Wednesday, June 3. 2009
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Compare and contrast this photo with the one of the assembled bishops in Englewood when they met with Metropolitan Philip. How come Bp. Antoun isn't smiling in this one?
#1 Kevin Kirwan on 2009-06-03 12:32
Not much in the release about the substance of the discussions with His Beatitude, but from the photograph attached, Bishops Basil, Mark and Thomas certainly look HAPPY! It is a little blurry on my screen so I cannot tell what the reaction may be on the faces of Bishops Antoun and Joseph. This photo, however, is strikingly different from the photograph taken of the group plus Metropolitan Philip at the time of the Bright Friday meeting in April.
God willing, the expressions on some or all of the heirarchs' faces may mean that a peaceful and conciliar resolution to this crisis may be nearer. My prayers go out to the Patriarch, the members of the Holy Synod including Metropolitan Philip, and all of our bishops in this Archdiocese that they may be of one accord and together resolve this crisis peacefully, and that in so doing, they may heal the divisions that have arisen among the clergy and laity.
Lord have mercy!
#2 David Najjar on 2009-06-03 12:41
I would love to know how many hits you get on this one! Love that smile on Bishop Basil's face!!
#3 pelagiaeast on 2009-06-03 12:43
Kind of odd of the Patriarchate to post on June 3 a statement describing, in the past tense, meetings that (according to the statement itself) are to continue through June 4.....sounds more like pre-emptive PR move than a real indication of what is transpiring.....
(editor's note: Not odd in the least. The statement describes events that took place on the 2nd - hence the past tense. I would not expect this to be the last word on the meetings - but only the first. As important as the text, however, is the photo that was distributed. It may be, as some commentators have already pointed out, a more " real indication of what is transpiring" to use yours words, than the bland words....)
#4 JPS on 2009-06-03 13:38
HG Bp +BASIL's smile delightful. I pray this is a good sign.
#5 Rdr Mo on 2009-06-03 14:34
Mark, not to belabor the point, but the release does also describe future events:
"Over the next several days (June 2-4) His Beatitude met with each Bishop individually as well as with them as one group."
Whatever meetings are occurring on June 4 cannot be "described" in a June 3 release.
I certainly share the hope that the photo captures the true mood of these meetings.
#6 JPS on 2009-06-03 14:41
Am I the only one who finds it interesting that the statement refers to them as "bishops" as opposed to "auxiliary bishops"? And I, too, pray for the Patriarch, the members of the Holy Synod including Metropolitan Philip, and all of our bishops in this Archdiocese
#7 Oklantiochian on 2009-06-03 14:46
It is nice to see Bishop +Basil smile. We haven't seen that since this mess began. Even if it is still a mess.
BISHOP BASIL'S EXPRESSION SAYS IT ALL! Compare with Bishop Antoun.
Nothing else needs to be said. The Patriarch is a good man and I believe he understands only too well the situation in North America. The autonomy of the AOCA should grow and autocephaly should not be far behind.
#9 Anonymous on 2009-06-03 15:49
Bishop Basil who is stingy with his smile, has lightened my heart with his beaming face!
#10 Antionymous on 2009-06-03 16:03
I think this photo reveals a lot about the Bishops' visit. And it's important to remember that our Patriarch was under enormous pressure from +MP to accede to his interpretation of "self-ruled," and +MP went on to inform all of us that the self-rule issue had been settled when it was still being debated. In other words, we can be sure that the Patriarch knows of our Metropolitan's strong will as much as priests in the United States who have seen +MP impose his will with little consideration for them, and has actually been punitive toward those who did not immediately come around to his point of view. Although our Patriarch Ignatius probably cannot completely understand the situation in America because of cultural differences, I believe that he is a wise and godlly leader and will work hard to resolve this imnpasse. I pray for his wisdom.
#11 anon on 2009-06-03 16:32
May God be with them all as they meet and grant them wisdom and all good things.
Fr John Chagnon
St. Elias Orthodox Church
Looking at the photo, strange how the only one not smiling wwas Bishop Antuon.
#13 John Peter Presson on 2009-06-03 17:20
I assume its just a translation error from the Arabic press release....
#14 Antionymous on 2009-06-03 17:25
Looks like Fr. Ibrahim Daoud, in his official capacity as secretary to His Beatitude, forgot to include ‘God protected Self Ruled’ in his press release. Seems like the folks in ‘ash-Sham’ see us for who we really are - the ‘Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America’ [used twice in one paragraph]. And all this misbehavin says to them ‘it’s gonna remain that way’. Isn’t this the same secretary who fired off the letters complaining about our use [misuse] of the term ‘self-rule’ for which there seems to be no adequate Arabic translation. A linguist might argue that if a language doesn’t have a word for it it’s a remote abstraction in the speakers mind. Time will indeed tell [another 24 hours] let’s hope they pull off something constructive that the majority of us can live with and we can all catch the season finale of ‘CSI Englewood’ .
