Thursday, September 21, 2017

DEVOTION TO THE MOTHER OF GOD: THE ORTHODOX ROSARY

The rosary was originally an Orthodox form of prayer that was later adopted by the Roman Catholics.” — OrthodoxWiki


I am sometimes asked by Western converts to the Orthodox Church, and occasionally  by cradle Orthodox as well, if they can pray the rosary as a private devotion. When asking this question they generally mean what is commonly known as the rosary in Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism today. In response, I like to ask if they are familiar with a Marian devotion that is much older, a devotion that is commonly called The Rule of the Theotokos (Mother of God), Our Lady’s Psalter, or simply the Orthodox Rosary.

The Rule of the Theotokos, as it is known in the East, or Our Lady’s Psalter, as it was called in the ancient West, is an Orthodox Christian devotion based on praying the Angelic Salutation (Hail Mary) 150 times. The prayer rule consists of 150 Angelic Salutations, which are divided into 15 decades. Each decade focuses on some important event in the life of the Mother of God. 

The Orthodox Rosary is prayed on a Prayer Rope or Chotki. The same Prayer Rope is used for this devotion as is used to pray the Jesus Prayer. To pray the Orthodox Rosary, a Prayer Rope is used in which the knots are divided into groups of ten, or decades. 

History records that the fourth century monks of the Egyptian Thebaid were praying one hundred fifty Angelic Salutations (Hail Mary’s) grouped into fifteen decades following the pattern of the one hundred and fifty Psalms.

The oldest known prayer to the Mother of God outside the Gospel according St. Luke comes from Egypt. It is written in Greek and dates to approximately AD 250, during the height of Christian persecution by pagan Rome. In 1917, the John Rylands Library in Manchester acquired a large panel of Egyptian papyrus including the 18 cm by 9.4 cm fragment containing the text of this prayer in Greek:

Beneath thy compassion,
we take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but deliver us from dangers,
only pure, only blessed one.

The oldest form of the Angelic Salutation or Hail Mary (Latin: Ave Maria), as prayed in the West consisted of two texts from St. Luke’s Gospel:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Amen.

This prayer is a combination of Biblical texts taken from Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:42.

Over time, the name of Jesus and a petition for Mary’s intercession were commonly added, giving us the Hail Mary as we have it today:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

“The first of the two passages from Saint Luke's Gospel is the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, originally written in Koine Greek. The opening word of greeting, χαῖρε, chaíre, here translated "Hail," literally has the meaning "rejoice" or "be glad." This was the normal greeting in the language in which Saint Luke's Gospel is written and continues to be used in the same sense in Modern Greek. Accordingly, both "Hail" and "Rejoice" are valid English translations of the word ("Hail" reflecting the Latin translation, and "Rejoice" reflecting the original Greek)” — Hail Mary, Wikipedia. 

In the Eastern Rite of the Orthodox Church, the Angelic Salutation or Hail Mary is,

O Hail Mother of God and Virgin, Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou has given birth to the Saviour of our souls. Amen.

Another translation reads:

Mother of God and Virgin, rejoice, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls. Amen.

While the origin of The Rule of the Theotokos, Our Lady’s Psalter, is found in ancient Egypt, the term “Rosary” — or “garland of roses” — has its origin in the British Isles.

“It was the Western Celtic and Sarum Rites that were to develop what is today called the "rosary" or "garland of roses." The Western Churches, like those of the East, had a great devotion to the Psalter of David which they divided into three parts composed of fifty psalms each. The "Three Fifties" were recited for the dead and for all manner of other intentions as well by both monastics and lay-people.”

“To accommodate monks and laity who could not read, little psalters were devised based on the repetition of the Lord's Prayer and the Angelical Salutation 150 times, divided into three fifties as well. Other psalters based on meditations on the life of Christ and the Most Holy Mother of God were also developed. Soon these were all fused into "Our Lady's Psalter" or the "Rosary." The use of such rosaries is of a venerable age and the Western Rites of the Orthodox Church continue in its use.” — The Historical Development of the Orthodox Prayer Rope and Its Importance to our Spiritual Life, by Dr. Alexander Roman.

