The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Western assimilation vs. Eastern traditionalism


#1

I have noticed in Western Christianity, they have more diversity in their worship forms than the Eastern Christians. I am most familiar with Catholic worship, which is always centered around the proclamation of the Gospel and the Eucharist. However, there is plenty of diversity in how the service is performed, which I know that the main rites are the Tridentine(Latin), Novus Ordo, and the Byzantine. However, church styles, and music can vary parish to parish, such as Chant, Gospel, Organ and Choir, Post Vatican II contemporary hymns, and Christian Rock, or different church styles, such as Gothic, Rennaissance, Classical, Baroque, Modern or Postmodern architecture.

Now i have noticed that the Mainline Churches, especially the Lutheran and Anglicans that they are nearly identical to the Catholic Liturgy. Then the Evangelicals vary more on how they conduct the liturgy.

Now the Eastern Churches, I have a hard time speaking for. I know that they are more traditional in their Church design, Music, practices, and conduct. I have noticed in the Orthodox Church, Icons are the main image of worship, and have to conform to a specific style. I have listened to Greek Orthodox music, and it sounds very similar to Jewish liturgical chants(Which has a middle eastern sound). Now Russian Orthodox music is more Western with use of polyphony. Plus their liturgies are two hours long.

I know that in the Western Church, people can be just as old school, in seeing the new forms of worship as offensive. Many see modern churches as ugly and christian rock and modern liturgical music as irreverent. Some even think the Latin Tridentine mass is the only valid liturgy. I know that even the Latin traditions have many roots in ancient Roman, Celtic, Greek, and Germanic customs, such as different forms of architecture, Gregorian Chant(Modes based on Greek Western Scales), Holiday customs like Christmas and Easter having many similar Pagan customs. Use of realistic statues, Literature with elements on ancient myths with a Christianized theme.

I have noticed that the Eastern churches have not assimilated, except in using vernacular Slavonic, Greek, Syriac, or English in the Liturgy. Yet, as far as I know, the Liturgy is very similar to the Levitical Jewish Liturgy from the Old Testament, and I dont know where Byzantine icons came from, but noticed significant difference between Byzantine and Coptic icons.


#2

Just some footnotes here:

I believe Geoffrey is the resident Eastern Orthodox member here. He is the best one to speak on their form of worship.
The Eastern Orthodox doesn’t really change much throughout the centuries - either in their forum of worship or their theology.
You can find both the Anglican rite and the Eastern rite, in the Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodoxy is more a national church - catering to Greeks, Russians, etc.
Eastern Orthodox do not worship icons and Roman Catholics don’t worship statues - they venerate them.