International Committee
Western Orthodox Liturgy



§ 1. Goals & Objectives

a. To return Holy Church to Her true Catholicity, that is, to renew the Western Orthodox Church as a necessary complement to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

b. To promote and facilitate the renewal and spread of Western Orthodoxy, for the greater Orthodox evangelization of the Western world.

c. To bring order and orthodoxy to the burgeoning Western Rite liturgiology that presently is developing throughout the world without the coordinated assistance, guidance, oversight, or approval of the worldwide Orthodox Church.

d. To develop an accurate and compelling defense of the Western Rites and a charitable and Orthodox response to those anti-Western phyletistic factions which presently exist in Eastern Orthodoxy and which seek to limit the Catholicity of Holy Church to the single Eastern charism.

e. When, in God's time, healing of the division of Eastern and Western Orthodoxy is accomplished, to convert the International Committee on Western Orthodox Liturgy (ICWOL) into an Orthodox Catholic Committee through which the entire Orthodox Church may deal with Western liturgiology and similar distinctive Western concerns.

§ 2. Ways & Means

a. The ICWOL will enumerate and catalog the pre-Schism ancient Western Orthodox liturgies and, from the completed catalog thereof, will develop a model canon on the issue of what ancient Western Orthodox liturgies legitimately may be renewed today.

b. A separate model canon shall be developed to deal with the issue of what new Western Orthodox Liturgies (that is, post-Schism liturgies) may legitimately be developed and how that should be done.

c. The ICWOL will provide a broad-based, extra-jurisdictional, Orthodox ecclesiastical process for the development of norms, standards, and model canons for renewed Western Orthodox liturgies. (Adherence to ICWOL norms, standards, and model canons would be entirely optional and voluntary for all participating and non-participating Orthodox jurisdictions. The ICWOL would not have any authority to legislate canons for any jurisdiction.)

d. The ICWOL will develop and disseminate materials on Western Orthodox Liturgiology for the 21st century. To the degree feasible, the ICWOL will publish liturgical resources in order to promote their wider use.


ARTICLE I - Identity

§ 1. This organization is the "International Committee on Western Orthodox Liturgy" for which ICWOL is the acronym; hereinafter it also is referred to as the "committee".

§ 2. The ICWOL is a committee, NOT any kind of ecclesiastical jurisdiction or Church body.

ARTICLE II - Membership

§ 1. Membership is ICWOL committee membership only. It is NOT any sort of sacramental intercommunion, nor mutual endorsement of jurisdictions, nor conciliar or synodal membership, nor any other such thing. No jurisdiction surrenders ANY of its own proper authority or governance by membership in the ICWOL.

§ 2. Membership is by a juridiction's acceptance of an invitation from the ICWOL. Jurisdictions may request an invitation to membership at any time.

§ 3. Voting membership is open to Western Orthodox jurisdictions, as defined in these By-Laws. Advisory membership is open to Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions, as defined in these By-Laws.

§ 4. Every jurisdiction with voting membership has ONE vote. Each jurisdiction decides for itself who shall be the competent authority to approve a vote by its accredited representative to the ICWOL.

§ 5. Accredited representatives are the individuals from each jurisdiction who have received approval from the jurisdiction's competent authority to act on the jurisdiction's behalf on the ICWOL. An accredited representative may be a Bishop, other clergy, religious, or a layperson. The representative should be a scholarly individual who can provide substantive input to the work and deliberations of the ICWOL. If a jurisdiction chooses to send multiple accredited representatives to the ICWOL, it shall make clear its own rule for which one may cast the jurisdiction's one vote.

ARTICLE III - Officers

§ 1. The Officers of the ICWOL are the Chairman, Associate Chairmen, Recording Secretary, and Budget Officer.

§ 2. The Officers should be accredited representatives, but the Recording Secretary and Budget Officer do not have to be accredited representatives.

§ 3. During the formative years, 1998 & 1999, the founding Chairman and other appointed Officers shall continue in office; an unexpected vacancy may be filled by vote. In the last calendar quarter of 1999, the ICWOL shall vote to elect Officers to serve during 2000 and 2001, and shall elect Officers in the same manner every second year thereafter.

§ 4. Any Officer may serve unlimited consecutive terms, if so elected.

§ 5. The Chairman shall lead meetings; in his absence, the senior Associate Chairman present shall lead meetings. There shall be as many Associate Chairmen as may be necessary to lead subcommittees, as such subcommittees are established.

§ 6. The Recording Secretary shall keep the Minutes of committee meetings and arrange for publication of the proceedings of the ICWOL.

§ 7. The Budget Officer shall be charged to oversee all matters relating to costs which the ICWOL may incur and means of funding such costs. If financial books of the committee become necessary, the Budget Officer shall be responsible therefor, in the normal exercise of the functions of a Treasurer.