THE PRAYER ROPE AND THE ROSARY

OrthodoxWiki provides more information on the Orthodox Rosary:

The prayer rope was formed by St. Pachomius in the fourth century. From there the rosary developed, some say as early as the eighth century… The prayers said on this form of the prayer rope are the Hail Mary (also Hail Mother of God and Virgin), the Lord's Prayer, and the Jesus Prayer. The Hail Mary is said in groups of ten, and in between each group of ten are said the Lord's Prayer and the Jesus Prayer. Between each grouping of Hail Marys, a meditation is also pronounced, which is then thought of throughout the succeeding Hail Marys.

MEDITATIONS

• Meditation 1- The Birth of the Theotokos  
• Meditation 2- The Presentation of the Theotokos
• Meditation 3- The Annunciation of the Lord's Birth
• Meditation 4- The Meeting of the Theotokos and St. Elizabeth
• Meditation 5- The Birth of the Lord
• Meditation 6- The Prophecy of St. Simeon
• Meditation 7- The Flight into Egypt
• Meditation 8- The Boy-Christ among the Doctors
• Meditation 9- The Wedding of Cana
• Meditation 10- The Crucifixion of the Lord
• Meditation 11- The Resurrection of the Lord
• Meditation 12- The Ascension of the Lord into Heaven
• Meditation 13- Pentecost
• Meditation 14- The Dormition of the Virgin Theotokos
• Meditation 15- The Crowning of the Theotokos by the Blessed Trinity

The Rule of the Theotokos or Our Lady’s Psalter — the Rosary — as prayed today usually includes introductory and closing prayers. Those following the Western liturgical tradition should follow a standard form, such as opening with the Sign of the Cross, followed by “O Lord, open thou my [our] lips. And my [our] mouth shall show forth thy praise. O God, made make speed to save me [us]. O Lord, make haste to help me [us]” followed by “Glory be to the Father…” (Gloria Patri). Then, the appropriate Meditation is named followed by the Lord’s Prayer and ten Hail Mary’s. Fifteen decades, or at least five decades, are thus prayed, each preceded by naming the appropriate Meditation and then praying the Lord’s Prayer. The Rosary, can then be concluded with a closing prayer such as the Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven):

O QUEEN of heaven, be joyful, alleluia;
Because He whom so meetly thou barest, alleluia,
Hath arisen, as He promised, alleluia:
Pray for us to the Father, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.

Let us pray.

O GOD, who by the resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ, didst vouchsafe to give gladness unto the world: grant, we beseech thee, and we, being holpen by the Virgin Mary, His Mother, may attain unto the joys of everlasting life: through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the year AD 596, during Paschaltide, a pestilence was ravaging the city of Rome. St. Gregory the Great (the Dialogist) requested a procession be held to pray that the pestilence be stopped. On the appointed day of the procession he assembled with his clergy at dawn at the church of Ara Coeli. Holding in his hand the icon of the Mother of God that had been written (painted) by St. Luke the Evangelist, he and his clergy started out in procession to St. Peter's. As he passed the Castle of Hadrian, as it was called in those days, voices were heard from above singing the Regina Caeli. The astonished Pope, enraptured with the angelic singing, replied in a loud voice: "Ora pro nobis Deum. Alleluia!" At that moment an angel appeared in a glorious light, sheathed the sword of pestilence in its scabbard, and from that day the pestilence ceased. In honour of this miraculous event, the name of the castle was then changed to Sant' Angelo and the words of the angelic hymn were inscribed upon the roof of the Church of Ara Coeli.

Eastern Rite Orthodox Christians would of course use other opening and closing prayers that are part of their liturgical tradition, as well as the form of the Angelic Salutation appropriate for their rite.

