Saturday, April 22, 2006

Confirming the Martyrs by His Example

Another post offered on "Orthodox time":

Hide me from the gathering together of the froward, and from the insurrection of wicked doers. In our consideration of this Psalm, let us contemplate our Head himself. Many Martyrs have suffered such things as the Psalmist prayeth against ; but no Martyr shineth with such glory as the Head of the Martyrs. In him we best perceive what they endured. He particularly was hidden from the insurrection of wicked doers, to wit, in the sense that God the Son, who was made man, hid Himself under the veil of His own flesh. For He is both Son of Man and Son of God: yea, He was the Son of God (for He was in the form of God), and as such became in the flesh the Son of Man, in the form of a servant; whereby He had power to lay down his life, and power to take it again. What could his enemies do unto him? They could only kill the body: the soul they could not kill. Give heed: it were little for the Lord to exhort the Martyrs by word, did he not confirm them by this His example.

-- Lesson 4 from Matins for Good Friday, taken from the Treatise on the Psalms by St. Augustine of Hippo.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Sermon on Wednesday in Holy Week

I'd intended to post this on Wednesday, but I got behind. Let's say I'm posting it on "Orthodox time."

Today, we pray in the last Collects that God would quicken our understanding that we may believe in the eternal life that He has given us. That is, that our understanding of this gift may be enlivened. The whole purpose of Christ was our life - our eternal life. Life in this sense exclusively means life with God. Beyond that there is only death, which is the meaning of what happens to those who deliberately turn away from God, who persistently until the end deny God, and deny the eternal life.

Any one of us may turn from such disbelief and claim our place with God, but to do so, we must achieve that belief in God and in His gift to us.

From such unbelief, we turn first of all, by confession, for in confession before His Church and the whole company of Heaven and to Him, we acknowledge our denial of Christ, of God and of His great gift to mankind and all that we have done in offence resulting from that unbelief. Confession, for the Believer is no mere statement of belief, but a full, personal statement of our failings throughout our life.

Confession is an unburdening and at the same time a turning away from our former selves and a turning towards and embracing of the path to union with God, the eternal gift that He has made possible for us.

Eternal life and the possibility of union with God, union with the energies of God, unity with His will, perfect alignment with God, complete harmony. That is the possibility that is held out to us. That is what Christ made possible and what God makes available.

Some grasped the possibilities very early on and the reality was expounded by the Fathers of the Church as we, mankind struggled to come to grips with this astounding gift.

This is vastly more than merely “going to church” of a Sunday. This is being unable to stay away from that lifting up of our hearts to God and following Christ’s specific commandment. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” This is not a whimsical test to see if we could follow such a commandment. It was the prescription of communion with Him, the nearest that we can approach on this earth in the normal course of events. Normal course of events? - the Divine Liturgy is a cosmic event every time - it is an intimate participation in the most profound event of all history and beyond time. We ought to let nothing stand between us and our participation in this event-beyond-time, in this time of communion.

-- Fr. Michael, St. Petroc Monastery (ROCOR W. Rite)

(Hat tip: Ari)

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

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).

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Derek "Fr. Aidan" Keller's Incredibly Rotating Reality?

Unfortunately, misrepresenting history and liturgy are the least of Keller's offenses. Here's a characteristic example of Keller's mendacious tendencies -- outrageous even by his standards. Within a few hours of each other last Thursday, he told Occidentalis there is no ROCOR Sarum liturgy -- and that there is, and Fr. Michael has changed his text to comform with Keller's "Old Sarum Rite Missal"!

First he claims there is no text of ROCOR Sarum (untrue; it is right here) and blames me for the idea that such a thing exists:

I will note a possible source of 2004, Ben Johnson had labelled [sic.] as the "ROCOR Sarum" a text which had been placed online by Fr. Michael Mansbridge-Wood ofTasmania (a ROCOR priest). It is worthy of note that the online text was not at all a Mass of Sarum use (Fr. Michael did not claim it was on the website). Yet some may be, to this day, using it as a comparison against the Sarum text as published by the St. HilarionPress (SHP).
Then 18 hours later, he alleged that Fr. Michael had changed his Sarum Liturgy to ape Keller's OSRM.

How did he pull this off? I'd inadvertently compared Keller's OSRM with "The English Liturgy," listing differences between the two texts. Keller compared my account of these differences (in the "English Liturgy") with the text of the ROCOR Sarum Liturgy (a totally different liturgy) to claim Fr. Michael changed his Sarum text to bring it into line with the OSRM. He fibs: "We can see, by now, that nearly all the differences between what Ben called the 'ROCOR Sarum' and the SHP Sarum, have been resolved, in St. Petroc's currently-posted text, in favour of the SHP Sarum text."

First, he claims I did not cite the Sarum Mass text at all; then, he claims my ciation proves ROCOR is emulating him. What a tangled web he weaves....

The current text of the Sarum Mass approved for use in ROCOR is here Through the wonders of, a posting of the same liturgy from roughly the same time as my original post is here. As anyone can see, Fr. Michael has changed nothing, much less to bring it into conformity with Keller's "Milan Synod" liturgy text.

One can also check ROCOR's "English Liturgy" text here and here and see nothing has changed at all. (Except the graphics.) Within the span of a few hours, Keller posts two mutually exclusive falsehoods, both self-serving. Yet not a soul on his group blinked, and he did not blush.

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Unserious Criticisms of the "Tridentine" Mass, Part 2: Keller's Flawed "Scholarship"

"There are several genuine liturgical experts on this group besides myself." - Derek "Fr. Aidan" Keller, in a humble moment.

Although Keller presents himself -- and is regarded by his followers -- as a "liturgical expert" and "scholar," his words regularly do not measure up against objective reality. His theories, particularly about what is wrong with the "Tridentine" Mass (really, the Liturgy of St. Gregory, celebrated in both Antioch and ROCOR), conflict with genuine liturgical scholarship by acknowledged experts.

Keller has stated in such online writings as "The Derogations of Trent" (and this article) he considers the Liturgy of St. Gregory to be a "severe abridgement" and "deformation" of the real ancient Gregorian Liturgy, which alone has "lovingly preserved" (and will gladly sell you for a modest price). Some of his (many/virulent) specific criticisms, quoted below, are that the Liturgy of St. Gregory: has removed/replaced the priest's apologiae prayers; does not repeat the Introit three times; deleted farced Kyries; has eliminated most Sequences; does not add verses to the Offertory verse; has reduced the number of proper prefaces; and has expunged such "exuberant" and "glorious" features as the troped Agnus Deis, Communion verses, and Introits. These, he tells anyone who will listen, were part of the "parent" liturgy of Rome and all Europe, the "old Roman Rite" or "ancient Roman Mass" which Trent somehow gutted.

Keller's specific quotations are below. For comparison, I'll be citing three books: The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy by Fr. Adrian Fortescue (Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, reprint, 1999; originally printed 1912); The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development by Fr. Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J. (NY: Benzinger Bros, 1950, two vols.); and The History of the Mass by Francois Amiot (NY: Guild Press, Publ., 1958). The first two are universally recognized scholars on the liturgy. The last, though less academic, is regarded as a reliable popular history.


Apologiae are (usually long) prayers of self-accusation in which the priest privately asks for forgiveness, while the congregation is doing other things. They occur in several places in the OSRM.

