Thursday, August 27, 2015

AN UNFORGETTABLE EPISCOPAL VISIT

"I want to thank you once again for your kind hospitality and for the opportunity to serve and pray with you and your community. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me" - Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral)


Metropolitan Hilarion's visit to Holy Cross parish this past weekend was a joyous and grace filled event. On Sunday, August 23rd, the church was full, with an overflow into the parish hall. After arriving back in New York on Monday afternoon, His Eminence wrote to me saying, "I want to thank you once again for your kind hospitality and for the opportunity to serve and pray with you and your community. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me." It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for us as well.

Metropolitan Hilarion was scheduled to arrive in Omaha at 10:00 PM on Friday, August 21st, but his takeoff in New York was delayed for 53 minutes. He had eaten on the plane so we checked him into his hotel around midnight. 

I picked Metropolitan Hilarion up at his hotel on Saturday morning, took him to the church and showed him around. We had ladies from our parish sisterhood there who were decorating the parish hall for the Reception that evening and the catered Luncheon on Sunday. They were putting white cloth tablecloths on the tables with candles and other decorations. The parish hall looked very elegant.

After a late lunch, I took his Eminence back to his hotel room for some rest before Vespers, but he didn’t rest. Instead, he studied our Western Rite Pontifical. Metropolitan Hilarion has a real gift for liturgy. He wanted to fulfill all of what a Greater Prelate says and does when assisting pontifically at the throne, and he did it at Vespers, Matins and Holy Mass flawlessly. He seemed to really love the Liturgy of St. Tikhon. After the Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist he came to me and said how beautiful he thought it was. 

By the time I picked His Eminence up for Vespers late on Saturday afternoon the sky was filled with dark clouds and it was beginning to rain. I had been receiving worried phone calls from parishioners who told me that Omaha was under a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch. I shared with Metropolitan Hilarion my concern that the weather might affect attendance, but he simply reminded me that where two or three gather together Jesus is in their midst. Despite the weather we had thirty-two for Vespers. Fr. Stephen Walinski joined us for Vespers and remained for the Reception, and was seated at the Metropolitan’s table. Some of the faithful left immediately after Vespers because of the weather, but most remained for the Reception. Saturday was a commemoration of St. Herman of Alaska (the translation of his relics), and since we have relics of St. Herman in our church Metropolitan Hilarion preached at Vespers on the life and work of St. Herman.

Early Sunday morning Fathers Lev and Maximos from St. John the Wonderworker parish in Des Moines, Iowa, and two ordinands joined us. By 9:30 AM the church was nearly full, and soon after it was completely full with an overflow into the parish hall. Metropolitan Hilarion was greeted at the door with bread and salt. He then kissed a crucifix, aspersed himself with holy water and then aspersed the clergy and the faithful according to the ancient Rite of Receiving a Bishop at the Door. We then processed to the sanctuary for Solemn Matins. At both Vespers on Saturday evening and Matins on Sunday morning the Ordinary and the Psalms and Canticles were all chanted according to Gregorian chant tones. During Matins one man from Holy Cross and one from St. John the Wonderworker were clothed in the cassock, tonsured and ordained Reader.

After Matins we vested for the Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. The long procession of our Schola Cantorum, two visiting priests, three ordinands, the ministers serving at the altar, the Celebrant, and the Metropolitan wound through the church while the Processional Hymn, St. Patrick’s Breastplate (I Bind Unto Myself Today) was sung. It was a missa coram episcopo, and Metropolitan Hilarion served beautifully. You would have thought he was a Western Rite bishop!

As usual, all of the minor propers of the Mass: the Introit, Gradual and Alleluia, Offertory verse and Communion verse were chanted to Gregorian chant tones. The music for the Ordinary was Merbecke. After the Collect of the day one Reader from Holy Cross and two from St. John of San Francisco were ordained to the Subdiaconate.

The Homilist at the Mass was Metropolitan Hilarion who spoke on the Gospel reading for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity - The Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee.

At Communion-time Metropolitan Hilarion administered the Body of Christ to the faithful  while I assisted with the chalice. In the Western Rite Holy Communion is received kneeling at the altar rail, with the Body of Christ received on the tongue, and the Blood of Christ from the chalice. Non-communicants may kneel at the altar rail with their arms crossed (X) as a sign that they would like a blessing. 

