The Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church of America



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Christianity is a liturgical religion. The Church is first of all a worshipping community. Worship comes first, doctrine and discipline second.

Fr. Georges Florovsky

Introduction to The Western Liturgies

First, let us agree that there is no such thing as “Western Rite” but there are Western Rites. Having established that, we must acknowledge that in the Orthodox West there were several rites and numerous uses. The primary families: Roman, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Gallican and Sarum each had uses. It is only with the advent of the printing press, well after 1054 that we begin to see some way of insuring a measure of uniformity.

So, for the researcher, if for instance, one wanted to use a Gallican Liturgy we first need to ask what year, what province, what diocese, and. even perhaps what parish! As there was no printed form and Liturgical books were rarely uniform, some variety was expected and not at all seen as anything but catholic. The challenge of the restoration of the Western Rites in Orthodoxy includes having to make sound and prudent choices on what texts and translations to use and inevitably someone will be displeased.

The current uses in Orthodoxy include expressions of all of the families of Western Rites above, and then some! Perhaps one of the most striking is the Liturgy of Dom Augustine of Mount Royal. It is a worthy expression of a Roman Liturgy in the Carthusian mode. It was blessed for use in Holy Orthodoxy and still is used at Christ the Savior Monastery (ROCOR) in New York.

The links above provide a number of Western Liturgies in the vernacular. They are meant to fan your further study and appreciation of the Liturgical Catholicity of the Orthodox Churches.

Also on our Propers page we have posted for download The Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church Archdiocese of America Official Liturgy.