Western Rite Orthodox Information


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Canonical Orthodox Western Rites Conference - Official announcement and registration

This Conference is sponsored by the Fraternity of St Gregory the Great of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. It will be held at Mt Alvernia Retreat Center. It is located in the village of Wappinger Falls, New York, on 204 acres overlooking the Hudson Valley in Dutchess County.

The Antiochian Western Rite Clergy will be invited to be with the ROCOR-WR clergy in this historic event which we pray will be the first of many. There will also be a gathering of Benedictines and possibly their Oblates at the same time.

The conference is open to clergy and laity.

Please, click here to download the document with all details and registration form.

Precisions regarding the October 2011 Western Rite conference

Since a number of people interested in the Western Rite (WR) would like to know more about the conference that is scheduled to take place next October near New York City, Father Deacon Robert Sherwood has kindly provided us with precisions regarding the categories of participants expected to come:

The primary attendees at the Conference would be WR Clergy (ROCOR [Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia] and AWRV [Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate]); some will have their wives with them. Monastics and oblates are urged to come as well. Secondarily would be clergy who are seeking to enter the WR of Orthodoxy. But it is open, as space permits, for others who would have an interest and would be in a position to make positive contributions. The site we will be using this year can accommodate about 60 people and is not that large. Future Conferences, which by agreement will be held jointly with the AWRV, would probably be larger and if the setting were near a large parish might have an open session which would draw a broad local participation. That was the case at the AWRV Conference at St. Peter’s at Fort Worth a few years ago. Essentially the Conference will be first come first served but prioritized for clergy. There will be an official announcement soon that would provide precise details and contact information.

ROCOR Western Rite Vicariate established

The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) gathered from 10 to 17 May 2011. In addition to various other decisions, there is one of great significance for the future of Western Rite parishes and groups within ROCOR: "At the proposal of the President of the Synod of Bishops, a Western Rite Vicariate was established. His Grace Bishop Jerome of Manhattan was appointed assistant to the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad in ministering to these communities."

Cooperation between Western Rite groups — and a conference this year

There are very positive signs of cooperation between the different canonical Orthodox groups using the Western Rite in their liturgical life.

First, a meeting between Antiochian and ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) representatives took place in New York. On 14 February 2011, Father Edward Hughes, Vicar General of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and his duly appointed assistant, Father John W. Fenton, met at the Russian Synod chancery with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR); His Grace Bishop Jerome (Shaw), Bishop of Manhattan and vicar of the Eastern-American diocese (ROCOR); and the V. Reverend Anthony Bondi, Pastoral Vicar for the Western Rite (ROCOR). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the present situation, and to compare visions in order to foster cooperation in furthering Western Rite Orthodoxy in America.

Second, the wish to hold a Pan-Western Rite Conference should soon become a reality, God willing. According to Father Aidan’s blog Oremus (4 April 2011), a Pan-Western Rite Conference will take place “from Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. to the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 7, 2011. The conference will take place at the Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center, Wappinger Falls, New York. There will be a Pontifical Mass celebrated at this retreat by Bishop Jerome of the Russian Orthodox Church.” (Once more details about the conference will be sent to us, they will be published on this website.)

Several ROCOR parishes using the Western Rite in North America

Under the guidance of Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Jerome, there is currently a revival of Western Rite Orthodox presence under the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in the United States. They enjoy stavropegial status: this means they stand directly under the omophorion of the Primate of ROCOR, Metropolitan Hilarion.

The Fraternity of St Gregory the Great gathers several of those parishes. Their website offers information on their background and a directory of parishes (they are also listed in the directory of ROCOR, with the mention “Western Rite”). The same website makes some interesting liturgical material available for download in PDF format.

There are additional ROCOR parishes in the United States where the Western Rite is in use: for instance, Saint Benedict Russian Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City is a bi-ritual parish: that means that the services of the parish are offered both in the universal Byzantine Rite according to the Typicon of the Russian Orthodox Church - but also according to the Western Rite as authorized by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow in 1872.