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion gave the Pontifical Blessing, and the long procession returned to the sacristy to the singing of the Recessional Hymn, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones. Following the prayers after Communion chanted by our Cantor, everyone went to the parish hall for a catered Luncheon in honor of Metropolitan Hilarion and the newly ordained Readers and Subdeacons.

The parish hall was filled with people. I met visitors from Omaha and Blair, Nebraska, Sioux City, Iowa, and as far away as Kansas City, Missouri. Matt Willkom, the News Director of KVSS Radio (the regional Roman Catholic radio station), and a good friend of our parish was there with his family as well. Everyone had a wonderful time.

Both Metropolitan Hilarion and I made after dinner addresses. I was the preliminary speaker and he was the featured speaker. I spoke about the amazing growth of the Orthodox Church in the United States today where 23% of all Orthodox Christians are converts, as are 30% of the clergy and 41% of the seminarians. This is the fruit of a move of the Holy Spirit.

Holy Cross Orthodox Church is a former Anglican parish. In recent years Anglicans made up the second largest group of converts to the Orthodox Church, but today they are the largest group. The restoration of the Western Rite is another sign of this movement of the Holy Spirit. Today there are Western Rite congregations and monasteries in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and on the Continent of Europe. Western Rite Orthodoxy is thriving and growing, and the Orthodox Church as a whole is experiencing explosive growth all around the world.

Metropolitan Hilarion spoke about his commitment to the Western Rite and its growth. He said that as a youth in Canada he used to listen to the Anglican liturgy on the radio and always found it very dignified. He also said that among the first Orthodox periodicals that he began reading as a youth was Msgr. Alexander Turner’s magazine Orthodoxy. Alexander Turner’s Society of St. Basil had been made up of Orthodox-minded Old Catholic congregations who wanted to be received into the Orthodox Church while continuing to use the Western Rite. The Society was eventually received into the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese and formed the nucleus of their Western Rite Vicariate, with Archpriest Alexander Turner as the first Vicar General. Metropolitan Hilarion had once told me that he has been a supporter of the concept of Western Rite Orthodoxy since he was a youth in Canada. 

After his address, Metropolitan Hilarion presented Holy Cross parish with a hand-written (hand painted) icon of St. John the Baptist for use in our church. Holy Cross Orthodox Church then presented the Metropolitan with a gift.

It was a wonderful and grace-filled weekend and I was sorry to see it end. The Metropolitan’s visit was undoubtedly the most important event in the life of our parish thus far, and I am sure it will have lasting good effects. Metropolitan Hilarion wrote, “It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience for me." We feel the same way. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

METROPOLITAN HILARION OF ROCOR TO VISIT HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 22 AND SUNDAY, AUGUST 23

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH

is pleased to announce that 

HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN HILARION,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
and Ruling Bishop of the Western Rite Communities,

will Visit

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127

on

SATURDAY, AUGUST 22, AND SUNDAY AUGUST 23, 2015

SATURDAY, AUGUST 22

6:00 PM,  Solemn Vespers in the Presence of a Greater Prelate, followed by a reception for His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23

9:30 AM, Rite of Receiving a Bishop at the Door, followed by Solemn Matins in the Presence of a Greater Prelate and the Tonsure of Readers. 

10:00 AM, Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion assisting pontifically (Missa coram episcopo), and the ordination of Subdeacons, with Metropolitan Hilarion preaching.

A catered Luncheon will follow the Liturgy in honor of Metropolitan Hilarion and the newly ordained, and will include an address by His Eminence. 

There will be visiting clergy and laity, and five ordinations from area churches. The public is invited to attend all of the events. 

For more information call the church at: (402) 573-6558 or e-mail Father Victor at: venovak@hughes.net

Holy Cross Orthodox Church Welcomes You!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

METROPOLITAN HILARION TO VISIT HOLY CROSS PARISH ON AUGUST 22, AND AUGUST 23

Dear friends in Christ,

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and Ruling Bishop of the Western Rite Communities will be visiting Holy Cross parish on Saturday evening, August 22nd, and Sunday morning, August 23rd. Metropolitan Hilarion ranks just below Patriarch Kirill, and has world-wide responsibilities. 