Fr. Alexander Gumanovsky, writing about the Orthodox Rosary quotes Fr. Zosima, one of St. Seraphim of Sarov’s spiritual children:

“…I forgot to give you a piece of advice vital for salvation. Say the O Hail, Mother of God and Virgin one hundred and fifty times, and this prayer will lead you on the way to salvation. This rule was given by the Mother of God herself in about the eighth century, and at one time all Christians fulfilled it. We Orthodox have forgotten about it, and Saint Seraphim has reminded me of this Rule. In my hands I have a hand-written book from the cell of Saint Seraphim, containing a description of the many miracles which took place through praying to the Mother of God and especially through saying one hundred and fifty times the O Hail, Mother of God and Virgin. If, being unaccustomed to it, it is difficult to master one hundred and fifty repetitions daily, say it fifty times at first…Whomever he spoke to about this miracle-working Rule remained grateful to him.”

Fr. Alexander Gumanovsky continues:

Bishop Seraphim Zvezdinsky  [1883-1937] performed the Rule of the Mother of God every day, and, when he performed it he prayed for the whole world, embracing in his Rule the whole life of the Queen of Heaven.

He gave one of his spiritual children the task of copying a plan which included his prayer to the Ever Virgin Mary. Here it is:

First decade: Let us remember the birth of the Mother of God. Let us pray for mothers, fathers, and children.

Second decade: Let us remember the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin and Mother of God. Let us pray for those who have lost their way and fallen away from the church.

Third decade: Let us remember the Annunciation of the Blessed Mother of God—let us pray for the soothing of sorrows and the consolation of those who grieve.

Fourth decade: Let us remember the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin with the righteous Elizabeth. Let us pray for the reunion of the separated, for those whose dear ones or children are living away from them or missing.

Fifth decade: Let us remember the Birth of Christ. Let us pray for the rebirth of souls, for new life in Christ.

Sixth decade: Let us remember the Feast of the [Presentation] of the Lord, and the words uttered by St. Simeon: “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Luke 2:35). Let us pray that the Mother of God will meet our souls at the hour of our death, and will contrive that we receive the Holy Sacrament with our last breath, and will lead our souls through the terrible torments.

Seventh decade: Let us remember the flight of the Mother of God with the God-Child into Egypt. Let us pray that the Mother of God will help us avoid temptation in this life and deliver us from misfortunes.

Eighth decade: Let us remember the disappearance of the twelve-year old boy Jesus in Jerusalem and the sorrow of the Mother of God on this account. Let us pray, begging the Mother of God for the constant repetition of the Jesus Prayer.

Ninth decade: Let us remember-the miracle performed in Cana of Galilee, when the Lord turned water into wine at the words of the Mother of God: “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Let us ask the Mother of God for help in our affairs and deliverance from need.

Tenth decade: Let us remember the Mother of God standing at the Cross of the Lord, when grief pierced through her heart like a sword. Let us pray to the Mother of God for the strengthening of our Souls and the banishment of despondency.

Eleventh decade: Let us remember the Resurrection of Christ and ask the Mother of God in prayer to resurrect our souls and give us a new courage for spiritual feats.

Twelfth decade: Let us remember the Ascension of Christ, at which the Mother of God was present. Let us pray and ask the Queen of Heaven to raise up our souls from earthly and worldly amusements and direct them to striving for higher things.

Thirteenth decade: Let us remember the Upper Room and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and the Mother of God. Let us pray: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me” (Psalm 51).

Fourteenth decade: Let us remember the Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God, and ask for a peaceful and serene end.

Fifteenth decade: Let us remember the glory of the Mother of God, with which the Lord crowned her after her removal from earth to heaven. Let us pray to the Queen of Heaven not to abandon the faithful who are on earth but to defend them from every evil, covering them with her honoring and protecting veil.”
From The Walsingham Way (Vol. ii, No. 1), published by the Orthodox Christian Society of Our Lady of Walsingham

Bishop Seraphim Zvezdinsky (1883-1937) was a martyr who suffered under under Soviet communism and was shot in 1937. He was canonized a Saint in the year 2000.

