chapter  14
24 Pages

‘We are Westerners and Must Remain Westerners’

Since the nineteenth century, there have been attempts to create Orthodox Christian communities using Western liturgical forms. In some cases, the impetus came from believers who already were Orthodox faithful; in other cases, people or groups joining the Orthodox Church asked for permission to continue to use the liturgies they were accustomed to, with adjustments required to ‘orthodoxise’ them. Most of these undertakings would never have taken place had there not been already the presence of emigrant Orthodox Churches in the West; in addition, in one particularly significant case in France, the initiative was a direct outcome of an encounter with the reflections and aspirations of young Russian émigrés interested in the liturgical revival of the ancient Christian legacy of Western Europe. There are currently two Orthodox jurisdictions having Western rite parishes: the Antiochian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR); moreover, a few parishes under the Serbian and Romanian Orthodox Churches occasionally use Western rites, beside the Byzantine one.1 Most recent developments in the field of Western rite in canonical Orthodox Churches have taken place in North America, but it has not disappeared from Western Europe.