Saturday, October 09, 2004

From The Spectator via Mike Russell
Whose rite is it anyway?
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Liturgical vandals have trivialized worship in Anglican and [Roman] Catholic churches. Now, says William Oddie, Rome is trying to do something about it. Sometime during the Seventies, in Anglican and Roman Catholic churches throughout the English-speaking world, a strange (and for many, unwelcome) kind of language began to issue forth from the mouths of clergy and faithful. In most places of worship, a new kind of liturgical English — bare, sparse, apparently wilfully lacking in elegance or sonority — gradually replaced both Cranmer’s English and the Latin of what became known as the old Mass. The old books, familiar for three centuries or more — for Anglicans, the Book of Common Prayer, for [Roman] Catholics, the old Latin Missals — disappeared from the Churches...
Heard then-Canon Oddie preach at St John's, New Hinksey, Oxford, Christmas 1989.

There is always the working model of traditionalism as a living thing in the Christian East. And it often comes in liturgical English - my favourite version, using Miles Coverdale's psalms from the BCP, was translated around the turn of the last century by Isabel Florence Hapgood, an American Episcopalian and lifelong friend of the Russian Orthodox, and approved by the patriarch of Moscow, now-St Tikhon, in 1920. Those Orthodox who use English have been praying these Anglican psalms for 100 years.

The Arab (Antiochian) Orthodox in America have published Hapgood's service book since the 1950s - I understand they are the direct successors to the original, pre-1917 Russian Orthodox mission to the English-speaking in the US.

(In other words, before the Russian Revolution caused the non-Russian parts of the Russian Orthodox metropolia in America to break off into separate ethnic churches, that metropolia had an Arab bishop in charge of both Arab and Anglo congregations; the latter's numbers I imagine were microscopic.)

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