As for the smiles – I’ll bet the Patriarchal photographer just told them to all say ‘schan-clish’.
#15 Bernard in Boston on 2009-06-03 18:16
Many here anticipated this meeting being familial and conciliatory, which it is proving to be. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting, that is, we will more than likely have more conclusive closure one way or the other following the Holy Synod meeting in a few weeks. Until then, let's not be led by our imaginations or wishfulness.
#16 Anonymous on 2009-06-03 18:31
I asked His Grace about this situation a few weeks ago. He was most certainly smiling then. He basically said it's a "big mess", and that it will all be worked out as long as everything is out in the open. He said that that is what's happening now: things are being brought out into the open. He also said that what he does NOT want to see is people using this as an opportunity to attack personalities. (i.e. don't go around bad-mouthing the Metropolitan or the other Bishops). He said that the Church will be fine, because it is Christ's Church, and he was glad that things that were getting out into the open. He was very positive about the whole situation and put my mind, and the minds of those with us, at ease.
#17 Rdr Mo on 2009-06-03 18:51
Shan Clish is a smelly but delicious middle eastern cheese that you have to get used to! Bishop basil's smile wins all, while Bp Antoun looks grumpy (as usual). In a WORD magazine aricle he once stated, "there has been a great disappointment in my life". Wonder what that was ...? Pray the Patriarch listens and rightly divides the word of truth!
#18 Anonymous Priest on 2009-06-03 20:17
It's time to get up and move Anitiochians, if we really want to be a American Church join the OCA. If you don't have an OCA near by go to a Greek, Serbian, ROCOR, ect... At least they know who they report to and that there money is clearly going back to the Old Country. It is time to stop being lied to. Antioch is Ruled by Antioch not New Jersey. You can lie to yourself all you want but you are no different than any of the other ethnic churches, the only difference is they are willing to admit to their ties to the old country.
One foot out the door and the other one following.
Its time to send a message and to move to the OCA.
#19 Who Cares? on 2009-06-03 23:20
Watch the door knob on your way out. You don't sound real.
#20 Fr. George Washburn on 2009-06-04 06:41
I believe the calls for Antiochians to join the OCA are premature. First of all, the OCA is not perfect itself. As we have all seen from the reports on this website, the OCA is still very much working through its own crises. Do you remember just a couple years ago, in the midst of the OCA's scandal, people calling for OCA members and parishes to join the Antiochian Archdiocese? I'm afraid no jurisdiction is without its problems.
Certainly, if things get considerably worse (e.g. bishops and priests being punished for "disobedience"), then perhaps many will be forced to take refuge in another jurisdiction. But now is not that time.
Furthermore, I am not comfortable with blanket attacks against "Damascus." We know that Met Philip has been highly disingenuous with both his own people and his Patriarch and Holy Synod. All of us have been deceived. Are there some Holy Synod members who are corrupt? Perhaps (and you might even say "probably"). But there are many others who truly are seeking to do God's work, and we should not lump them all together.
All that said, I don't appreciate Fr. George Washburn's snarky comment. Please, Fr. George, try to be above that sort of thing.
#21 Ferris Haddad on 2009-06-04 07:13
Thats the right attitude! Just leave when the going gets tough, its much easier than working and praying for change. It reminds me of Martin Luther and Juan de la Cruz. Luther left (kicked out of) the RCC when reform was needed, but it takes a better man, like Juan de la Cruz to stick it out and reform from within.
Yes its time to get up and move, move your heart to prayer and move your feet, carrying encouragement to both laity and clergy to remain steadfast. This is a trying time, but as a post quoted in another thread "God has not us orphans"
#22 Justin on 2009-06-04 08:04
I just received an email it seems that Abdallah Khouri is on the move, this time with a petition for Self-Rule and Diocesan Bishops go to:
and see for yourselves.
(editor's note: Petitions have been effective in the past: witness the OCA petition for the removal of Metropolitan Herman which attracted more than 1300 signatures from every diocese, clergy and laity. It demonstrated the unhappiness with the administration was not just a bunch of "malcontents". However, this petition is not like that one. This one is anonymous - that is, one has no idea who originated it. If the initiator of a petition is not willing to sign it with his/her own name, why should anyone? So pardon me if I remain skeptical as the purpose, motives, meaning and efficacy of such a move. There may come time for a real petition to be created - but it should be done openly, honestly, transparently and accountably.)
#23 Fr John on 2009-06-04 08:09
This truth as unless we distance ourselves from Antioch we will never have an Orthodox Church IN NO. AMERICA ! All know it but play the game of "my roots". This the manner in which many who come from the Old World (like Met. P.) feel they have not betrayed their "roots" by owing allegiance to Antioch BUT enjoying the free fruits of the New World ! How many of them want to go back? How is Zero !
#24 Anonymous Priest on 2009-06-04 08:34
I wouldn't leave just yet. The Patriarch could take the other extreme and make them ALL Metropolitans including a few new ones.
