Keller's Occidentalis: A Misinformation Rumor Mill
Pssst. Did you know one ROCOR monk adds a Byzantine litany right into the middle of his "Tridentine" liturgy? That when another monk petitioned Abp. HILARION of Sydney for ordination, Vladika sent him to Keller's monastery instead? That ROCOR isn't really in communion with Serbia or Jerusalem?
Good, because none of it is true. But you would think it's true if you hang out on Keller's Yahoo group, Occidentalis.
I first became aware of Derek "Fr. Aidan" Keller's penchant for twisting the truth and smearing his perceived enemies (every Western Rite Christian not amenable to the OSRM) this way. In addition to his flawed history and liturgics, he manages to regularly rumormonger about his enemies and their practices. (Incidentally, he's been corrected about all the above and more, many times, but he has refused to retract anything.)
For instance, when an Occidentalis member asked about the Book of Common Prayer, Keller switched topics, discussing his "strong impression that the W. rite of Antioch* is substantially Byzantinised." His proof? One of the prayers in our Tikhonite services "is from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom ('that when two or three are gathered in Thy name.')"! As anyone mildly conversant with liturgy knows, the "Collect of Chrysostom" was added to the daily hours by Convocation (perhaps by Thomas Cranmer) in 1549, not by the AWRV.
His asterisk in the comment above pointed to this truth-twister: "At the time that the St. Andrew's Service Book was published, the American archdiocese was still part of the Antiochian Church." (???) Of course, the Antiochian Archdiocese is still very much a "part of the Antiochian Church."
Discussing ROCOR's inclusion of the hymn "Let all mortal flesh keep silence" in its Sarum liturgy, he wrote, "'Let all mortal' is an 18th c. hymn which was composed in France." One hardly need attend a university course to understand this beautiful hymn (#159 in the St. Ambrose Hymnal, #197 in the 1940 Hymnal) comes from "the Cherubic Hymn from the Liturgy of St. James, 5th c." Even Frederica Mathewes-Green mentioned this in one of her columns. It was translated by Gerard Moultrie in 1864. (which is the 19th century, not the 18th), but it's viciously dishonest to call it "an 18th c. hymn."
I understand he's since apologized (again) "for all the times I have written in needlessly dismissive words regarding liturgical matters." Which unfortunately is par for the course with him. For instance, in September 2004 he wrote, "I promise I will forbear from polemics in the future. " Almost instantly, he resumed spreading stories about Fr. Michael and Abp. HILARION. Five days later, he claimed, "There are, sadly, those who feel their bounden duty to God and Holy Orthodoxy is to destroy our reputation and work. I have seen them, including clergy, resort to lies, orchestrated rumours, shocking intrigue, bribery, and even forged documents, in order to advance their aims." Keller replied to a posted e-mail from Fr. Michael of Tasmania thus: "pomp and blather!"; "He is lying through his teeth....God help him." Delightful All this (and more) within less than a month of his eirenic turn.
Unfortunately, this is the tip of the iceberg, and does not include questionable behavior offline.
If he has repented, let him "bring forth fruits meet for repentance." Let him set the record straight and shut down his online hate campaign. Until he does, he is worth keeping at well farther than arm's length. One's salvation may be aided immensely by simply unsubscribing from his groups and ignoring his website resources.
Don't misunderstand: I don't wish him -- or anyone else -- ill. I wish him a long, happy life as a high school Latin teacher and layman in any canonical Orthodox Church (though I believe he would be best suited for the Byzantine rite). If he hasn't already, I pray he and his followers will stop submit themselves to a canonical Orthodox Church, experience the transfiguring grace of the sacraments, and begin preparing for the evening when the Bridegroom comes, Who puts an end to all vain pursuits (ours, too).