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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New W. Rite Ordination in Russian Church

By the grace of God and at the hands of His Grace Bishop JEROME of Manhattan, acting for the Metropolitan, Father Philip Ramstad of Sts. Aidan & Cuthbert parish in St. Paul, Minnesota, United States of America, was ordained to the diaconate on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.

On Wednesday, April 27, 2011, he will be ordained to the priesthood to serve in the Western Rite.

Fr. Philip is a former Anglican priest who was received into the Orthodox Church years ago. May God grant him many years! Ad multos annos!

above: an older picture of Fr. Deacon Philip

O Lord, we beseech Thee to guide Thy servant the deacon Philip, and by the intercession of blessed Mary the Mother of God, and of all Thy Saints, multiply in him the gifts of Thy grace, that he may be delivered from all evil, and that lacking not in temporal aid, he may rejoice in the teachings of life eternal. Through Christ our Lord, amen." (from "Orthodox Prayers of Old England," available from St. John Cassian Press)

"...and the Lord added to their number." (Acts 2:47)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday in the Sarum Use of the Roman Rite

called Palm Sunday by the people
[station at St. John Lateran]

* Willow branches and/or palms; leaves & flowers
* Ark of Relics of the Saints
* Processional Cross, veiled
* Holy water
* Cross in the yard outside the church
* Gospel-book for taking outdoors

The branches for clergy are placed on the altar, the others on a carpet on the step, to the south side.
Stations: The stations in this procession will be made: (1) in the northeast corner of the churchyard; (2) in the southeast corner; (3) in front of the west doors of the church; (4) in front of the holy doors inside the church.

Vestments: For the procession, all the ministers are in albs & amices, without tunicles. The Priest has on a red silk cope, & the choir their usual black copes.


¶ Holy water is blessed softly today, at a side altar.

¶ After the Third Hour holy water is sprinkled, & after the sprinkling this reading is done at the step of the altar by an acolyte vested in an alb, facing north, over the flowers & leaves:

Lesson Exod 15:27-16:10, Comp. p. 151

¶ The deacon gets a blessing & reads this gospel from a stand, facing east over the flowers & leaves, in the tone for simple feasts:

Gospel Jn 12:12-19, Comp. p. 152


Bishop: If present, he shall bless the branches.

¶ The priest then, on the altar step, facing the altar, softly blesses the branches thus, with his hand extended over them [i.e., with the thumb folded between the index and middle fingers, and the fourth and fifth fingers folded down--this is the ancient Western way of disposing the fingers whenever a priest blesses something]:

I exorcise thee, O creature of flowers and branches, in the name of + God the Father almighty, and in the name of + Jesus Christ His Son our Lord, and by the power of the + Holy Spirit: therefore, O every power of the adversary, every army of the Devil, every might of the enemy, every attack of demons, be thou uprooted and eradicated from this creature of flowers and branches, and pursue not the footsteps of those who hasten towards the grace of God. + Through Him Who shall come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. All: Amen.

Let us pray. Collect Omnipotens sempiternae
O almighty, everlasting God, Who in the overflowing of the Flood didst bring Thy servant Noë tidings that peace had been restored to the earth, through the mouth of the dove bearing an olive branch: Thee we humbly entreat that this creature of flowers and twigs and palm-fronds, and branches of trees, which we offer in the sight of Thy glory, Thy Truth would + sanctify, that the pious people taking them in their hands may be found worthy to secure Thy blessing. Through...

Let us pray. Collect Deus cujus
O God, Whose Son came down from heaven to earth for the salvation of the human race, and when the hour of His Passion drew nigh willed to come to Jerusalem sitting on an ass, and to be called King, and to be praised: increase the faith of those who place their hope in Thee, and mercifully hear the prayers of the humble. O Lord, we beseech Thee: let Thy blessing come upon us, and be pleased to + bless these branches of palms and other trees, that all who shall carry them may be filled with the gift of Thy blessing. Grant, therefore, O Lord, that even as the children of the Hebrews, crying, 'Osanna in the highest,' ran out to meet the same Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, with branches of palms, so also we, holding tree-branches, may run to meet Christ with good works, and enter into everlasting joy. Through the same...