#25 Kevin Klein on 2009-06-04 08:44
What ever you do, do NOT make a move to the GOA. Have you not been reading what is transpiring under the EP's jurisdictions? I've been in the GOA since I became Orthodox, but I would not in a million years tell someone in the Antiochian Archdiocese to come and join us. I won't go into "why" I say that, because the evidence is all over this website. But here's a hint, it has to do with "barbarians" and "the barbarian lands"....
#26 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-06-04 09:43
How funny...that's the first thing I noticed too...
#27 Matushka Anna on 2009-06-04 10:12
Don't forget Damascus is 7 hours ahead of the U.S. east coast. For instance, a press release at 10 a.m. EDT 3 June could have been describing the full day of meetings on 3 June, since it would be 5 p.m. in Damascus.
#28 Subdeacon David [Yetter] on 2009-06-04 10:21
if you want to assess what took place by the smiles on faces of a photo, then go to antiochian.org and you see pictures of all the bishops smiling! bishop antoun is not frowning in that photo. so, please stop your analysis by the smiles on ones face, it really is stupid to do so.
#29 Anonymous on 2009-06-04 10:46
I agree that one must be very careful with petition sites. Noting the anonymous nature of this particular site, I would be VERY cautious about signing on to that petition. Looks more like a site designed to capture the names of folks opposed to the Metropolitan more than a site designed to send a humble request to the Holy Synod.
#30 Silouan James on 2009-06-04 11:59
I don't think Fr. George is being snarky, he's been through too much to have any snarkiness left. He's a committed man and pretty thoughtful.
#31 Ba'ab on 2009-06-04 12:50
This is a prime example of how people look too close at words. They referred to them as bishops because they are bishops, auxilary or not the status bishop is still a short title for their position. Too deep man.
#32 William on 2009-06-04 13:23
What is your definition of an Orthodox Church in North America without the link back to Antioch or any of the other Patriarchates? How will that work in your eyes?
We could get our own Patriarch but I guarantee it would not be in the next 20 years so it isn't even worth thinking about if that is even possible. Good dream though, i think it would be pretty cool myself, we always need to be connected. We don't want to be a severed branch of the tree of Christianity.
#33 Curious Question on 2009-06-04 14:28
Maybe the lesson in the suggestions about joining each other in our respective times of crisis is simply that we belong together, the sooner the better.
I don't think it's a question of having a "perfect" jurisdiction -- no such thing can exist in a fallen world. It's simply a question of committed Orthodox Christians who share a common vision of Orthodoxy in America working together in concert and unity. The politics be damned.
#34 Rebecca Matovic on 2009-06-04 14:55
Are you branding Luther a quitter? Wow! He was wrong on some things, and I'd be the first to note some of them, but a quitter he was not. Are you aware of his "times" and situation? I know, I'll get lambasted as an Orthodox priest for defending him at all, but we should choose our analogies more carefully.
That said, I do agree that now is not the time for people to bail on the archdiocese.
Fr. George, I agree with Mr. Haddad. I think you could have said that more politely. You are also right that people shouldn't be leaving right now, but if that person is leaving or wants to leave, your comment won't help. There could well be people even wondering whether to leave (or not convert to) Orthodoxy Herself. I was once told as much back when the OCA scandal hit. So, on these issues, we should be careful how we handle people who may be on the fence.
Yes, best to be avoided. I'll second that. Why give +Philip the names of all who oppose the non-decision of February 24th?
#36 Phileas on 2009-06-04 17:49
You guys just don't get it. The AOC is no different from the GOA except that they are lying to you about wanting to have an American expression of the Orthodox Faith.
All you converts want to have an American Orthodox Church, if any of the Bishops in the AOC wanted it they would give up their crowns to see it happen.
What will happen when + Basil gets the thrown? I have heard from people who love and Hate the western rite that he loves and hates it.
I have heard from so many convert priests in the AOC how bad the Greeks are. What is the difference between the western rite and what the Greeks do with pews and Organs? How about fasting the Antiochains made up the whole no fasting till Ascension just a couple decades ago.
There is no difference between the two except I have never heard a Greek Priest talk bad about an Antiochian Priest. The Antiochain Priests talk about how bad the Greeks are all the time.
Wake up stop drinking the Kool Aide AOC and GOA are two sides of the same Coin in many ways.
#37 Who Cares? on 2009-06-04 19:01
You have an interesting understanding of what it means to be the Church in N. America. And to be "severed" from Antioch would be "severed" like the Church in Georgia, whom Antioch granted autocephaly well over 1000 years ago!
Our "link" to other autocephalous and autonomous churches would be as a sister church! That's how the rest of the Orthodox Churches relate. When we get that, that we really are a sister church (or churches, because Canada should be autocephalous, and probably Mexico as well), then we will move ahead much faster to a much larger autocephalous church in America, and our own Patriarch. I pray it is in our lifetime. It's overdue already!