The son of Fr. John Zvezdinsky, a pious Old Rite priest, he was tonsured a monk with the name of Seraphim in memory of St. Seraphim of Sarov. He had great devotion to the Mother of God; and received from God the gift of preaching, becoming well known for his sermons. St. Seraphim Zvezdinsky also possessed the gifts of clairvoyance and healing of the sick; these gifts manifested themselves many times throughout his life. He was consecrated a bishop by St. Tikhon, the Patriarch of Moscow, and became Bishop of Dimitrov.

St. Seraphim was arrested six times by the Soviet Secret police, and he remained under constant NKVD surveillance. In 1927, while in exile in Diveevo, the Mother of God appeared to him. “I cannot describe her amazing beauty!” he exclaimed. On the 26th of August, 1937, the NKVD (Soviet Secret Police) martyred Bishop Seraphim by firing squad in the city of Omsk.

Dr. Alexander Roman, in The Historical Development of the Orthodox Prayer Rope and Its Importance to our Spiritual Life writes,

[St. Seraphim Zvezdinsky] prayed fifteen decades of the rosary, that is, fifteen groups of ten Hail Mary’s headed with an Our Father.  He meditated on the following mysteries at the beginning of each decade of prayers: 1) Nativity of the Mother of God - for families; 2) Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple - for bad Christians; 3) Annunciation - for those who are depressed; 4) Visit to St Elizabeth by the Theotokos - for the unification of persons who are separated from one another; 5) Nativity of Christ - for the rebirth of our souls; 6) Meeting of the Lord in the Temple—for a good death; 7) Flight to Egypt - to flee from temptations; 8) Finding in the Temple of the boy Jesus - for the Grace of constant repetition of the Jesus Prayer; 9) the Miracle at Cana - for the constant assistance of the Mother of God; 10) the Mother of God under the Cross of Her Son - for fortitude; 11) the Resurrection - for strength and persistence in spiritual exercises; 12) Ascension - for the grace to transcend worldly things and live for heavenly ones; 13) Pentecost - for a clean heart and the Gift of the Holy Spirit; 14) the Dormition - for a peaceful and happy end; 15) the Protection of the Mother of God - for the grace of constant protection by the Mother of God.” 

In the Encyclopedia of Orthodoxy (Moscow 2003), the Russian Orthodox Church commends the Rule of the Theotokos to the Orthodox faithful. As Western Rite Orthodox Christians it is  an important part of our Western Orthodox heritage and patrimony where it is known as Our Lady’s Psalter and the Rosary.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.









Monday, September 11, 2017

POPE BENEDICT’S SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM SUPERSEDED — THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IN THE ROMAN CHURCH ADVANCES

On July 26, I posted an article on the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page from Lifesite News titled, Vatican rumblings: Pope Francis aiming to end Latin Mass permission. Then, on August 24, I posted an article from Vatican Radio titled, Pope Francis: Liturgical reform is irreformable.  These articles remain posted and you can read them on the Holy Cross Parish Facebook page:


I hope that you will “Like” our parish Facebook page and become a Follower of it. It is updated regularly with important news and events.

Many frustrated traditional Roman Catholics chose to ignore these reports or tried to explain them away. But their worst fears have now been realized.

On September 3, the Vatican released an, Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio of the Supreme Pontiff Francis MAGNUM PRINCIPIUM by which Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law is modified. An English translation of this Moto Proprio was published on Saturday, September 9, by Rorate Caeli.

Magnum Principium does indeed make the the Liturgical Revolution of Vatican II irreversible. It also supersedes Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum making the suppression of the traditional Latin Mass possible in any diocese and in whole countries without right of appeal, and ensures that the modest “reform of the Reform” made under Benedict XVI will soon be a mere footnote in history.