Let us pray. Collect Deus qui dispersa
O God, Who gatherest what is scattered, and preservest what is gathered: Who didst bless the people meeting Christ Jesus and carrying branches of palms and other trees: + bless Thou also these branches of palms and of other trees, which Thy faithful receive with faith as a means to bless Thy name: that whithersoever they may be brought, those that dwell in that place may all receive Thy blessing: and that once every stonghold of the adversary is put to flight, Thy right hand may protect those it redeemed. Through the same...

¶ He sprinkles the flowers & branches with holy water & censes them, then sings in a loud voice:

|V.| The Lord be with you.
|R.| And with thy spirit.
Let us pray. Collect Domine Ihesu
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Creator and Redeemer of the world, Whose good pleasure it was to come down from the highest peak of heaven, and take flesh, and suffer Thy Passion, to save us and set us free: and Who by Thine own free will, when Thou wert drawing nigh to the very spot of Thy Passion, didst wish to praised and blessed by the multitudes coming to greet Thee with branches of palms, and to be called in a clear voice the blessed King coming the name of the Lord: do Thou now accept the acclamation of our thankfulness, and mayest Thou be pleased to + bless and + sanctify these branches of palms and other trees, and of flowers: that whosoever taketh any of them from this place, in reverence for Thy power, may be found worthy to receive the rewards of eternal life, and the remission of his sins, being sanctified with blessing from heaven. + Through Thee, O Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, God through all the ages of ages. |R.| Amen.

Bishop: He goes to his throne, where the first branch distributed is brought to him. One of the priests distributes the branches.

¶ The choir sings the antiphons; the Priest distributes branches to clergy, then people-who kiss his hand. Meanwhile the procession is readied.

Antiphon. Pueri Hebræorum, tone 1. The children of the Hebrews, taking up olive-branches, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out and saying, 'Osanna in the highest.'

Antiphon. Pueri Hebræorum, tone 1. The children of the Hebrews, spread their garments in the way, and cried, saying, 'Osanna to the Son of David; blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.'

Antiphon. Prima autem, tone 8. On the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the pasch?' And Jesus said to them, 'Go into the city, to a certain man, and say to him: The Master saith: My time is at hand. I will celebrate the pasch at thy house with My disciples.' And the disciples did as the Lord had commanded them, and they made ready the pasch.

If possible, there is a "minor" party in the procession: (1) a Cross-bearer carrying a silver Cross; (2) two Banner-bearers; (3) a Lantern-bearer; (4) two Clergy carrying the ark of relics.

Main procession: (1) Banner-bearers; (2) Cross-bearer; (3) Server with holy water; (4) Taper-bearers; (5) Thurifers; (6) Subdeacon; (7) Deacon with Gospel-book; (8) Priest in a silk cope; (9) all the Clergy in choir; (10) the Bishop, if he is present; (11) all the people, holding their branches & bringing garlands.

During the antiphon above, the bells are rung & the main procession leaves through the holy doors, passing along the cloister porch, out the canons' door, going clockwise to the first station.


Antiphon. Cum appropinquaret, tone 7. When the Lord drew nigh unto Jerusalem, He sent two of His disciples, saying, 'Go ye into the village which is over against you, and ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her, upon which no man yet hath sat. Loose them and bring them to Me. If any man shall ask of you, say ye that the Lord hath need of them.' And loosing them they brought them to Jesus, and they laid their garments upon them, and He sat thereon. And others spread their garments in the way; and others cut boughs from the trees. And those that followed cried, saying, 'Osanna; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Blessed is the kingdom of David our father; Osanna in the highest; Have mercy on us, O Son of David!'

