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Friday, December 25, 2009

Now, Western Rite in England

Yes, England (which for so many decades seemed to be a land impenetrable to Western Rite Orthodoxy) now has an active W. rite mission, thanks to the labours of Fr. Hieromonk Michael (Mansbridge-Wood) of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, and the protecting omophor of its Metropolitan, Hilarion.

On Dec. 21, 2009, Fr. Michael wrote:

"We have now celebrated the Western Rite on two successive Sundays in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition at Chiswick in London. The Cathedral has a Lower Church (the original) and an Upper Church - which has just been finished. They have given us the Lower Church to use for Western Rite. So we celebrate our Western Rite in the Lower Church at the same time as they celebrate the Eastern Rite in the Upper Church..."

Here is a picture of the lower church as arranged for a modern Western rite service:

Describing the services being celebrated in London, Fr. Michael continued:

"Given that this is Advent and we are doing Mattins, the Great Litany and the Divine Liturgy as a continuous service, we end up only slightly ahead of them - so we all have lunch together in the church hall afterwards."

Matins, in the pre-Protestant form of W. rite, requires two hours to complete (an hour and a half, if managed extremely expeditiously). The Great Litany is a Protestant service. From these indications, it is surmised that the services being offered in the Russian Orthodox cathedral of London, are of the Protestant Rite.

May God bless the Western rite mission in England, and its faithful people. And, if it is pleasing to God, may the Western rite services which once prevailed in that land, when that land was Orthodox, also find some place there--through the prayers of all Saints of Britain and Ireland.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Western-Rite Brotherhood in the Russian Orthodox Church

Better late than never.

We belatedly share the news, made public July 16, 2009, that a new Western rite community has been established within our Russian Church Abroad. Redacted from the Orthodox Christian West blog:

Fr. Deacon Adrian and Novice Edward (Waters) of St. Petroc Monastery are starting the new St. Aidan House in Sydney, Australia. It will be based in the Darlinghurst area. Fr. Deacon Adrian now lives in a cell in the Metropolitan's house in Croydon. Novice Edward lives in a cell in the grounds of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, Strathfield. Fr. Deacon Adrian is a medical practice director; Novice Edward is a doctoral candidate currently studying statistical mathematics at Melbourne University.

From left to right: Br. Edward, Fr. Michael, Metr. Hilarion, Fr. Dn. Adrian

Please pray for the monastic strugglers of the St. Aidan House and their spiritual success! Ad multos annos! Многая лета!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Decision of the Russian Bishops, on the Western Rite

Hieromonk Aidan (Keller) spoke by telephone with Bishop Jerome (Geronim) of Manhattan on November 10, 2009 (at about noon). The news from His Grace is as follows:

The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has decided that all Western rite missions will fall under the authority of the Metropolitan, rather than the local bishop. This is true across the world, except, of course, in Russia.

This decision, like many others, has not been put down in writing, which is a particular issue of organisation not affecting the fact of the decision.

There is no change in the requirement that Western rite Liturgies include an explicit epiclesis in the anaphora or canon. The added epiclesis strengthens the epiclesis already present in the Roman Canon (St. Nicholas Cabasilas identifies the Supra Quae Propitio as that native epiclesis).

His Grace Bishop Jerome (Geronim) of Manhattan, Nov. 2009

A new version of the Psalter based largely upon the Coverdale psalms has been blessed for use by Bishop Jerome. Of course, other translations are also blessed for use, and no translation in use has been proscribed.

Vivat Metropolitanus Hilario Neo-Eboracensis. Ad multos annos, Domine!

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 2009 - Sarum Services in Florida

On Tuesday, October 27, 2009, in the evening, Fr. Hieromonk Aidan celebrated the Sarum services of Vespers and Matins in the Church of the Prophet Moses at St. Nicholas Monastery, North Fort Myers, Florida. In attendance were a mixture of Orthodox faithful and Western Christian guests.

On the morning of Wednesday, October 28, the feast of the Holy Relics on the Western calendar, Fr. Aidan celebrated the Sarum services of Terce, Sext, Liturgy, and None, together with the relics-procession appointed for the occurring feast, also in the Church of the holy Prophet Moses. Again, there were Orthodox faithful present, of Eastern and Western backgrounds, as well as Anglican visitors. Those present remarked afterwards how remarkably peaceful and graceful the services were. This was due to the presence of thousands of Saints in their precious Relics, which Mother Andrea had brought into the church and set with high honour, with cloths and flowers, in every available space. This was indeed a profound experience, to pray surrounded (physically) by a cloud of holy witnesses--the prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and ascetics of the past 2,000 years and more--a mighty host of God's hallows. Through their prayers, O Saviour, have mercy on us sinners, and save us!

Fr. Aidan serves at the Monastery as often as possible, given his duties in Austin, with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Western Rite Days in Florida

From June 15 to June 19, 2009, Hieromonk Aidan stayed at the St. Nicholas Monastery in Florida, a community of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

On the evening of June 16 the Ninth Hour and Vespers were held according to the Sarum use of the Roman rite. Fr. Aidan was joined by Fr. Damian Criscella of the Church Abroad, and our dear brother Demetrio served as acolyte. Fr. Damian and Demetrio are of Italo-Orthodox heritage. The Third Hour and Divine Liturgy the next morning was also according to this same liturgical rite, the form of which which was approved within the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in September 2008. The evening and morning services were for the feast of St. Petroc, the abbot in Cornwall. Our Russian Church Abroad has a monastery dedicated to this great saint.