Keller: Keller has written the apologiae are part of the ancient Roman rite but were replaced by the deformed/Tridentine/modernist/Antiochian/ROCOR Mass:

I cannot answer any of these questions satisfactorily unless I explain what the apologiae prayers are, and how they fit into the older recensions of the Gregorian rite. I will do that, oddly enough, by pointing out the practice which--within the Mass--replaced them. Later Roman rite practice, prevailing after the 12th c. and found in the later Sarum books, is that the priest prays softly whatever the choir is singing. While the choir is singing the Officium [Introit-BJ], the priest says it softly. While they sing the Graduale, Alleluya [sic.], and Sequence, the priest says those texts softly, etc. This may seem redundant; why wouldn't the priest just sing along with the choir if he knows the melody, or just let the choir handle what is their job? The answer is that after 1170 or so the choir texts came to be the standard apologiae of the priest.

Scholars: "From the Xth century the perfect Missale plenarium begins; from the XIIIth it rapidly becomes the only book used...Low Mass then reacted on High Mass. Originally the celebrant said or sang his part and listened, like everyone else, to the other parts -- the lessons, gradual and so on. Later, having become used to saying these other parts at Low Mass (at which he had to take on the place of ministers and choir himself), he began to say them at High Mass, too. So we have our present arrangement that the celebrant also repeats in a low voice at the altar whatever is sung by the ministers and choir." (Fortescue, p. 190)

"We make the sign of the cross at the beginning of the Introit because it marks the real beginning of the Mass. Nowadays the celebrant is required to recite it, like other parts which are to be read or sung, but are not specifically reserved to him. This appears to be an unfortunate influence of low Mass upon high Mass...Also, when the plenary Missals appeared, it may have been thought that everything contained in them was to be recited." (Amiot, pp. 39-40)

"While most of the sacramentary manuscripts of the tenth century still display but few of these new accessions [private prayers for the priest], they are to be found in bewildering profusion in the eleventh...If there is one element in which this accretion of quiet prayers of a private stamp was made especially and emphatically prominent, and by which it showed most clearly how far removed it was from the spirit of the older Roman liturgy, that element is the the eleventh century [they] reach an ultimate of power and extent, then disappear as at a blow, with only a small remnant surviving, amongst others especially our Confiteor and the oratio S. Ambrosii in the preparation prayers of the Roman Missal. The zenith in the development of the apologiae is evinced in the Mass ordo which had its origin around 1030 and which Flacius Illyricus, the historian amongst the Reformers published in 1557...The disappearance of the apologiae is bound up with the clarification of the notions of forgiveness and the growth of the practice of more frequent sacramental confession." (Jungmann, vol. 1, pp. 78-80). Again, these apologiae prayers became known "since the eleventh century almost universally." (Jungmann, vol. 1, p. 104)

Finally, all parties -- including Keller -- agree these are but the priest's private devotions. Fortescue writes, "These were written in missals, but were merely private devotions, like our Preparatio ad missam...They occur especially about the IXth and Xth centuries." (p. 227)

Repeating the Introit Three Times

Keller: He has written: "The ancient Roman Mass, as preserved in the old Ordines Romani, has three or more repetitions of the Officium or Introit chant at Mass. This is preserved in the Sarum use, but has been lost in the Tridentine use."

Scholars: Of Keller's preferred term Officium, Jungmann writes this title came "later," specifically, "The title is already found in the 10th century in Pseudo-Alcuin" (Jungmann, vol. 1, p. 321). As to the repeating it thrice, it's difficult to find much corroboration, and Roman examples are late.

Jungmann recounts in the First Roman Ordo the Introit antiphon is sung, followed by as many of the verses as are necessary to reach the altar, then the Gloria Patri and a repeated antiphon. "Whether [the antiphon] was also repeated after each single verse of the Psalm cannot be determined so far as the city of Rome itself is concerned. In fact the phrase cited above seems to prove the contrary...In some places as late as 1000 [A.D.] mention is still made of the nod or gesture for the closing of the psalmody with Gloria Patri, or the second (or a second) verse of the Psalm is expressly indicated." Footnote: The source for second verse is "a 10th century Mass book from lower Italy."

He adds the chanting of a whole Psalm and repeating the Introit antiphon numerous times dropped out as the Introit itself became more musically intricate, taking the schola ever longer to sing; also church architecture shortened the distance to the altar. Competing with the Protestants, as Keller alleges, never entered into it.

"In other places the Psalm was curtailed to the first verse apparently as early as the eighth century. In the abbreviation of the text we have the result, no doubt, partly of a development of the musical forms which had gone on apace...Sung thus in solemn fashion, the antiphon itself and its repetition took up no little time in performance. But a more important factor in producing this reduction of the Psalm was the fact that in the more modest circumstances of extra-Roman episcopal and capitural churches there was hardly any room for a lengthy procession like that in the papal liturgy...and the distance to the altar was shortened to only a fraction of its former length." (Jungmann, vol. 1, pp. 323-324)

"[The Introit antiphon] was originally repeated all through the Psalm...after each verse...Gradually the Antiphon was reduced to the beginning and end only...As soon as we hear of the Introit-Psalm at Rome we find it sung in this way -- an antiphon, the psalm, Doxology and antiphon repeated...By the time of the Xth Roman Ordo (XIth cent.?) the Introit is already reduced to its present state, one verse only." (Fortescue, pp. 218-219)

He adds even in the First Roman Ordo, a whole Psalm was too long, so the Pope gave a signal for the singing to end. Fortescue noted the Officium in Spain "is arranged like our Responsorium breve, which entails repeating the second half of the first verse twice, for a total of three times (p. 224). Perhaps this Mozarabic instance is the source of Keller's contention for three repetitions in "the ancient Roman mass"?

There is also another explanation. "About the twelfth century two other ways of enriching the Introit received further attention. They are both mentioned by Beleth (d. 1165). The first method of amplification, followed on feast days, consisted in repeating the antiphon in whole or in part, even before the Gloria Patri, so that it was sung three times altogether. This was customary in many places north of the Alps, though not general. (Footnote: "The practice seems to have been quite general in England at the close of the Middle Ages. Two examples [are taken] from Spanish Mass books of the 16th century.")...The system was called triumphare psalmis or triplicare. The other [12th century] method consisted in enlarging the text of the Introit by means of tropes. In regard to the Introit the favorite device was the introduction of a preliminary phrase. The Missal of Pius V eliminated all these tropes as parasitic." (Jungmann, vol. 1, pp. 326-327)

"Owing to the fact that in most churches the entry procession had become very short, the Psalm was reduced to a single verse with the Gloria Patri...The shortening of the Psalm must have had something to do with the melodic elaboration of the antiphon, which seems to have taken place since the tenth century at least." (Amiot, pp. 37)

Troped Kyries -- Don't You Love Farce?

Keller: Keller seems to indicate his "Old Sarum Rite Mass"-style farced Kyries go back to Pope St. Gregory the Great: "The petitions preceding each 'Kyrieleyson' [sic.] or 'Xpisteleyson' [sic.] in the Roman liturgy go back to the 5th century at least, were part of the Mass in the time of St. Gregory the Great, and (although he restricted the occasions when they were used to Sundays and feasts) after his time continued to be a prominent part of the Mass. Amalarius of Metz, the 9th c. mass commentator, mentions this ancient Roman usage."