If they are needed for time's sake, these are sung also:

Antiphon. Cum audisset, tone 5. When the people had heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took branches of palms, and went forth to meet him, and the children cried out, saying, 'This is He Who is to come for the salvation of the world. He is our salvation, and the redemption of Israel. How great He is, to Whom Thrones and Dominions hasten. Fear not, daughter of Sion; behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt, as it is written. Hail, O King, Creator of the world, Who art come to redeem us.

Antiphon. Ante sex, tone 8. Six days before the solemn feast of the pasch, when the Lord came into the city of Jerusalem, children ran to meet Him, and in their hands they carried branches of palms, and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Osanna in the highest!'

Antiphon. Ante sex, tone 8. Six days before His Passion, the Lord came into the city of Jerusalem, and children ran to meet Him, and in their hands they carried branches of palms, and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Osanna in the highest; Blessed art Thou, Who hast come in the multitude of Thy mercy; Osanna in the highest!'


Choir forms two rows, facing one another, on the north & south edges of the station (called a gantlet).
Note: Cross- & taper-bearers assemble just west of the Cross.

The deacon to read the Gospel gets a blessing as usual from the highest-ranking priest present, then reads the Gospel facing east, in the simple festal tone, in the centre of the gantlet.

Gospel Mt 21:1-9, Comp. p. 153

"Minor" Party: At the end of this Gospel, at the words, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord," the "minor" party with the relics ark appear & situate themselves in the centre of the gantlet of clergy & choir, slightly east of the deacon & priest.

[[Bishop: The Deacon faces the Bishop & sings loudly:

O Prince of the Church, shepherd of the sheepfold, may it please thee to bless the people given into thy keeping.

The Deacon turns to the people & sings loudly:

With meekness, and charity, bow down yourselves for a blessing. R. Thanks be to God.

Bishop's Blessing Deus omnipotens
May almighty God, the fountain of goodness, and well-spring of virtue, Who hath showed you examples of patience and humility by His only-begotten Son, help you to flower with increases of good works. All: Amen.

And may He Who five days before the pasch, that is, this very day, wished to sit upon an ass, and to be called a King by the multitudes as He came to Jerusalem, grant you to be so adorned with the flowers of virtues that ye may be able to please Him to the end, with the blessed. Amen.

That when the inerrant Judge shall come at the end of the world, to conduct His examination of the world, ye may be able to go and meet Him fearlessly, being beautified with the adornments of righteous deeds, and as lovers of peace to be placed by Him amidst the heavenly pastures. Amen.

Which may He deign to grant, Who with His co-eternal Father and the Holy Spirit liveth, and is glorified, God throughout undying ages of ages. Amen. | May...]]

Then a boy, from a high balcony, sings:

Jerusalem, look thee unto the east, and behold: lift up thine eyes, O Jerusalem, and see the power of thy King.


Three singers come from the north & south rows to stand just to the west of the churchyard Cross, facing west to the people, singing:

Behold, Thy King cometh meek to thee,
O Sion, mystical daughter,
Sitting humble upon His creatures,
He Whom the prophetic reading had foretold was to come.

The eldest of the clergy sings: Hail, O Je- sus! [the original in the missal has musical notes]

He & everyone kneel, kiss the ground, then rise to their feet.

Choir (when on feet again:)
To Whom the people of the Hebrews bare witness,
Crying out the words of salvation
As they met Thee with palm branches.

The boy in the balcony sings:

Behold, the Saviour cometh to release thee from thy chains; lift up your heads!

The three singers in front of the Cross:

This is He Who cometh from Edom, red in Bosra's garments,
Comely is He in His robe, walking onward in His virtues,
Not on horses ready for battle,
Neither in exalted chariots.

Eldest: Hail, Light of the world! (prostration by all)

Choir: King of kings, glory of heaven,
With Whom there remaineth dominion,
Praise, and glory, now and for ever.

The boy in the balcony sings:

Behold, your redemption will be drawing nigh. He withdraws.