#38 Another Anon on 2009-06-04 19:52
Amen to that!
#39 John Congdon on 2009-06-04 20:40
Dear Fr. Oliver and Mr. Haddad:
You may have noticed that I replied to two people this week who mentioned quitting, "Hanging in There" and "Who Cares."
If you compare the two authors and my two replies you may see what I had hoped to be two very different approaches. To the first, who seemed sincerely distressed, I meant to be firm, but understanding of what might be his predicament. To the second, whose qualifications for being taken seriously were perhaps summarized in his self-selected sobriquet, "Who Cares," I meant to take my cue from Proverbs 26:5.
Careful of the soul of a man who carelessly trumpets a blustering brand of separationism under the name "who cares," Fr. Oliver? Absolutely. But one way of doing that is "smite a scoffer and the simple learn prudence." (Prov. 19:5)
You doubtless read the quality and sincerity of the latter person's comments and the meaning of his non de plume differently than I did. I think mine is the better view, but I apologize to him and you if I misfired. Lots of souls are at risk here these days, and an unreasoned and unreasonable outburst rendered in a "who cares" spirit seemed to merit short shrift. But I may be wrong.
#40 Fr. George Washburn on 2009-06-04 22:05
Fact check time.
The AOC did not make up a NEW fasting regulation when she suspended fasting until the Ascension. There is an ancient tradition of not fasting from Pascha until the Feast of the Ascension.
A Spanish woman, Egeria, made a trip to Jerusalem sometime between 394 - 410. She gives an account of what she saw in a detailed and long diary account which reveals that much of what we are doing liturgically today in Orthodoxy is very similar to the liturgical rites she observed.
Egeria spends some time explaning the fast of Great Lent which was severe. Then she clearly states that the Christians of Jerusalem did not fast for the next 40 days.
So the AOC is not making things up.
BTW, I care!
#41 Fr Thaddeus Wojcik on 2009-06-05 05:51
Thank you for responding, father. There was no need to include me in the apology, though I appreciate the gesture. I also may have misread the person's reaction. I am a little sensitive on how we handle such people because I actually had a few people tell me they were rethinking converting to Orthodoxy back when the OCA scandal hit. Now, I realize the Church of ancient Corinth will always be with us, but it is difficult for many outsiders to come to grips with that.
If I was too harsh in calling you out publicly on this forum, I apologize for that. I wondered about it even as I hit "submit comment," but submitted nonetheless.
You are right that this is a trying time for many.
Lord, have mercy!
It has become clear to me that "Who Cares" is not really interested in having a discussion, but rather in voicing his/her opinion only, so I will not engage the recent comment, except to point out an article by Bishop Basil on the Western Rite, which may be found at the link below:
Bishop Basil has long been a supporter of the Western Rite. To accuse him of being two-faced is not appropriate.
#43 Ferris Haddad on 2009-06-05 07:17
I took chant classes with Bishop Basil back in the early 80s and have crossed paths with him a several occasions since then. I have never ever thought of him as being stingy with his smile! Good to see it here again.
#44 Fr. Dennis Buck on 2009-06-05 07:41
Hoe can you possibly equate the Western Rite with the Greeks having pews and organs except out of total ignorance? Do you not know that it was the Holy Synod of Moscow that first approved the Western Rite for reintroduction? Do you not know that, along with the AOCA, ROCOR also has Western Rite parishes? Try reading up a little first at westernorthodox.com before slandering the Western Rite again.
#45 Nemo on 2009-06-05 08:16
This time I recommend Proverbs 26:4.
#46 Fr. George Washburn on 2009-06-05 08:23
I’ve studiously avoided any comment on the Antiochian situation, but your remark about “Antiochains (sic) made up the whole no fasting ‘til Ascension just a couple of decades ago.” got my attention. I was unaware until now that the Antiochians did that, but good for them. I undertook a similar change around the same time in fasting discipline based on my reading of the Spanish noble woman Egeria, whose late fourth-century diary of her pilgrimage to the Holy Land reveals the fasting discipline that obtained at that time by Christians including monastics in Jerusalem. Besides returning to a more ancient discipline, I reasoned that the great feast of Pascha, which deserved a robust preparation, also no less deserved a robust expression of joy. In street terms, equal time.
#47 Terry C. Peet on 2009-06-05 08:27
I feel sorry for you man. I truly do.
#48 William on 2009-06-05 13:42
One might also point out that the Antiochians didn't make up the Western Rite either. We have the Church of Russia to thank – or, in your case, blame – for that.
(editor's note: Actually you have the Latin West to blame for it's origin. Pesky Romans, converting the West.)
#49 Anonymous on 2009-06-05 13:49
I have to say this right out loud: I cannot believe the level of unhealthy gratitude among converts in the AOCA that frequently goes back to Met. Philip or some other priest’s ”willingness to accept converts.” It points to a sickness in the AOCA that is a at the heart of the current crisis/ex-crisis wherein “indebtedness” becomes the context for letting the hierarchy/clergy do what they want. It is a kind of guilt trip wherein this notion of “I made you Orthodox” , “Met. Philip or father so and so ‘made me’ Orthodox,” gets imposed and then expressed as pious punctuation, almost as a requirement, ad nauseam.
