Thursday, September 6, 2018



On Monday, September 3, at the Parish church of St Joseph the Betrothed in Sarasota Florida (ROCOR Western Rite), His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion ordained Subdeacon Adam Warrenfels to the Diaconate. Deacon Adam took the ordination name of Basil.  Fr. Deacon Basil is assigned to St Thomas Orthodox Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas and serves on the Western Rite Communities Media Committee. 

Father Deacon David Prestridge of Chattanooga, Tennessee was ordained by Metropolitan Hilarion to the Presbyterate.  Father David will serve as rector of St Bartholomew Orthodox Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The candidates were presented for ordination by Archpriest Mark Rowe, rector of St. Joseph the Betrothed Orthodox Church and Vicar General of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities.


My longtime friend and confrere Fr. Alban Waggener, rector of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, celebrated Holy Mass according to  the Liturgy of St. Tikhon at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (Russian Orthodox Church — Moscow Patriarchate) in Reykjavik, Iceland on Sunday, September 2.  He was invited to celebrate the Western Rite Liturgy by the rector of the parish Fr. Timothy Zolotuskiy. St. Nicholas parish in Reykjavik is the only Orthodox Church in the city.  Fr. Timothy is a long-time Orthodox priest who was ordained in Russia by Patriarch Pimen of blessed memory. 

The Gospel arrived in Iceland in AD 1050, just a few years before the Papal Schism and the falling away of the Roman Patriarchate in 1054. This Mass on September 2, was the first Western Rite Orthodox Mass celebrated in Iceland in nearly a millennium. The congregation of St. Nicholas is made up of Russians, Romanians, Moldavians and Georgians, along with native Icelandic converts. Khouria Nancy, wife of Fr. Alban, served as the cantor for the sung Mass.  The congregation was was very gracious and enthusiastic, and the faithful received Holy Communion in the Western manner.  

In addition to parish rector Fr. Timothy Zolotuskiy, not many spoke very fluent English, and Fr. Alban had a translator for the homily. Everyone in attendance was very kind and appreciative, and it was a wonderful experience for all of the breadth of Orthodoxy.


On Saturday and Sunday August 25 and 26 Metropolitan Hilarion made an Episcopal Visit to Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Omaha, Nebraska. This was the fourth Episcopal Visit from three different bishops to Holy Cross parish in the past five years, and it was Metropolitan Hilarion’s second. Metropolitan Hilarion is the First Hierarch (Primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and the Ordinary of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities. 

All of the Services during the Episcopal Visit were celebrated with a Greater Prelate at the Throne. Metropolitan Hilarion fully participated in the Services from the Throne and preached. He knew the English Liturgy (Liturgy of St. Tikhon) so well that no one would have known that his primary rite is Eastern. Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to Holy Cross parish was a great success and could not have gone better. 

There were fifty-one in attendance at Solemn Vespers, including five visiting Orthodox priests. After Vespers a Reception was held in the parish hall in honour of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit. There was a wide variety of delicious refreshments served and everyone in attendance had a wonderful time. Anyone who wanted to speak with His Eminence had full access and many took  advantage of the opportunity to introduce themselves and to speak with him.

On Sunday morning Metropolitan Hilarion was formally received at the door of the church with the traditional bread and salt, followed immediately by a procession to the sanctuary while the Te Deum laudamus was sung as the Metropolitan sprinkled the congregation with holy water. Upon arrival in the sanctuary Solemn Matins was begun.

During Solemn Matins acolyte Fred Courey, was tonsured a cleric and ordained a Reader with the name of Ignatius, and was assigned to Holy Cross parish. The Order of Reader is the first step in the priesthood and is an important and very responsible ministry. 

Solemn Matins was followed by a Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, commonly called a Solemn High Mass or Divine Liturgy. There were fifty-six in attendance, including one visiting Orthodox priest. Metropolitan Hilarion was at the Throne, and the celebrant was assisted by a deacon, subdeacon, acolytes, cantor and the parish schola cantorum.

After the Liturgy everyone enjoyed a delicious catered Luncheon in the parish hall. As at the Reception the evening before, anyone who wanted to speak with the Metropolitan had full access and many took advantage of the opportunity to speak with him. The entire weekend was a blessing and a joy, and the clergy and faithful of Holy Cross Orthodox Church look forward to Metropolitan Hilarion’s next Episcopal Visit.

A Photo Album of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to Holy Cross parish can be viewed here:


The Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate held its biennial Western Rite Conference from August 7 through August 10 at St Peter Orthodox Church in Fort Worth, Texas. It was an historic moment for the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate for two important reasons: The Vicariate was celebrating its 60th Anniversary; and it was the first Antiochian Western Rite Conference that a Metropolitan had presided over. Both in his presence and in his words, Metropolitan Joseph matched the unhesitating, strong support for the Vicariate of his predecessors, Metropolitan Antony and Metropolitan Philip.

The Conference included two ordinations — one to the Diaconate and one to the Presbyterate. Both the Orthodox Roman and English Liturgies were celebrated. Two ROCOR priests were in attendance at the Conference — Fr. Joseph Mai of California and Fr. Aidan Keller of Texas. 

An in-depth article about the Antiochian Western Rite Conference titled, Metropolitan JOSEPH Presides at Western Rite Conference, by the Very Reverend John W. Fenton can be read on the official website of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. The article includes a link to a Photo Album of the Conference. The article and the Photo Album  can be found here:


The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) will inaugurate its Western Rite outreach on Saturday, September 8 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I first learned about this new Western Rite Work when I was contacted in January by Archpriest Michael Schaplowsky of the OCA who is heading up their new Western Rite outreach.

The initial church-plant is called Christ the King Orthodox Church. Christ the King will be meeting at St. Herman's Orthodox Church, 9930-167 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T5P 4W7, Canada. Readers in the Alberta area can reach Fr. Michael Schaplowsky by phone at: 780-669-2783.

This new OCA Western Rite church-plant will be using the English Liturgy, commonly called the Liturgy of St. Tikhon. The inaugural Service is scheduled for Saturday, September 8. Evensong will be prayed at 4:30 PM. The public is invited to attend and everyone is welcome!

Christ the King Orthodox Church (OCA-Western Rite) has a very informative website. On the top right of the home page there is a link titled “MORE.” Click MORE and other links will drop down. The OCA Western Rite website can be found here:


There are now Western Rite congregations and monastic communities in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and (in Europe) in the Romanian and Serbian Orthodox Churches, with the ROCOR Western Rite Communities being the largest, most widespread and fastest growing. Western Orthodox congregations and monastic communities can now be found in the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, France and Switzerland. 


Holy Cross Orthodox Church in the Ralston suburb of Omaha, Nebraska will hold its annual Summer Church Picnic on Sunday, September 9 at Halleck Park in Papillion, Nebraska. Halleck Park is just minutes from the church.

Halleck Park is in a beautiful setting with a pond, beautiful grounds and playground equipment for the kids. A covered pavilion has been reserved, and the men of the parish will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs. 

There will be no Matins at Holy Cross parish on  Sunday, September 9, and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will begin a half hour early at 9:30 AM. The Summer Church Picnic will begin immediately after the Liturgy. Not sure where Halleck Park is? Directions will be available on Sunday morning. There is no charge for the Summer Church Picnic, and visitors are always welcome. Ya’ll come!