The three singers before the Cross:

This is He Who as a silent Lamb was delivered to death,
O death of death, and sting of hell,
Granting us to live through Thy death,
As once the blessed Prophets promised prophetically.

Eldest: Hail, O our sal-va-tion! (prostration by all)
Choir: Our true peace, redemption, and strength,
For Thou wentest further and for our sakes
Didst submit Thyself to the authority of death.


First goes (1) the cross-bearer, exchanging the wooden for a silver cross, flanked by (2) two taper-bearers; (3) the other clergy as they were before; the ark of relics being borne between the subdeacon & the deacon, it being preceded by a lantern, & flanked by two banners. And (4) the choir follows, singing the antiphons below. The (5) people, before leaving the station, throw their garlands & flowers onto the churchyard Cross.

Antiphon. Dignus es, tone 4. Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour. (Apoc 4:11)

Antiphon. Occurrunt, tone 8. The multitudes, with palms and flowers, go forth to meet their Redeemer, and to render Him the homage worthy of a triumphant victor: The Gentiles proclaim the Son of God with their mouth, and to the praise of Christ their voices thunder through the clouds: 'Osanna!'

If needed for time's sake, the following are also sung:

Antiphon. Dominus Jesus, tone 2. Six days before the pasch, the Lord Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus had died, | Whom Jesus raised to life. |V.| And many of the Jews resorted thither, that they might see Lazarus. | Whom Jesus...

Antiphon. Cogitaverunt, tone 8. And the chief priests took counsel, that they might put Lazarus to death. | For on account of him, many came and believed on Jesus. |V.| For the multitude gave testimony, that was with Him when He raised Lazarus from the dead. | For on account...


¶ Outdoors, the southeast corner of the churchyard. In the station, seven singers, children if possible, sing together the hymn of Theodulf of Orleans (†821):

Hymn. Gloria, laus
Glory and praise and honour be to Thee,
Christ, King and Redeemer;
To Thee the flowering crown of youth
Sang fervently: Osanna!

Choir: Glory, and praise...

Children: Israel's King art Thou, the illustrious Son of David Thou, O Thou blessed King, Who comest in the name of the Lord God.

Choir: Glory, and praise...

Children: With rejoicing on high, every heaven-dweller praiseth Thee; and everyone subject to death, together with all creation.

Choir: Glory, and praise...

Children: The Hebrew people came forth with palms, to meet Thee in the way; Lo, we are here in Thy presence with prayer, with vows, and with hymns.

Choir: Glory, and praise...


The procession now moves to the third station, passing through the cloister area along the right porch, the choir singing:

Antiphon. Collegerunt, tone 2. The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council, and they said, 'What do we? for this man doth many miracles. If we let Him alone so, all will believe in Him. | Nay, let not the Romans come, and take away our place and nation. (cf. Mt. 21:47,48) [It should be noted that this antiphon is music from the ancient Gallican rite which vanished from history.]


Outdoors, before the west doors-which are closed. At the doors, three singers (clergy) face west to the people to sing:

|V.| But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, prophesied, saying: It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. From that day, therefore, they devised to put Him to death, saying: (cf. :49-53) | Choir: Nay, let not... And all turn to the doors.


The priest knocks on the doors with his hand or the staff of the processional Cross. The doors are opened from inside; the bells are rung; the choir begins the Responsory below. Those holding the relics ark enter first, then hold the ark up high between them, just inside the doors. The priest makes a reverence & enters, followed by ministers, choir, & people, everyone passing beneath the relics.

Responsory. Ingrediente, tone 2. When the Lord entered into the holy city, the children of the Hebrews, announcing the resurrection of life, | With branches of palms, cried out: Osanna in the highest! |V.| And when they had heard that Jesus was come to Jerusalem, they went forth to meet Him in the way. | With branches...

And as the clergy & choir enter, they take their places in a gantlet leading up to the roodscreen door.


In church, before the Cross atop the iconostasis.