#50 Steve on 2009-06-05 14:10
This is silly.
Fasting means 'not eating'.
It seems to have been conflated with abstinence, which as far as diet is concerned means 'not eating certain things'.
We don't fast - not eat - on days in the paschal season.
But we do abstain from some things after Bright Week. Specifically meat.
In other words, while there are no fasting days during the paschal season, there are days of abstinence from meat at least.
This is only an issue because the concept of fasting in itself has been lost in many places.
How is eating smoked salmon or digging into a fish fry connected with fasting?
When we can't even get basic concepts right - simple biblical and traditional concepts - it isn't surprising that complex things are problematic.
AA in M
#51 Anonymous on 2009-06-05 17:22
To add to this point, even logically doesn't what Egeria described makes sense even today - that while we are still celebrating the Feast there would be no fasting? We are still singing "Christ is risen," Sunday's antiphons are of Pascha, the Paschal stichera are being sung at Sunday's vespers and matins, etc.,
What if we put this in context with other feasts, say the Nativity? The "12 days of Christmas" there is no fasting...the same number of days that some Greeks fast! (Not starting until after St Spyridon.) So how/why would the Church dismiss fasting for a longer period of time for the Nativity than for Pascha?
#52 Another Anon on 2009-06-05 17:57
In regards to fasting for those of you who think I made it up read:
and if you think its ok because one church practiced it at one time in the past then you are still play protestant, is not the rule of Orthodoxy what is been believed and practiced in all places not just one?
As to Bishop Basil, I am not accusing him of anything it is what priests have said about him and his likes and dislikes for the western rite.
The Western Rite is practiced by how many churches? Not more than 30. How come the OCA has no western rite if it was one of their Bishops who started it?
I am not condemning either the fasting or the Western Rite. I am saying that you really are no different then the Greeks and Old Country folks you seem to dislike so much.
#53 Who Cares? on 2009-06-05 20:07
To paraphrase St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, never, never, ever let anyone tell you that to be Orthodox you have to be eastern. The liturgies and Traditions of the West are far older than any of her heresies.
#54 Kevin Klein on 2009-06-05 20:42
That may be true BUT the ONLY jurisdiction or Orth Ch in the World that allows non fasting thru Ascension is the Antiochians. Confusing from those visiting other parishes,etc. We can't even use the Creed, PreCommunion prayers without stumbling when we visit other parishes of varied Arch'd. Guess the Bishops will remain "demoted". Met Philip wins again as he always has by whatever means. On to Unity but what planet?!
(Editor's note: I wouldn't rush to judgement about that. The Synod decides, not the Metropolitan.)
#55 Anonymous on 2009-06-05 21:16
Yes, indeed. One of my first conversations with an Antiochian clergy was a non-stop anti-Greek tirade...for me a major turnoff. People criticize the ethocentrism of the Greeks, but how many could say that that the Antiochians are simply "proud to be Antiochians?" Frankly, Damascocentrism doesn't really "sell" very well. What the Antiochians do sell IMO is not just anti-Greek but also cautionary rant about the Russian Church as well (as being too "Western"). This makes sense, because if you are after "ex-whatever-you-used-to-be" converts, the starting point of reference becomes "not this."
Along these lines even Clark Carlton comes out as critical of the "Western" aspects pf Pomazansky's Orthdox Dogmatic Theology...while he himself directly targets Evangelicals, Protestants or Catholics. Fine. I have no problem with that. But why not let Antiochians read that text and then decide? Sure, Carlton is not taking that book from anyone's hands...but again, that the Antiochians were somehow "more Eastern" becomes a kind of marketing strategy, which I have also encountered, and paradoxically that they are also, yes, more "evangelical."
Apparently there was no problem making Morning and Evening prayer in the initial copies of the Orthodox Study Bible "more Western" or even "more Protestant" by eliminating prayers to the Theotokos.
As for the Western Rite, Antiochians would do well to review St. Raphael of Brooklyn's own actual particular views on Western Rite Orthodoxy...which I am not against.
#56 Steve on 2009-06-06 04:46
Re: the non-abstaining from meat, etc until Ascension
Maybe Antioch is trying to show a LIVING Tradition, instead of just "doing what we have always done" (which Egeria shows is NOT what we have always done) and not ever thinking about it, examining historical development and changes that may or may not be so necessary, or sometimes wise! We have other "practices" that some synod somewhere would do well to consider...and hopefully influence the rest of the Church to their senses. (The "clean" and "unclean" issues for women would be a great place to start! But there are sure a lot more.)
God bless Patriarch Ignatius for the wisdom and courage to address such practices.
