After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


What Fr. Alexey Young said about the western rite

Excerpt from a scholarly article titled, "Western Orthodoxy Revisited" written by an Orthodox researcher at Swtizerland University and translated from the original French

Father Alexey Young, an American priest who collaborates in several Orthodox periodicals asked in 1989 to be received into the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Archdiocese after having ministered for years in a parish of the Russian Church in Exile. He was sensitive to the missionary possibilities that seemed be to opening up and a form of “re-appropriation” of his own western heritage.”  In June 1996, he resigned from the western rite parish where he served, and asked to return to the jurisdiction of the Russian Church in Exile. He explained:
“I began to like the western rite and understand its authentic pre-schism spirituality and its viable character for our time. (…) However, I am now leaving the western rite movement – not because I don’t like the rite, but because I believe the movement itself within the Antiochian Archdiocese has failed. Of course, it continues to grow numerically (…). However, quantity does not ensure quality, and the direction of this movement has been largely ineffective. In many cases, our western rite clergy and faithful have not been adequately instructed, prepared or guided.  They do not understand the spirit of Orthodoxy or even their own pre-schism western heritage. In most cases, they sought union with the Orthodox Church above all to preserve a rite that had been abolished in the Church to which they formerly belonged. This is not an adequate reason to become Orthodox, and this is not a sufficient justification for a Church to accept them.”

This article also gives us some details about the failed western rite experiment in France, and basically supports what Remnant Rocor has been saying about the western rite.  read more...


Joanna said...

Related document of historical interest:

by DF ABRAMTSOV - 1961




Unprofitable Servant said...

I met Father Alexey Young (now Hieromonk Ambrose) when he was involved in my former Western Rite parish in the early 1990s, and I was one of his closest disciples during those difficult years before and after he left the Antiochian Archdiocese to return to the ROCOR in 1996, shortly before the unexpected repose of his wife, Matushka Susan.

Heiromonk Ambrose was, ultimately, disappointed with the inadequate focus on Orthodox spirituality and praxis within the Western Rite movement, and once described the parishioners of one Western Rite parish as "Orthodox Episcopalians" in a private conversation with me. He was also scandalized by the conduct of a few colleagues.

That said, a large number of Father Alexey's spiritual children from Western Rite parishes did eventually move to the ROCOR after 1996. They were the parishioners who were truly interested in the theoria and praxis of the Orthodox Church. Those who remained in the Western Rite, in my acquaintance, were more attached to the rites and rituals of early 20th century Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism.

Joanna said...

We are grateful, of course, for the large number that escaped the Antiochian jurisdiction and made it to the Rocor. We are thankful that Fr. Alexey was able to lead people out.

Here we need to be very careful not to mistake the western rite for any kind of "stepping stone" out of world Orthodoxy and into traditional Orthodoxy.

The western rite is rather like the new calendar in that it is familiar and comfortable. These are stumbling blocks. Some people manage to avoid stumbling on them, most do not. Stumbling blocks do not become stepping stones until we overcome them.

Anyone who sees the western rite as a stepping stone, is in fact stumbling over the western rite just by having this very idea. Somebody who has overcome the western rite turns to warn those behind him of the stumbling lock in the path.

Reader Daniel said...

Note: on Fr. Alexey Young:

(both he and his wife, born Roman Catholics)

He once was a ROCOR married priest, ordained by SF Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev) or his vicar, Bishop Nektary of Seattle, (at the request of Abbot Herman), a high school teacher in Etna, California. Back then was attached to ROCOR Platina monastery, and was very close to Fr. Seraphim Rose and Abbot Herman Podmoshensky, and an important part of the missionary efforts of ROCOR both in our San Franciso Western Diocese, and especially in the Platina monastery.

He routinely traveled almost every weekend to far away cities, small towns and the homes of ROCOR faithful in northern California and Oregon to perform the Liturgy - the REGULAR Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom!