Bishop: He may give a sermon on the Holy Cross at this point.

The Cross atop the iconostasis is partially unveiled, the eldest of the clergy standing in the middle before it, & saying:

Eldest: Hail, O our King! [there is musical notation above this in the missal]

¶ The eldest, & all the clergy, choir, & people, make a prostration (they kneel & trace a cross upon the ground, then kiss the ground on top of the cross, then rise to their feet).

¶ Choir, once standing: 'Hail, O our King!' (same melody)

¶ The Cross is unveiled further, & the Eldest says, louder:

Hail, O our King! [with musical notes]

¶ All make a prostration like before.

¶ Choir, once standing: 'Hail, O our King!' (same melody)

¶ The Cross is completely unveiled, & the Eldest says, louder still:

Hail, O our King! [with musical notes]

¶ All make a prostration like before. Once standing, the choir sings:

Hail, O our King, Son of David, Redeemer of the world, Whom the Prophets foretold would come to be the Saviour and Lord of Israel! For the Father sent Thee into the world to be our salvation-bringing Sacrifice, Whom all the saints awaited from the foundation of the world. And now: Osanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Osanna in the highest!

¶ Now the entry through the holy doors is made, the choir singing:

Responsory. Circumdederunt, tone 2
Deceitful men have encircled Me; without a cause have they rained down scourges upon Me. | But Thou, O Lord, my defender, deliver Thou Me. | |V.| For tribulation is nigh, for there is none to help Me. (Ps 21:11) | But Thou... (no Glory be)

¶ All the Crosses in the church are unveiled, until after Vespers. At the step, the Priest sings the versicle, etc. shown below.

Bishop: He reads the Collect in the very centre of the church.

|V.| Rescue me from mine enemies, O God.
|R.| And from them that rise up against me redeem me. (Ps. 58:1)
Let us pray. Collect of the Mass below.


The people hold their branches until the offertory.

Officium. Domine ne longe, tone 8. Trope 'Suspensus ligno.'

Hanging upon the Tree, thus spake the Son unto His Father: O Lord, remove not Thy help far from Me. Nay, but swiftly help Me, with Thy fatherly compassion: Attend unto Mine aid; save Me from the mouth of the lion, For it desireth to tear Me, the Guiltless, with its ferocious teeth, And My lowliness from the horns of the unicorns. (Ps. 21:19,21)
|V.| O God, my God, attend to Me why hast Thou forsaken Me? (:1)
Behold, ye voices resonating through the skies: Chant unto Me praises, singing: O my Father, O my glory, O Lord, remove not Thy help far from me. The rulers, and deceitful men, they gnash upon me with their teeth in fury, raging fierce against me. But Thou, O my God, O my salvation, Attend unto mine aid; save me from the mouth of the lion, and my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns.
+ Glory be... As it was...
The noble psalm-singer of Israel, and accurate Prophet, that is, David, once sang to Christ with tender feeling, thus: O Lord, remove not Thy help far from me, But bestow Thy speedy help upon me, O illustrious King of heaven. Attend unto mine aid; save me from the mouth of the lion, and my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns.

Kyrieleyson with verses.

Collect Omnipotens sempiternae
O almighty, everlasting God, Who didst cause our Saviour to take on flesh and endure the Cross, as an example of humility for the human race to follow: mercifully grant that we may be found worthy both to hold fast the teachings of His long-suffering and to become partakers of His Resurrection. Through...

