Western Rite Orthodoxy?

There is a new church being built along a road I travel occasionally. A sign finally went up and it is going to be an Orthodox Church. Since it didn’t say “Greek Orthodox” or “Russian Orthodox”, I looked it up on the web. It is a multi-denominational Western Rite Orthodox Church.

I have never heard of this. Can anyone give more information on it’s origins or relation to other Orthodox Churches?


This parish is part of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Keep in mind there are far more than just the Greek and Russian Churches.

The Western Rite Churches are Orthodox Churches which use one of a number of Western based Liturgies (The Liturgy of St. Tikhon based off one of the Anglican Liturgies, and I believe the Liturgy of St. Gregory based off the Tridentine Mass are the two most common).

Generally these Churches come under the Antiochian Orthodox Church, or the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Although the website doesn’t say it, looking up the Bishop indicates that this one is Antiochian (in fact you can see his comments on the Western Rite on the Antiochian Archdiocese website here.)

edit: I stand corrected, it does say it is Antiochian under the “about the Parish” tab

quick correction its not a multi- denominational church it’s an Orthodox Church that has people who where are ready Orthodox or who have come from various denominations before converting to Orthodoxy. there’s no such thing as denominations in the Orthodox Church.

Others have already given good answers. From the outside Western Orthodoxy looks like traditional Roman Catholicism, almost like a Tridentine Mass but in English. It’s beliefs are all Orthodox, so no indulgences, no venial vs. mortal sin, no pope, and often more recent feast days aren’t celebrated, such as the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Western Orthodox parishes generally have a wider variety of services than the typical Roman Catholic parish, such as Vespers and Matins, the Churching of Women, and other traditional celebrations which might’ve fallen by the wayside. Their priests can be married, they’ll sometimes have Western style Iconography (think Romanesque or Carolingian art) and their Communion will, in the Orthodox manner, be received under both kinds though the Bread will have yeast in it but they look like Western style hosts.

My wife was brought into The Church in the Western Rite, and as I was a traditional Roman Catholic before I converted, we sometimes still use Western style prayers and rituals in our home. A list of many of these, such as Morning and Evening Prayer, House Blessings, and various prayers can be found here, along with pretty much any other Text that might be required of the Western Rite.

Hi Corki. Two things:

First, I looked at that webpage, and it says that they are Orthodox, *not *multi-denominational. It does say: “Saint Paul is a fellowship of Christians who have come to the Orthodox Church from a variety of denominational and devotional persuasions.” which I take to mean that they aren’t cradle Orthodox.

Second, I’m guessing that many people reading this thread have heard of Eastern Catholics, and are wondering whether Western-Rite Orthodox are the mirror image, so to speak, of ECs. My answer to that would be yes and no … there are some significant practical differences, but the underlying principle, that one doesn’t have to be Eastern to be Orthodox, mirrors the principle that one doesn’t have to be Western to be Catholic.


I am a member of St. Paul’s and no we are not the Orthodox equivalent of the Eastern Catholics. we do not have a separated hierarchy but are under the authority of the same bishop( Antiochian) that the two eastern rite churches in our area are. our theology is solidly Orthodox and if I move to an area that doesn’t have WR, I will just go to an Eastern Rite parish. Our parish uses the Liturgy of St Gregory. It is basically the pre VII liturgy only in English. Hope this helps.

That’s one of the reasons I said “yes and no”. :slight_smile:

P.S. For what it’s worth, this is from The Western Rite is Not “Reverse Uniatism” at westernorthodox.blogspot.com/2007/05/western-rite-is-not-reverse-uniatism.html

Others’s arguments. It is true Western Rite Orthodox do not have separate bishops and hierarchies, as Byzantine Catholics do, and some have used this as an argument to distinguish us. Though I acknowledge the difference, I find this less than compelling. For one thing, the original Western Rite in this country had its own bishop: Ignatius Nichols. It would represent no enormous step backward were we to have one again. More importantly, not every group that has an extra-geographical hierarchy should be considered “uniate”; that logic leads to the ridiculous conclusion that Romanians, Bulgarians, and Albanians in the OCA would be considered “uniates,” which they certainly are not. (And Abp. NATHANIEL is an inspiration to us all!)

did not want to start an argument. also I am just reporting what I know being an actual member. I have no Idea what the original western rite in this country had or what jusrisdiction they were in. Peace


On a side note, do you think we’ll see a “Light of the West” conference (of WRO and LCs, as EOs and ECs have the “Orientale Lumen” conference) one of these years?

They call them ‘jurisdictions’, as someone who was seriously considering Orthodoxy, I just never understood why an OCA member would look down on a ROCOR member, or why a GREEK would look down on ANTIOCHIAN. I visited several Orthodox ‘jurisdictions’ and found the infighting similar to Baptists against Assembly of God against Church of Christ. Then you have the ‘canonical’ groups looking down on the ‘uncanonical’ groups and various sub-groups that you are afraid of joining any of them not knowing which is which.

I’ve found that the Catholic Church has literally the exact same issue of overlapping jurisdictions in the U.S.A, Canada, Australia & Great Brittian. In my county (county not country) there are Catholic Churches under:
the Syro-Malabar Bishop
the Ruthenian Bishop
the Roman Bishop
the Maronite Bishop
the Chaldean Bishop
the Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop
And that just lists Some of the overlapping Catholic Jurisdictions in my county (county, not country).

As long as there are “people” in any Church there will be problems. I’ve seen plenty of Melkite Greek Catholic laity & priests who look down specifically on the Roman Catholic Church as a whole and also on Roman Catholic individual members. In all my years, I’ve never yet seen an Orthodox Christian look down on an Orthodox Christian of another jurisdiction and I attend 4 different jurisdictions on a regular basis: Serbian, OCA, Greek & Russian - but I trust that what you tell me you’ve experience has happened because the vast majority of us “people” haven’t yet been completely perfected.

I’m not sure about this “looking down on” thing. But petty disputes are in no way unique to Orthodoxy. Every church has their jerks.

Try talking to an Eastern Catholic about people “looking down” on others.

the Antiochan Orthodox appear to be more ecumenical in their approach-A number of Old Catholics have converted and found a place in the Antiochan Church-the one in our area seems multi ethnic which ia real difference from most Orthodox Parishes

I’m not sure what you mean by “more ecumenical”, but I would agree that the Antiochian and OCA parishes have a tendency to be multi-ethnic (though not all are), and I think the Antiochians as a whole have been the most successful at welcoming those not born Orthodox into the Church. Their missionary efforts (at least in North America) have been unparalleled.

I think the only reason the OCA (the other multi-ethnic Church) hasn’t been so successful is because it has had issue after issue to deal with. While this excuses it prior to 1979, when the issue was not of its making (uncertain canonical status), it has only itself to blame since then. Speaking as a member the desire is there among the laity, but the resources aren’t there - for a number of reasons.

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