Sunday, September 28, 2008

Recent Saints Who Supported the Western Rite

Recent Orthodox Saints Who Supported the Western Rite:
This omits St. John of Chicago (Kochurov), who accompanied St. Tikhon on many missionary journeys to Episcopalian churches and was part of the "Fond du Lac Circus" photo. (He was the beardless sainted priest.) St. John could be assumed to support his hierarch's Western Rite initiative -- but to my knowledge he did not specifically say so. (If anyone has information to the contrary, please let me know.)

This list also overlooks the uncanonized divine healer Dom Denis Chambault, a holy monk who celebrated the Benedictine monastic office and the Liturgy of St. Gregory in France under the patronage of St. John the Wonderworker.

Orthodox Saints Who Opposed the Western Rite:

(This space intentionally left blank.)

Take your choice.

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Blogger Eric John said...


I have a related item for you. I have a synaxarion and a list of saints for intercession which, though they include Western Orthodox saints, cut them off at 800 A.D. because of the filioque--although, if they were going to be accurate, they would have to cut off St. Leander of Seville who presided over the Council of Toledo that inserted (regretably, but for the reason of ridding Spain of Arianism) the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed--and others after him of undeniable sanctity who suffered for the Orthodox faith at the hands of heretical Eastern emperors.

Blessed Metropolitan Philaret of New York (+1985, ROCOR, whose relics are incorrupt) put the theological smackdown on that sort of thing when a controversy arose over whether or not Orthodox could venerate the relics of St. Edward, King and Martyr of England because he was a "filioquist." Metropolitan Philaret responded with this:

Even though Met. Philaret and ROCOR worked that out, there appears to be a strong contingent of folks publishing Orthodox books and Web sites who would cast aspersions on pre-schism Orthodox saints of the West.

I think it would be nice if more were written on this.

8:08 PM  
Blogger Viator Catholicus said...

As always an interesting website.

I have a few questions if you don't mind.

-The Orthodox call Eastern Catholics Uniates. How does Western Orthodoxy avoid that label?

-If lex orandi statuit legem credendi, why is a tweaked post-schism Protestant liturgy, i.e. Anglican, accepted as Orthodox? It seems strange that such an artifically consturcted liturgy could be accepted but when it comes to doctrinal language, all development is imagined to have ceased by 800 AD.

-Thirdly, when Constantinople broke communion with Pope Nicholas were not Sts. Cyril and Methodius still in communion with both?

-Fourthly, perhaps a point more than a question. Aren't the changes made to the Roman Canon, yet another example of Byzantinization? Somehow, historians love to accuse the Latin Church of Latinizing the Eastern Churches. It is true. But, long before that, the Greek Church of Constantinople Hellenized the Churches of Antioch and Alexandria, as well as the Latin Churches in Sicily and Southern Italy (detaching the whole province from Rome and assigning it to Constantinople in the 600's). And yet, for all the flak Rome gets, there are still Greek Rite Churches in Italy. And the mission of Sts. Cyril and Methodius owes much to the support of the Popes Nicholas, John, and Hadrian.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Interesting, Eric. I'm not sure what you're referring to, exactly; maybe I should make your comment its own blog post.

Viator, thanks for your kind words about this humble blog. As to your questions:

1. This was dealt with here.

2. This was dealt with here. I might add Orthodox don't believe all liturgical development ended in 800 A.D.; if memory serves, the Great Entrance developed as a full liturgical ceremony after this time.

3. This requires a two-part answer:
a) A certain Cardinal Humbert was involved in laying a bull of excommunication on an Orthodox altar, not vice-versa.
b) This was a personal excommunication between the Patriarchs of Rome and Constantinople. Antioch, for instance, remained in communion with Rome long after this point.

4. I noted the role of Roman Popes in the Western Rite missionary work of Sts. Cyril and Methodius here. As to the tiny change to the Roman Canon, the Orthodox hierarchs who accepted the ancient Roman Mass into Orthodoxy required a descending epiclesis to bring it into conformity with Orthodox doctrine. St. Nicholas Cabasilas argued it already contained an "ascending epiclesis," and certainly the Mass as celebrated at Rome did not have a descending epiclesis for most of the time it was in communion with Orthodoxy.