Epistle Phil 2:5-11, Comp. p. 154

Graduale. Tenuisti, tone 4. Thou hast held me by my right hand, and by Thy counsel Thou hast guided me, and with glory hast Thou taken me to Thyself. |V.| How good is God to Israel, to them that are upright of heart! But as for me, my feet were all but shaken; my steps well nigh had slipped. For I was jealous of the transgressors when I beheld the peace of sinners. (Ps 72:23,24,1-3)

Tract. Deus Deus meus, tone 2. O God, my God, attend to me: why hast Thou forsaken me? |V.| Far from my salvation are the words of my trangressions. |V.| My God, I will cry by day, and wilt Thou not hearken? and by night, and it shall not be unto folly for me. |V.| But as for Thee, Thou dwellest in the sanctuary, O Praise of Israel. In Thee have our fathers hoped; they hoped, and Thou didst deliver them. |V.| Unto Thee they cried, and were saved; in Thee they hoped, and were not brought to shame. |V.| But as for me, I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men, and the outcast of the people. |V.| All that look upon me have laughed me to scorn. They have spoken with their lips and have wagged their heads: |V.| 'He hoped in the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him save him, for He desireth him!' |V.| And they themselves have looked and stared upon me. They have parted my garments amongst themselves, and for my vesture have they cast lots. |V.| Save me from the mouth of the lion, and my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns. |V.| Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye that are of the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. |V.| The generation that cometh shall be told of the Lord, and they shall proclaim His righteousness. |V.| To a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made. (Ps 21:1-8,17,18,21,23,31)

Passion: Sung by three clergy if possible. Note: The people stand throughout the Passion.

Passion Mt 26,27:1-61, p. 154

Gospel Mt 27:62-66, p. 176


The people come forward in procession to offer their branches, laying them upon a tray held by the server or Priest himself, kissing the Priest's hands. And meanwhile, the choir sings:

Offerenda. Improperium, tone 8. My soul hath awaited reproach and misery. And I waited for one that would grieve with Me, but there was no one, and for them that would comfort Me, but I found none. And they gave Me gall to eat, and for My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink. |V.| Save Me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul. My soul... |V.| They prated against Me, they that sit in the gates, & they made a song about Me, they that drink wine. My soul... |V.| But as for me, with My prayer I cry unto Thee, O Lord: it is time for Thy good pleasure in the multitude of Thy mercy. My soul... (Ps 68:20-21,1,2)

Secret Concede quaesumus
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the gift offered up in the eyes of Thy majesty may both obtain us the grace of unselfish love and secure for us the effects of blessed, immortal life. Through...

Preface Per quem nobis
... Everlasting God. Through Christ our Lord, through Whom forgiveness is imparted to us and peace is preached in every age. Self-mastery is bestowed upon all of us who believe, so that the swift-approaching day may receive us as ones who have become holy. And therefore with Angels and Archangels...

Communion. Pater si, tone 8. Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done. (Mt 26:42) |V.| Nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt. (ib.) No Glory be. Father... |V.| On the Mount of Olives, Jesus fell upon His face praying and saying. (:39) Father...

Postcommunion Per hujus Domine
By the working of this Mystery, O Lord, may our sinful ways be purged and our righteous desires be fulfilled. Through...

Prayer of Bowed Heads Purifica quaesumus
Purify Thy family, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and cleanse us of all defilements of evil deeds: that the vessels redeemed by the Passion of their Lord may not be tainted again by the unclean spirit, but salvation everlasting fill them to the full. Through...

Note: After Mass, the tray of blessed branches is laid out in church, & the people take them home, placing them above the doors to their homes.

--from Old Sarum Rite Missal, (c) 1998 St. Hilarion Press

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where did the Milan Synod Western Rite Come From?

(above: an old Roman rite Liturgy)

The Milan Synod gained a lot of respect for its phenomenal scholarly work on the Western rite. Certainly, no other body from 1870 to the present has published or made available even one tenth of the rich liturgical materials which Milan Synod publishers made available to modern, English-speaking people from 1988 to 2004. These materials represent an authentic liturgical tradition of the Orthodox West. That is, they are pre-Reformation forms of the Roman rite and represent an intact preservation of the traditions of worship of Western Europeans' Orthodox Christian ancestors. Making this world of prayer accessible to modern-day faithful of the Orthodox Church was a daring, controversial, and astounding accomplishment, entirely unique within the Orthodox Western Rite world.

