Anglican Church Received into Western Rite Vicariate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

From the Anglican Church in North America. Reception into Orthodoxy:

Holy Cross Anglican Church has been received into full sacramental communion and visible unity with the 300 million-member Orthodox Church and is now known as Holy Cross Orthodox Church. Holy Cross is an Anglican Rite parish of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia…

There is much more on Fr Novak’s blog here.

The Parish website is here.


HT:  Michael Frost.



45 thoughts on “Anglican Church Received into Western Rite Vicariate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

  1. Whilst I wish the Holy Cross Parish well in its new jurisdiction I continue to be dumbfounded by the historical nonsense that so many perpetrate to show their ignorance of the Anglican Church’s history.

    I now just smile to myself whenever people claim that Anglicanism is the Celtic Church rediscovered when, off course, Anglo-Saxons were directly missionised by Rome due to Gregory the Great’s direct mandate, hence the Church’s base in Canterbury where St Augustine, the former Prior from Rome, was sent on what is commonly known as the “Gregorian Mission”, converted the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelberht of Kent. Notice – not a Celtic kingdom, a pagan, Anglo-Saxon one. There is no evidence that the Celtic Church ever made any serious attempts to convert the Anglo-Saxons before this time.

    So it makes Fr Novak’s remarks on his website particularly bizarre, not least his claim about the reasons for the invasion of William the Conquerer:

    “At the time of the Great Schism in AD 1054, the Church in the British Isles sided with the four Eastern Patriarchates. This led to the Norman invasion and conquest in 1066, and the subjugation of the Anglican Church to the See of Rome.”

    So – I am glad that Holy Cross is in Union with the Orthodox Church but, as somebody who majored in Ecclesiatical History, continually surprised by the unsupportable nonsense that passes as Church history, unsupported by any serious Anglican historians.

    1. Fr. Novak is a very good man, but certain areas of history are not his specialty. Yes, the Norman Invasion shattering Orthodoxy in England is a myth that’s been repeated by many laity and clergy in anglicanism for decades. I wish him well ! ROCOR WR vicariate is having impressive growth and evangelism, much as the Ordinariate of St. Peter and Walsingham has had in the RC.

  2. CL, The rise of the Normans is fascinating. One of those cases in history where a seemingly minor group suddenly comes to prominence in a rather short period of time. I like the way Diarmaid MacCulloch talks about them in his work, Christianity: The First 3000 Years (2009):

    “The victorious armies were led by warriors whose ancestors had come from the north, a restless Scandanavian people whose northern origins were commemorated by their name, Normans. They carved out niches for themselves in widely separated parts of Europe…The papacy at first regarded their arrival as a threat… in 1053 took [Pope] Leo [IX] prisoner after his disastrous rout in battle in south Italy. This unsurprisingly led to a spectacular reversal of policy by the Pope…In 1059 the Pope recognized the Normans’ new acquisition of wide territories in southern Italy…and in 1066 there was to be a similar papal blessing for Duke William of Normandy’s speculative invastion of England. Like the Franks before them, the Normans seemed to be a good investment for the papacy….” (pgs. 382-383)

  3. Yes, I agree, but that doesn’t mean that the Church in England had broken away in 1054.

    The Normans eventually arrived in Ireland (starting in 1169) and the presense of the names, Roche, most of the Fitz’s (Fitzpatricks and FitzDermots were originally Irish clans), Barrys, Birminghams, Burkes, Devereux, Russells, et al. I have an Irish-Norman surname but it is probably because we were serfs who took the family name, as was quite common – still, it is nice to think there is a connection.

  4. Also, sadly, Diarmaid MacCullogh’s hostility toward the Roman Catholic Church is such that he manages to dismiss the martyr community of Rome as a bunch of middle and upper class types. So, we need to watch our sources sometimes.