Scholars: This is more "conflation." There was a typical Kyrie litany at the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great, but it dropped out of the liturgy, and its exact wording is not known. Keller's farced Kyries (if authentic, which we'll assume they are) are late medievalisms.

To prove there was Gregorian litany, experts point to a letter Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote to John of Syracuse, "But in daily Masses we leave out some things which are generally said; we only say Kyrie eleison and Christe eleison, that we should dwell rather longer on these words of prayer." (cited in Fortescue, p. 234.) Scholars believe this suppression of the litany soon caused it to disappear altogether.

The scholars also agree how farcing came to be. "Consistently with St. Gregory's idea of dwelling longer on the invocation, the Kyrie was sung (is still sung) with long neums on most of its syllables. In the Middle Ages they seem to have found these neums wearisome. So they inserted clauses to fit the notes; one neum became a series of single notes with a text. There was a huge variety of these farced Kyries everywhere...All these additional texts were abolished by the reform of Pius V." (Fortescue, pp. 234, 236, 238-9)

"When Gregorian chant flourished anew in the tenth and succeeding centuries, many of the elaborate Kyrie melodies of the Roman Kyriale were composed...from this time on, from the ninth to the sixteenth century, a full literature of Kyrie tropes is developed. Every church possessed a dozen or so, some purely local...The collection in the Analecta hymnica covers 158 complete numbers...In rendering this chant, one choir would often take up the trope while the other sang the original Kyrie with its melismas, till both came together on the word eleison. It is from the first line of these tropes that we derive the labels which many of the melodies of the Kyriale bear: Lux et origo; Kyrie Deus sempiterne...For some of the tropes even many-voiced melodies appear in the thirteenth century. The tropes themselves were not included in the Missal of Pius V, thanks to the stricter tastes of his century. The monumental Kyrie was thus freed of overgrowth." (Jungmann, vol. 1, pp. 344-5)

"The invocations, to which the Kyrie served as response, at first disappeared on the ordinary days and then on the more solemn ones at about the time of St. Gregory...This [musical] development appears clearly in the farced Kyrie in which words (or tropes) were adapted to the long neums set to a single syllable; the first words of these tropes have been retained in the Vatican Gradual as the names of the various Masses. The trope formed possibly a useful mnemonic for remembering the melodies but it was an obvious accretion which the Missal of St. Pius V (1570) was fully justified in abolishing. The melodies were developed particularly after the tenth century and our Gradual has preserved a considerable selection of them, several of which are very beautiful." (Amiot, pp. 41-2)

Sequences (Sequentia, Prosa)

Sequences were an elaborate example of farcing. The iubilus (or "jubilatio" below) was the last syllable of the Alleluia preceding the Gospel, which were from early times given a more elaborate melody than the rest of the Alleluia. Early commentators say this represented a mystical joy beyond words. At first, the melody itself was called sequentia, but during the Middle Ages northern European parishes began farcing these notes, giving them words, and transforming them into modern Sequences.

Keller: Keller considers the loss of the Sequences of capital importance.

Since the 8th century or so, the beautiful, didactic, poetic texts known as Sequences were part and parcel of the Roman rite liturgy all over Europe, including in Italy. Their presence in the Mass was blessed in the early 9th c. by Pope Nicholas I, and many of the composers of Sequences were Saints of the Church. These grace-filled hymns were almost entirely banished from the Roman liturgy by Pius V, after having been a standard part of it for more than seven centuries. This long-standing feature of the Roman rite is preserved in the Sarum, but was irreverently ejected from the Tridentine mass.

Elsewhere, he adds, "Liturgical forms originating outside Rome, such as the magnificent tradition of Sequences, tropes, prosula...took firm root at Rome...The number of occasions was numerous, perhaps averaging once per week, when poetic and didactic texts taught the people...when the great bells pealed."

Scholars: First, several historical notes: The first sequences are ascribed to Notker of St. Gall around the 10th century, not the 8th. Pope Nicholas I, who died in 867, blessed the filioque, presided during the Photian Schism, and believed in universal papal authority. Italian missals contained approximately four Sequences; the 1570 Missal included five.

"[T]hey were a modern growth and had never taken hold in Rome or Italy" (Jungmann, vol. 1, p. 136).

"They were admitted later and less willingly in Italy. Italian missals as a rule have only three or four" (Fortescue, p. 274).

This made them a standard feature of some liturgies in some areas (but not Rome, nor parts of Italy and Spain) for six , not "more than seven," centuries (910-1570). As they began so late, and became so widespread, many were but the work of local post-Schism poets. Specifically what happened is:

"The first sequences are attributed to Notker Balbulus of St. Gallen (d. 912). There was at his time no clear manner of writing musical notes, the neums (without lines) were only suggestions for people who already knew the melody by heart. It was then difficult to remember them, especially the long neums of the iubilus, which accompanied no words. A monk from Jumieges came to St. Gallen; Notker saw that in his books words were fitted to the notes of neums, apparently only as a help to memory. Notker then, following his example, adapted texts to the iubilus for all feasts in the year. His adaptations were so attractive that they were no longer used merely as a kind of memoria technica, but were actually sung in churches. These texts were Sequentiae...or Prosae...." (Fortescue, pp. 272-3)

"After Notker, Adam of St. Victor (d. 1192), Ekkehart of St. Gallen (d. 973), Gottschalk of Limburg (d. 1098), Thomas of Celano (d. ca. 1250) are the most famous writers of sequences...There were then curious developments in sequences, such as one would expect in popular compositions...There were so-called sequences about wine and beer; one John Nass wrote one about Martin Luther: 'Invicti Martini laudes intonent Christiani.' It was time the development of Notker's idea should stop. In nothing does the prudence of the Tridentine reformers so shine as in their treatment of the question of sequences. At that time there was a perfect plethora of these compositions. The great number had little or no value either as poetry or devotional works; the whole idea of the sequence was merely a late farcing." (Fortescue, p. 274-5)

"[S]ince about the middle of the ninth century certain texts begin to make an appearance in Normandy and then in St. Gall -- texts intended to support the melodies [of the iubilus] and at the same time (and perhaps even primarily) to render the melodies more agreeable to the musical sensibilities of northern peoples to whom up to now the melismatic chant was strange...This text itself was called sequentia...After the year 1000 a new type of sequence began to develop, a type founded on rhythmical principles...This is the floushing period in the composition of sequences, the most famous writer of which was Adam of St. Victor (d. about 1192). Some 5,000 sequences have been collected from the manuscripts...In northern countries, the Mass books of the later Middle Ages contain a sequence for almost every feast day...A Cologne missal of 1487 has 73 of them, the Augsburg missal of 1555 has 98. But elsewhere, above all in Rome, their reception was cool...In the reform of the Mass books under Pius V, out of all the luxuriant crop only four were retained -- the same, approximately, as those which are encountered earlier here and there in Italian Mass books." (Jungmann, vol. 1, pp. 436-7)

"At the sequence the organ seems to have been used as an accompaniment from the start. Later we hear of a solemn pealing of bells to accompany the sequence." (Jungmann, vol. 1, p. 439) So it seems the organ, which Keller detests, is bound up with the sequences and "pealing of bells" he loves. As they say, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds."