#57 Another Anon on 2009-06-06 08:01
I'm not aware of any public commentary by St Raphael of Brooklyn on the subject of Western Rite Orthodoxy. I'm only aware of an instruction of his on the impermissibility of Orthodox laity receiving sacraments in Episcopalian churches:
#58 Anonymous on 2009-06-06 08:22
The Antiochians are NOT the only jursidiction in the world to not fast for the 40 days from Pascha to Ascension. The Coptic Church as well does not fast for 40 days, (in fact I believe from them it's 50 days and they begin fasting after Pentecost) so you need to read up on your rubrics and fasting practices and Church history. And please don't give me the "those are monophysites" as one, if you think that, you should do some reading up on the subject, and two, it's irrelevant because they're Liturgical rites have been essentially unchanged since the 4th century, so you can see what is a legitimate ancient practice, even if you believe them to monophysites.
The not fasting for 40 days is the more ancient practice than what the GOA and others do today. Despite that, it does appear you may be right, that at least "some" in the Antiochian Church don't want a true American Church anymore than the GOA does, but I still believe that to be a minority opinion.
#59 Chuck Shingledecker on 2009-06-06 09:33
Steve, could you elaborate on St. Raphael's statements regarding the Western Rite? I know of his changing positions about Anglicanism, but I wasn't aware of any comments on the Western Rite.
#60 Ferris Haddad on 2009-06-06 10:42
Glory to IC XC!
Before I start, Fr. George, vis-a-vis your Pro. 24:6 reference, I'm chiming in for the sake of those who may read the most recent "Who Cares?" post.
First off, to cite orthdoxinfo.com as a source authority?? For crying out loud! Sure, you'll get Orthodox information as the name implies, but you also risk getting a nice mix of sectarianism, ecumenophobia ("You were in the same building as Protestants!? Burn for all eternity, you heretic!"), and Old Calendarism thrown in with it.
Second (and I risk belaboring the point), the orthodoxinfo.com article referred to above conveniently dismisses the Apostolic Constitutions: "Now if any persons keep to the Jewish customs and observances concerning the natural emission and nocturnal pollutions, and the lawful conjugal acts, (Lev. 15) let them tell us whether in those hours or days, when they undergo any such thing, they observe not to pray, or to touch a Bible, or to partake of the Eucharist? And if they own it to be so, it is plain they are void of the Holy Spirit, which always continues with the faithful." (Read the whole passage at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.ix.vii.v.html which has the whole of Nicene Fathers series.)
Generally regarding orthodoxinfo.com: Caveat lector!! Better yet, read the Bible, read the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, read The Arena, read The Way of A Pilgrim, read a biography of St. Seraphim of Sarov, help a local food shelf, quietly spend time praying to God to bless those whom you find a source of temptation (Luke 6:28). So many safer ways to be informed -- and formed -- as an Orthodox Christian.
Third, the issue of Egeria's witness is not just "one church practiced it at one time in the past" but, in general, one will see variety within the Church's discipline from one monastery to another, one country to another, from one time to another. Uniformity with "what I'm used to" does not equate to the singularity of holy Tradition. We even have four Gospels; variety can be okay. With Romans 14, enough has been said on this matter already.
Fourth, it was not an OCA bishop who started the Western Rite, it was the ancient Orthodox Christians in the West who started it (as Mr. Stokoe inidicated at the end of message #19.7), and it was the Russian Church at the time of St. Tikhon -- several decades before there was an OCA -- that endorsed its return to use among the Orthodox in the 20th Century.
Christ calls us to repentance, we have received holy baptism, the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, membership in Christ's Body, and we peddle in the urgency of pettiness. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
#61 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2009-06-06 11:45
Why is it that when people talk about bringing back ancient practices, they never talk about bringing back the tough ones? You'll never hear a chipper Sunday announcement that from now on, just like the ancient Christians , we're going to have serious sinners spend weeks kneeling in the back of the church weeping.
On a different topic: the the interplay between Jewish law and the early canons is not something I know very much about, but it seems to me that the passage is addressed specifically to those backsliding into the Law. On the other hand, the rationale for later Christian practices regarding conjugal relations and nocturnal emissions is quite different: it isn't a matter of being ritually unclean, but of ascetic abstention for the sake of prayerful concentration on the Mysteries. Similarly with nocturnal emissions — uncleanliness as such isn't at issue. (If it were, one would be restricted not only from the Eucharist, but from entering a church, touching a Bible, and so on.) The focus seems to be on a diagnosis of the passions and on involuntary sin. For this reason (if I recall) there are some fathers who explicitly single out, as a barrier to communion, emissions preceded by lewd fantasy or drunkenness during the day. Not that I consider this to be quite the most crucial pastoral question of our age — but I would find it incredible if we were the first in hundreds of years to read the Apostolic Constitutions and really "get it."