At Vespers and the next days' Liturgy, we were blessed to have guests who are interested in Western rite matters, a former High-Church Anglican priest, and Fr. Jim Michko of the Eastern Catholic church, with others.

The services were held in a church fitted for usual celebrations according to the Byzantine rite, but we were able to adapt fairly well. Some Western rite vestments were loaned us for this occasion, and this helped to preserve the native Western character of this holy liturgy of the Church.

Ninth Hour and Vespers on the evening of June 17 was also Sarum rite, with a festive Liturgy or Mass the following morning, June 18. The evening and morning services were in commemoration of St. Boniface, the Apostle of Germany, and were celebrated with the ceremony of a double feast (a high ranking in the Western rite).

Thanks to mother abbess Andrea for giving her blessing for these beautiful Western rite services, which bear testimony to the universality and openness of Holy Orthodoxy.

Here follow some photographs of the events. From Vespers on June 16, a simple feast (St. Petroc):

From Vespers on June 17, a double feast (St. Boniface; note the use here of the cuffs, which were called in the Latin church "maniculae" and at Sarum more usually took the form of a decorative attachment to the cloth of the alb itself):

Censing at the Divine Mass of St. Petroc, in the rite of a simple feast:

At the Vespers of St. Petroc:

The retrocession (return to the sacristy with the holy chalice) at the end of the Divine Mass of St. Boniface, June 18, 2009:

I can't place this next picture in context. It may be at the festal Vespers of St. Boniface, when for lack of a proper cope (a vestment similar to the phelonion and to the chasuble), a chasuble (nearest equivalent) was substituted. The use of Mass vestments at Vespers is known in Western rite, but mostly at pontifical (hierarchical) services.

Censing at the Mass of St. Petroc, June 17, 2009 (note, on the right, the beautifully-typeset edition of the Divine Office in the Sarum use which is scheduled for publication by St. John Cassian Press in Austin, Texas):

From the Mass of St. Petroc, the bow at "Orate fratres et sorores," that is, "Pray for me, brothers and sisters," which occurs just before the first epiclesis ("Come, O Holy Spirit, bless and sanctify this Sacrifice") prior to the Canon of the Mass:

Holy Petroc and Boniface, pray to God for us!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Bishop to Work with Western Rite

In December 2008, Archpriest John Shaw of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was elevated to the grace of the Episcopate. Receiving the new title Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, His Grace will assist the Western Rite communities of the Russian Orthodox Church (amid countless other duties).

Here is a picture of Vladika Jerome taken just after his consecration:

Here is a picture of Vladika taken just before his consecration:

When yet a junior priest of the Russian Church in the 1970s, then-Fr. John Shaw became father of the Sarum rite movement which flourished more particularly in Old Calendarist and Russian Church-Abroad circles and became the most widely-published of any Western rite liturgy in modern times. Fr. John celebrated many Liturgies in the Sarum use of the Roman rite, and guided the development of the rite as it came to be published by the St. Hilarion and St. Gregory Presses. This was not an official collaboration, but was seminal in helping determine, for example, just what parts of Western observance from mediaeval England were inappropriate for Orthodox worship today. Bishop Jerome works pastorally with those who use a variety of forms of Western rite, in a judicious and Christian spirit.

Ad multos annos, Domine!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Christminster Becomes Stavropigial Institution

"On Sunday, 1 March/16 February 2009, notice was received from Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, that the monastery and mission of Christminster and Our Lady of Glastonbury Orthodox Church, in Hamilton, Ontario, would henceforth be directly under the archpastoral oversight of the Metropolitan himself, assisted by his Vicar Bishop Jerome, Bishop of Manhattan. Bishop Gabriel, the ruling Bishop of Canada, had requested this change in light of his own lack of familiarity with the Orthodox western rite and its usages.

"Bishop Jerome, the former Father John Shaw, is a long-time friend of Christminster and a scholar deeply learned in western liturgics.

"We are grateful to each of these hierarchs for their pastoral concern for the well-being of our mission and work.


Note from Fr. Aidan: Many Years to Abbot James and to all the faithful of Our Lady of Glastonbury!

New Patriarch for the Russian Orthodox Church

We have, of course, received the tidings that Metropolitan Kirill has been elected and enthroned as the new Patriarch of Moscow and is now the head of the largest Orthodox Church.

His Holiness Kirill, wearing the kukulion and green mandiya

In the Western rite as it was preserved in England up to the Reformation, we find the following collect for the enthronement of the Primate.

"Almighty, everlasting God, Who although Thou art Most High didst as one humble deign to come down to us: We humbly pray that this Thy servant may be promoted by the dignity of his humility upon the summit of the priesthood conferred by Thee upon him. And just as in the ministry of his governing he approacheth to ascend this pontifical throne, so also mayest Thou approach the throne of his bosom by the visitation of Thine indwelling, so that he--by the bestowal of Thy grace--may become the royal chair of Thine enthronement. Through Thee, Jesus Christ, Who with the Father co-eternal to Thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, God through all the ages of ages. Amen." (Latin translation, Fr. Aidan)

Ad multos annos, Domine! Многая лета!