On Sunday, September 10, The Remnant Newspaper published an article Online titled, Francis Empowers Bishops to Establish Their Own Liturgical Regulations. The article reports, “Pope Francis has issued a motu proprio, Magnum Principium, a modification of Canon Law 838, which grants bishops’ conferences greater control over the translation of liturgical texts. This includes the power to make adaptations which the bishops deem appropriate for their regions… Paragraph §4 makes it clear that the pope has now given bishops the power to determine much of the Church's liturgical direction. ‘Within the limits of his competence, it belongs to the diocesan bishop to lay down in the Church entrusted to his care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all.’ This opens the door, not only to greater liberty in translating liturgical texts, but to creativity in drafting their own texts and rules.”

The article continues, “The new motu proprio also supersedes Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum, which dispensed priests from the need to obtain episcopal permission to say the Traditional Latin Mass. With the new ruling, an episcopal conference can now rule that the offering of the Latin Mass is forbidden in a given diocese, or in an entire country, so that traditional Catholics no longer have the option of appealing to Rome for help. The episcopal ruling is now Church law.”


The problems in the Roman Church do not stem from Vatican II. Vatican II is the fruit, not the root of the problems. 

The first two Oecumenical Councils, the Councils of Nicea in AD 325, and Constantinople  in AD 381, produced the Creed of the Universal Church — the Nicene Creed — and the third Oecumenical Council placed anyone who would dare to change the Creed under anathema (Condemnation). That Creed was professed unchanged for centuries in both the East and the West. Tragically, early in the 11th century the Roman Patriarchate added the so-called Filioque Clause (“and the Son”) to the Nicene Creed, falling under the anathema of the third  Oecumenical Council. This caused the Great Schism of 1054, in which the Roman Patriarchate became separated from the other four ancient Patriarchates (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem), giving birth to what would become known as the Roman Catholic Church. Search the annals of history, nowhere will you find the Church of the first millennium called the Roman Catholic Church. 

Adding the Filioque Clause to the Nicene Creed was no small thing. It was not merely a canonical infraction because it was added unilaterally and without Catholic consent, but was of monumental importance doctrinally. The Filioque Clause is nothing less than the Arian heresy applied to the Holy Spirit. This led to the neglect of the Work of the Holy Spirit in the post-Schism West, and then to a reaction in the opposite direction in the excesses of the Charismatic Movement in modern Roman Catholicism. The Orthodox Church never lost sight of the Work of the Holy Spirit and therefore has never had a Charismatic “renewal.” You can read more on the seriousness of the Filioque heresy in an article titled, FILIOQUISM IS ARIAN SUBORDINATIONISM APPLIED TO THE SPIRIT:


When a branch is broken from a tree it begins to wither and die. If it is not grafted back onto the tree in time the rot becomes irreversible. The larger the branch the longer it takes for it to decay and rot away. The decay in the Roman Church began in 1054, with the Roman Schism and has continued for almost a millennium. In 1517, some five centuries after the Roman Schism, came the Protestant Revolution which shattered the Roman Church forever. Then came Vatican I, and the separation of the Old Catholics who said that a New Catholic religion was invented at the Council with the declaration of papal infallibility which had no warrant in Sacred Scripture and was an innovation contrary to Apostolic Tradition.  That was followed less than a century later by what has become known as the “French Revolution in the Church” at and in the wake of Vatican II. 

As we have seen, the problem did not begin at Vatican II. It is much older than that. Vatican II is the fruit, not the root of the problem. Popes John XXIII and Paul VI, and all of the bishops participating in the Second Vatican Council, had been baptized, raised, educated, formed, ordained and consecrated in the pre-Vatican II Roman Church. Yet, they all accepted the doctrinal and liturgical revolution at the Council. Today, the decay and rot that had begun to set in 1054, has become obvious for all to see.

Genuine Catholicism is found in the Orthodox Church and nowhere else. The Orthodox Catholic Church has never experienced a Reformation, Counter Reformation or a “French Revolution in the Church.” The Orthodox Church is unchanged and unchanging,  and with the fall of Soviet Communism is resurgent, and is experiencing a New Springtime. 

