western Rite in Orthodoxy.

  26. Dear Mr Oriental,

    The parish in question converted from the Lutheran Church and was never Anglo-Catholic...And I suspect all of the pretties that you demand from them would perhaps be used if the money was available. I am certain that you will be willing to make a large enough cheque out to them to cover costs.

    The rites that you seem to describe seem more attuned to mythology than reality.

    As for crossing in the Greek manner, even all eastern churches, cross in the same manner as the Latins. The Greeks,, actually part of the western church, cannot agree on the method that they proclaim to be so ancient; it seems the original Greek method was made with two fingers and only in more modern times with three. As for Pope Innocent III, I would suggest reading what he actually wrote about making the sign of the cross, he readily accepted both traditions; and he himself was from an area in Italy strongly influenced by the Byzantine tradition.

    One should mention that most Russian churches in North America only do the ninth hour, said, before the Liturgy and on Saturday evening only simple vespers, not the whole vigil office, please stick to attacking your own tradition and not ours. The vast majority of both Russian, Serbian, Antiochian and Greek churhes have pews as well.

    Finally, since the western rite is only a bait-and-switch within Byzantium, this whole conversation is rather a waste of time.

    Please, please visit us with more (sic)'s!

  27. I had never suggested—or even implied—that the parish in question had been Anglo-Catholic. In fact, it comes to me as something of a surprise that that parish should have been received ‘corporately’ into Orthodoxy from any particular Christian confession. I had simply assumed that it might have formed from a group of interested Orthodox Christians that had chosen to adopt a Western Rite, though I had imagined that most of its members were likely to have been, individually, converts from Western confessions.

    I am not aware that I had described (or seemed to describe) any rites—mythological or real—other than those depicted in the video; and those, presumably, must have been real.

    I should be delighted to donate money to any Orthodox group prepared to provide Western Rite services were I convinced that such services represented a genuine attempt at reviving an authentically Orthodox Western Rite.

    I have, in the past, contributed—both financially, and in terms of time and effort—towards that sort of venture. For several years, I participated in the celebration of the Holy Week and Easter services according to the Roman Rite. This involved providing ALL the offices—from Tenebræ on Spy Wednesday evening to Compline, followed by a solemn Te Deum, on the afternoon of Easter Sunday (inclusive); we even had the ceremony of the washing of the Altar, after Tenebræ on the Thursday evening. The one, and only, function (setting aside those that we might have done had a bishop been present) that we never managed was the Mandatum on Maundy Thursday. I should point out that the ceremonies followed the traditional usage of the Roman Rite—in that form that had existed before the unspeakable mutilations carried out under Anti-Christ Pius XII had been imposed on Roman Catholicism in the 1950s. Furthermore, we followed traditional Roman usage in the Office functions—by choosing to ignore the devastating havoc wrought by that gin-weaned peasant-dictator Anti-Christ Pius X. Moreover, in the latter years, we added to the full round of Roman Holy Week and Easter services—done fully and in their entirety—reconstructions of various mediaeval ceremonies. These were those associated with the burial of the Cross in the Easter sepulchre on Good Friday, its subsequent ‘resurrection’ at Paschal Mattins, the procession before Easter Sunday Mass, and the ‘baptismal’ Vespers on Easter Sunday afternoon. They required a certain amount of research to find the appropriate chants. I should add that all the services were sung in full to the appointed plainsong melodies and that we even included some polyphonic singing in alternate verses of certain hymns. Now, I wonder whether Dale has ever been involved with anything remotely comparable.

    It was left to a ‘skeleton staff’, about seven in number, to assist the celebrant and achieve all that I have described above. Those seven or so of us had to provide all the singing and serving, and were constrained to work within a ‘shoe-string’ budget. Yet Dale, referring to the parish in the video, writes, “And I suspect all [sic] of the pretties that you demand from [sic] them would perhaps be used if the money was [sic] available.” (Perhaps I have satisfied his demand for “more (sic)'s [sic]”?) Is money really required to prevent the abuse of celebrating Lauds in isolation? Would it have required any more effort to have sung the prescribed offices of Prime and Tierce before Mass (and Sext afterwards)? I seem to recall that some “traditionalist” papist group once complained that it did not have the “resources” to supply the Little Hours during the Sacred Triduum. I cannot imagine what unattainable “resources” are needed in order to sing these Hours; they are prescribed to be sung on one note with a fall of a tone at the end of each group of psalms.


    The parish whose services were depicted in the video seemed to have sufficient funds to spend on extensive wooden panelling behind an altar provided with a gradine, six candlesticks, flower vases and a ‘tabernacle’, not to mention ‘cottas’, statues, “Stations of the Cross” and musical instruments. Might this money not have been better spent on equipping the church with more liturgical—and less heterodox—furnishings?

    If, in North America, “The vast majority of both [sic] Russian, Serbian, Antiochian and Greek churhes [sic] have pews as well”, that only indicates the level of liturgical depravity in that continent; in my experience, Russian churches in Great Britain and the Continent of Europe do not have pews. Neither, in fact, does the church depicted in the video. It does have ranks of chairs; but I daresay that it would cost too much money to move those. (Please also see the words written by F.G.S.A.—the first comment made above.)

    The Anti-Christ Innocent III described the making of the Sign of the Cross with three fingers. It is generally acknowledged that the use of all five fingers is a later Western corruption; indeed, the subsequent interpretation of this practice as representing the ‘Five Wounds of Christ’ smacks of the influence of the Franciscans. In the words of Dr John Wickham Legg, “Theologians often tell us of the mischief which these Friars have caused in their science, and to philosophy; and the harm they have done in ecclesiology is certain.” He adds in a footnote, “I notice with regret how fashionable the cult of St. Francis of Assisi has become.” The authentic practice, in making the Sign of the Cross, is to use one set of three fingers and another set of two. The three fingers represent the Holy Trinity—three persons in one God—; and the two fingers represent two natures—human and divine—in the one person of Christ. In Russian New Rite and Greek practice, two fingers are folded; in the Russian Old Rite, it is three fingers—actually, two fingers and the thumb—that are folded.

    Finally, there are only five possibilities for the Ninth Hour to be celebrated BEFORE the Liturgy; and, in these cases, the Liturgy must be a vesperal one. The cases in question are: the Eves of Christmas and Theophany—provided that they fall on a day other than Saturday or Sunday—the feast of the Annunciation—if it fall on a weekday of Lent or Holy Week, or on Holy Saturday—Maundy Thursday and Holy Saturday. On these occasions the Typica are recited between the Ninth Hour and the Liturgy.
    Otherwise, the Ninth Hour is read before Vespers—not the Liturgy. The normal practice, on most days in Russian churches, is for the Third and Sixth Hours to be read before the Divine Liturgy. Other than the Imperial or Lenten Hours, there is no provision for singing the Hours in the Byzantine Rite. The Hours are, indeed, usually “read” or “said”; but that does not mean that they are recited in an ordinary conversational voice. A plain speaking voice of this sort is only used for sermons and homiletic lessons (and the Russian Old Rite even provides special ecphonetic ‘tones’ for these). Otherwise, anything directed to be “said” or “read” is, in fact, vocalized, mostly on one note. This is rather similar to the prescribed practice of the Roman Rite for the Hours of the Triduum, which I mentioned above.