Saturday, 21 February 2015

Offering the Lamb, by Michael Keiser

The Very Rev. Michael D. Keiser, Offering the Lamb: Reflections on the Western Rite Mass in the Orthodox Church, 2006 AuthorHouse

I find the subject of Western-rite Orthodoxy quite fascinating and so was naturally keen to read this book. Unfortunately, like Keiser's other book, Children of Promise, it fails to offer the insights into Western Orthodoxy that I was hoping to find.

Offering the Lamb is a lot like Vassilos Papavassiliou's Journey to the Kingdom. It goes through the various elements of the Western-rite mass, largely based on St. Tikhon's Anglican-derived liturgy. He uses these elements to expound the Orthodox theology of the Eucharist. Usefully, the Saint Tikhon Eucharistic liturgy is included as an appendix. It is quite interesting to read this unusual member of the Book of Common Prayer extended family.

Keiser defends the continuing use of Western-rite liturgies in Orthodoxy on the basis of the Orthodox Church's catholicity. He also offers some useful, but basic information about the different liturgies in use today. However, as with his other book, he fails to address the sorts of questions that a book of this sort ought to answer, such as whether the differences in the western mass from the eastern has any theological implications, or possible criticisms of the use of Western rites by Orthodox Christians. This book is an edifying read, but not a very exciting one.

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