"The sequences are of a more popular nature than the hymns of the office; they are also called proses, from prosa...Sequences in the Middle Ages were very numerous indeed; the medieval English Missals, for example, like those of France of Germany, contained a great number, several of them from the pen of Adam of St. Victor (who died in 1190)." (Amiot, p. 66)

By contrast to this highly individualistic poetry of dubious value, the neums on the iubilus were themselves called sequentia originally, before any words were added. Amalarius of Metz preserved the ancient Western and Roman understanding of Sequences: "This jubilatio [iubilus], which singers call a sequentia, induces in us a mental state when the utterance of words will not be necessary but by thought alone Mind will show to mind what it has within itself." This is the joy preserved by the AWRV and ROCOR.

Offertory (Offerenda) Verses?

Keller: Keller believes the Missal of Pope Pius V does not return the West to the Mass of the olden days, because it did not restore verses to the Offertory verse (which he calls the Offerenda). He writes, "[The Missal of Pope Pius V] might return the sanctorale (alone) to a more 11th-c. state, but the rest of the liturgy does not follow suit and return to 11th-c. norms. For example, the long repeats of Mass chants (the verses on the Offerenda, for one example) were not restored." Again, he insists on the importance of this, "The [Old] Sarum [Rite Missal] use keeps up...the ancient Roman custom of verses on the Offerenda chant, with repetitions of the offerenda itself. The Tridentine liturgy has lost this standard old-Roman feature." Since the "Tridentine" Mass does not restore these, in his opinion, it does not restore the Mass of the 11th century.

Scholars: "[A]s a matter of fact, it is in the eleventh century that the offertory verses begin to disappear from many manuscripts. By the following century, this omission has become a general rule." Like the Introit, the expansion or reduction of offertory verses depended upon "the length of the offertory procession." (Jungmann, vol. 2, p. 29)

"From about the XIth or XIIth centuries the shortening of the offertory act [the procession] led to a further shortening of the chant, so that only the antiphon was sung" (Fortescue, p. 304).

Also worth noting: Keller admits in another message, "the Sarum use has comparatively brief prayers at the offertory movement, definitely fewer prayers than the Tridentine has at that point." Perhaps the Roman liturgy did not restore these verses, because it had less for which to compensate?

How Many Prefaces are Proper?

Keller: He pontificates: "One cannot claim to carry forward the venerable ancient Roman liturgy as it was celebrated across Western Europe before the Schism (and even for some time after the Schism) without preserving in use the ancient and venerable Roman prefaces, proper to each day or feast. The decretal whereby these prefaces were abolished postdates [sic.] the Schism of 1054."

Taking a jab at the AWRV (for the millionth time), he comments: "[T]he Gelasian sacramentary, like the other old Roman books, contains a richness of proper prefaces, an important heritage of the old Gregorian rite. These are lacking in your Antiochian books and lovingly preserved in our St. Hilarion Press books." (Of course, proper prefaces are very much a part of the Orthodox Missal -- not one for each day.) He also suggests suppressing these daily prefaces was a post-Schism scheme to enforce submission to the Pope: "The reduction is rather mysterious; the decretal attributed to Pope Pelagius (II, I suppose?) is surely not authentic. And a tenth preface, of Our Lady, was added soon to the nine. It could also simply be a ploy of power on Rome's part, to force Western churches to obey some command, no matter what that command might be."

Scholars: Many of the early prefaces were unworthy of addition, and the Church happily expunged them in a process beginning long before the Schism.

"The most ancient collection of Roman Mass formularies, the Sacramentarium Leonianum has a proper preface for each Mass...267 prefaces! Even the older Gelasianum still furnishes 54 prefaces, the later Gelasianum in the St. Gall manuscript, 186...In this oldest of sacramentaries, even Mass-formularies lacking a distinctively festal character are sometimes found with a preface whose contents are far different from the original conception of a eucharistic prayer, for example when it is used as a tirade againt objectionable adversaries of as an exhortation to lead a moral life. Such curiosities as these must lead sooner or later to a reaction...Phenomena of the sort described must finally have induced that drastic reform which is revealed in the Gregorian Sacramentary. In the genuine portions of this sacramentary as remanded by Adrian I to Charlemagne, there are only fourteen prefaces, counting the praefatio communis. Of these, a number -- those for extraordinary occasions and for the two saints' feasts which were still favored -- were later discontinued in Frankish territory [reducing the number of prefaces] to seven formulas." One of these was "not counted"; the Franks added three more prefaces. "These [nine] prefaces...were the only ones considered admissible in the Decretals first mentioned by Burchard of Worms (d. 1025), and by him ascribed to Pelagius II (d. 590)...Finally, to this sparse group was added the Marian preface, prescribed by Urban II at the Synod of Piacenza in 1095, although it is itself of an earlier date...[I]n the eleventh century the prescription supposedly written by Pelagius II finally prevailed everywhere." (Jungmann, vol. 2, pp. 118-120, 123)

Footnote: "With a minor's wording [for the Marian preface, Keller's "ploy"] is the same as that found in about 850 in the Cod. Ottobon. 313 of the Gregorianum...also in the Sacramentary of Eligius" (Jungmann, vol. 2, p. 120).

"The Leonine sacramentary includes 267 [prefaces], one for each Mass...there are already far fewer in the Gregorian...The proliferation of early days certainly included much that was mediocre -- on occasion an unexpected polemical note is struck or we find long exhortations unconnected with the fundamental theme." (Amiot, p. 101)

"For instance, [one preface was written] after the enemy (perhaps the Goths in 537) had seized the harvest which the Romans laboriously had sown around the city...In the next Sacramentary (the Gelasian) this note has disappeared. Its prefaces are much fewer and more staid. It has (in the Canon) our common preface, and 53 proper ones. The tendency to reduce the number of changing prefaces grows. The Gregorian book has only 10; but another influence (Gallican) adds more than 100 in its appendix...We now have eleven prefaces. Ten of them are in the Gregorian Sacramentary, one (of the Blessed Virgin) was added under Urban II...[T]he preface was considered on the whole too sacred, too near the intangible Canon to be much altered." (Fortescue, p. 318)

Farced Agnus Deis?

Keller: Keller seems to have never met a farce he does not like, including on the Agnus Dei. "The old Sarum style of serving is chock-full of practical advantages for the parishes of today, and this is also true of the older way of singing the Agnus Dei, with tropes which elongate it. (In parishes that don't use tropes, however, the Agnus can be sung in different languages--first in Latin, then in English, then in Spanish, for example)."

Scholars: The "older way of singing the Agnus Dei" is the "Tridentine"/Gregorian form of Antioch/ROCOR; once again, farcing was a late medieval custom flourishing around the time of the Great Schism. "Pope Sergius I (687-701) had decreed ut tempore confractionis dominici corporis 'Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi miserere nobis' a clero et populo decantetur...Like so many other chants, the Agnus Dei also was overspread with tropes, especially in the later Middle Ages." Footnote: "A widely spread Tropus that appeared in the 10th century runs as follows...." (Jungmann, vol. 2, pp. 333, 340).

(And of course no Western Orthodox Church prescribed a trilingual Agnus, which Keller perhaps imported from certain Byzantine churches that do this with the Trisagion and/or litanies; the French Gallican Trisagion was also sung in three languages.)

Troped Communion Verses (and Introits)

Keller: Keller's e-mailed "Daily Ordo" includes, hence he supports, troping the Introit ("Officium") as well as the Communion antiphons.

