Friday, February 18, 2022

How the New Roman Communion Unites West and East

FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 18 Feb. 2022 (NRom)

Inside the Basilica of Santa
Maria Antiqua, Rome

While the world continues segregating itself and causing division, Christ’s Holy Church works in the opposite direction, continually building unity. This is the mission of the New Roman Communion.

The New Roman Communion comprises the Anglican Patriarchate of Rome and the churches of all bishops in communion with the Florentine-Roman Apostolic See, regardless of liturgical rite. It takes its name from the historical position of Florence as the second New Rome in the Renaissance after Constantinople and before Moscow and the Russian Empire. It is headed by the Papa-Prince of Rome. Although it has much shared heritage and authority, the New Roman Communion is administratively distinct from the Roman Communion, which is headed by the Pope-Bishop of Rome at the Vatican.

The New Roman Communion is both Western and Eastern, following the heritage of the Roman Empire to which it is ecclesiastical successor. Both the Anglican Rite and its precursor, the Franco-Spanish-origin Gallican Rite of the Catholic Church are contained within it. Traditional Roman rites, as well as Melkite, Byzantine, Ruthenian, Russian and other Eastern Rites are permitted by its laws. In fact, the Apostolic Succession of the Anglican Patriarchate is not only Roman and Anglican, but also Melkite, Chaldean, and Russian. The universal Christian unity of this rich, mixed heritage of West and East is displayed especially during certain solemn masses of the Papa-Prince through the inclusion of a Byzantine Deacon and an Eastern Deacon who sing the Gospel in Greek and Russian or another Slavic language respectively following its customary singing in Latin. And, scholars often discuss the Eastern Rite influences seen within the Gallican and Anglican Rites.

Yet the similarities and connections do not end there. The historic Roman seat of the Papa-Prince, the Most Holy Patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Antiqua, located within the Roman Forum, was considered the Sistine Chapel of the Early Church and was for a time the seat of the Bishop of Rome. The basilica was constructed during the so-called Byzantine era of Rome and boasts an excellent collection of Byzantine frescoes. A massive restoration project just ended a few years ago.

Christ came to unite the world, and this is the ongoing mission of the New Roman Communion. This mission is a modern continuation of the ancient mission of the church. Just as the Apostles went to both the East and the West to spread the Gospel, and just as the Roman Empire extended both to the East and the West, the New Roman Communion today serves as a welcome place for Christians of all traditional liturgical rites.