The Western Rite has been restored and the Western Church is being rebuilt. There are now Western Rite congregations and monastic communities in the Patriarchates of Moscow and Antioch, and in Europe in the Patriarchates of Romania and Serbia, with the Western Rite Communities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) being the largest, most widespread and fastest growing. You can find more information on Western Rite Orthodoxy here: 


The term “Orthodox” means both “correct doctrine” and “correct worship,” and these are what so many Roman Catholics have been longing for since the Vatican II Revolution and the chaos and corruption that have followed it. Traditional Roman Catholics will find all that they have been longing for in the Orthodox Catholic Church: 

“This is the faith of the Apostles, this is the faith of the Fathers, this is the faith of the Orthodox, this is the faith which has supported the whole world” (From the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the First Sunday in Lent).  We love being Orthodox! You will too. You will be welcomed home with love and open arms. Come and see!

Friday, September 8, 2017

THE STATEMENT FROM THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS OF THE ACNA ON THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN — NOT EVEN YOUR TYPICAL ANGLICAN FUDGE!

“Having gratefully received and thoroughly considered,” the Statement reads, a five-year study by the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) unanimously stated that the “practice [of women’s ordination] is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order. We agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women’s ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province.” 

HOWEVER, it was also unanimously acknowledged, “that there are differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics that are acceptable within Anglicanism that may lead to divergent conclusions regarding women’s ordination to the priesthood.”

THEREFORE, “it was agreed that each Diocese and Jurisdiction has the freedom, responsibility, and authority to study Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, and to seek the mind of Christ in determining its own convictions and practices concerning the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood.”

THE BOTTOM LINE is that although it was agreed that the “practice [of women’s ordination] is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order” and that there is “insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women’s ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province”, that “scriptural warrant" and the 2,000 year-old “Apostolic Tradition” and “Catholic Order” DOES NOT MEAN A THING. Why? Because “there are differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics that are  ACCEPTABLE within Anglicanism that may lead to divergent conclusions…” It seems that "the mind of Christ" according to these bishops may actually contradict Holy Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order. Unbelievable!

Welcome to The Episcopal Church of the year 2002! The Anglican Church in North America is simply The Episcopal Church (TEC) just prior to the consecration of V. Gene Robinson as the first openly practicing homosexual bishop. All of the sacrifices, suffering, lawsuits, and loss of income, buildings and property, along with broken families, friendships and relationships, just to turn the clock back to 2002. How sad!

ULTIMATELY, the difference between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in North America comes down to one issue and one issue only: homosexuality. That is it. And since scriptural warrant, Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order do not really matter to the bishops of the ACNA because “there are differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics that are acceptable within Anglicanism” even that issue will fall by the wayside eventually. Thousands have left The Episcopal Church after 2003 only to return to the Episcopal Church of 2002.

Members of the ACNA can believe in seven sacraments or two; seven Ecumenical Councils, or four, or for that matter none, or twenty-one like Rome. They can hold Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran and even Zwinglian views on the sacraments. They can believe in the Real Presence or the Real Absence. They can have whitewashed walls or use icons. They can ordain women or not ordain women. The can use the 1928 BCP, the 1979 BCP, a trial Liturgy, something else altogether, or even be what can at best be described as semi-liturgical. And the list can go on and on and on. There is one issue and one issue only that unites the ACNA: opposition to homosexual practice. Frankly, who would want to belong to a Church whose only defining doctrine is opposition to homosexuality?

UNDOUBTEDLY, the ACNA will continue to claim to be “a part of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” and will continue to claim that they are consecrating bishops in “Christ’s One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,” but it doesn’t matter anymore.  No one will be listening. This is way beyond typical Anglican fudge. It is baloney. 

