The Orthodox Church was founded by Jesus Christ and his Disciples over two thousand years ago, and it has maintained an unbroken continuity of faith and practice ever since. As the Church grew and spread geographically, transforming the cultures it encountered, its traditions were adapted to the various people groups and languages to which it spread, as well as their unique musical and artistic expressions, poetic traditions, and senses of beauty, dignity, and piety. The most general distinction in traditions within the Church followed the broad cultural and linguistic division of the late antique world between the Greek speaking Eastern part of the Roman Empire and the Latin speaking Western part.
After the tragedy of the Great Schism which separated the Roman patriarchate and the churches under her authority from all the other ancient patriarchates of the Orthodox Church, virtually all of the uniquely Western liturgical and devotional genius which had belonged as an inheritance to the Orthodox Church was lost to her. Until now.
In the last century, the Orthodox Church has in some places established a Western Rite, or unified praxis of worship and devotion according to Western tradition, restoring to her the lost genius of the West, and creating a congenial way for Christians steeped in Western tradition to enter the Orthodox Church without forsaking their liturgical heritage and identity.
The Orthodox West is a project of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America to be a resource for learning more about the Orthodox Western Rite.