Total Pageviews

Follow by Email

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New WR Communities Join ROCOR

"Dear Brothers in Christ,

"It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that the Archdiocese of New York of The Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of America, the Former Exarchate of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria has petitioned The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia to be received into its fold.

"This is the culmination of a long journey, many prayers, and great patience. It will also require the humility of our bishops, priests and deacons to bow their heads for ordination in the Russian Church which we do with great joy for the sake of the unity of the Church. We have accepted the use of the Julian Calendar as we were already on it for the Paschalion and most of us have been greatly disturbed by the commercialization of Christmas. We will also be able to keep our Liturgy which is based on the Dom Augustine Liturgy. We will also be able to continue our practice of gathering each year in the Fall for a Conference/Retreat and now open it up to other Western Rite Clergy. The 2011 Conference will be held at St Mary's Villa, Sloatsburg NY, Tuesday October 25th to Friday October 28th.

"So that we are clear, the parishes being received were non-canonical Orthodox, not Anglican. Most of us come from the Roman Church though some of us have spent time in the Anglican Church, Episcopal, Continuing, or Charismatic Episcopal. We all became Western Rite Orthodox.

"Archbishop Anthony and Bishop Michael will resign the episcopacy and be ordained and elevated to be Archimandrites and His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion has asked former Archbishop Anthony to be Vicar/Dean of his group of Western Rite parishes. The historic significance of this is that the Orthodox Western Rite will have almost ten new parishes and, when all are received about 18 more clergy. We will have an informal group called The Fraternity of St Gregory.

"Those clergy who have already been received into the Russian Church have experienced the warm welcome and generous kindness of Metropolitan Hilarion and Vladyka Jerome who have been paragons of patience in doing all of the required ordinations for us. The Russian clergy surrounding them have been most welcoming to their new Orthodox brothers who will be using the Western Rite.

"Some have commented on the humility that it has taken for me and Bishop Michael to give up the episcopacy. Anyone who knows our history also knows that we did what we had to do to keep our group together and to offer a place for those who wanted to be Orthodox Western Rite as we awaited the time God would appoint for our entrance into the Russian Church.

"Conversations were being held with Moscow through Fr Daniil Sosoyev (RIP) who through his martyric death has accomplish what he could not finish in this life.

"We wish to thank Father James of Christminster who urged us for years constantly to hope and pray, Fr Ambrose (NZ) who continued to fast and pray for us all and who encouraged us, Fr Michael for his encouragement, Fr David (FL) and Fr Ambrose (GOA) for their prayers. We wish also to acknowledge the ongoing novena to St John of Shanghai and San Francisco for the past years and the maternal graces secured for us by the Holy Mother of God.

"Finally, we remember the words of the old Western prayer: "O Lord Jesus Christ, who for the accomplishment of Thy greatest works, has chosen the weak vessel of the world that no flesh may glory in Thy sight...." may we who have been called to the work of bringing the West to Orthodoxy have the strength and grace to perform it by your prayers.

"Archbishop Anthony
"New York"

Very Rev. Fr. Anthony (Bondi)

Regarding this new development, Fr. Hieromonk Ambrose of New Zealand had this to say on Nov. 10, 2010: "Half of the 18 priests and deacons have already been ordained by Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Jerome over the last few weeks. It is planned to have the remaining clergy ordained before mid December. This is a glorious thing for the Russian Church, since it gives us 10 viable Western Rite parishes in the States. Here is a photo of one parish church, in Pennsylvania.

Fr. Ambrose also had this to report on Nov. 11: "A major Western Rite monastery complex is being created in the United States by hieromonk Michael of Saint Petroc monastery Tasmania, Australia. Construction will commence in two to three months. The news has been released by the group Forward in Orthodox Faith.

above: Fr. Anthony Bryant of St. Katherine Church, Pelion, South Carolina

To those alarmed that the new communities might practice forms of devotion which originated in the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, Abp. Anthony wrote the following clarification: "For the record, my church [in Putnam Valley, NY --Ed.] has no organ music, we sing Gregorian Chant, we do not have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, stations of the cross, sacred heart devotions, pews, or kneelers."

Picture of the clergy, in a meeting prior to their reception into the Russian Church.

We welcome our new brothers and sisters into our midst with love, prayer, and the deepest respect. Please pray for us, and we shall pray for you. May the prayers of the Most Holy and Blameless Mother of God protect you all. - Fr. Hieromonk Aidan+



Jon Marc said...

Glory to God for all things!

Fr. Aidan said...

I just deleted two comments because they came in anonymously. Remember, folks, no anonymous comments. You don't have sign in using any particular profile or cross-platform ID, just type in your name at the end of your comment.

Dale said...

It was said:

"To those alarmed that the new communities might practice forms of devotion which originated in the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, Abp. Anthony wrote the following clarification: "For the record, my church [in Putnam Valley, NY --Ed.] has no organ music, we sing Gregorian Chant, we do not have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, stations of the cross, sacred heart devotions, pews, or kneelers."

I find it very strange that pews seem so terribly, theologically important, and the fact that the "Ecumenical Patriarch" who has stated his support for abortion on demand on several occasions does not seem to bother anyone very much in Orthodoxy. One suspects that support for the sanctity of life is far less important than the issue of furniture. A bit sad.

Fr. Aidan said...

Pews are a real issue, just not an overriding, Class A issue. There's a ROCOR church in Pennsylvania full of pews.

The pro-abortion statements of the Patriarch are Class A issues and arouse far greater concern within the household of the faith.

Just because a person is concerned about pews, does not make him therefore UN-concerned about murder.

So it would be sad, if it were true.

B.Peter said...

