Western Rite in Britain

His Grace Archbishop Mark of Great Britain has given his blessing for the establishment of Orthodox communities on the territory of his diocese using the Western Rite forms of service blessed for use in ROCOR. The decision of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops is that all Western Rite communities are to have stavropegial status, which is to say that they fall under the omophor of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of New York, the First-Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. However, in compliance with canonical norms, the local bishop must give his blessing for their establishment, which, in his benevolence, Vladyka Mark has granted.

This means that the missionary study society of St Eanswythe, based in Bournemouth, which has so far existed to aid the study of Orthodoxy primarily by non-Orthodox people under the guidance of an Orthodox monastery, will become the missionary Parish of St Eanswythe. While based in Bournemouth, the parish will run a satellite mission in London, with the Divine Liturgy/Mass being served occasionally in the chapel of the Holy Royal Martyrs, which is the lower church at the cathedral in Chiswick.

The primary form of service will be the English Liturgy. This has been adapted from forms of service with which western Christians will be more familiar but doctrinally and liturgically corrected with the blessing of the Holy Synod of Russia. Occasionally the Divine Liturgy of St Gregory (Roman Rite) may also be served in its Sarum variation, being an ancient Orthodox Liturgy used in Britain.

4 responses:

Geoff said...

Wonderful news, Michael!

Rubricarius said...

When will the Western rite be celebrated at the Cathedral in Gunnersbury?

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting development. I can't work out whether the intention is to canonically run WR parishes down, or to prepare the way for a modest expansion. I am, anyway, a little ambivalent about the WR. I think that Met. Kallistos makes some good points in the following article. Essentially, my fear is that the last thing we need now in diasporal Orthodoxy is even more "messiness". I think we first need to clean up our act canonically. The current situation is literally a scandal.



Michael said...

Geoff, I thought you might be happy. :-)

Rubricarius, the answer is that I honestly don't know. Father Michael will serve at least weekly on Sundays. Whether he will simply have Matins as a reader service in Bournemouth some Sundays while he serves in London, or whether he only serves in London on Saturdays I do not know. I suggest contacting him directly to find out.

Tom, while I love the western rite and use it for some of my private devotions and prayers, I cannot help but share some of your reservations, among others with regard to certain manifestations of the western rite. For instance, I am not a fan of adapting heterodox services for Orthodox use, especially as I see no need to do so, the Orthodox liturgies being extant and in may cases showing a great deal of overlap with the Byzantine Rite. I also have concerns about structures such as the Antiochian vicariate in North America and the universal stavropegial arrangement now in ROCOR, because it means that Western Rite parishes are never properly integrated into Orthodox life around them. They are always something separate and distinct. I do not wish to second-guess our synod but I do wonder whether this is a good basis for a united Orthodox life and mission. The ukase by which the French parishes were received under the omophor of the Russian church in 1936 stipulated that they were to be fully integrated into the local diocese. Yet this appears never to have happened. They were kept structurally separate and distinct, and the rest is history. I think we would do well to learn from the mistakes of the past.

I do pray that this venture bears good fruit.

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