Western Rite Orthodoxy continues to grow and the Western Church continues to be rebuilt. So far in May there have been three Western Rite ordinations, with another ordination to the priesthood scheduled for later in the month. In addition, two new mission congregations have been established — one in Georgia and the other in West Virginia. All of the ordinations were conducted by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion.
Joseph (Burt) Weigen was ordained to the order of Subdeacon. Subdeacon Joseph has been assigned to serve at Christminster, an Orthodox Benedictine monastery in Niagra Falls, New York.
Matthias (Miles) Brookes was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood and assigned to minister in the Maine Missions. Fr. Matthias was an Anglican clergyman for over 30 years.
Nicholas Poulin was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood and assigned to minister in the Maine Missions.
Metropolitan Hilarion also issued decrees establishing two new mission congregations: The Western Rite Mission of St Mary the Virgin in Madison, Georgia, with Fr Irenaeus Watson as Priest in Charge; and the Western Rite Mission of St Patrick in Parkersburg West Virginia, with Fr Mark Rowe as Priest in Charge and Gregory Myers as the local contact. Fr. Mark Rowe is a former Anglican priest and is Dean of the ROCOR Western Rite parishes in North America and the United Kingdom.
With six ordinations in December and four more in May, there will have been ten Western Rite ordinations in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) in the last six months.
Next month will be two years since Holy Cross became a Western Rite Orthodox parish. We were received into ROCOR from the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in June of 2013. Anglicans and other Western Christians can now enter the Orthodox Church while preserving their Western cultural, liturgical and spiritual heritage and patrimony.
The Orthodox Church is growing rapidly all around the world with some 300 million members. The Russian Orthodox Church alone, with 165 million members, is more than twice the size of the entire Anglican Communion! In the United States there are around 2,000 local congregations and some 80 monastic communities, with hundreds more in Canada. There are many parochial schools, two colleges and more than half a dozen seminaries, plus distance learning programs. There are mission agencies, college ministries, prison ministries, publishing houses, military chaplaincies, and much, much more. In the United States 23% (nearly one in four!) of Orthodox Christians are converts. In our own Synod, three bishops are converts: two from Anglicanism and one from Roman Catholicism. There are dozens of Western Rite Orthodox congregations and monastic communities in North America, with more in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and on the Continent of Europe, and our numbers keep growing.
The Western Church is being rebuilt and we have a part in it. This is the true Reformation and Restoration that so many Western Christians have prayed and longed for. It is a move of the Holy Spirit. Wouldn't it be a blessing to be part of a move of the Holy Spirit? To be a part of making Church history? You can be. The door is open, the welcome mat is out, and there is room for all who would faithfully follow Christ. Everyone is welcome. No one is excluded. Come and see!