Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Pro-Western Rite Ecumenical Patriarch?

One of the joys I'm finding in this blog is the comment section, where helpful discussions often begin. Occasionally, it also shows what my next post should be. In the comments on our recent post about a Roman Catholic professor's misleading commentary on the Liturgy of St. Tikhon, one of our valued readers wrote, "[At least William J. Tighe] didn't cite criticisms of dubious validity from hierarchs of your own communion."

In fact, that was the first thing he did. He wrote:

I have been told by more than one Orthodox informant that while there are some Orthodox (especially among the Greeks) who repudiate any “western rite” Orthodoxy whatsoever, there are others who, while accepting the legitimacy of WRO, insist that the only legitimate “western rites” are those which originated before the East/West schism, and have had a continuous existence ever since — which would rule out any “Anglican Rite.”

Fortunately, both statements are utterly irrelevant to the Antiochian Archdiocese, home of the Western Rite Vicariate, which is neither run by Greeks nor liturgical resurrectionists. (Mr. Tighe's criteria of rites that "originated before the East/West schism, and have had a continuous existence ever since" would to my knowledge rule out every liturgy currently being celebrated on earth, as none are without modifications since 1054, including the Byzantine rites, plural.)

Critics of the WRV often trumpet opposition to the Western Rite by "the Greeks." In addition to the fact that the Patriarch of Constantinople originally approved J.J. Overbeck's text of the Gregorian Liturgy in the late 19th century (before backing out), in modern times we have Met. ISAIAH's kind publications. To this, we may add this edifying post from a long-lost bulletin of a WRV priest, Fr. Jack. Apparently, a recent Ecumenical Patriarch saluted Western Rite activities. (I would differ only at his unblinkingly favorable view of the French Revolution):


The following address was given by His All-Holiness, Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, to a deputation from this Church to the University of Halki:

"Well! Behold a great event! It is a marvellous thing for us to learn of the revival of Orthodoxy in the West. But I am not surprised that this movement comes from France, this France which has already given us so many beautiful and sweet things. It is an historic moment for all Christendom, and it would be a great fault on our part if we didn' t understand that we must work at its realisation. We know that there is in the West great thirst again for the true Christian tradition. We know also that the climate of the Church of Rome, by its authoritarianism so heavy to bear, cannot make possible a true birth in the heart of tradition. May you be the bridge which shall be projected between the Orthodox Church, repository of the true light, and the Roman Church which we love."

And to Fr. [Eugraph] Kovalevsky [later Bp. Jean de Saint-Denys]: "It is an honour for us to come to your aid, you who have devoted all your life to this historic work of French Orthodoxy. France has brought us by its revolution liberty, justice, and fraternity. Perhaps France will bring a new revolution for christianity, thanks to your work." (October 26, 1954).

(Hat tip: Fr. Jack.)


Blogger Eric John said...

Oh dear God, not Athenagoras! Now everyone will think that the Western Rite is on the leftist fringe of Orthodoxy, the vanguard of premature union with Rome. (Cue the creepy music.) I can see it now in the vagantist rumor mills. If all we have among the Greeks is Isaiah, so be it. There's no need to go further. We have Moscow and, as everyone except the news media knows, it's Moscow that rules the Orthodox world. After all, it IS the Third Rome. ;)

8:37 AM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...


BTW, did you hear Pat. Athenagoras was a Freemason? ;)

God bless,

9:01 AM  
Blogger Eric John said...

Him and Meletios I Metaxakis, of New Calendar infamy! So was Cardinal Bugnini of Novus Ordo infamy. So far, my theory is proved, all the crackpots are Masons! How about the charlatans and vagantes?

3:12 PM  
Blogger Aristibule said...

I'm still trying to figure out why no one mentions Milutin Milankovic when discussing the Revised Julian (really, that Serbian scientists invention as proposed at the 1923 'Pan-Orthodox Conference' in Constantinople - so, now we *really* know who to blame it on.)

RE: Vagantes - many are anti-Mason, but a few are openly Freemason (as was pointed out recently to myself by a French Orthodox, a L'ECOF clergyman is prominently featured on his French Masonic website. The same clergyman has been quite open about his Freemasonry with many clergy.)

We can't loose sight of the fact: Freemasonry is wrong, and the Church has spoken against it. Just because a few crackpots are anti-Mason, doesn't make all anti-Masons crackpots.

1:13 PM  
Blogger James the Thickheaded said...

Mr. Tighe has declared an Anathema on all traditionalist elements outside his favored venue. Even so, the Rite of St. Gregory seems like it ought to pass muster. Yet as time goes on, I think the rite matters less and less...I'm curious whether as an alternative whether there is an Eastern Rite practiced in a more Western setting, or is this simply not acceptable either?

5:56 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home