Friday, April 07, 2006

A Touchstone of Error about the Liturgy of St. Tikhon

Apparently, confusion about the Liturgy of St. Tikhon is not confined to Orthodoxy (real or vagante). On the Pontificator's blog, a Byzantine Catholic professor and contributing editor to Touchstone magazine misrepresented this Western Rite liturgy.

In the comments of a post at Pontifications, a Mr. David Terwilliger asked, "How do you suppose Rome would view the Antiochian Western Rite (St. Tikon’s) Prayer of Consecration? As I understand it, it is simply the Anglican Rite (somewhat of a blend of the 1979 and 1928) with a stronger epiclesis and objective 'transmutation' of the bread and wine into the Body of and Blood of Christ."

Enter William J. Tighe.

Admitting he had not "seen a copy of this rite," he did not feel constrained from utterly dismissing it. After someone posted a link to (a defective version of) St. Tikhon's Liturgy, [1] he replied:

I am writing from memory, but the Prayer of Consecration in this liturgy is clearly that of the Scottish Communion Office of 1764, but with additions and at least one alteration, and perhaps with some deletions as well. The part of it that precedes the Words of Institution is pure 1764...By contrast, the words from “Be mindful…” onwards, concerning prayer for the departed and fellowship in the Communion of Saints, is taken directly from the Roman Canon of the Mass. I am not certain about the deletions....
William Tighe concluded:

At a guess, I would imagine that Rome would wonder what contemporary Anglican constituency there would be for what some might see as a peculiar kind of hybrid rite, and would want to know why there would be a desire for something beyond the most “conservative options” that can be had by using the current “Anglican Use” services.
Mr. Tighe's memory must be rusty, indeed. One need not invoke every Prayer Book in the history of the Anglican communion to understand Western Rite praxis. The Liturgy of St. Tikhon is, to any layman's assessment, very clearly a word-for-word adaptation of the Anglican Missal Mass with two notable changes (one to the 1928 canon): deletion of the filioque and a strengthening of Cranmer's epiclesis. It has nothing whatever to do with the 1979 BCP or any other rendition of the Prayer Book, [2] much less the myriad of willy-nilly conflations, additions, and deletions one would gather from his characterization. It is a fully Orthodox version of a liturgy High Church Anglicans would find instantly familiar, with a minimum of modifications -- one of which is alluded to in the Anglican Missal itself. [3]

Compare this with the "most 'conservative options'" of the "Anglican Use" services:

  • The Book of Divine Worship takes the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, not the missal nor 1928 BCP, as its starting point.
  • It includes both Rite I and Rite II versions of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Communion.
  • In Rite I and II, the Anglican Use services delete the Anglican canon, substituting the Novus Ordo's "improved" version of the the Roman canon. (Not the traditional Gregorian canon; that is an option only in the Western Rite.)
  • This NO canon includes the defective translation of "pro multis" -- mistranslated "for all." Apparently, even some Roman errors are infallible.
  • This canon includes the Novus Ordo's misleading "Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith." In the words of Cardinal Ottaviani, this Memorial Acclamation introduces "ambiguity about the Real Presence under the guise of an allusion to the Last if Christ's real coming will occur only at the end of time, rather than there on the altar itself."
  • The Penitential Rite includes the forms of the '79 BCP -- but the Comfortable Words may or may not be recited.
  • The Offertory Prayers are the modern NO Roman Rite, based on the Jewish table grace, Berakoth.
  • The "Prayers of the People" may be something approaching the traditional "Prayer for the State of Christ's Church" -- or it may be a version of the Byzantine Great Ektenia (Litany), or another version of these prayers altogether.

On the pontifications thread, one Anglican Use defender noted, "The Anglican Use contains all of the essential elements of the post-conciliar Missal of Paul VI, together with components and ceremonial from the Roman Missal of 1962, and the medieval Use of Sarum, not to mention echoes here and there of the Byzantine Rite and Eastern Catholic liturgies." (He omits a strong dose of the 1979 BCP and two injections of Judaism.) It seems this is, in fact, "a peculiar kind of hybrid rite" -- a step up from the baser forms of the Novus Ordo, but many steps removed from the splendor of the Anglican Missal, let alone the Liturgy of St. Tikhon.

I assume Mr. Tighe did not mean to mislead or mispresent this venerable liturgy. This post is offered for his reference and to clarify any confusion his comments may have engendered.


1. In Mr. Tighe's defense, the link posted was to something called "The Episcopal Orthodox Church," not the WRV, and the text on their site was the misleading arrangement found in the St. Andrew's Service Book. However, none of this could account for his erroneous comments.
2. The original "Russian Observations Upon the American Prayerbook" critiqued the 1892 BCP, but St. Tikhon's was not drawn up until after the 1928 book had been issued. While I know St. Tikhon's is in no wise built on the '79 BCP, I welcome feedback from Subdn. Benjamin Andersen to see if I missed any technicality. To the best of my knowledge, and to the observance of any educated layman, this would seem correct.
3. "Note: The words 'and the Son' are a later edition to the text of the Nicene Creed." (Anglican Missal footnote on the Nicene Creed, p. 275).

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Anointed with the Oil of Gladness

Our friend Michael Astley from Sarisburium, baptized and chrismated into the Holy Orthodox faith. God bless him and, "grant him many years!"

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A More Personal Form of Almsgiving

Dom James M. Deschene writes of the oblature:
All oblates, extern or choir, take upon themselves the work of praying some part of the church's Hours each day, as well as other spiritual duties as spelled out in the Oblate's Observances. Those wishing a copy of these observances may write to Christ the Saviour Monastery.

Make a true oblation this Lent. Contact Fr. Deschene for details.


Psst...Wanna Go to Seminary?

Better read this: excellent advice from a priest who has been is there.

Um, OK....

Pistol-packin' Mama...Superior.

Making Catholic children long for the days of rulers....

(Hat tip: AC Ruminations.)