    1. CL, While I’m not sure I’d say “hostile”, he is ambivalent at best toward religion in general and Christianity in particular. From his introduction to his work, The Reformation, A History (2003):

      “I retain a warm sympathy for Anglcanism at its best: its distinctive, low-temperature culture and art, its ability and readiness to question itself, and an attitude toward the exploration of truth that is both reverently cynical and patiently serious. I do not now personally subscribe to any form of religious dogma (although I do remember with some affection what it was like to do so).” (p. xxiii)

  5. The dissemination of such ignorant nonsense about the “Celtic Christianity” heritage of Anglicanism, and especially the wildly ignorant claim that the papacy backed William’s invasion of England in 1066 because the English Church had sided with C’ple in 1054, should embarrass intelligent and knowledgeable Orthodox Christians. What it is really is a particularly egregious form of high-church anti-papal “Anglican mythology,” an aetiology, or foundation legend, to justify within Anglicanism their particular theological stance and ritual practices. Now that they have become Orthodox they should embrace the watchword of Cum essem parvulus, loquebar ut parvulus, sapiebam ut parvulus, cogitibam ut parvulus. Quando autem factus sum vir, evacuavi quae erant parvuli. (I Corinthians 13:11)

    1. Dr. Tighe, I don’t think Fr. Novak claims to be an historian and what he writes is not an historical theological treatise. I pulled out my Gregory Dix (The Shape of Liturgy) to remind myself that even he takes the time to discuss (though mainly to refute) discussions about the influence of Celtic Christianity. So even in his time (1940s and earlier) there were those who discussed and advocated some such ideas. I would suspect that most of these discussions came from Anglicans and not Orthodox? We probably heard them. Guess it reminds me a bit of Arthurian and other Legends from the Isles that cover England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales! They die hard? And live on elsewhere (e.g., Monty Python)… I did receive the other packages. The Archbishop handed them to me as I greeted him immediately after liturgy. Thanks. You’re far too kind. I promise I’ll read the material. And comment by e-mail. 😉

      1. Nonetheless, his 1054 connection to William the Conquerer remark was utterly without foundation and, if he had a proper Anglican eduction, he wouldn’t have made it. Where did he have his theological training?

    2. Dr Tighe, you are completely correct about all of this; most of this is not really even tiresome Anglican mythology, but is very stridently accepted by many former Anglican converts to Byzantium as historical fact; it is all a type of ecclesiastical fantasy. It all ties in with the Byzantine attack against some horrible, make-believe “Franks” who have circumvented Byzantine Orthodoxy in the west with their soul destroying Filioque!

    3. On another issue, if one bothers to read this fellow’s essay on the “Anglican Rite” it is even more a-historical, especially in regards to the Roman rite.

      1. Dale, “This fellow’s”…. He is ordained. I’d like to think we respect the clerical status of each cleric in accordance with their tradition. Priest, pastor, minister, etc.

    4. Perhaps Michael, but I am old enough to remember when this group always referred to both Anglican and Roman priests as Mister, if even that polite! I can remember once listening to a sermon in one of their churches where reference to a Catholic priest the Russian word Zsvichennik was never used but the Catholic priest was referred to as a “shonzh” (please excuse my badly done transliteration) which is really quite rude. I have heard that they have since, slightly, changed their spots…we shall see.

  6. As CatholicLeft said, I wish the Holy Cross Parish well in its new jurisdiction but I’m a bit puzzled by some of the statements on Fr. Novak’s blog. For example:

    “Anglicanism has long seen itself as a bridge Church whose special vocation has been to be a healing balm in a divided Christendom. May this year, 2013, be the year that our ecumenical vocation is made concrete in full sacramental communion and visible unity with the Orthodox Church. Then, we can fully fulfill our vocation by being an ongoing bridge between Western Christians and the Orthodox Church, rather than a bridge leading to nowhere.”

    Surely, converting to Orthodoxy is switching sides, not bridging sides.

    1. P.S. Or I guess alternatively you might call it “joining a side”, if you see only Rome and Orthodoxy (and not Anglicanism) as the “sides”.