Scholars: "In the Middle Ages the Introit (as almost every sung part of the Mass) was often 'farced' with strange texts added as 'Tropi.'...Pius V's reform happily banished all tropi except some sequences." (Fortescue, pp. 222-223)

"The embellishment by tropes [of the Communion antiphon] which started in the tenth century fell into decay even before it could be properly developed." Footnote: "The tropes for Communion, which, like those for the Introit, either introduce the antiphon or carry it through, belong almost entirely to the 10th and 11th centuries" (Jungmann, vol. 2, p. 396).

Conclusion: Keller's liturgical claims about the "old Roman Rite" are mistaken in nearly their every instance. The reforms of the Missal of Pius V deleted nearly all these widely divergent accretions and restored the integrity of the ancient texts.

Did Keller's "Old Sarum Rite Missal" restore the Mass of the Pre-Schism West? Many of his texts date from the era of the Great Schism or after, as he acknoweldges. Keller correctly points out, "By no means did 1066 signal a change of Faith in England. The Filioque had already long been in use there, and the Anglo-Saxons were even more devoted to the schismatic Papacy than the Normans were." He has written he considers the Old Sarum Rite Missal "more characteristic of Western liturgy prior to 1200," adding: "The pre-1200 prefaces were in the 1st edition of the amplified Sarum Missal issued by SHP and they will also of course be included in the 2nd edition." This is an important admission, if you assert, as Keller does, that the OSRM represents "the full Western liturgy from the Orthodox period." Many of the texts were written long after many parts of the West (especially the "Gallican" liturgical areas) had "troped," as it were, the Nicene Creed -- by adding one word: filioque. By the time farcing had taken hold, many parts of Europe were already reciting the filioque, using azymes for the Eucharist, baptizing by pouring, celebrating private and votive masses (as many as nine a day), playing the organ, and in Rome there was a growing sense of universal jurisdiction and authority. It is certainly a stretch to call this highly speculative development, reflecting a skewed version of the state of Schism and post-Schism England, "The Liturgy of St. Peter the Apostle," as Keller does.

This leaves aside his blatant Byzantinizations. His decision to commune people with a spoon with a towel under the chin, as in the Byzantine Rite comes to mind. Keller chose not to provide even one source for this custom, claiming, "The main reason for communing with a spoon is a pastoral one" -- apparently an issue no one in the history of the Orthodox West encountered, nor any in the modern Western Rite (including Fr. Michael and others in Australia who celebrate the Sarum Liturgy in ROCOR). Into an already Byzantized formula for administering communion, "the communicant's name is inserted for pastoral reasons." This in a monastery which, even when "W. Orthodox," wore Byzantine robes; small wonder they eventually gave up the pretense and Byzantized. As Ari noted, he combed through the widely divergent texts available to him by accepting farcing to find "analogues" of the Byzantine Rite. None of which takes into account his translation of the texts themselves. All we have seen of his posts call into question his competence for this work.

Undoubtedly, Keller may say these simply "do not know the full range of old books" -- his typical dodge. It could be Keller is wiser and more learned than these distinguished liturgical scholars (and the many who agree with them against Keller, including all those of Antioch/ROCOR). Or it's possible his liturgical scholarship is seriously defective. The near-universal agreement against Keller renders all his pronouncements dubious and discredited.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Unserious Criticisms of the "Tridentine Mass," Part 1: History

Some have asked why I question the liturgical/historical pronouncements of Derek "Fr. Aidan" Keller. Keller has been for years a relentless critic of the Antiochian and ROCOR Western Rite: our piety, our practices, our laymen, our clergy, our hierarchy, and our liturgies. At every opportunity, he presents his "Old Sarum Rite Missal" as a more ancient liturgy than any of those approved by either canonical Church. But his comments often force one to pause.

When the subject turns to the ancient Liturgy of St. Gregory, he avers, "Truly, the Tridentine use was a break from the traditions of the past and was an abrogation of the full majesty of old Western Gregorian Roman liturgy." He explained, although Gregorian Mass proponents claim Trent was creating a unified Mass, "Within fewer than 300 years a Protestant innovation (the Novus Ordo) itself became that 'single, unified liturgy.' Verbum sapienti." (Ironic Latin in original.) The Missal of St. Pius V was promulgated in 1570; the Novus Ordo promulgated exactly 400 years later, in 1970.

This is the same man who has written A Pocket Church History (!) for Orthodox Christians (which he still offers for sale on the website of his defunct church).

In that volume, Keller insists, "Pius V severely curtailed ["the Old Roman Rite"] with his reformed Tridentine Rite, and after Vatican Council II the depleted remains of the Rite were utterly swept out of the Roman Catholic Church in 1969."

Well, gee whiz, what did that mean ol' Pius V do, Wally? Keller tells us:

A new rite of worship called the Tridentine rite was appointed for the Roman church, drawn up by Pope Pius V, a former inquisitor. [Booga-booga! - BJ] It was based on the original traditions of the Western Church, but many of them it sharply curtailed. In order to compete with the less-demanding Protestant groups, worship began to be shortened and was more and more spoken rather than sung; rows of pews, for the first time in Christian history, replaced the open naves of churches where once the people had stood and moved about freely; ancient chant was replaced by secular-styled music using various musical instruments as well as the voice....Old Western rites such as England’s Sarum, York, and Hereford rites fell into oblivion before the advancing Tridentine rite. Only certain monastic orders and specific installations in Lyons, Milan, and Toledo retained modifications of their ancient liturgical rites.
As Dom James Deschene of Christminster Monastery (ROCOR), once told me, "The problem is that word 'Tridentine.'" Pope Pius V did not create a new Mass de novo: his missal merely harmonized the rubrics of the Western liturgy, standardized certain practices, and curbed abuses by banning any liturgy not at least 200 years old. Somehow Keller portrays this ultra-conservative measure, which turned the clock back centuries and deleted heterodox abuses, as a revolutionary new liturgy. (Since he footnotes none of his contentions that Pius V introduced pews and "secular" music, one can only guess where he developed such misguided notions.)[1]

Of course, the Sarum, York, and Hereford uses were long suppressed by the time the "advancing Tridentine Rite" was standardized by the Missal of Pope Pius V in 1570. The First Act of Uniformity, passed by British Parliament, demanded that by Pentecost 1549 every church in England celebrate Mass according to the first Book of Common Prayer, and "none other or otherwise." This suppressed the Sarum Use. And the "Tridentine" Mass. On penalty of being drawn and quartered.

After Queen Mary's interlude (d. 1558), Queen Elizabeth I officially ended the Sarum Use's use in England for good; Trent had nothing whatever to do with her Sarum suppression policy, enacted a dozen years before there was an "advancing Tridentine Rite" to advance.

In fact, the Council of Trent banned only those liturgies not at least 200 years old at that time, retaining the Sarum, York, and Hereford uses (which were by then also suppressed by the Crown), and others. By the time Roman Catholics were allowed "above ground" in England, the Sarum Use had long since fallen out of use. According to Dom James Deschene, Roman Catholics debated reintroducing Sarum but concluded this would be reviving a dead rite.

Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of British history -- liturgical or secular -- knows this. These are basic facts one could learn in any Western Civ 101 course. If he does not understand such basic history in his field -- and has not shied away from propounding on the subject in error, anyway -- should one believe he can navigate the labyrinth world of such a varied and diverse body of literature as Sarum use liturgical texts? Which he claims to be doing in greater depth than virtually anyone in history? Does it give one great confidence when his final products (for that's what they are) differ from those published by every other scholar who has ever investigated the matter?

Such glaring factual errors and blatant misrepresentations will not prevent some from placing blind trust in his words. But they should.


1. Choir stalls had been introduced in some churches at least 100 years earlier, the organ longer before. Nicholas of Cusa, who by 1570 had been dead more than a century, "as papal legate, wanted to restrict the use of the organ to the Mass of the Catechumens," and the synod of Trier, a long holdout against organ use, ruled on restricting the use of organs already in its churches in 1549. (J.A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development. Vol. 1, p. 124; and vol. 2, p. 341.)

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Sigh...A Response to Derek "Fr. Aidan" Keller

Why did Derek "Fr. Aidan" Keller post a seven-part article about me, a man with whom he hasn't been in contact for 19 months, in response to a message I left on the Occidentalis Yahoo group nearly two years ago? It seems Keller's friend, a Milan Synod priest, had commented on an Orthodox blog that the "Sarum Use" had been " translated, published & used" by Milan and ROCOR -- the latter a canonical Orthodox church. Our friend Ari Adams then clarified, "our ROCOR Sarum is *not anything* like that of 'Milan Synod'. Here they conflate our Western Rite with their own, elsewhere they condemn it as 'unOrthodox' as that of AWRV...The important thing: Vladyka Hilarion of Sydney has only approved and has in use in his archdiocese the Sarum use of Saint Petroc - *not* that being sold by the 'Milan Synod'. " As Keller is the translator and chief promoter of Milan's "Old Sarum Rite Missal" (OSRM), Ari's truthful words got Keller all worked me!

After posting Ari's comments, the Milan priest asked Keller, "what are the differences in the Sarum Use between ROCOR & Milan?" Keller repLIED, "There is no specific text which is the official ROCOR 'Use of Sarum.'" In fact, the only Sarum text authorized for diocesan celebration in ROCOR, approved by Abp. HILARION of Sydney, is right here; it will also appear in the soon-to-be-published St. Colman Prayer Book. The text had also been posted on Occidentalis in 2004. It would have been easy to compare the two side-by-side and note the differences.

...As I did two years ago. (Well, sorta.)

Instead, Keller chose to distort my long-ago post. Like Ari and others, I'd seen Keller conflate his OSRM with that used by ROCOR. (His group description even throws MosPat and Antioch into the mix.)[1] This and other statements led people to believe ROCOR dioceses use his OSRM. (They do not.)

As I noted in my original message, which was entitled Sarum vs. "Sarum," I was responding to Keller's claim that his OSRM "is approved within the Holy Synod of Milan and within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia...Our Sarum rite, specifically as published by St. Hilarion Press, has found approbation within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia." I pointed out Vl. HILARION (ROCOR) has blessed a Sarum liturgy for celebration in his diocese -- and it's not the one published by SHP/Keller. "The differences are clear to anyone who has eyes...If these are your disciples, they have erred."[2] Then I listed a total of 45 "notable differences" between the liturgy approved by Vladika and Keller's "Old Sarum Rite." These differences often began, "ROCOR Sarum has..." or "Authentic Sarum has...." Immediately following these dozens of differences, I concluded, "If ROCOR HAD wanted to approve your liturgy, [it] obviously failed." Keller's linguistic sleight-of-hand would be like me "claiming since my name is Ben Johnson, I 1) was in plenty of movies with John Wayne; 2) won an Olympic gold medal for track in 1988; and 3) was buried in Westminster Abbey." Thus, it should be clear the purpose of these 45 "notable differences" was to distinguish between the liturgy Vl. HILARION had approved for celebration within his God-protected ROCOR diocese and Keller's liturgy (OSRM). Even one of his defenders in the discussion acknowledged this.[3]

Instead of admitting His Grace had not blessed the OSRM for celebration, Keller labeled the many differences I found in my narrow comparison of OSRM with ROCOR, "Ben's 45 challenges," and treated my post as though I were claiming there were no source whatever for any of those practices. Thus, by citing a single source for any one of them, he could "defend" his OSRM from my "challenges" and "win." As he has long maligned the AWRV and Antiochians in general, this would have the added benefit of vanquishing someone he portayed as a "public advocate for the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate."[4]

To make his recent "defense" the stranger, he actually began such posts in 2004, posting several messages based on this strawman premise. By the time he posted his original "responses," he had conveniently placed me on message review, [5] so I could not post messages without his approval. I told him he was misconstruing my post in a message I asked be posted online during this time, which he somehow deemed not fit to print.[6] Soon, he censored all his critics and lost interest in providing sources. Then, two years later, immediately before Holy Week, he decided to resume the charade.

To be clear: My aim was to document that OSRM was not the text approved by ROCOR, but I accidentally referenced the wrong URL. I had not seen a complete text of ROCOR's Sarum until shortly before the post, though I knew some specific differences, and had been given a URL to the wrong liturgy. As a result, I inadvertently based my comments on the other WRITE liturgy authorized by Vl. HILARION: "The English Liturgy," an adapation of the historical Anglican liturgy (BCP). It contains many Sarum elements.[7] Nonetheless, the differences with OSRM jumped off the page, and I read the text/wrote the post quicker than I would if doing a careful historical study. Although the URL error was mine, it actually undermines Keller's case: ROCOR not only does not celebrate the OSRM but approves a Tikhonite service he has viciously attacked with rare savagery and tenacity, as "Protestant," "Zwinglian," "the Episcopalian Rite," "Reformed Protestant rite," etc. Score two for canonical Orthodoxy.

Although by nature misleading, Keller's "defense" is not entirely without value. So many Sarum-philes and experts have told me they looked at his OSRM and concluded the entire thing was his invention. There are so many eyebrow-raising passages and Byzantized eccentricities one could be forgiven for assuming it is liturgical science fiction; certainly it bears no resemblance to anything anyone familiar with the Sarum use would recognize. For the most part, Keller's response to questions heretofore has been self-reverential assertion: "Trust me." Now those so minded can look up his footnotes and determine:
  • whether his text is actually in the original sources;
  • if it is whether its origins are pre-Schism or later;
  • whether he's used the sources appropriately;
  • whether it is a representative example of a widely established practice or his preferred idiosyncrasy;
  • how the source was treated by history;
  • the wisdom of his inclusions and deletions;
  • whether other examples might be more meritorious substitutions;
  • how other sources treat his source in each instance;
  • the theological and devotional value or inferiority of the original;
  • whether Keller's translation is adequate and standard; etc., etc.
It seems like a great deal of trouble in order to verify an obscure and redundant recension of a liturgy that will further divide the WRO practice and for which there seems to be no constituency within Orthodoxy.

Understandably, no Orthodox hierarch has undertaken this task. Nor has any body of recognized canonical Orthodox scholars, such as the Russian Synod of 1904 or the first WRV Commission of Frs. Schneirla, Schmemann, Upson, and Meyendorff did for the present WRO liturgies. Thus, the "Old Sarum Rite Missal" remains the unverified, non-approved, and still largely undocumented work of one layman, produced while he was still "Old Catholic." (And there are abundant reasons to question Keller's liturgical scholarship.)

