Certain critics of St. Tikhon's Liturgy use this "logic":
St. Tikhon's Liturgy is in some way related to the Book of Common Prayer;
The Book of Common Prayer was written by Thomas Cranmer, who was an heretical Protestant; therefore
St. Tikhon's Liturgy is an heretical, Protestant, "Cranmerian Rite."
In addition to being condescending toward our Holy Mother the Church -- do these critics think the Holy Synod of Russia, the Patriarch of Antioch, the Patriarch of Alexandria, ROCOR, and others did not thoroughly investigate the rite before setting out guidelines and approving its celebration within Orthodoxy?? -- this "reasoning" is also just plain wrong. Our friend The Continuing Anglican Churchman points out
the second premise is completely false:
I am almost finished reading the MacCulloch's biography on Thomas Cranmer...My thoughts on Cranmer after reading this have changed. I guess I do not see him as a great liturgical genius. He did not write the BCP from scratch. It is better to say that he compiled it, as he borrowed from ancient, medieval, and contemporary sources. To be sure, he did write certain parts of it - certain prayers here and there...but much of the rest of it was borrowed from other sources. I don't think there is anything wrong with that, mind you, but it only goes to show that he was not some "fountain" of fine liturgy in and of himself.
The Book of Common Prayer was never simply "Cranmer's Rite"; he drew from ancient practices, particularly the Sarum Use the BCP displaced in 1549. He did not even complete the 1549 BCP by himself but had the assistance of others who did not share his views and did not allow him to have a free hand in the resultant liturgy.
Most importantly, St. Tikhon's Liturgy is not
simply the "Book of Common Prayer" rite. The Orthodox Church adapted this material in accordance with the Russian Observations Upon the American Prayer Book
to bring it into liturgical and theological conformity with Holy Orthodoxy. Not only were these necessary changes made, but the liturgical commission of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate
added rich ceremonial and prayers expressing the Church's liturgical heritage, especially reverence for the Real Presence. Similar to the Anglo-Catholic movement of the day, it incorporated the Western structure of the Mass. Asperges
, graduals, alleluias, tracts, sequences, offertory prayers, prayers at the foot of the altar, communion verses, post-communion prayers, Agnus Dei
s, Non Sum Dignus
es, Last Gospels, and other devotions reappeared where the Protestant Reformation had done its damage, and the Gloria
returned to its traditional position: following the Kyrie
on most Sundays (outside certain penitential seasons). This was a full, glorious, comprehensive, catholic, Apostolic, and Orthodox
No honest human being could describe this
as "The Book of Common Prayer." Although Anglo-Catholics would recognize it, and most Western Christians feel an instant and familiar sense of worship while praying it, St. Tikhon's Liturgy far exceeded any edition of the BCP, whatever Cranmer's role in drafting any particular rendition thereof. In other words, describing the Liturgy of St. Tikhon as "Cranmer's Rite" is like describing the United States of America as "Jamestown."
Much less could it be called "Protestant." It is a liturgy compiled according to the instructions of the Orthodox Church, at the behest of Orthodox saints, by distinguished Orthodox theologians, blessed within the Orthodox Church, and celebrated within multiple patriarchates of the Orthodox Church for decades. No Protestant would be comfortable with the liturgy's fervent supplication of the saints and the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. He would not appreciate its commemoration of Orthodox hierarchs. He would find no "Zwinglian" content in its outspoken profession of the Real Presence. And no Calvinist -- the British variety of which paid thugs to smash church pictures and stained glass windows with a hammer -- would feel comfortable in a church that visibly expresses its acceptance of the seventh ecumenical council.
In giving its approval, the Church adoped the liturgy's every word and turn-of-phrase -- whatever its provenance -- as Her own. One is inescapably led to believe as the Orthodox Church does about this liturgy, and the Western Rite
in general: that it conveys the fulness of Orthodox faith, worship, and devotion to those, of whatever ethnic background, privileged to share in its celebration.
These facts will not pacify our implacable detractors, most of whom have little or no experience worshipping in an actual Orthodox Church -- and some of whom may have an "improved" missal to promote (usually at a modest price). However, the average catholic-minded onlooker, exploring the often confusing world of Western Rite Orthodoxy, can readily judge this cause.
Remember the fallacious logic, the faulty premise, and the blatant misrepresentation the next time you hear St. Tikhon's Liturgy described only as "the Cranmerian Rite," a charge born either of historical ignorance or ecclesiastical envy.(Am I seeing double based on the post before? Click here for an explanation.)
Labels: Anti-WR Criticism, liturgics