It is almost unheard of for such a high ranking bishop to visit a parish our size, and he is doing us a great honour. By coming all the way to Nebraska to be with us he is demonstrating his commitment to the Western Rite and to its growth.

Metropolitan Hilarion was born and raised in rural Canada to Ukrainian-immigrant parents. He told me that he has been a supporter of the concept of Western Rite Orthodoxy since he was a youth in Canada. 

You will want to mark your calendar, invite your family and friends, and plan to be at Holy Cross on Saturday evening, August 22nd, and Sunday morning, August 23rd. There will be a reception for the Metropolitan on Saturday evening after Vespers, and a catered luncheon after Services on Sunday.

There will be visiting clergy and laity, and five ordinations from two area Orthodox parishes. This will be the biggest event in the life of Holy Cross parish thus far.


SCHEDULE OF EVENTS


SATURDAY, AUGUST 22


6:00 PM Solemn Vespers in the Presence of a Greater Prelate, followed by a reception for His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion in the parish hall.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23


9:30 AM Rite of Receiving a Bishop at the Door, followed by Matins in the Presence of a Greater Prelate and the tonsure of Readers.

10:00 AM Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion assisting pontifically (Missa coram episcopo), and the ordination of Subdeacons, with Metropolitan Hilarion preaching.

A catered luncheon will follow the Liturgy in honour of Metropolitan Hilarion and the newly ordained Readers and Subdeacons, and will include an address by His Eminence. 

The public is invited to attend all of the events and everyone is always welcome! 

For more information e-mail Fr. Victor at venovak@hughes.net or call the church at (402) 573-6558.

I hope that you will join us for these important Services. You will be blessed. The Orthodox Church welcomes you!

May God grant you every grace and blessing, 

Fr. Victor+

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


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

THE HOLY EUCHARIST - Christ's Great Gift to His Church

O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8)


WHAT DOES THE WORD “EUCHARIST” MEAN?

The word Eucharist comes from the Greek and means Thanksgiving. The Lord’s Supper is called the Holy Eucharist because when Christ instituted it He gave thanks, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’" (1 Cor. 11:23-25). 

THE PLACE OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST IN CHRISTIAN WORSHIP

The Holy Eucharist is the principal act of Christian worship as it is the one Service instituted by Christ Himself. Other religions have prayer, readings, hymns and sermons, but only Christians celebrate the Eucharist. 

Following the example of the Apostles and early Christians, the Church has assembled on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) week by week for nearly 2,000 years to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread [the Eucharist], and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). 

THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

In the Sacrament of Holy Communion the Body and Blood of Christ are received. At the Last Supper the Lord Jesus Christ said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood.” He did not say, “This represents my body” or “This is a symbol of my blood.”

Jesus said, “‘I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.’ The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven--not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever’" (John 6:48-58).

Just like today, many of the disciples who heard these words would not accept them. “Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’" (John 6:60). Yet Jesus did not take His words back, or explain that they were only meant to be taken “symbolically.” And just like today, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). 

The Apostles and early Christians understood that Christ meant his words to be taken literally. The Sacrament of Holy Communion does not merely represent the Body and Blood of Christ, but actually presents the Body and Blood of Christ. The true Body and Blood of Christ is received in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. 

The Apostle Paul wrote, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16). 

Because Christ is really present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, St. Paul goes on to warn, “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body” (I Cor. 11:27-29).

The early Church believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and so did all Christians everywhere for some 1,500 years until the Protestant Reformation in Western Europe in the 16th century. 

St. Ignatius, an early Church Father, lived from AD 30 to 107. He was Bishop of Antioch, and was martyred for his faith. He was a disciple of the Apostle John. While awaiting martyrdom he wrote a number of epistles (letters) to various churches. To the Church in Ephesus he wrote, “obey the bishop and presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but that we should live forever in Jesus Christ” (Epistle to the Ephesians, c. AD 105).

In his Epistle to the Romans, (c. AD 105), St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote, “I desire the bread of God, the heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became afterwards the seed of David and Abraham; and I desire the drink of God, namely His blood, which is incorruptible love and eternal life.”

St. Justin Martyr (AD 100-165) wrote, “And this food is called among us the Eucharist... For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh” (First Apology).