      1. Peter, If Anglicanism is “a side” today, then is it one with “many sides” simultaneously? Almost like a dice? Would sides include Low, Broad, and High? Anglo-Catholic? Reformed? Evangelical? Liberal? Modernist? Conservative? Traditional? Prayer Book & Hymnal? And those “sides” might include various other relationships established? For example, would be interesting to see who all is in communion with each national Anglican Church. In USA, thinking ECUSA is in communion with ELCA, Reformed, and some others.

      2. But Michael, the Orthodox also have many “sides” as well! True, Genuine, Old, Old Calendarist, Old Rite etc. As does Rome.

      3. Dale, When I’m discussing “sides” I’m thinking in terms of dogma and convergence or divergence in important theological areas. Anyone who is a professed RC is expected to accept the RCC CCC, the decisions of their councils, papal pronouncements, etc. So we know that advocating for WO or rejecting the filioque places one outside the legitimate realm of acknowledged RC dogmatic theology. Even with us somewhat disparate EOs, say…just because the Finnish Orthodox Church uses the Western calendar for Pascha hardly qualifies as a major theological divergence.

        But the divisions with Anglicanism around the world are profound, pronounced, and cover major areas of ththeology. So here in USA we have the liberal, modernist ECUSA all the way to the most traditional High Church Anglo-Catholics. And within CAism there are groups that practice WO. Then the question becomes, what is “orthodox Anglicanism” and who gets to decide? That would include issues like ecclesiology, the real presence, predestination, the number & nature of sacraments, etc. Have you ever read the interesting CofE document on dogma from the 1920s? They couldn’t agree on some important issues way back then. It has only gotten worse over time.

      4. Michael, then, if what you say is true, the Orthodox are divided over non-issues, which is very, very sad indeed. Not only are they divided over non-issues, mostly ethnic and issues of power, but their petty divisions are deep, rancorous and filled with hatred.

      5. > Michael, then, if what you say is true, the Orthodox are divided over non-issues, which is very, very sad indeed. Not only are they divided over non-issues, mostly ethnic and issues of power, but their petty divisions are deep, rancorous and filled with hatred.

        I’ve heard quite a lot of this kind of anti-Orthodox rhetoric over the years. (I grew up RC btw … and technically I still am, even though I tend to identify more with the PNCC.) So forgive me if I’m more bored than impressed by your statements.

    2. Well, I don’t really have a problem with any of that (I’m okay with you saying either “switching sides” _or_ “joining/taking a side”). I only take issue with those who see conversion to Orthodox as “bridging”.

      1. Peter, I am so sorry that I bore you…but perhaps you shall survive anyway. Of course, if you feel that re-baptising members of the supposed same Church because one has adopted the new calendar is boring, so be it.

  7. And of course they can keep their contraception and no fault divorce/ re-marriage up to two times. The eastern orthodox churches have no real magisterium, and their primate of honour in muslim Istanbul can only pronounce on ” green ” issues. Cranmer a la Ruse.. How funny.

    1. RIW, I guess no system is perfect? As I tell my RC girlfriend, who is confused about the Orthodox position in this area, at least we have a limit. But with the right time, money, and connections, a RC can have near limitless marriages, divorces, annulments, and remarriages, Would be interesting to see what the “record” is in this area. Or how many RCs in USA have had 3 or more marriages annulled? As for birth control, it is interesting that intent doesn’t matter. So RCs practicing NFP can have all the childless sex they want as long as they don’t do a particular something, with the full intent of engaging in sexual activity with the clear desire and strongest intent not to procreate. 🙂

      1. I think that historically the Orthodox Church put upon those who were divorced a very serious penitence. I am uncertain that the 2nd and 3rd marriages as they are termed by many, are really valid in the same sense as the 1st marriage is.

        It is a peculiar practice which was practically speaking extraordinarily rare for most of the last 2000 years. Only certain priviledged nobles, aristocrats or merchants might have a reason to end their marriage.

