Before the year 1054 there would have been no difficulty in declaring that the Western Rite of the Undivided Church was simply the use of Latin speaking Churches. The Rite used by Christians in Scotland, Ireland and England, was as Orthodox as that used in Constantinople. In the first thousand years of Christendom all the far flung churches that were in communion with the Five Patriarchates (Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome) were Orthodox. After 1054, and more precisely, after the Norman Conquest (1066) of England, the Churches of the West were drawn into the Great Schism of the Roman Patriarchate away from the Unity of the Orthodox Church. The Western Liturgy came to reflect the Papal errors and even incorporated the Filioque in the Nicene Creed with other aberrations.
The restoration of a corrected, and truly Orthodox, Western Rite to Holy Orthodoxy in the United States was not originated by laity or by ordinary clergy. The vision of the Western Rite as an essential part of the Orthodox Mission in America belonged toArchbishop Tikhon of the American Archdiocese under the Moscow Patriarchate. About ninety years ago he examined the existing Anglican Book of Common Prayer and sent it to the Holy Synod of Moscow. That Liturgy, derived from the ancient use of the Orthodox West, and first expressed in English in the edition of 1549 by authority of King Edward the Sixth of England, was corrected and approved by the Holy Synod for Orthodox Church use.
In the years following, blessed Tikhon was himself elevated to Patriarch of Moscow, martyred by the communists in 1925, since declared a Saint of the Church, and thus known to Orthodox faithful throughout the world as St. Tikhon, Enlightener of America. This is the same Saint Tikhon who, about the time he obtained approval for the restoration of the Western Rite in America, also consecrated (in 1904) Raphael Hawaweeny to the episcopate of the Orthodox Church of North America, from which the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese descends.
As the Orthodox Mission in America grew in numbers and in maturity, further authorization of the Western Rite was given by the Patriarchs and Holy Synod of Antioch. Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir) founded the Western Rite Vicariate for the creation of Western Rite Missions and Parishes in the Archdiocese. Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) has promoted an increasing number of Western Rite Parishes throughout North America; and new additions of Clergy and Laity to this world have more than doubled its size in a few years. Western Rite Orthodoxy is now a rapidly growing dimension of the Church's Mission in America.
The Western Rite Parishes represent a restoration of the legitimate Western Liturgy of the Undivided Church of the first 1,000 years, by Patriarchal authority, for the benefit of all Orthodox people.
Introductory Articles on the Western Rite
- What is Western Rite Orthodoxy?
- An article featured in the May 1993 issue of The Word, by Fr. Patrick McCauley, of blessed memory. If you are new to Western Rite Orthodoxy, read this first.
- The Twain Meet
- The Very Rev'd. P.W.S. Schneirla's guest editorial in the May 1993 issue of the Antiochian Archdiocese publication The Word. Fr. Schneirla is the Vicar General of the Western Rite within the Antiochian Archdiocese.
- The Western Rite—Its Fascinating Past and Its Promising Future
- An in-depth introductory article on the Orthodox Western Rite by the first Vicar General of the Western Rite, the Right Rev'd Alexander Turner, SSB.
- An Introduction to Western Rite Orthodoxy
- An electronic version of the now out-of-print Conciliar Press booklet; edited by Fr. Michael Trigg, Ph.D.
- An Introduction
- By Fr. Alexis Young
- Why Would an Episcopalian Become Orthodox?
- By Fr. Patrick McCauley, of blessed memory
- Finding a Home in Western Rite Orthodoxy
- By Fr. John Charles Connely
- Orthodox Odyssey
- By Fr. John A. Mangels
- Our Plea
- By Fr. Michael Trigg
Apologias for the Western Rite
- Lux Occidentalis (PDF)
The Orthodox Western Rite and the Liturgical Tradition of Western Orthodox Christianity, with reference to The Orthodox Missal, Saint Luke's Priory Press, Stanton, NJ. 1995.By the Rev'd John Charles Connely M.A, Dean of the Central and Mountain States and Rector ofSt. Mark's Parish. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can't read this beauteous .PDF version of the article. You can download Acrobat Reader for FREE.
- Comments on the Western Rite
- By His Grace, the Right Rev'd Bishop Basil:
You are the inheritors of a precious treasure: the authentic and Orthodox rites that nourished thousands now in the Kingdom of heaven. The Orthodox Church thanks you for preserving this tradition all these years, so that it could be restored to her through Western Rite orthodox parishes.
- Doctrinal Issues: Western Rite Orthodoxy
- From Diocesan News for Clergy and Laity, the official newsletter of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This short article illustrates that not all Greek Orthodox bishops share the same view of the Western Rite that His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco does…
- The Causes of the Debacle of the Modern Roman Catholic Liturgy
- This article by Monsignor Klaus Gamber is fairly uncatagorizable, but is placed under the
Apologia section to explain why Western Rite Orthodoxy insists on pre-Vatican II usage, and why our mission to Western Christianity is especially urgent.
Western Orthodox History
- An Excerpt from the Report of Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir) to the 1958 Archdiocesan Convention
- On 31st May 1958, His Beatitude, Alexander III, Patriarch of Antioch of blessed memory, in consultation with the heads of the other autocephalous Orthodox churches, authorized His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony (Bashir), of blessed memory, to establish the Western Rite in theAntiochian Archdiocese. Originally from the November 1958 issue of The Word, reprinted in theLion.
Western Orthodox Customs, Devotion and Piety
- Some (More) Things While You Should Know in Church
- A shorter version of this article was originally published in the Word magazine. Written as a follow-up to a prior Word article by Fr. David Barr on customs and practices in Orthodox churches, this article highlights some customs of the Western Orthodox parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese.
- The Orthodox Christian Society of Our Lady of Walsingham
- Information on this society within the Western Rite Vicariate.
The purpose of the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham is to encourage devotion to the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary, under this, one of her most ancient Western titles, and to work for the upbuilding of the Orthodox Christian Church.
- The Rosary and Orthodox Christian Devotion
- A short article from The Walsingham Way, Vol. II, No. I, Fall 1999, a newsletter of Western Orthodox spirituality published by the Orthodox Christian Society of Our Lady of Walsingham.