I have not checked his footnotes, but they seem to confirm what so many of his critics said all along: it is an eclectic service in which Keller chose the most isolated Byzantine-sounding examples of local customs from varying eras and localities, all drawn from books published long after the Schism (even into the 19th c.), gave them an even more Byzantine translation into stilted English, mashed them all together into one liturgy he called "Sarum," and claimed the result was representative of nearly all pre-Schism Europe.

As one noted Anglican scholar points out, "the various [Sarum liturgical] books that survive (cf. above) come from a great many different places and dates." Nearly all are post-Schism. (Keller once claimed all, though that's false.) "There was not, therefore, one 'Use of Sarum,' and even when a particular source describes something as being 'according to the use of Sarum' (secundum usum Sarum) it only means Sarum Use as it was understood at a particular time and place and not as it was set down for all eternity in some one single source book...A composite 'Sarum Use,' therefore, must be pieced together from a great many different books and manuscripts coming from different places and periods." Even Keller, when pressed, admits the "variety" of the texts. Some practices were confined to one diocese or even one parish. The difficulty of stringing together several local uses (perhaps abuses) should be apparent. The question, then, is whether the OSRM is properly compiled -- an open question to be sure. It seems certain no one in pre-Schism England celebrated liturgy exactly as it is layed out in the OSRM. Much less did they prostrate numerous times upon entering a parish with "Western Rite" monks dressed in Byzantine habits serving Presanctified Liturgy weekdays in Lent and administering communion with a spoon and cloth under the chin. (Keller claims this was done "for pastoral reasons" -- reasons apparently never encountered in Western history, nor by anyone presently serving Sarum Mass in ROCOR.)

Since Ari's words started this, perhaps I'll let them summarize, as well:
[The OSRM's] sources vary widely...The ceremonial and much of the rite is based upon finding Byzantine analogues in Western customs that were either quite singular, irregular, or modern misinterpretations of antique is not a version, but a new rite of its own...It is a work of liturgical archaeology, and has not been vetted by liturgists with experience in Western Rite towards whether it [is] (or can) [be] what it purports to represent: Anglo-Saxon liturgy of the 9th c.
I would merely add if its sources were ever fully vetted and, somehow, approved, WRO must then discuss: whether such liturgical archeology is wise; how communities based on resurrected liturgies fared in the past (L'ECOF); and whether it is necessary and prudent to introduce (at least) the seventh liturgical variation in the 130-year history of the Western Rite (AWRV Gregorian and Tikhon; ROCOR Sarum, Gregorian, and English Liturgy; and L'ECOF's Gallican). I'd answer all (tentatively): negative.

But the fact remains: none of this was the point of my Occidentalis post, and Keller knew it. Should he wish to publish an article delineating the ways his OSRM differs from nearly every other version of Sarum and explain his editorial choices, he would do so more accurately without twisting my words in the process.


1. "One feature of Occidentalis is 'Daily Ordo,' a message that informs Western Rite priests and cantors how to arrange the next day's services according to the Gallo-Roman usage of Sarum. The Sarum Use or Rite is kept by certain Old Calendar and Russian Orthodox communities...Anglicans and Roman Catholics have made use of the rite." All this conflates Keller's OSRM with ROCOR, implying his "Daily Ordo" has something to do with ROCOR, Moscow, Antioch, Rome, and Canterbury.

2. I'd read Sarum missals years earlier, but to jog my memory I also referenced another recognizably Sarum text I'd quickly perused online, posted by an Occidentalis member, to make sure the ROCOR Sarum wasn't some bizarre mutant missing numerous elements Keller's had retained; it is not.

3. Timothy Hoopes, "I said that he had made an error bysaying that the authentic Sarum does not have tropes added to theKyrie litany. Upon a further reading of his post, I see that heactually says that the one particular ROCOR Sarum, which he saw, didnot have them; he most likely only meant to say, then, that the Sarumapproved by ROCOR was therefore not the same one prepared by Fr.Aidan and published by St. Hilarion's press."

4. For revealing the actions of one of his supporters.

5. I confess I was amused to see him call me "a noted published author in Orthodox journals and public advocate for the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate (AWRV)." First, as I stress, I am not an AWRV spokesman and everything I write is unofficial. Second, I have written perhaps two articles in three years for Orthodox periodicals. I have been on the periphery of the Western Rite for a few years, met many of our Vicariate's wonderful faithful, and still no one on earth understands that I'm not Benjamin Andersen. I run a four-month-old blog that can't get a dozen comments on any thread (as opposed to Keller, who has hundreds of sycophants on his Yahoo group). In other words, by worldly standards, I'm a complete nobody who just happens to love God, love His Holy Church, and believe in the importance of the Western Rite.

6. This was before his plebiscite.

7. This is the chief difference: Fr. Michael adapts the Anglican material to the Sarum ritual, whereas the AWRV placed it within that of the Gregorian/Latin Mass.

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WARNING: Self-Defense Ahead

I have been called out right before Holy Week! Some of you will know "Old Sarum Rite Missal" guru Derek "Fr. Aidan" Keller as a monk formerly with the Milan Synod's St. Hilarion Monastery in Austin, TX, and eventual moderator of the Yahoo group Occidentalis. [1] Although I have not been in touch with him in nearly two years, apparently a net comment by our friend Ari Adams inspired Keller to post a seven-part article in response to a message I posted on a Yahoo group 19 months ago. (Hey, thanks, Ari!) His multi-post was run on Occidentalis the Thursday before Holy Week. Since he, for whatever reason, unsubscribed me right before he posted this, it made its way to me late.

Though I've tried to keep this blog focused on WRO content rather than myself (or most vagantes), I'm giving myself leave tonight to respond to his lengthy messages, as I cannot respond elsewhere.[2] I'd prefer not to have to deal with his unpleasantness. I can't imagine who inspired Keller to raise this long-dormant contention on the eve of Holy Week, but I think it's best if it is promptly answered, so it is cleared up. I don't want to infect Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, etc., with discussions of an unpleasant man. The blog should return to actual Western Rite Orthodoxy (rather than personal charges) promptly.

If you do not wish to read about the historical, liturgical, and personal claims made by Keller vis-a-vis Antioch, WRITE liturgy, and his "Old Sarum Rite Missal" in his posts, you may wish to skip ahead over the next few entries.

As a result of the volatile nature of Keller and his partisans, comment moderation has been enabled.

For the record: In these blogs, I will link to messages posted on certain Yahoo groups, primarily Keller's "Occidentalis" or other Yahoo groups he runs. To read these, you would need to join. I recommend you either not join or join, read the quotations, then unsubscribe post haste. Occidentalis (and every other group linked, too) has been a home of misinformation and mean-spirited rumors since Keller's takeover.


1. Upon his expulsion in fall 2004, his former monastery, St. Hilarion, referred to him as "Derek Keller" and "Mr. Keller." (Or still do?) Although he said he was in the process of joining ROCOR, I do not know if he ever went through with it. To my knowledge, he has not been ordained, nor is he attached to any monastery. Since it is poor form to call a layman "Father" (much less for the layman to insist on it), Derek seems appropriate. Perhaps he could clear up his status? If he is a ROCOR priest, my deepest apologies.