The entrance of the Former Western Rite Exarchate of Alexandria into ROCOR/MP is for them a step towards greater stability. May it be as spiritually profitable for them as their humility is a sound example to us all. Dcn Finbarr

Dale said...

Father Aidan stated (And I personally quite agree with him) that:

"The pro-abortion statements of the Patriarch are Class A issues and arouse far greater concern within the household of the faith."

I have yet to have seen any real concern about this man's, the Patriarch's, open and unending support for "Abortion Rights." Not from any real authority to deal with these egregious statements anyway.

What is indeed sad is that he made many of these types of pro-abortionist statements whilst still Metropolitan of Chalcedon, yet not a single Orthodox bishop made any protest whatsoever when he was elected ecumenical patriarch.

Now I have heard yards and yards about less than secondary issues of furniture, beards, and priestly clothing; but the Byzantine world is strangely silent about their pro-abortionist ecumenical patriarch.

Whenever I have raised this issue in Byzantine circles, the response is either: 1. "He is not the Pope" (why that is even an issue is beyond me) or: 2. "What a bishop says does not matter in the Orthodox Church" (Which sounds very similar to what I have heard Anglo-Catholic clergy, still within the establishment say) or: 3. "The Orthodox Church is pro-life and the Ecumenical Patriarch never said those things, it is simply Roman Catholic anti-Orthodox propaganda" (I fail to understand the fixation on the Roman Catholic Church), and when documents stating, by his own words, are produced this is usually the response: 3. "In the Orthodox Church we are not allowed to criticize our bishops!" (Which is actually the 19th clause of the "Dictatus Papae").

Truly troublesome.

Fr. Aidan said...

I am not defending what is indefensible (such as any abortion-favourable statement). But to put things in perspective, I must ask:

His All-Holiness Bartholomew has been patriarch for 19 years. In those 19 years, has he made any pro-abortion statements?

Dale said...

Yes, it seems that indeed he has continued to produce pro-abortionists statements. Here is an article from "First Things." There are also several more recent reports of his gaining favour with the rather left-leaning Europeans (who have recently, and officially, critized Ireland for its pro-lifet stance); too bad this cannot be said for Russia:

"A Not So Pro-life Patriarch . . .
Tuesday, October 27, 2009, 9:00 AM
Hunter Baker

File this under “U” for Ugh.

John Couretas is drawing attention to statements by Metropolitan Bartholomeis of Chalcedon. And wow, these are some pretty “unorthodox” statements regarding the sanctity of life from a member of the Orthodox clergy. Take it away, John:

Here is a direct quotation from a July 20, 1990, article, “SF Shows Off Its Ecumenical Spirit,” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Metropolitan Bartholomais of Chalcedon is the current Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Asked the Orthodox church’s position on abortion, Bartholomais described a stand more liberal than that of the Roman Catholic Church, which condemns abortion in all cases and whose clergy have, in some cities, excommunicated leading pro-choice Catholics.

Although the Orthodox church believes the soul enters the body at conception and, 'generally speaking, respects human life and the continuation of pregnancy,” Bartholomais said, the church also ”respects the liberty and freedom of all human persons and all Christian couples.'

'We are not allowed to enter the bedrooms of the Christian couples,” he said. ”We cannot generalize. There are many reasons for a couple to go toward abortion.'

The statement was made in 1990, but Couretas goes on to highlight the same theme in the patriarch’s thought through the years. For a church that talks about being founded in 32 b.c. this is quite a divergence from early Christian practice, which consistently exhibited tremendous concern for the value of human life."

One suspects that since the Orthodox Church "generally" is pro-life one may conclude that they are also "generally" Christian as well.

Fr. Aidan said...

If it is true that the Patriarch of Constantinople has uttered some pro-abort statement during his 19 years as patriarch, why can't anyone point to what those statements were?

European leftists' views on Ireland and Australian rightists' views on Zimbabwe notwithstanding...

Dale said...

Dear fr, Aidan, could you please supply anything stated by this man rejecting his pro-abortionist views of 19 years ago?

If not, and trust me, I have searched for them, we can only conclude that his position has not changed. What is also troublesome is that regardless of this man's position on a number of issues, all reflective of an ideology far, far closer to modernist Protestantism than anything else, he could even be elected as Patriarch in the first place.

I suspect it will be simply much easier to pretend none of this was ever uttered, and return to important issues, such as furniture and the correct style of ikons...and, of course, beard length.

Dale said...

Dear father, please see the following; it is a newer up-to-date, pro-abortion position of the world leader of Orthodoxy:

Fr. Aidan said...

Dale, I followed the link and read the entire article. Nowhere did I find a statement, from Bartholomew as patriarch, that could be construed as advocating for abortion, except seeming to excuse it in cases when either the baby or the baby's mother must die.

I did not like the tone of what I read of the patriarch's words, since they seem to tend in the direction of moral relativism and disengagement of the Church from real-life moral decisions (precisely where the Church must be vocal and "in the bedroom"). Still, all the advocacy was AGAINST abortion, not PRO-abortion.

And, with many others in the Orthodox Church, I would like to see a clarification issued by the Phanar repudiating the shocking words of the then-Metropolitan to the SF Chronicle reporter.

By the way, issues of praxis in Orthodoxy are not ultimately separable from ethical issues. If an essentially ascetic worldview is preserved by E and WR Orthodox, then the bishops who guide the flock of Christians are likely to be chosen from among a pool of practising Christians. If that ascetic content wanes, if there is not the purification of the heart through fasting, long prayer, confession of thoughts, real obedience, and self-denial, then the pool is terribly reduced, and the door is opened wide to the incumbency of hierarchs who can wear all the vestments and know all the little liturgical and procedural rules, but who do not properly teach and protect the rational sheep. What I always liked about the ROCOR was that it had bishops who were real monks, real believers, genuine Christians, not just careerists.