Michael Wood (Fr Michael) sets out the stall for the St Eanswythe Mission and the attractions of a Orthodox style of ordinariate
Readers occasionally ask us why we do not show more interest in the Orthodox Church, why we do not give greater weight to its claims as a possible haven for disenchanted Anglicans, and why we always turn to the Roman Catholic Church.
The brief historical answer is that we are part of the Western Church, and this is the branch from which we grew or were cut (depending upon one’s perspective). The brief cultural reply is that if you seek to be distant, mysterious, impenetrable and untranslatable, you really should not be surprised if people take you to be exactly that.
Such peremptory neglect may, however, be culpable; so it was with a certain interest that we responded to this carefully thought-out approach to match the Pope’s offer. Readers who are interested will find what they need at the website below; others will at least be interested to know that it is happening.
An interesting development growing steadily in recent years is the Western Rite within the Orthodox Church. This now has a small, but growing presence in England, and is already established in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA and the Philippines.
After the Great Schism between Rome and the rest of the Church, the Western Rite persisted in the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, Constantinople and Mount Athos, for two hundred years, after which it ceased to be present – having been in the Church for about twelve hundred years. The Synod of the Church of Russia re-authorized the Western Rite for use in England in 1870 and again in 1907 with a report requested by Archbishop Tikhon (Belavin) (later Patriarch of Moscow, canonized as Saint Tikhon) authorizing the adaptation of the services from the Book of Common Prayer.
In 1958 the Synod of the Church of Antioch followed the Russian Synod and authorized the Western Rite with a Western Rite Vicariate in the USA. This has grown quite well in recent times receiving Episcopalian, Continuing Anglican and Charismatic Episcopal parishes, including recently Bishop Robert Waggener – a Continuing Anglican bishop, now an Orthodox Priest.
Its own prayer book
Today we have the St Colman Prayer Book which is based on Sarum/1549 (similar to 1928–English Missal-ish). This includes the Liturgies of Sarum, St Gregory (Roman, pre-Trent) and the English Liturgy (‘Anglican’), along with Mattins, Evensong, and all the normal occasional services.
The Western Rite is under the personal control of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), Archbishop Hilarion, who, with Bishop Jerome and Bishop Peter, generally handles Western Rite matters.
ROCOR has Western Rite parishes/missions in Australia, Canada, the USA, England and the Philippines and three Western Rite monasteries. Archbishop Hilarion divides his time between Sydney, where he is the Archbishop, and New York, the location of the Synod headquarters. He is a Canadian born and bred who was educated both in Canada and the US, and is a strong supporter of the Western Rite within Orthodoxy. In England in November last year, he authorized me to set up officially our Western Rite Missions.
ROCOR is the most conservative in all Orthodoxy, which makes it attractive to those disillusioned with their present churches. We have the St Eanswythe Mission as a sort of umbrella for England – with the St Nectan Branch. We may have missions in Yorkshire and Ireland in the fairly near future, as well as London.
The advantages to joining us are:
They would be joining the Church – the original Church that was actually founded by Christ and has remained continuously ever since. It is the second largest group of Christians in the world – about five times as large as the whole Anglican Communion – and has Orders that are questioned by no one and whose doctrine, ecclesiology and morality has been fully settled for two thousand years.
It is a well-established thing, with the strong support and prayers of His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion – therefore the option is available immediately. It does not require special organizations to be set up. In England the organization already exists.
The Orthodox Church normally has married clergy.
The process of becoming Orthodox (either as individuals or groups) in this country is a matter for myself and Archbishop Hilarion. No one else is involved, so it is quick and simple.
Most Catholic Anglicans already hold much of the Orthodox faith and can easily learn/adapt to the rest.
The Orthodox ecclesiastical organization is much more like the classical CofE organization than is the Roman Catholic, in that we have no pope; rather, Christ is the Head of the Orthodox Church. Each diocese has a ruling bishop assisted by his clergy synod, and is a constituent of a Province with a Metropolitan Archbishop. ROCOR is attached to the Russian Orthodox Church Inside of Russia (although autonomous) and therefore has Patriarch Kyrill as its Patriarch, who has influence but very little power outside of his own diocese.
All the contact details and links can be found at
which has been specially designed
for Forward in Faith members ND