2. I was a member (lurker) on this group, as I was of the original Occidentalis group run by St. Mark's AWRV before Keller's takeover and its current re-orientation toward non-Orthodox vagantes. However, after Keller tired of my defense of the AWRV and questions about the Milan Synod, he held a virtually unattended plebiscite and announced he would keep me as a member but bar me from posting. Suddenly late last week, he unsubscribed me without warning -- immediately before posting his "responses." Why he would time these events in such a way is open for conjecture. (I guess the original poll has mysteriously vanished from his archives.)

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Monday, April 17, 2006

A Palm Sunday Sermon

Palm Sunday is the great triumphal arch of the Christian year, through which we follow our Lord and Saviour into the week of His suffering, degradation and death. Palm Sunday seems to be a bittersweet day of hope. Hope to be bitterly dashed on the hard rocks of the religious authorities of the day and the people that accepted without much apparent thought, their deviant teachings, teachings which over the centuries had moved far from the will of God. Yet, that having happened, we must not regret one whit the events of Holy Week and Good Friday, for, without them, we would not be saved. Without them, we have nothing but the old law by which, as Saint Paul says, we are condemned. We may and must sorrow for our transgressions, each and every one of which contributes to the necessity of the sufferings of God on the Tree of Life which we call the Cross. Because of that which we cannot now call back, the Arch of Palm Sunday must inevitably lead to that distant tree removed so far from the Garden of Eden whence it and we began.

The last week of Lent has always been observed by Christians as a time of special solemnity; and from the momentous events of the last week before the Crucifixion which this week represents to us, it has, from early times been called the Great Week, Holy Week or the Holy Week of Great Lent. During this week, as early as the time of Saint John Chrysostom, there was a general cessation of business among Christian people. Fasting was observed with greater intensity and strictness and, after the conversion of Byzantium, Emperors tried to set an example of charity and mercy of which our own Royal Maundy is a surviving relic.

Palm Sunday is mentioned early in the Christian era. Saint John Chrysostom tells of palm branches being shaken as one of the customs of the day and as recently as this past century in England, people customarily cut willow branches to carry after the Liturgy on Palm Sunday.

We have the Book of Exodus (15:27) telling of the Children of Israel coming to the oasis of Elim with its twelve wells and forty palm trees and we know too from Leviticus 23:40 the significance of palms and willows in the Old Testament. Then in Revelation 7:9, we are told of palms used liturgically. Hence the ancient ceremony of the blessing of the palms with its Lesson and Gospel telling us of the events which we commemorate today: Christ entering His Capital as King, welcomed and worshipped by His people, fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah 62:11, Zechariah 9:9. The King had come to His City, the city that He had prophesied would be destroyed - as it was forty years later, the King Who had prophesied that here He would be put to death - as He was after four days. This King is our God, come for no other purpose than to die at the hands of men, that those who would believe, could be freed from the consequences of their transgressions. Here, on this bright, sunlit Spring morning, He came, riding through the city gate, praised and welcomed by the crowds - many of whom would cry for His death a few days later. Following Him in the procession were twelve men, one of whom would sell Him to the authorities, one of whom would deny that He was the greatest friend and all the rest of whom would run away from Him. Yet He came on to carry out the last acts of His earthly life, to forgive all these in advance, to ask the Father to spare them, to give to them the means of grace and the hope of glory: To set down for them the way of staying with Him, strengthened and protected by Him through the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist.

And so through the Arch of the gate of the City, and the arch of Palm Sunday, Jesus, King of kings rode on the humility of a peaceful donkey, the King of Glory has come in, upon Whose shoulders shall rest first the Cross of suffering, succeeded by the government of all who are given Him by the Father.
-- Fr. Michael, St. Petroc Monastery (ROCOR, Western Rite)

(Hat tip: Ari.)

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Palm Sunday Collects

Almighty and everlasting God, Who of Thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent Thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon Him our flesh and to suffer death upon the Cross, that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of His patience, and also be made partakers of His Resurrection. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God world without end.
R: Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, Who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end.
R: Amen.

O God, Who dost cleanse Thy Church by the yearly observance of Lent; grant unto Thy family that which it strives to obtain from Thee by abstinence and which it may perform in good works. Through Jesus Christ our Lord Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end.
R: Amen.

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Christ, the Summit and the Way

He cometh unto the Mount of Olives, that he may plant upon the heights of virtue those young olive-branches, whose mother is the Jerusalem which is above. Upon this mountain standeth He, the heavenly husbandman, that all they which be planted in the house of the Lord may be able each one to say : As for me, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God.

But we may even think of this mountain as being Christ Himself. For what other beareth such plants as He doth, not weighted down with an abundance of earthly fruit, but spiritually fruitful with the fulness of the Gentiles? He also it is by whom we go up, and unto whom we go up. He is the Door. He is the Way. For he is the one which is opened and which openeth. Unto him, whosoever entereth in, knocketh. Unto him also, having entered, to obtain their reward, they do offer their worship. A figure also was it that the disciples went into a village, and that there they found an ass tied and a colt with her ; neither could they be loosed, save at the hand of his Apostles which loosed them. He whose work and life are like theirs will have such grace as was theirs. Be thou also such as they, if thou wouldest loose them that are bound.

-- Sermon of St. Ambrose of Milan.


Shouts of Spiritual Triumph

Dearly beloved, the Solemnity of the Lord's Passion is come ; that day which we have so desired, and which same is so precious to the whole world. Shouts of spiritual triumph are ringing, and suffer not that we should be silent. Even though it be hard to preach often on the same solemnity, and do so meetly and well, a priest is not free to shirk the duty of preaching to the faithful concerning this so great mystery of divine mercy. Nay, that his subject-matter is unspeakable should in itself make him eloquent, since where enough can never be said, there must needs ever be something to say. Let human weakness, then, fall down before the glory of God, and acknowledge itself unequal to the duty of expounding the works of his mercy. Let us toil in thought, let us fail in insight, let us falter in speech ; it is good for us to feel how inadequate is the little we are able to express concerning the majesty of God.

For when the Prophet saith : Seek the Lord and his strength ; seek his face evermore : let no man thence conclude that he will ever find all that he seeketh. For if he cease his seeking, he will likewise cease to draw near. But among all the works of God which weary the stedfast gaze of man's wonder, what is there that doth at once so ravish and so exceed the power of our contemplation as the Passion of the Saviour? He it was who, to loose mankind from the bonds of the death-dealing Fall, spared to bring against the rage of the devil the power of the divine Majesty, and met him with the weakness of our lowly nature. For if our cruel and haughty enemy could have known the counsel of God's mercy, it had been his task rather to have softened the hearts of the Jews into meekness, than to have inflamed them with unrighteous hatred. Thu,s he might not have lost the thraldom of all his slaves, by attacking the liberty of the One that owed him nothing.

But he was undone by his own malice. For he brought upon the Son of God that death which is become life to all the sons of man. He shed that innocent blood which was to become at once the price of our redemption and the cup of our salvation. Wherefore the Lord hath received that which according to the purpose of his own good pleasure he hath chosen. He submitted himself to the ungodly hands of cruel men which, busy with their own sin, nonetheless ministered to the Redeemer's work. And such was his loving-kindness, even for his murderers, that his prayer to his Father from the Cross asked not vengeance for himself but forgiveness for them.

-- From a Sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great.

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