ARTICLE IV - Deliberations

§ 1. The work and deliberations of the ICWOL shall be undertaken, as much as possible, in a manner that does not incur any substantial costs to member jurisdictions. Face-to-face meetings shall be held only if and when absolutely necessary; telecommunications meetings shall be considered as "face-to-face" meetings. Collaborative work by high technology methods is approved and encouraged. The bulk of the work may be done outside formal committee meetings, by correspondence.

§ 2. The ICWOL is not a synod nor any kind of episcopal council. Meeting rules shall be as simple as possible, centering on common courtesy and Christian charity, with the objective of accomplishing the work at hand paramount, after those two concerns. If conflict so requires, Robert's Rules of Order may be invoked to bring order to a meeting.

ARTICLE V - Voting

§ 1. An accredited representative shall cast the one vote of his/her jurisdiction.

§ 2. Voting shall be recorded in writing; the means of transmission is entirely open, e.g., e-mail and FAX technologies may be used.

§ 3. Approval shall require a simple majority of votes for minor votes. For major votes (e.g., on approval of a model liturgy), a two-thirds majority is required.

§ 4. On major votes, six months shall be allowed for review of the issue at hand before the vote is taken. An extension of time for a major vote may be approved by a three-fourths majority vote of the ICWOL, but the approval of the issue shall still require only a two-thirds majority vote. Any jurisdiction which fails to vote timely shall be counted as a "tacit approval."

§ 5. Amendment, repeal, or adoption of By-Laws may be effected only by a two-thirds majority vote. Voting in any situation may be in person or by telecommunications or by formal written communication. In the case of any tie vote, the vote of the Chairman shall prevail.

§ 6. The suggested text of any Article(s) of these By-Laws which it is proposed to amend, repeal or adopt shall be included with the notice convening the meeting at which the matter is to be voted.

ARTICLE VI - Funding

§ 1. To the absolute degree possible, costs shall be avoided and (where unavoidable) should be minimized. Costs shall be covered by those who incur them; that is, members of the committee shall pay their own way on a volunteer basis. Jurisdictions may and should financially support their accredited representative's work on the ICWOL. To the degree that proven cost avoidance methods (such as World Wide Web publication of materials and resources) are available, they should be used.

§ 2. Anyone who insists on a cost-accruing method, such as hiring a printing house to publish a liturgy, should accompany their proposal with a plan for financing it.

§ 3. Member jurisdictions may be assured that the ICWOL is highly cost-aware and will not needlessly incur any costs whatsoever.

ARTICLE VII - Definitions

For the purposes of ICWOL operations and deliberations, the following definitions of terms shall apply. Agreement on these definitions and any other necessary definitions shall be one of the ICWOL's first orders of business.

Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions - Churches and other major subdivisions (e.g., major independent Monasteries) of the Orthodox Church which are entirely or primarily Eastern Rite. An Eastern Rite body with a minority Western Rite subdivision (e.g., a "Western Rite Vicariate") is an Eastern Orthodox jurisdiction, including its Western Rite subdivision.

Eastern Rites: Includes, but may not be limited to, the following Rites: Apostolic [Antiochene (Clementine)], Byzantine and Slavonic (St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. James), Syriac, Jerusalem, Alexandrian (St. Mark, Coptic, Ethiopian), Armenian, Malankarese and Malabarese (India). Asian Rites (e.g., in China, Japan) are presumed to be based upon, or to be, Eastern Rites.

Western Orthodox jurisdictions - Churches and other major subdivisions (e.g., major independent Monasteries) of the Orthodox Church which are entirely or primarily Western Rite.

Western Rites: Includes, but may not be limited to, the following Rites: Apostolic [Old Roman (Hippolytan / primitive Greco-Roman)], Leonine, Gelasian, and Gregorian Roman (Latin Roman), Ambrosian (Milanese), Mozarabic (Toledo Iberian/Spanish), Carthaginian (North African), Old Gallican (Lérins & Paris uses), Old Celtic (Irish, Manx, and Scots-Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Breton), Anglo-Saxon British (Canterbury, Sarum (Salisbury), & York uses), Franco-Roman (Carolingian, called the "Tridentine Rite" post-Schism, ca. 1570).

NOTE: The Apostolic Rite includes both the Old Roman (Hippolytan / primitive Greco-Roman) and Antiochene (Clementine) rites, which predate the Western / Eastern division which defines later liturgies.

Links to the Western Orthodox Rites published on the Web by various Churches and individuals, categorized by regional types, may be found on our Western Rite Links Page.

Bookmark this page, and then click here to go to The Western Rite Links Page.

MISSING RITES: Major Western Rite Liturgies which we have not yet found on the Web include the Mozarabic (Toledo), Carthaginian (North African), Ambrosian (Milanese), Leonine and Gelasian Roman (after the Greco-Roman and before the Gregorian), the Canterbury and York Uses of the Anglo-Saxon Church of Britain, and the Welsh, Cornish, and Breton Celtic Uses. If you know where any of these may be found, please contact us! Send an e-mail with the URL to the ICWOL.

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