Western Rite Orthodox Churches
Western Rite Orthodox Churches, congregations, or communities adhere to Western Liturgical practices within the mainstream Orthodox Churches (Eastern and Oriental) and independent (other) Orthodox Churches. Western Rite Churches Traditionally celebrate ‘Mass’ in Sarum Rite, Mozarabic Rite, Gallican Rite, English Liturgy, or any form of Western Rite Liturgy instead of adopting Eastern Rite liturgical practices. These communities stick to Western Christian Traditions with ‘Orthodox doctrinal and theological’ corrections. Western Rites are usually found among Roman Catholic and Anglican communities. Several devotional societies also function in direct connection to Western Rite Churches. Independent Catholics, Old Catholics, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics or any such Church becomes a Western Rite Church when they are accepted in communion with Eastern or Oriental Orthodox Churches. They are allowed to preserve and keep their distinct traditions and liturgical rites (Latin, Anglican, Episcopal) in line with Orthodox faith and practices.
Western Rites in Eastern Orthodoxy
The beginning of the Western Rite Orthodox Churches within Eastern Orthodox Churches have been significantly influenced by the life and works of Julian Joseph Overbeck (1802-1905), a Roman Catholic Priest who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy.
The Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate (AWRV) and Western Rite Communities of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia are notable examples for Western Rites within canonical Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Western Rite Eastern Orthodox Communities
Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate (AWRV)
The Vicariate began in 1961 by the reception of the St. Basil Society into the autonomous Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America (Patriarchate of Antioch and All East). Over the years the Western Rite Orthodox Vicariate flourished and it currently consists of more than twenty parishes throughout the US. The Vicariteis administrated by a Vicar General and he reports to the Bishop who acts as the overseer of the Western Rite Orthodox community.
The Western Rites Communities of the Russian OrthodoChurch Outside Russia
The ROCOR Western Rite communities are managed by a Vicar-General and he reports to the First Hierarch. It consists of thirty-three parishes spread over six deaneries. Among which two deaneries are outside the United States of America (UK and Scandinavia). The Western Rite communities came into existence within the Russian Church in 1870 with the approval of the celebration of the Western Mass by the Moscow Patriarchate.
Western Rites in Oriental Orthodoxy
Western Rite champions like Jules Ferrette (1828 –1904), Alvares Julius (1836 – 1923), Rene Vilatte (1854 –1929) has extensively contributed to the possible beginning, growth, and historical development of Western Rites within the Oriental Orthodox Churches.
There are few Western-Latin and Anglo Rite Churches within the Oriental Orthodox communion of Churches. One of the largest Western Rite Churches among Oriental Orthodox Churches was the Independent Catholic Mission Church (ICM) of Metropolitan-Archbishop Alvares Julius.
The René Vilatte lineage has a large number of Churches. Some of them are the Federation of St. Thomas Christians in the USA (a federation of a number of Churches in the USA claiming to have their origin from René Vilatte). A prominent member among them is the Marthoma Orthodox Church of America. They claim to practice a mix of Syriac and Malankara Orthodox systems of worship.
Another example of this category is the African Orthodox Church (founded by Bishop George Alexander through Archbishop René Vilatte). Presently, there is a Western Rite Oriental Orthodox presence in the Indian Subcontinent, USA, Europe, and a few other places. Many Western Rite Churches practice a mix of Latin Catholic, Anglican, Episcopal, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox systems of liturgy, prayers, worship, and beliefs.
Independent Catholic movements that constitute the major share of Western Rite of Syriac and Malankara Orthodoxy were not something that was unique to the Indian Subcontinent. It was a worldwide phenomenon, a part of the larger Independent Sacramental Movement, which includes independent Orthodox, Anglican, and other non-Catholic Churches. ‘Episcopal Vagantes’ Arnold Harris Mathew is associated with this movement.
Western Rite Oriental Orthodox Communities
Western Rites exist within Coptic, Syriac, and Indian Orthodox Malankara Churches. Armenian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches do not have Western Rites.
Coptic Orthodox Church
French Coptic Orthodox Church
The French Coptic Orthodox Church is not a full-fledged Western Rite Church. It is an autonomous Church under the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. The Church caters to the spiritual needs of French people and of the second and third-generation French Coptic Orthodox Christians.
Syriac Orthodox Church
The Honnavar Mission began as a Western Rite community (Independent Catholics) of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Presently, the Honnavar Mission takes care of the Orthodox communities who have migrated from Kerala to the Brahmavar-Honnavar region.
Central and South American Patriarchal Vicariates
These Vicariates consist of former Roman Catholics and Catholic Apostolic Christians who reunited with the Syriac Orthodox Church. They are allowed to use Syriac Orthodox Liturgy and they use their own Western Rite Liturgy simultaneously o occasional demands.
Indian Orthodox Malankara Church
Independent Catholic Mission Church (ICM) under Metropolitan-Archbishop Alvares Julius I
There are no more ICM Churches in existence. The remaining community of ICM is associated with the diocese of Brahmavar. Several Independent Catholic communities, which were once a part of ICM, exist in the southern part of India and elsewhere.
Christian (Old Orthodox) Catholic Rite Church of America (CCRA) (Mar Timotheus I, Archbishop of Old (Roman) Catholics in America)
This was the Church that elected René Vilatte to the Episcopate. The original name of the Church was the Christian Catholic Church. Other names are also in vogue. Presently, the Christian Catholic Church Canada (CCCC), based in Ottawa, is the descendent of the original Church that elected Archbishop Vilatte.
Western Rites in Independent (Other) Orthodoxy
A considerable number of independent Orthodox churches and congregations within them typically practice Western Rite. A number of Old Calender Orthodox Churches also retain Western Rite congregations.