This decision makes clear what everyone already knew or suspected, although many hoped that they were wrong, and that is that the Anglican Church in North America is nothing more than a mainline Protestant denomination. Does the Orthodox Church accept the Anglican Church in North America as a “branch” of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? No. Does Rome? No. Does the Orthodox Church accept their bishops as Catholic bishops? No. Does Rome? No. Could that change? No. This is the end of the road, and it is a dead end.

SADLY, not even one ACNA bishop had the convictions and courage to stand up for the Holy Scriptures, Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order. There was not a single one who would play the man. They all folded like lawn chairs. So much for the “Catholic witness” of the supposedly “Catholic” dioceses of San Joaquin, Quincy and Fort Worth, as well as Forward in Faith North America (FIFNA) and its Missionary Diocese of All Saints (MDAS), or the Reformed Episcopal Church for that matter. Ichabod. The glory has departed.

So what can the remnant of traditional Anglicans do? They can split again and reconfigure, adding to the ever-growing Alphabet Soup of continuing Anglican Jurisdictions with their graying flocks, declining numbers, ever multiplying purple shirts, power struggles, debates over what Anglicanism really is supposed to be, all but invisible witness, and zero impact on society and the culture, or they can come home.  

There is a place for Catholic-minded traditional Anglicans, and that is in the Orthodox Church. Anglicans now make up the largest single group of converts to the Orthodox Church, and there are hundreds of Orthodox clergy who are former Anglicans in America alone. They are everywhere. I am one of them. When I am asked, “Where have all the traditional Anglicans gone?” My answer is always the same: To the Orthodox Church!

At the time of the Great Schism in AD 1054, the Church in the British Isles remained Orthodox. That is a fact of history. This stand for the Orthodox Faith led to the papal sanctioned Norman Invasion in 1066. The Norman Invasion was promoted as a crusade to bring an “erring” [meaning Orthodox] English Church under Roman authority. With the Norman Conquest, all but one of the English bishops were imprisoned and replaced by Norman usurpers, and the Church was forced into an uneasy and often stormy relationship with Rome that lasted nearly five centuries. 

The English Reformation which began in 1534, was very different from the Protestant Reformation on the Continent. In England the bishops themselves led the reform, with the goal of restoring the Faith and Order of the “Undivided” Church. That goal was advanced by the Caroline Divines of the 17th century, the Non-Jurors of the 18 century, the Oxford movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Continuing Anglican Movement of the latter 20th and early 21st centuries. The good news is that the goal of the English Reformation has been fulfilled. You can come home again.

My former ACNA parish and I have celebrated our fifth Easter as a Western Rite Orthodox parish and we could not be happier. We have preserved the fullness of our Celtic and English cultural, liturgical and spiritual heritage and patrimony in full sacramental communion and visible unity with the 300 million-member Orthodox Church. Today there are Western Rite parishes and monastic communities in the Patriarchates of Moscow (the world’s larges with 164,000,000 members), Antioch (where the disciples were first called Christians), and in Europe in the Patriarchates of Romania and Serbia, with the Western Rite Communities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) being the largest, most wide-spread and fastest growing. Eastern Rite or Western Rite, the Orthodox Church speaks with one voice in Faith and Morals. We are unchanged and unchanging. 

The doors are wide open and the welcome mat is out for traditional Anglican clergy, laity, congregations and monastic communities. The Western Rite has been restored, the Western Church is being rebuilt, and you can have a part in it. Instead of being the last of yesterday you can be the first of tomorrow. We love being Orthodox. You will too! 

For more information visit the website of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities: https://www.rocor-wr.org, our parish Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Holy-Cross-Parish-362370402748/?ref=bookmarks, call me at (402) 573-6558, or email me at venovak@hughes.net.


