Wednesday, September 06, 2006

One from the Archives: Romans, Byzantize Err Else

I see from Huw Raphael that Orthodoxy Today has reposted Fr. Thomas Hopko's article on the Pope of Rome. Orthodoxy Today is recycling its article; Huw recycled his discussion on the topic; and I'm excerpting my comments from earlier this year. Read the whole post here.

[O]f foremost interest to this blog is that Fr. Thomas -- of the OCA -- endorses the concept of a Western Rite, potentially even in Latin. He suggested an Orthodox Pope "would restore the practice of having the priestly celebrant in the Latin liturgy face the altar with the faithful during the prayers and eucharistic offerings." Accepting the Western Rite would be a good place for all Orthodoxy to begin any outreach to the West, and Fr. Hopko takes this for granted. Further, "the Latin liturgy" is understood in the West as referring to the traditional Liturgy of St. Gregory...He further recommends the public recitation of the hours in Church -- something more commonly found in the Western Rite than among many of our North American Byzantine brethren...

The mere acceptance of the Western Rite would be a major step forward from some in his jurisdiction who utterly reject the concept...

Fr. Hopko essentially demands the Pope accept Byzantinization of the minor issues but not the majors. For instance, he says an Orthodox Pope "would also consider enforcing the ancient ascetical and penitential practice of forbidding the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Christian churches on weekdays of Great Lent. " This is an ancient custom -- of the East, not the West..He also instructs the ByzPope to "forbid private eucharistic celebrations for particular intentions, and for particular pietistic, political or ideological purposes"...Fr. Hopko deems the Western Trinitarian approach "unacceptable 'modalism.'" Putting it mildly, this is unacceptable overstatement...

In all seriousness, other theologians have approached the concept of reunion and reached more practical conclusions on these issues. However, this blog is merely satisfied Fr. Thomas Hopko has endorsed the idea of an Orthodox Western Rite. We hope he will pitch that at the next OCA convention; that kind of offer would produce some takers.


Blogger Eric Jobe said...

Regarding the recitation of the hours, in OCA practice, the Ninth Hour is recited before Vespers and the Third and Sixth are recited before the Divine Liturgy when Matins does not preceed it. Thus, at least in my experience, the daily cycle of prayer is celebrated quite often.

Unfortunately, the OCA is in too much internal trouble to be able to efficiently impliment a Western Rite. In my opinion, only a unified Russian Church (MP, ROCOR, OCA) would be able to do that. Alone, the OCA is barely doing enough to survive.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Ad Orientem said...

The article in question was posted on Pontifications by Father Stephen Freeman (OCA). It has produced a lively discussion as one might expect.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Eric, yes, I mentioned in the comments section on my original post, too, that I've been to OCA parishes that append nothing to Vespers and don't pray another corporate service until the Divine Liturgy. At least one OCA parish prays certain pre-communion devotions, but...that's not exactly the same. To date, I've never been to an OCA church that prays the hours before DL.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

AO, yes, I got in a word or two in the discussion. Did ya see how William Tighe left a fairly vitriolic response that seemed to miscontrue my post entirely?? Perhaps he's seen that I've corrected his distortions of Orthodoxy here before?

God bless,

4:11 AM  
Blogger Ad Orientem said...

Yea I am not one of Mr. Tighe's fans. He has made some incendiary comments over there before. Oh well.


10:13 PM  

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