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Vladyka Jerome 1 Can you tell us a little bit about the Western Rite in ROCOR, as well as in the other Churches, such as Antiochian Church? The Western Rite in the Orthodox Church, of course, is not something new or artificial (at least, it should not be), but a resumption of the typicons that were followed in the Latin Church before the schism of 1054. In fact, that schism did not immediately cut off all the Latin churches from the rest of Orthodox Christianity, since the Latin parishes in what is now Albania remained under the local Greek metropolitan until the 13th century. There seem to have been other places where the Latin parishes did not separate at once. However, the Crusades did have a negative impact, both direct and indirect. In modern times, the Holy Synod of Russia was willing to permit a Western Rite, and approved a "corrected" text of the Roman Mass in 1868, which inserted a paragraph from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom to make the Epiclesis clearer. Then the future Patriarch Tikhon, as ruling bishop in the United States, had a Western Rite congregation that celebrated the Mass in the left side chapel of St. Nicholas cathedral in Manhattan. Probably in connection with the lawsuit that was brought by the "Living Church" for control of the cathedral, this Western Orthodox congregation did not survive, but then in 1962 it was restarted (in the same side chapel) and continued up to the end of that decade. But when there were 3 Sunday Liturgies in that cathedral, it became difficult to fit them all into the available hours. In ROCOR, the Western Rite flourished, mostly in Europe, under St. John Maximovich, and under Metropolitan Antony Bashir the Antiochian Church also added a Western Rite from 1962, which continues till the present day. 1 When was the first time you had been assigned to a Western Rite parish, and when did you become a Bishop of Manhattan, with the duty to oversee the ROCOR Western Rite? I was never assigned to a Western Rite parish, but from 2010 till 2013 I was the bishop assigned to the ROCOR Western Rite, by Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral). 1 Is there any other Western Rite bishop in the Orthodox Church besides you ? There is a bishop in the Antiochian Archdiocese who has oversight of the Antiochian WR parishes. 1 How did you come to be interested in the Western Rite ? I became interested in this subject ca. 1963, at age 16, when I came on an illustrated article about the Western Rite in the Orthodox Church, in a publication called the SVIT, published from Wilkes-Barre PA. This was basically a newspaper in "Little Russian", or Ukrainian in the Old Orthography and English. This article detailed the story of a former Episcopalian community in what was then Palo Alto CA (since that time, the neighborhood has become a separate town known as Los Altos), whose members lost their church building when they converted as a group to Orthodoxy and reorganized under Metropolitan Antony Bashir. A few months later, on a visit to Mahopac where even as a teenager I often went to church, I saw a book in French called "Nos Eglises en France", which gave an illustrated view of what was then the ROCOR French diocese and which used a form of the Western Rite. In those days, I was close to the future Bishop Daniel (Alexandrow), who encouraged me in developing this interest. Then the following summer, a group of us altar boys were taken into Manhattan to visit both the Synodal cathedral on 93rd St., and St. Nicholas cathedral on 97th St. There I met abbot Augustine Whitfield, with whom I carried on a correspondence, almost entirely on liturgical subjects (both Eastern and Western) for the next 56 years, almost till his repose in 2010 (shortly after the repose of Bishop Daniel that same year). 1 What books would you recommend that are about the Western Rite ? Books *about* the Orthodox Western Rite are scarce: however, a number of publications, including several beautifully printed service books, have been printed by members of the Antiochian WR. In ROCOR we have a smaller WR presence, and local parishes do not always follow the same text or translation. 1 As of recently, ROCOR has a new First Hierarch. What do you think about Metropolitan Nicholas ? It would not be too proper for me to give an opinion about someone else, let alone our new Metropolitan, especially as he has thus far been only 2 months in office. 1 As I understand, a session of the Sobor was held in Mahopac and you participated. Can you tell us more about that event? The Mathopac session of the recent Sobor was (again) mostly about liturgical matters, and we did discuss the Western Rite. But the best-remembered part of that day was the remarkable dinner created by the Mahopac church sisterhood, which all the bishops seemed to enjoy, and which was followed by walks in the monastery woods to the lake and chapel, and then by 3 visits of bishops who served here: Vl. Feodosy, Vl. Gabriel, and Metropolitan Nicholas. 1 You have been appointed to the commission for the return of the schismatics to the Church. Do you have any other duty beside that one ? So far, to the best of my knowledge, the most notable "return from schism" (among those who had left in 2007) has been that of the large St. Xenia parish inOttawa, Canada. That was most encouraging. However, I'm afraid I can't take credit for it! 1. Can you comment on the Constantinople – Moscow schism ? The schism created by Bartholomew of Constantinople has been most disheartening, above all because of all the lies and deception connected with it. However, his actions also led (despite him) to the return of the former "Paris Exarchate" to the Russian Orthodox Church -- there is rarely evil that does not also bring good. 1. The Ukrainian question is now a bit more complicated because the canonical Church has proclaimed some kind of independency. Metropolitan of Kiev has started to read the Diptych at the Great Entrance. Some of the bishops even claim that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is now fully independent, but their Sobor did not proclaim autocephaly. Now we read that they are going to start to make their own Chrism. Also, the Synod recognized the Macedonian Orthodox Church, and its Primate is added to the Diptych. What do you make of all of it ? The Russian Church does recognize the autocephaly granted by the Patriarchate of Serbia to the Macedonian Church, so of course we go along with that. The former ROCOR cathedral in Chicago is now a parish of this Macedonian Autocephalous Church, so that's very good for those of our people who still have fond memories of that cathedral in Logan Square. As for the actions of Metropolitan Onouphry, we still see him as canonical, and it should be obvious that the steps taken were needed so as to maintain a "modus vivendi" under the current political situation. Miljan Mitic