“Christianity is a liturgical religion. The Church is first of all a worshipping community. Worship comes first, doctrine and discipline second.”Fr. Georges Florovsky
Introduction to The Western Liturgies
First, let us agree that there is no such thing as “Western Rite” but there are Western Rites. Having established that, we must acknowledge that in the Orthodox West there were several rites and numerous uses. The primary families: Roman, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Gallican and Sarum each had uses. It is only with the advent of the printing press, well after 1054 that we begin to see some way of insuring a measure of uniformity.
So, for the researcher, if for instance, one wanted to use a Gallican Liturgy we first need to ask what year, what province, what diocese, and. even perhaps what parish! As there was no printed form and Liturgical books were rarely uniform, some variety was expected and not at all seen as anything but catholic. The challenge of the restoration of the Western Rites in Orthodoxy includes having to make sound and prudent choices on what texts and translations to use and inevitably someone will be displeased.
The current uses in Orthodoxy include expressions of all of the families of Western Rites above, and then some! Perhaps one of the most striking is the Liturgy of Dom Augustine of Mount Royal. It is a worthy expression of a Roman Liturgy in the Carthusian mode. It was blessed for use in Holy Orthodoxy and still is used at Christ the Savior Monastery (ROCOR) in New York. On the other hand, in the United States, the Antiochian Archdiocese took a Protestant Liturgy, “Orthodoxized” it and issued it as the Liturgy of Saint Tikhon. In point of fact, it is the Liturgy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer to which an epiclesis has been added and other minor changes made. This is not the forum in which to discuss the advisability of using a “Protestant Liturgy turned Orthodox” or do the research and restore a pre-schismatic one. Needless to say, it is this Church’s position that a Liturgy which was used in the Orthodox West is preferable.
Below you will find links to a number of Western Liturgies in the vernacular. They are meant to fan your further study and appreciation of the Liturgical Catholicity of the Orthodox Churches.
Also you will find links to the Propers for The Holy Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church Archdiocese of America Official Liturgy.
We are blessed to present to you for your perusal and study the original Order of Celebration of the “Dom Augustine” liturgy. No changes were made in this document for fidelity to its place in Western Rite history. Though phrases like “world without end”, “transmuted”, and “quire”, would be rendered today as “unto the ages of ages”, “changed”, and “choir”, we can still see the noble simplicity of a Liturgy which, when celebrated using the rubrics of the previous document posted, is reminiscent of a Carthusian Use Roman Liturgy.