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The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad Rejects the “Western Rite” (1978)

The Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles, as if to visibly show that they have no historical connection to the Orthodox Church, utilize the “Western Rite” in their services, supposedly based on the liturgical practices of the Orthodox West in ancient times. But it should be known that all of the so-called “Western Rites” in use today by churches calling themselves Orthodox have had to be amended, corrected, or dramatically revised in order to be useable. That is, they are contrived, and not representative of a Western Orthodox tradition.

Furthermore, on September 1/14, 1978, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, under the leadership of Metropolitan Saint Philaret the Confessor, officially banned the use of the Western Rite in her dioceses, calling these rituals incongruous with the Orthodox tradition: “RESOLVED: The Western Rite in its present form was introduced after the apostasy of the West from the Orthodox Church and is not in accord with the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church with which it had been united for the course of many centuries. It does not reflect the Orthodox Church's liturgical tradition. Thus, it does not satisfy converts to Orthodoxy when they familiarize themselves with it to a greater degree, and has nowhere enjoyed success. In consequence of the above, the Council of Bishops does not recognize it as possible to permit the Western Rite in the Russian Church.” (DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AND FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ABROAD, Newsletter #21, January-February 1979.)


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