St. Cyril was an early Bishop of Jerusalem, the Mother Church of Christendom. Around the year AD 350 he delivered introductory lectures to his classes of catechumens. Regarding the Eucharist he said, “The bread and wine of the Eucharist, before the invocation of the holy and adorable Trinity, were simple bread and wine; but, after the invocation, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine becomes the blood of Christ” (Mystagogical Lecture 1.7).

St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) said, “I am mindful of my promise. For I promised you, who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the Sacrament of the Lord’s Table, which you now look upon and of which you last night were made participants. You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word God, is the Blood of Christ. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend his Body and Blood, which He poured out for us unto the forgiveness of sins” (Sermons).

WHO CAN CELEBRATE THE HOLY EUCHARIST?

In his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans (c. AD 105), St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote, “See that ye follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery [the priests] as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [celebrated] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he entrusted it [a priest].”

The Orthodox Church is the historic Church which Christ Himself established. We have a verifiable and unbroken history going back nearly 2,000 years, and our bishops, priests and deacons are in  historic succession to the Apostles. Our Faith does not change. We still believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion and our bishops and priests still celebrate the Holy Eucharist every Lord’s Day.  We are an unchanging Church with an unchanging Message for an ever changing world. Insist on the original and do not settle for substitutes.

At Holy Cross Orthodox Church we celebrate the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist every Sunday at 10:00 AM. Come and see. The Orthodox Church welcomes you!


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

Monday, June 29, 2015

PARISH WEBSITE UPDATE

Dear friends in Christ,

Our parish website has been updated! Please look it over, and then send it on to family and friends. The website address is: www.holycrossomaha.net . A big thank you to our Web-mistress for her good work.

The website is a great outreach and educational tool. Do be sure to visit the Photo Gallery and click Worship at Holy Cross Orthodox Church. Many new photographs have been added to the slideshow. The slideshow will give viewers a feel for what Western Rite worship is like at Holy Cross Orthodox Church. We are a Eucharistic community and the Holy Eucharist is the center and summit of our spiritual life!

The News page has been updated, as has the Calendar page. More helpful information has been added on the About Us page, and a new Welcome letter from me is now on the Home page. On the Sidebar you will find a new article titled, The Good News of Jesus Christ. It is listed second from the top of the Sidebar, just below A Kalendar of the Christian Year, 2015.

Our mission at Holy Cross Orthodox Church 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. For those who do not know Christ, or know about Him but do not know Him, I recommend sharing two articles on the Sidebar: The Good News of Jesus Christ; and Do You Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ? The goal of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit and union with God through Jesus Christ our Lord - and that is a very personal relationship indeed! For those who are already following Christ in non-Orthodox churches, I recommend sharing two other articles on the Sidebar: Introducing the New Testament Church; and Letter to an Inquirer.

We are a faithful and friendly church, and we have a place for you!

blessings,

Fr. Victor+

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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

SECOND ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Holy Cross Orthodox Church, 7545 Main Street in Ralston, Nebraska will celebrate its second anniversary as an Orthodox parish on Sunday, June 28th. Holy Cross was received into the Orthodox Church from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in June of 2013, and is a Western Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

There are now more than fifty Western Rite Orthodox congregations and monastic communities in the United States, with others in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and on the continent of Europe, and our numbers are growing.  There have been eleven Western Rite ordinations since December 2014, in ROCOR alone. 

Holy Cross Orthodox Church will celebrate the day with the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, followed by a potluck luncheon in the parish hall immediately after Mass. For more information email me at venovak@hughes.net or call (402) 573-6558. The public is invited to attend.

Friday, May 29, 2015

THE WESTERN RITE IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH

The Western Rite Within Orthodoxy

Throughout the first millennium of Christian history the Western Rites existed within the Orthodox Church side by side with the Eastern Rites. Even after the Great Schism of AD 1054, England remained Orthodox until the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Norman Invasion was seen as a crusade to restore the English Church to Rome. After conquering England, the Normans replaced all but one of the English bishops with Normans and forced the Church into submission to Rome.

Western Rite Christians also continued in full communion with the Orthodox Church in Constantinople and other Eastern cities until they were finally absorbed into the Eastern Rite sometime in the thirteenth century. A Benedictine monastery, Amalfion, existed on Mount Athos until 1287, surviving the Great Schism of 1054, the Roman Catholic conquest of Mount Athos in 1204, and the Roman Catholic retreat from Mount Athos in 1261, closing only due to the difficulty of getting vocations from the West. 