A Statement from the College of Bishops on the Ordination of Women
September 7, 2017

PREAMBLE

In an act of mutual submission at the foundation of the Anglican Church in North America, it was agreed that each Diocese and Jurisdiction has the freedom, responsibility, and authority to study Holy Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition of the Church, and to seek the mind of Christ in determining its own convictions and practices concerning the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood. It was also unanimously agreed that women will not be consecrated as bishops in the Anglican Church in North America. These positions are established within our Constitution and Canons and, because we are a conciliar Church, would require the action of both Provincial Council and Provincial Assembly to be changed.

STATEMENT

Having gratefully received and thoroughly considered the five-year study by the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders, we acknowledge that there are differing principles of ecclesiology and hermeneutics that are acceptable within Anglicanism that may lead to divergent conclusions regarding women’s ordination to the priesthood. However, we also acknowledge that this practice is a recent innovation to Apostolic Tradition and Catholic Order. We agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women’s ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province. However, we continue to acknowledge that individual dioceses have constitutional authority to ordain women to the priesthood.

COMMITMENTS

As a College of Bishops, we confess that our Province has failed to affirm adequately the ministry of all Christians as the basic agents of the work of the Gospel. We have not effectively discipled and equipped all Christians, male and especially female, lay and ordained, to fulfill their callings and ministries in the work of God’s kingdom. We repent of this and commit to work earnestly toward a far greater release of the whole Church to her God-given mission.

Having met in Conclave to pray, worship, study, talk, and listen well to one another, we commit to move forward in unity to carry on the good witness and work that God has given us to do in North America (Ephesians 4:1-6; John 17). We invite and urge all members of the Province to engage with us in this endeavor to grow in understanding the mission and ministry of all God’s people.

Adopted Unanimously by the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America
The Church of Our Lord, Victoria, BC, Canada

Friday, August 25, 2017

SUNDAY, AUGUST 27 — RECEPTIONS INTO THE CHURCH, POTLUCK LUNCHEON, AND MORE!


RECEPTIONS 

Sunday, August 27th will be a big day in the life of our parish. Two unrelated young adults will be received in the Orthodox Church and will become communicant members of Holy Cross parish. Shelby will be baptized into Christ and Jennifer will be received into the Church by chrismation, and both Shelby and Jennifer will receive their first Holy Communion. It will be a blessed day! 

At Holy Cross parish our mission is “To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him and the fullness of the Apostolic Faith to those who do.” On Sunday we will have a object demonstration that we are fulfilling both aspects of this mission. Shelby has never been baptized and is coming to Christ for the first time, and Jennifer is being received into the fullness of the Apostolic Faith from the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. May God grant them every grace and blessing!

POTLUCK LUNCHEON

This Sunday is also our monthly Potluck Luncheon. As always, members of our church family are asked to bring a Main Dish, or a Side Dish and a Desert. Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing. There is always plenty of good food and warm fellowship so please be sure to invite family and friends. The public is invited, and everyone is welcome!

THREE NEW WESTERN RITE CHURCH-PLANTS

Two new Western Rite mission-churches will hold their first Services this Sunday, August 27th. They are St. Genevieve of Paris in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Patrick of Ireland in Seattle, Washington. Then, on September 2nd, a third new mission-church, St. Gregory the Great in Seattle will hold its inaugural Service. 

Two church-plants in Seattle, Washington? Yes! They are about ninety minutes apart so it was thought best to have two congregations rather than trying to combine them. One is made made up of former traditional Roman Catholics and the other of former traditional Anglicans. Both of these congregations were organized by laypeople, and the Orthodox Church has sent a Western Rite priest from Maine to pastor them both. He has taken housing in between the two mission-churches.

The St. Louis congregation is led by a cleric who graduated from Roman Catholic seminary and was with a traditionalist priestly society, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, before entering the Orthodox Church. May God grant all three of these new churches every grace and blessing, and great success in their Work!

SUNDAY SERVICES

Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with our monthly potluck luncheon following the Liturgy. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish, and we have a place for you! Everyone is always welcome. Come, and invite your family and friends. They will be blessed!

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
www.holycrossomaha.net
(402) 573-6558