Westritus-Konferenz 2019 in Florida

von Father Aidan Keller

„The ROCOR Western Rite Conference began in the afternoon of Monday, Sept. 30, and lasted through midday on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

The Conference was facilitated by Archpriest Mark Rowe, Vicar for Western Rite communities, and both Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral), first hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen), former primate of the Orthodox Church in America, were present. Registration was from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on the first day, followed by Vespers with the hearing of confessions.

Three men were tonsured as Readers. Many Years to Jacob, Nicholas Gilpin, and Stylianos!

Liturgy for St. Theodore of Canterbury on Tues., Oct. 1, was celebrated by Archpriest Mark Rowe; for the Ember Day in (old calendar) September on Wed., Oct. 2, by Priest Thomas Cook of Great Britain; for departed Abbots and Clergy of the Western rite, a Requiem, on Thur., Oct. 3, by Priest David Kinghorn; and for St. Matthew the apostle and evangelist on Fri., Oct. 4 by Hieromonk Aidan (Keller).

Daily, Terce, Sext, Vespers, and Compline were kept in the Conference hall, which was kept as a chapel throughout the Conference.

There were special work meetings for each of the newly-created Western Rite Deaneries,* as well as the Vicar’s Administrative Council.

On Wed., Metropolitan Jonah met held a partial-day retreat with the matushki (priests‘ wives) at the nearby St. Joseph’s Orthodox Church.

Various kinds of Western rite service books, music, prayer ropes, icons, crosses, etc., were displayed for sale during the Conference by Fr. Lazarus of Stockholm, Sweden; hieromonk Aidan of Texas; and hieromonk David Colburn of Tennessee.

Lectures were given by Metropolitan Jonah (on outreach and mission); Archpriest Mark Rowe (on various topics); Priest Kevin Kirwan, author of ‚Finding Genuine Catholicism in the Orthodox East‘ (on this book and the journey people make to the Church); and Hieromonk Aidan Keller (on characteristics of the older forms of the Roman rite).

There were participants from the United States, including Hawaii; Great Britain; and Scandinavia. Services were held mostly in English, with some Latin chants and an all-Latin Requiem Mass. Chanters included Reader Gildas Meal of Britain and Hieromonk Aidan from Texas. Priests took turns leading the various Hours of the Divine Office.

I believe it is fair to say that the Conference was stimulating in its content; reverent in its prayer; delightful in its fellowship; instructive; and also, it must be admitted, quite tiring, as the days were very full. Many made it to the nearby beaches or to see the sights of beautiful Sarasota. No alligator attacks were reported for our group, and that is always a plus.

Many thanks to Archpriest Mark, Vladyka Hilarion, Fr. David and matushka Patricia Kinghorn; and many others, for a beautiful Conference! We look forward to the next ROCOR-wide Western Rite Conference to occur in 2021. In 2020, the various Deaneries will hold regional conferences.

Finally, in 2020 a grand celebration is planned for the 150-year anniversary of the presence of Western Rite in the Russian Church. More information will be shared as it becomes known.

Deo Gratias! ~ Thanks be to God!.“

* The new deaneries and their deans are as follows.
Central Deanery — Priest Patrick Lowery, Christ the Saviour, Michigan
Eastern Deanery — Priest David Kinghorn, St. Cuthbert’s, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Southern Deanery — Archpriest Mark Rowe, St. Joseph’s, Sarasota, Florida
Western Deanery — Priest John Longero, St. Andrew’s, Reno, Nevada
U.K. Deanery — Priest Thomas Cook, St. Edmund’s, Nottingham
Scandinavian Deanery — Hieromonk Serafim Furemalm, Holy Protection, Stockholm

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