He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Western Rite? Right?

I've liked Andrea Elizabeth's blog for a long while, and I'll reprint a comment I made on her site in response to her Western Orthodox post:

I chose my particular blogging moniker almost three years ago owing to my appreciation for the budding phenomenon of Western Rite Orthodoxy. Since that time, I’ve grown dubious about whether a Western Rite makes sense.

The Western Rite question is not so different a question as whether certain Westerners are appropriately venerated as Orthodox Saints. Orthodoxy is a cultural phenomenon. The Mind of the Church is our culture. The catechumenate is the period during which the catechumen acquires the Mind of the Church–not simply facts and dates and ethnic mannerisms–from the instructors. In fact, the quality and extent of one’s conversion is properly measured by how completely one has acquired that Mind.

The fact that Westerners are accepted as converts–and potential saints–demonstrates to me that the possibility of Western Saints isn’t inherently foreign to Orthodoxy.

Let’s circle back to the Western Rite. Have Western Riters converted to Orthodoxy, or are they simply dressing up their old habituations with Orthodox colors?

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