        In both the East and West of the former Christinianized Roman Empire territory there were different loopholes to allow some form of new “marriage” type of relationship to begin. It was only a matter of how the law was applied and understood differing between the regional churches.

        It is unfortunate that an ecumenical council in the early times of first millenium never settled the question of marriage dissolution or annulment for the universal church to establish the identical policy everywhere.

      2. I recall that in the past centuries there were several years spent abstaining from the eucharist if you were divorced, quite a serious penitence.

        It seems this is what is leftover today:

        “Upon the issuance of the court’s final decision, both spouses are free to enter a new marriage. As for the guilty party in a divorce suit, if one is determined by the court, he or she is usually compelled to wait 2 years before remarriage by the Church.”

        I ought to familiarize myself with this better , it is interesting, though uncomfortable.

    2. Oh Robert, if it were only contraception and divorce! Their “green” Patriarch, often called Green Bart for short, also supports a “woman’s right to choose” and that the Church has no business interfering in her “right” to an abortion.

      1. Dale, Hmmm… Has me thinking of something I read recently. Something like “most of this is not really even tiresome mythology, but is very stridently accepted as historical fact; it is all a type of anti-ecclesiastical fantasy.” But you do keep things both interesting and entertaining! 🙂

      2. Here is what he had to say:

        “Asked the Orthodox church’s position on abortion, Bartholomais described a stand more liberal than that of the Roman Catholic Church, which condemns abortion in all cases and whose clergy have, in some cities, excommunicated leading pro-choice Catholics.

        Although the Orthodox church believes the soul enters the body at conception and, ‘generally speaking, respects human life and the continuation of pregnancy,’ Bartholomais said, the church also ‘respects the liberty and freedom of all human persons and all Christian couples.’

        ‘We are not allowed to enter the bedrooms of the Christian couples,” he said. ”We cannot generalize. There are many reasons for a couple to go toward abortion.’”

        He said these things before he was Patriarch, but has expressed similar thoughts since his election, and has never distanced himself from such statements.

      3. Dale, I know you like repropagating the same old ancient stories about his days before he was Patriarch. The statements don’t support your interpretation. Certainly not if you take into account his actions while EP.

        And please keep in mind that in a secularizing, de-Christianizing, materialist developed world, what specifically can any Christian Church/church do to stop legal abortions? Acts of violence against abortionists? Terrorism against abortion mills? Public excommunications of women who confess to having abortions? What has the Bishop of Rome done to stop abortions in Italy? What have American, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Spanish prelates done to stop abortions in their nations?

      4. Dale, Did you see that a trade group representing US RC hospitals said yesterday they can acept the Obama Administration’s latest compromises on birth control coverage by religious employers?

      5. Dale, It is just an old 1999 opinion article discussing some comments made by a liberal Democratic Senator in 1997. If I had a dollar for every accolade from pro-abortion liberal Democratic politicians for RC prelates and vice versa just in USA, I’d have a fortune. I love to see when these pro-abortion RC stalwarts receive communion from RC bishops and priests. In my state three of the most pro-abortion politicians (e.g., Senator Tom Harkin) are each practicing RCs.

        I’m thinking there was a most interesting article in First Things within the past year or so discussing why Rome and the national bishops’ conferences around the world choose not to practice eucharistic discipline for such public scandalous behavior. The cases of pro-abortion politicians being even censured by RC bishops is pretty rare, Same for being denied communion.

      6. Michael, can you post something from the Patriarch, personally, where he has rejected his former position vis-a-vis abortion?

      7. Dale, He was pro-life then and is still today. No change in position. Sadly, changes over the past 100 years in regard to Russian state and its laws on abortion. Damn Bolshies! 😉

        Fr. Novak sent me some interesting material on ROCOR’s new Anglican Rite. I think you’ll like their liturgy. They’ve kept the Offertory Sentences. Rubrics even provide an option for singing the Gloria at the end. I’ve never seen that and have long wondered what they would be like.