So where did this historic, authentic, pre-Reformation Western rite come from? Who in modern times first began to pray using such texts? Where did the concept itself come from?

From within Russian Orthodoxy, to be exact. A young Yankee fellow named John Robert Shaw converted to the Holy Orthodox Faith at the age of sixteen. Graduating at the top of his class from Jordanville Seminary in the 1960s, he was ordained priest in short order. An accomplished Latinist, Fr. John had come into contact in the 1960s both with Western Rite Orthodoxy and Old Rite Russians. And he discovered there was a connection: Russian Old Believers who emigrated from Turkey in about 1963, and wound up in America, personally relayed to Fr. John their eyewitness accounts of the use of Western rite within the Russian Old Believer community (the "Liturgy of St. Peter"). Seeing the beautiful worship of the Old Rite Russians, worship conducted largely off hand-written pages instead of modern printed books, a lightbulb went off in Fr. John's head. Why couldn't the same be done with the Western Rite? Why would one need to base an Orthodox WR on modern Roman-Catholic books, when one could base it on pre-Reformation manuscripts showing an intact Western Orthodox service? Using such material for WR worship would resolve difficulties of the West's radically-altered liturgical culture, of her doctrinal errors creeping into texts, of heretical psychology in the modern books. (This is my own characterisation of Fr. John's thoughts on the matter; his own words can be read on the Occidentalis website.)

(above: Old Rite Russian church of the Nativity, Erie, Pennsylvania)

And thus there was born the concept of Sarum Rite Orthodox services. At the very same time, the influence of Holy Transfiguration Monastery was expanding in the ROCOR. Western Rite was on the "outs and outs." A new type of rigorism and Orthodox ultra-purity was taking shape and spreading like wildfire amongst ROCOR converts who were English-speaking only. It was as if Fr. John had found a beautiful rose plant, but there was no soil for it.

(above: old-rite Western Orthodox prayer book, now canonically-approved, published originally within the Milan Synod)

Receptive, fertile soil was found in a small group of Christians, largely of Roman Catholic background, who had associated with the remains of William Henry Francis Brothers' Western Orthodox Old Catholic jurisdiction. They believed in the Orthodox Faith, and had been part of the Moscow Patriarchate (at least a core of them), but now found themselves cut off from the Orthodox administrations. Nor were they satisfied being independent; they were seeking, from 1975 on, to rejoin Eastern Orthodoxy. Fr. John was in communication with this cluster of isolated believers and convinced them to go over to the Sarum Use of the Roman rite as much-better suited to Orthodoxy than the Tridentine Use of the Roman rite which they had been observing. Abbot John (LoBue) was particularly strongly opposed to abandoning the modern (Tridentine) Roman rite in favour of the Sarum, but after the switch became one of the Sarum's staunchest supporters. A publishing effort was soon underway, with the Latinists of the group setting about making available to modern Americans and other Anglophones the riches of the West's Orthodox liturgical heritage.

In 1997 the group was absorbed into the Milan Synod, and the publishing continued at a dizzying pace. Starting in 2004, clergy of the group starting going over to the Russian Orthodox Church where Sarum work had originated and was approved and protected. Some of these clergy included Hieromonk Aidan (Keller), Hieromonk (now Abbot) David (Pearce), Hieromonk Sergei (Armstone), Hieromonk Christopher (Wayt), Priest Paul Maletta, and Hieromonk George (Grube).

(above: Fr. Hieromonk Aidan serving in an Eastern rite chapel, 2011)

(Fr. Abbot David of Jacksonville, Florida)

Responding to favourable feelings towards Russian Orthodoxy on the part of Milan Synod clergy and faithful, the centre of Western rite in the Milan Synod, the Holy Name of Jesus Abbey in West Milford, New Jersey, first issued an anti-Russian-Orthodox statement, then broke communion with the rest of the Milan Synod, which seems to be, as of this writing on April 6, 2011, in the actual process of joining the Moscow Patriarchate.