Finally, I really do not know what you and Mark have in mind, associating the Western Rite as normally practiced today with the ancient Western Churches. I would love to see a Western Rite built up from the actual divine service of our Orthodox forbearers. But what we seem to have now is the BCP and the Tridentine Mass with a couple of aftermarket modifications.
Fr. Schmemann's skeptical comments about this (there are two papers, I think) seem right on the mark to me. These rites (especially the BCP) are the product of a complex development of heresies, and in some cases the modern liturgical reforms so despised by their devotees must, from an Orthodox perspective, be classed as improvements . Liturgy is an organic thing — these rites can't be "made Orthodox" by scratching out some filioques and stapling on a good epiklisis. It's as though we took an urban latchkey kid and put him in the middle of a Brazilian rainforest. Humans live there, and he's a human, right? — so just swap out the iPod for a bowie knife and he'll be good to go! Doubtful.
On the other hand, the French Church St. John of San Francisco helped to found was very particular about using a genuine rite of the Orthodox West, and a great deal of study seems to have gone into reconstructing a "Liturgy of St. Germanus." Whatever their later troubles, this at least seems to me to be a model for what we might accomplish here.
#62 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-06 17:30
Yes the Bishops look happy will this mean MP will be unhappy? Did they hear the February 24 decision did not apply to them? Were they told it would be repealed? Were they told that it was not meant for North America?
If the Bishops are now at peace and the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod did not originate from him, then why would he still plan to go over to Damascus on the 13th taking those with fat checkbooks?
When our Diocesan Bishops are happy is he unhappy? Lord, have mercy. When will this end?
Given MP's advanced age he may not return as a passenger.
#63 anon and anon on 2009-06-06 19:13
With regard to the Western Rite and St. Raphael, check out the site Western Rite Critic for the source on St. Raphael. It is a source and not an editorialization, specifically a letter.
I would also add that one should not conclude the Liturgy of St. Tikhon is THE Western Rite for Orthodox. I am sure people are aware of Western Rite in ROCOR even during the time of St. John of Shanghai...
#64 Steve on 2009-06-07 03:29
Yes, this is very familiar commentary, but as always, very little detail to back up the assertion that the so-called "Tridentine Rite" (a misnomer) is radically different from what our "Orthodox forbears" experienced. In matter of fact, what Antiochian Western Riters experience today in the "Mass of St Gregory" would be far more recognizable to Gregory the Great himself than the contemporary "Liturgy of St John Chrysostom" would be to Chrysostom. Those familiar with the history of Christian liturgy can testify to the fact of the Church of Rome's intractable liturgical conservatism, from very early times up until the mid- to late-20th century.
As the liturgical scholar Adrian Fortescue notes, "The Missal of Pius V is essentially the Gregorian Sacramentary [7th-8th c.], again is transformed from the Gelasian book [6th-7th c.], which depends upon the Leonine collection [4th-5th c.]. We find the prayer of our Canon in the treatise 'de Sacramentis' and allusions to it in the IVth century." Likewise, Dom Alcuin Reid writes: "The Tridentine liturgical reform, initiated in order to correct abuse and ensure doctrinal orthodoxy, was thoroughly traditional. It produced nothing radically new ... It was another growth of the living organism that is the Roman rite, involving little substantial change." Finally, Dom David Knowles says: "The missal of 1570 was indeed the result of instructions given at Trent, but it was, in fact, as regards the Ordinary, Canon, Proper of the time and much else a replica of the Roman missal of 1474, which in its turn repeated in all essentials the practice of the Roman Church of the epoch of Innocent III, which itself derived from the usage of Gregory the Great and his successors in the seventh century. In short the missal of 1570 was in essentials the usage of the mainstream of medieval European Liturgy which included England and its rites."
(The adapted BCP rites are a different matter, which is why generally I refrain from defending them!)
#65 Anonymous on 2009-06-07 13:41
Glory to IC XC!
Hi, Fellow OC,
I was not intending to address the Apostolic Constitutions as such, and even expressed my trepidation of belaboring the point regarding orthodoxinfo. My aim was to point out that the web site referenced above, too often selects passages to make a point regardless of a fuller context and frequently selects proof-texts according to an a priori agenda.
But, to cheer you up -- if that is even necessary, you don't sound angry -- there are attempts to return to "tough" ancient practices. I have in mind such practices as personal tithing. Is not tithing tough compared with dues at a few bucks a week? And for those of us who promote tithing, we don't necessarily urge it as an end goal, but an ideal point from which to start, the goal being a fully realized poverty of spirit and sense of stewardship over all our worldly blessings. Other "tough" practices might include Liturgy prayers prayed aloud, making for longer "tougher" services. Also, frequent Communion, which necessitates continuously being prepared, e.g. forgiving and being at peace with everyone. It takes a great saint to master that and I don't know how many like Sergius of Rodonezh we have these days, not I-- it can be tough and only happens with the grace of God! (If people commune unprepared, that is a different issue to be dealt with by them and their priest.) Another "tough" issue might include the increasingly popular promotion of doing charity work rather than just "being Orthodox" and going to church (only on Sunday morning). However, toughness shouldn't be what we look for, but repentance unto salvation. And tithing, prayer, peaceable living and forgiveness, plus doing charity all work well in assisting such repentance. (An office of weeping kneeling penitent wouldn't work so well.)