  8. I am afraid I have a very negative view of orthodoxy and some of the most hateful anti-catholicism I have come across has been from them. As regards contraception.. Greece has the lowest birth rate in Europe ( with Italy and Spain close behind)…there are ten million Greeks and 75 million Turks.

    1. To be fair to the Greeks, at least 10 million more people of 1st or 2nd generation greek ancestry live abroad, whose ancestors lived 100 years ago in anatolia or greece proper.

      It is clearly stated by Bishop Athenagoras Kokkinakis, Dean of Holy Cross Theological College, in his book “Parents and Priests as Servants of Redemption,” (1958). On p. 56 he says: “The Church rejects any proposal of toleration of all unnatural practices like birth control and birth prevention. That this practice violates the sacred purpose of matrimony is beyond doubt.” He quotes a joint Encyclical Letter issued on October 14, 1937, by Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens, together with fifty-five other Bishops, in which they said contraceptive birth control is to be condemned, and also any lax teaching on the subject by individual Greek Orthodox priests. Of such false teaching they wrote: “The laxity of the confessor on the question of birth control, opposing his personal opinions to the official and true doctrine of the Orthodox Church and endorsing such a practice creates great and criminal scandals for which the responsibility of such a priest is tremendous. To him the words of the Lord are directed: ‘They are blind leaders of the blind; and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch’.” The official teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Churches is that married people have only two choices morally permissible for them; either to abstain by mutual agreement from marital relations, or to accept such children as God sends.

      It is thus a fact that in the history of the Church, no other bishop or synod has ever issued this direct a condemnation of all forms of birth control as these greek bishops did in 1937.

      It is a sad state that many bishops within both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church today have found their own particular ways of looking the other way methods are used to avoid the conception of children by members of their respective flocks.

      Yet Christ the King, the Lion of tribe of Judah will triumph and prevail over death!

      Christ conquers, He reigns, He commands. May He de­fend His people from all evil.

      Larger families will inevitably return in the 21st century from the ashes selfish deception that occured in the end of the 20th century.

  9. RIW, European birth rates have been steadily declining for nearly a century. Sadly pretty much all of them are under replacement. Just see the stats for post-WW II Irish and Poles. How many million Turks are already in Germany? And Europe not alone. Data from Japan appalling.

  10. On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, deliberating on the matter of Bishop Jerome of Manhattan, Vicar of the President for the Administration of Western Rite Parishes, made a decision as follows:
    (…) 1) To halt the ordination of new clergymen for parishes adhering to the Western Rite.
    (…) 4) To release Bishop Jerome from all duties, including those of Vicar of the President in administering Western Rite parishes, designating him as retired without the right to serve in the Synodal Cathedral “of the Sign” in New York, or to perform ordinations or award clergymen (…)
    8) To address an epistle to the clergymen and communities of the Western Rite regarding the need for them to adopt the order of divine services of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, while preserving, when necessary, certain particularities of the Western Rite.
    9) To emphasize our adherence to the rules and traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in general and of the Russian Orthodox Church in particular. (…)”
    So much for promoting the Western Rite.

    1. Yes, I have been trying to point out this reality for years. What is even more bizarre is that there are people still so lost in the woods that they really think that the western rite will still continue in the Russian Church! This is probably what is now on offer, and what really was the only thing that was going to be permanent in the first place anyway: the Russian recession of the Byzantine liturgy in English with the right to commemorate Anglo-Saxon and Celtic saints in the Calendar (“preserving, when necessary, certain particularities of the Western Rite”). To think that there are actually Anglicans who were dumb enough to believe the Russians in the first place. They did the same thing to several thousands of Italians in the 1970s…promised them a western rite, took their property, and then forced them to go Russian, most left…and then the Russians turned around and bitterly attacked the converts to whom they had lied to! Declaring that they had never wanted to be Orthodox in the first place…no, they simply had no interest in being Russian, but for the Russians being Orthodox and being Russian is the same thing. The lack of catholicity in Byzantium is simply breathtaking.

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