A vast number of Orthodox Saints, including many Holy Fathers of the Church, were spiritually nurtured by the Western Rites. The Western Church produced such great spiritual luminaries as Saints Ambrose of Milan, Gregory of Tours, Benedict of Nursia, Leo the Great, Gregory the Great (the Dialogist), Patrick of Ireland, Aidan, Columba, Hilda of Whitby, Bede the Venerable, Jerome, and Augustine of Hippo.

With the closing of Amalfion, the Benedictine monastery on Mount Athos in 1287, the use of the Western Rite, which had been celebrated on the Holy Mountain for more than 300 years, and in the Orthodox Church for nearly thirteen centuries, came to a temporary end.

The English Reformation

The English Reformation which began in 1534, was different from the Reformation on the continent of Europe. No new Church was formed. The Reformation in England was conducted by the bishops themselves with the goal of restoring the Faith and Order of the undivided Church. The work of reform and restoration in the English Church was continued by the Caroline Divines of the 17th century, and the Oxford Movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) wrote, “This [Anglican] appeal to antiquity has led many Anglicans to look with sympathy and interest at the Orthodox Church, and equally it has led many Orthodox to look with interest and sympathy to Anglicanism... firm bonds of Anglo-Orthodox solidarity were established by the end of the nineteenth century” (The Orthodox Church, by Kallistos (Timothy) Ware, Penguin, c. 1993, p. 318). 

Western Orthodox Rebirth

With the declaration of Papal Infallibility by the First Vatican Council in 1870, many concerned Roman Catholics began to rethink their Faith and to call themselves Old Catholics, rejecting what they considered to be a new Faith introduced by the Council. Some of these Old Catholics turned their eyes to the East, to the unchanging Orthodox Catholic Church.

In the wake of the First Vatican Council the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church authorized the use of a corrected Roman Rite by Roman Catholics who were returning to the Orthodox Church. 

In the United States, the restoration of the Western Rites began in 1891 when Bishop Vladimir (Sokolovsky), the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Alaska, formally received a parish of Swiss Old Catholics at Dykesville, near Fon du Lac, Wisconsin.

In 1898 a Western Rite Diocese of Moravia and Silesia was organized in Czechoslovakia by the Russian Orthodox Church.

In 1904, Archbishop Tikhon (Belavin) and Bishop Raphael (Hawaweeny), assisted by Fr. John Kochuroff - all three of whom would later be canonized as Saints - petitioned the Holy Synod of Russia to permit the adaption of the Services of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer for use by Orthodox Christians. In 1907, a commission of the Holy Synod of Russia reported in favor of an adaption of the Book of Common Prayer for use by Western converts, and set out the criteria for adaption. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted the report. 

A good beginning was made at restoring the Western Rite, but the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the brutal persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church made the development of this work very difficult and it progressed very slowly. Yet, despite the difficulties, Western Rite congregations and monastic communities were established in both the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

In 1958, the Patriarchate of Antioch adopted the provisions of the Russian Holy Synod and authorized the restoration of the Western Rite. In 1961, the Western Rite Vicariate was erected in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, with Archpriest Alexander Turner as Vicar General.

Beginning in the 1970s, a growing number of Catholic Anglicans began to see that  due to the changes in their Church, corporate reunion between the Anglican and Orthodox Churches was becoming impossible. Many Anglicans began to enter the Orthodox Church and there are now English Use Western Rite congregations in both the Russian and the Antiochian Orthodox Churches. 

Western Rite Orthodoxy Today

Today there are Western Rite congregations and monasteries in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, with smaller works in the Romanian and Serbian Orthodox Churches. The Western Rite of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia is both the largest and fastest growing, with ten Western rite ordinations in the past six months alone.

There are now more than fifty Western Rite Orthodox congregations and monastic communities in the United States, with more in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and on the continent of Europe. Various Western Rites and Usages are in use, including the Roman, the English, and the Gallican

The Western Rite has been restored to the Orthodox Catholic Church, the post-Christian West is beginning to be re-evangelized and the Western Church rebuilt. This is a move of the Holy Spirit.

St. John (Maximovich) of San Francisco said, “Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must be Eastern. The West was fully Orthodox for a thousand years...”

Come and see. The Orthodox Church welcomes you!