One can quibble with the decision. But it's a small price to pay for being a part of the true Church.

From what I gather, much of the EC latinization was self-imposed, and thankfully, these are in the process of being reversed. But there is no WRO equivalent (certainly none within the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate) to the most latinized Byzantine Catholics of, say, the '50s, who said a low Mass using unleavened bread without an iconostasis as the faithful prayed the rosary and awaited their turn in the confessional box to receive the Roman formula of absolution at Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church. :) The two are not equally extensive.

The only thing comparable to this situation within "Western Orthodoxy" (quite loosely defined) would be the Gallican Liturgy (which borrowed from the Byzantine Rite extensively) and the so-called "Old Sarum Rite Missal," which strings together idiosyncratic local usages to ape the Byzantine practice at every turn. But Western Rite Orthodox want nothing to do with such things.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope you'll come back again.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Viator Catholicus said...

Thanks for the responses:

As to #2, my problem with the use of Cranmer's liturgy, even when sanctioned by Rome as the Anglican use, is that it was devised by a heretic (albeit using traditional resources) and intended as a stage in the Protestantization of the faith. Cranmer knew its easier to kill the frog by boiling him slowly. He had to gradually detach the English from Tradition.
And just imagine the statements: "We (the Church) use the liturgy of St. Basil. We us the liturgy of St. Mark. We use the liturgy of Sts. Addai and Mari. We use the liturgy of St. Gregory the Great. We use the liturgy of Thomas Cranmer." Somethings not right about that.

As to # 3, I was referring to the 9th century schism not the later one of 1054. In the 9th century, Sts. Cyril and Methodius did not abide by Photius' excommunication of the Pope and even accepted consecration to the episcopacy from the Bishop of Rome.

As to #4, I am not convinced by your answer. You say, the change in the Roman Canon is the price of belonging to the Orthodox Church. So, to me, it seems the logic would imply that St. Gregory the Great (a Pope even the Orthodox venerate) was offering a defective Liturgy.
[The logic of adding an epiclesis is the same logic that led the Roman Church to require a declarative form in the administration of absolution in some of the Eastern Rites. And I can just as easily say it was a small price to pay to return to the true Church.]

7:25 AM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Thank you for perusing the blog and commenting upon it. As to your comments:

I believe you are falling into two mistakes. No one could honestly identify the Liturgy of St. Tikhon with the "Liturgy of Thomas Cranmer," because:
a) The Liturgy of St. Tikhon is not merely the BCP; and
b) The BCP (in any of its forms) was never simply "Cranmer's Rite."

These are both objective matters of fact. As I have noted, such a statement would be a conflation akin to referring to all of the United States as northern Jersey. :) So, your statement would not be made by anyone properly relating the facts of the matter. Sadly, that does not mean that either you or we will not continue hearing it repeated from the great Internet Theologians and rumor mills.

As for the "Photian Schism," (as Met. KALLISTOS Ware wrote, "the East would prefer to call it the schism of Nicholas"), you again fall into error:
a) As I noted in the post I linked, Pope Nicholas I was dead by the time Sts. Cyril and Methodius arrived at Rome;
b) By the time they arrived, the Emperor had long since declared Constantinople and Rome in communion again; and
c)As noted above, in the early stages of East-West Schisms, there were often those in communion with both parties, as separations only hardened over time (hence my example of the Great Schism). This is particularly true, as the Schism between St. Photius and the West lasted but a few years.

As for your last point, I have never heard anyone make such a claim about Pope St. Gregory the Great. By the same token, one could ask, "Did not the longtime inclusion of the Filioque in Eastern Rite Catholic churches imply all previous Byzantine saints had offered an heretical (or theologically imprecise) Liturgy?" But really, it just seems argumentative and counter-productive.

Incidentally, it may shock you to learn some of the Eastern Orthodox churches use a declarative form of absolution, particularly in the Russian tradition.

4:37 AM  

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