Creation at Milan of a new, American Metropolia in February 2011. Right to left: the new Metropolitan John (LoBue), Metropolitan Evloghios (Hessler), and Bishop Phanourios of Lincoln in England. A few days after being created, the new Metropolia broke communion with its Mother Synod, stating its Mother Synod was tainted by false ecumenism.

The anti-Russian statement from the new American Metropolia is called "Confession of Faith," and it condemns

"the organization which calls itself the Moscow Patriarchate; sitting as it does in the temples of God, being an abomination of desolation." (Clergy Confession 2,C).

It also states that...

"...the World Orthodox have fallen repeatedly for several generations under anathemas, mass canonical violations, and most importantly of all, a deficiency in the Faith, and have not sought to correct these problems after decades of stern warnings by their own most celebrated luminaries."

It concludes that...

"... communion in the Mysteries, or prayer, and any other expressions of Catholic Unity is impossible" (Clergy Confession 4,C)

... between the West Milford Synod and the Russian Orthodox Church and the other Orthodox Churches. It also states that...

"... the Patriarchs commit blasphemy if they do retain the Mysteries and that "they do so to their own eternal damnation to the fires of hell..." (4,D)

(above: Fires of Hell)

But from the Russian Orthodox Church came all the pious seeds of West Milford's Western Rite, and one may disagree with one's father or mother, but should honour father and mother, in accordance with the teaching of the law of God. Perhaps one might even pray together with one's father or mother. In any case, Fr. John has become Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, assistant in WR affairs to the beloved Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The Sarum is an approved usage in the Russian Church. Holy Transfiguration in Boston seems like a distant shadow. Many Old Believers who left Turkey in 1963 have fallen asleep in the Lord. In America there are third-generation Western Rite Orthodox, many of them faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Western Rite Vicariate. The future will be determined by our faithfulness to Christ and to the fullness of Holy Orthodoxy in whatever rite, and by God's Will. It will be determined by prayer and fasting. It will be determined by tears of thanks and of repentance. It will be determined by the sending of Angels from God's throne to the earth. No one can say what the future holds, except that it will be a chalice filled with God's love for mankind.

(above: the much-beloved Metropolitan Hilarion [Kapral] of New York, first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)

Fr. Hieromonk Aidan+
Holy Protection Orthodox Church, Austin, Texas

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pontifical Masses Scheduled within the Russian Orthodox Church 2011

On three occasions in this year of 2011, a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy is scheduled to be celebrated in the Western Rite by Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Here is a picture with Vladika in newly-donated purple vestments:

Left to right are: Fr. Edward Hughes, Vicar General AWRV; Fr. Anthony Bondi, Pastoral Vicar for the ROCOR Western Rite, Bishop Jerome Vicar-Bishop for the Western Rite (ROCOR) and Fr.John Fenton, Assistant Vicar General AWRV.

  • Pontifical Mass 1
Scheduled is a Pontifical Mass in the Western Rite, with a clerical ordination in the Western rite, at Our Lady of Glastonbury church at Christminster in Ontario, on the weekend of May 28 and 29, 2011.

  • Pontifical Mass 2
Scheduled is the Pan-Western Rite Conference* from Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. to the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 7, 2011. The conference will take place at the Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center, Wappinger Falls, New York. There will be a Pontifical Mass celebrated at this retreat by Bishop Jerome of the Russian Orthodox Church.

  • Pontifical Mass 3
Scheduled also is a Pontifical Mass for the parish of Christ the King, Tullytown, Pennsylvania (Russian Orthodox Church), on some date to be determined later in this year. Bishop Jerome will celebrate this service.

* Conference Cost information:
Individual: $150
Couple: $225
Couple and 2 children: $225

  • Pontifical Mass 4
According to His Grace Bishop Jerome, in a communication dated Apr. 5, 2011, a fourth pontifical Mass is being planned for later in this year of 2011. Details will be shared when they are available.