(NFTU) Rounding off a full month of elevations and ordinations on the East Coast, Archbishop John of New York and New Jersey capped off October with a total of three ordinations to the diaconate and two elevations to the minor orders according to the Orthodox Western Rite. Four weeks ago, Monk Augustine (Fetter) was elevated to the Diaconate at the Abbey of the Holy Name, followed by the Florida trip reported on NFTU, followed by the ordination to the diaconate of Fr Finbar Brandt-Sorheim to assist Father John McMonagle (pictured: Reader Andrew, Priest John Dcn Finbar Brandt-Sorheim, Father John McMonagle) with the growing mission of St Brendan in upstate New York. Finally, another ordination to the diaconate took place at the Abbey for a mission in New York during the last weekend in October.
While NFTU reported on the Milan Synod’s ordinations in Florida a few weeks earlier, the Milan Synod Western Rite ordinations are unique in the context of official Orthodoxy’s proposed expansion of its Western Rite initiatives, most notably in the OCA and ROCOR-H.
Unlike the World Orthodox initiatives, however, the only current usages within the Milan Synod’s New York/New Jersey Archdiocese that are generally allowed are those that have an origin from the time of the East-West schism and restored (up to roughly 1100), mindful of ROCOR’s 1978 prohibition on the use of Western rites (which has never been rescinded, but has been practically abandoned since 1993, found here on p.14). The most common Western Rite usage in the Milan Synod is the “Sarum” recension of the Roman liturgy, a pre-schism and Orthodox (but still accessible) version of the most common liturgy in the West.
While the ROCOR under Metropolitan Hilarion has been using the Sarum recension of the Western rite for a few years –most visibly approving of the rite with the reception of Hieromonk Aidan (Keller) from the Milan Synod– the overwhelming (and increasing) usage has in fact been a usage known as the “English Liturgy”, a modified version of the “Liturgy of St Tikhon” (which is itself an only slightly-modified version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer) in flagrant violation of the ROCOR directive– and the 1904 instruction of the Russian Church concerning Anglican liturgy.
In this, the Milan Synod’s Western Rite initiatives, particularly in America, stand in stark contrast to the increasing syncretization of heterodox and Orthodox religious ritual, found throughout World Orthodoxy, and now within the bosom of the ROCOR itself. Reports on some of the Western Rite discussion groups indicate that Metropolitan Hilarion has “taken charge” of the Western Rite in ROCOR from the other Bishops. If this is true, then the sudden increase in the use of Protestant Anglican liturgy– as opposed to approved, translated, English Orthodox Western liturgy— in the ROCOR is in fact Metropolitan Hilarion’s doing. The Western Rite usages in the Milan Synod appear to act as a bulwark against the innovationist tendencies of World Orthodoxy.
As well, a new traditional Orthodox publication is online under the auspices of the Abbey, called The Orthodox Standard, at http://holynameabbey.org/Library/os-v1n1Summer2009.pdf
We had in fact been aware of a print edition of the Standard, but the online edition looks promising.