Later, after the surprising fall of the Platina monastery and the defrocking and scandals of Abbot Herman, Fr. Alexey IN SHOCK! ...fled... to the Antiochean jurisdiction, and took leadership of an Antiochean newly received, former  'Old Catholic' parish in Colorado, which used some sort of 'Western Rite', telling us all then: "I am leaving ROCOR because it forbids any western rite, which I believe in!" (And he said those words in anger at ROCOR.) Back at that time, he said that he believed in the validity of 'western rite' (in theory anyway).

Later, before his matushka died, they both left the Antiochean jurisdiction and that 'western rite' Colorado parish, and he became the ROCOR priest in Denver, Colorado in an originally older Russian-ethnic parish, but which used a lot of English in it's STANDARD ORTHODOX-RITE services.

When he returned to ROCOR, he told me via phone that the Antiocheans  were "not soundly Orthodox", and he could no longer tolerate their worldliness in their church life.

Later in his rather hectic/confused life, after his matushka Susan died, he, in a low mental and spiritual depression, became a monk, "to prepare for my death", after needing "5 years of repentance", at the ROCOR West Virginian Skete of the Holy Cross where he resided for some years, then fleeing to a New Calendar (EP) Greek Archdiocese monastery in southern Ohio where he was treated as royalty. They built a new house just for him and gave him a large monthly paycheck.

In 2007, upon the signing in Moscow of that DISGUSTING 're-union' of ROCOR to the KGB controlled MP, EP Fr. Alexey Young (now 'Skema Monk Ambrose,' Young) said, "this is wonderful, it's about time!" (!!!)

Fr. Alexey Young has written, in the past days, a number of generally good papers on various Orthodox subjects, but is now a total creature and propagandist of worldly-Orthodoxy and of the MP! and has turned his back on his former conservative Orthodox views. We who knew him, as a ROCOR priest in the old days, do not recognize him now. We don't know who he is! We wonder, if HE knows who he is! 

However, his views about the 'Western Rite' AFTER HE LEFT IT are most interesting, as his experiences IN a 'western rite' parish, as it's priest, convinced him of what he is quoted here as concluding: (dare I say? i.e., in actual practice -not in historical THEORY, but in practice-  it just is not Orthodox and it DOESN'T WORK!)

Rd. Daniel Everiss in Oregon 

Guest 03 said...

Not mentioned in your coverage of Fr. Alexey is the fact that he has Alzheimer's. Here is a link to a letter that he wrote a while back about his condition: http://www.allsaintsofamerica.org/orthodoxy/frambrose.html

Joanna said...

that is getting off the subject, the subject is that Fr. Alexey, who used to support the western rite, found that it does not work

Unprofitable Servant said...

If I may set the historical record straight in a few particulars, Father Alexey Young was ordained by Bishop Nektary at Platina. After leaving Platina, he served as the rector of All Saints of Russia (ROCOR) parish in Denver in the 1980s before he ever became involved in the Western Rite movement within the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Conversely, he was never the rector of any Western Rite parishes, but served as a priest attached for a time to two different Antiochian Western Rite parishes in Denver-- St. Mark's and St. Augustine's. He was affiliated with St. Augustine's, a former Old Catholic parish using the Rite of St. Gregory, from about 1992 until 1996, when he returned to the ROCOR and was affiliated with All Saints of Russia parish until 2000. In 2000 he left Denver to enter the monastic life at the ROCOR Holy Cross Hermitage.

In my direct experience, Father Alexey was primarily disillusioned by the attitudes and conduct of a few colleagues within the Antiochian Archdiocese. He was also unfairly blamed by some clergy and hierarchs for a scandal within the Antiochian Archdiocese which he had tried to resolve in the interest of the parishioners. Many of these parishioners did follow Father Alexey to the ROCOR in the aftermath of these problems.

As for the Western Rite, in general, his own words quoted in this thread are the best summary of his opinion on the subject.

shelleyolson said...

Helena09: Father Ambrose asked me, have you ever had an experience of Jesus Christ?"

I said, "Do you mean, have I ever had an experience of the personality of the man, Jesus of Nazareth?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "No."

He said, "Well then you've never had an experience of God.

"Because no-one comes to the Father but through the Son".

Forget about the Patristic World View that he makes so much of. This isn't even Orthodox.

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