Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Western Rite Vicariate's Golden Anniversary

Fifty years ago today, the ancient patriarchate of Antioch reintroduced Western Rite worship at a patriarchate-wide level. His Holiness Patriarch ALEXANDER III (Tahan) authorized the Western Rite on May 31, 1958. He was translated on June 17, 1958.

In the intervening 50 years, we have seen his vision flower into the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate, as well as the missionary efforts of Fr. Jack Witbrock in New Zealand. It has brought many into the Orthodox Church who may not have come otherwise. And it has testified, in the words of St. Tikhon (himself a contributor to the Western Rite), that "The light of Orthodoxy was not lit to shine only on a small number of men. The Orthodox Church is universal."

On this sacred occasion, let us sing a Te Deum in thanksgiving for this patriarch's insight and the fruition of the works and/or desires of many saints (including St. Tikhon, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, St. John of Shanghai (Maximovitch), St. Nicholas of Japan and undoubtedly some New Martyrs of Russia). Through their intercessions - and those of Patriarch ALEXANDER III, Dom Denis Chambault, and Fr. Alexander Turner - may the Western Rite, as approved and provided for by the saints, endure Ad multos annos - yea - usque ad consummationem saeculi!

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