Now, I've neither been to Brazil nor to an Orthodox Western rite service. But, the point about the (or any) Western rite is simply that such a thing may be perfectly compatible with Orthodoxy as the fundamental point is: the Orthodox Church had a/the Western rite(s) back when the West was Orthodox (which I think is Mark's point also, but I've not been in communication with him on this). As for the particulars of how such a rite should be done, that's not what I was addressing. My point is that I can't give a blanket condemnation to such a thing as an Orthodox Western rite without undercutting St. Ambrose of Milan and so many Orthodox Saints of the West.
One last point... Just as we say "Let us depart in peace" and spend 20 minutes in church without departing, right in the middle of your message, you begin a paragraph with "Finally." You must really be Orthodox!
#66 Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik on 2009-06-07 19:43
Regarding the Holy Synod of Antioch's return to the ancient practice of NOT FASTING during the forty days of Pascha:
My understanding is that this whole decision (and many other attitudes toward non-fasting periods) is based on a misunderstanding and false premise. That premise being what exactly is not fasting in this context.
My understanding that not fasting or "fast-free" in this context is that one is allowed OIL and wine. As on the weekends of Great Lents (which technically are NOT fast days) this means one can have TWO meals of fasting foods (as opposed to the one allowed on true Lenten fast days) and these meals can be cooked with oil.
Of course since in practice almost no one follows the one meal requirement of a true fast day nor the "dry eating" or boiled eating that lack of oil implies, we also lose the meaning of what these "non-fast" days are.
I do not however have any documentary sources for this understanding. Can anyone substantiate this point and provide any sources?
#67 Antiochian Priest on 2009-06-07 22:30
I'm familiar with St. Raphael's letter against the Episcopal Church. However, I don't see how it is directly relevant to the Western Rite in Orthodoxy. He was responding to a serious pastoral situation in which Episcopal clergy were preying on Orthodox laypeople. He explained to his people that the Episcopal Church is not Orthodox and that his people should not participate in Episcopal services or partake of Episcopal sacraments.
In other words, St. Raphael's comments were directed against the Protestant Episcopal Church, not the Orthodox Western Rite. I don't think we should conflate the two.
#68 Ferris Haddad on 2009-06-08 05:56
Ha! Yes, while re-reading my posts, I sometimes catch myself using more than one "finally." ("Again and again...," you know.)
I wasn't clear — I'm not into toughness as such. It's just that most of the arguments in favor of this change in the fasting typicon begin and end with its antiquity, this acting a sort of trump-card justification. It seems to me that there is always a bit of cherry-picking going on in such appeals. (Certainly, for example, I have on many occasions heard the importance of frequent Communion emphasized while the importance of proper preparation, which you also emphasized, is discussed barely at all.)
But the real problem is with the principle, of course. As you point out, the only Christian measure of an ascetical practice is its practical spiritual benefit, and not "toughness," antiquity, or any other external quality. Further, it is just not the case that our Orthodox ancestors were practicing a basically decadent faith, encrusted over the years with who-knows-what, which we are only now doing sensibly and right. (Even setting aside God's promises to the Church, surely the proof of that pudding is in the Synaxarion?) But this is not directed at you; and, anyhow, enough of my ranting.
As to the issue of a Western rite — I agree. My sense is that most hostility toward "the Western rite" comes from a negative impression of what it is currently.
#69 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-09 17:48
Thanks for your reply! You're right — I should have gone far easier on the "Tridentine" end of things. (incidentally, how would you have it referred to?)
Nonetheless, I am uncomfortable with our picking up a heterodox form that post-dates the Schism by half a century. I don't question the general conclusions of the scholars you cite, but it may be that those who are Catholics are not tuned-in to concerns an Orthodox might have. Is there not in fact an earlier rite that could be adopted? (I would think that there would have to be, if we know enough to speak so confidently on its lineage.) Would there be any reason not to do so?
After all — although your point about what St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory would have recognized of the liturgies named for them is useful — I think it crucial that the development of St. John's liturgy took place in the context of the Church. That it differs from what was done in St. John's day is no more problematic than the fact that in the early Church there was a difference between rites in different places.
(I might in any event have more confidence in the Gregorian-based AOCA rites if I believed that they were actually carried out in a reliable Gregorian manner. For example, I was at a vespers service one at a Western Rite AOCA parish that used St. Gregory's name right and left. There was a very Anglican Verger, some Gregorian chant, a reference or two to the merits of Christ, and a nice hymn by John Wesley. Such a pastiche is, of course, not the rite of the Orthodox Church of England, Rome, or anywhere else.)
#70 A Fellow Orthodox Christian on 2009-06-09 18:37
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