The Abbey of the Holy Name (West Milford, New Jersey)

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The Abbey of the Holy Name is a Western Rite monastery of the Old Calendarist Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles established in West Milford, New Jersey. It was established in 1973 while the Abbey was part of a small jurisdiction that derived from Ukrainian autocephalists. The head of this orgainzation was then Archbishop Willian (Brothers), who blessed the project to establish a monastery there in 1973; it was later supported by Metropolitan Joseph, who as the successor to Archbishop William.

The abbey was the continuing monastic institution which succeeded St. Dunstan's Priory in Woodstock, New York. St. Dunstan's had been moved to Woodstock, New York, in 1940 by Metropolitan William when he transferred the priory and his see from Waukegan, Illinois. Following its destruction by fire in 1948, it was temporary relocated thereafter to Overlook Mountain. The former location of the priory is still the present site of the Milan Synod's Orthodox Parish of the Holy Transfiguration (Western Rite), considered a spiritual institution in the area[1].


The Chapel at the Abbey of The Holy Name
The abbey is within the Old Calendarist jurisdiction of the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles. The abbot is Archbishop John (Lobue) of New York and New Jersey.


St Dunstan's originally formed as an Old Catholic Monastery, the abbey's parent body was apparently first involved in the confused "American Church" movement, and so the Prior, William (Brothers) was made a received and reordained-- having been ordained an Old Catholic Archbishop-- by Bishop Theophan Noli and Christopher (Contegeorge), a Bishop of questionable repute in America on June 30, 1934 at St Nicholas Cathedral, New York. The monastery and attached parishes incorporated as the "Western Orthodox Catholic Church".

In 1962, the communities were received as Western Rite communities of the Moscow Patriarchate and granted then Archbishop William the title of "exarch", but the Patriarchate repeatedly requested that Abp William go to Russia to be reconsecrated. This led to suspicion that there were political motives involved, and so the exarch delayed the trip until he was ordered to go to Moscow in January, 1966. Due to alleged manipulations of KGB interference they left the Moscow Patriarchate and came into communion with the Ukrainian Autonomous Orthodox Church in Exile under Archbishop Palladius (Rudenko), one of the founders of SCOBA.

Under Palladius' leadership permission was granted to establish this Western Rite church on its own as the Synod of Orthodox Bishops of the Western Rite with parishes and monasteries in America, Great Britain and Yugoslavia. In 1973, after the repose of Abp. Palladios, these churches severed all communications with the Ecumenical Patriarchate due to latter's allegedly extensive involvement in ecumenism. It was this year Schema-Abbot John (LoBue) was elected by the St. Dunstan community, and the abbey was relocated to West Milford, NJ.

In 1978, the name of the abbey was changed to Abbey of the Holy Name and, on September 21, 1980, Schema-Abbot John was consecrated Bishop of the Northeast (USA) by First Hierarch Metropolitan Joseph and Archbishop Hilarion of Texas. Since then the abbey has housed the diocesan offices and the St. Gregory Orthodox Liturgical Press. Many ecclesiastical dignitaries have visited the abbey during its existence, including Archbishop Hilarion of Australia (ROCOR) and Bishop Germain of Saint-Denis (ECOF). Schema-Bishop Theodore (Irtel) of Old Valaam lived the last 7 years of his life at the abbey and reposed there on November 21, 1997.


In 1997, the bishops of the Holy Synod of Milan, which had by then received a second Tomos confirming their autonomy in connection with the Church of Ukraine (Kiev Patriarchate) by Patriarch Voldymir of Kiev, received the bishops of the Western Rite Synod into the Holy Synod of Milan by a new granting of ordination and this choice led to the final break of any relationship between Milan and Kiev.. At the same time, Bishop John, who had served as locum tenens for First Hierarch after the repose of Metropolitan Joseph in 1990, was given the position of Archbishop of New York and New Jersey. He retained this title after being received into the Holy Synod of Milan through chierothesia (often viewed as a 'confirmatory' or 'conditional' ordinations). Afterward, the American Archdiocese were granted autonomy, and the Milan Synod in Europe, effective April 4, 2011, ceased communion with the new Metropolia due to the Milan Synod's insistence on union with the Patriarch of Moscow, and the Sister Synod's refusal to accept such a union.

Western Rite work and Services

The monastery has been Western Rite for virtually the whole of its existence. Originally using the Tridentine liturgy with Overbeck's modifications (which combined forms the basis of the Liturgy of St. Gregory,) the monastery began the pioneering work of translating the services of the Sarum Rite, a process that took over two decades. In 1993, the Medieval Monastic Psalter was published in a series of over thirty volumes, employing the traditional language used in the West for centuries in an Orthodox text. The texts contain all the parts needed to employ the full cycle of services and Divine Liturgy used in the pre-schism Sarum Rite, thus making the texts the first completely translated pre-schism Western liturgies in centuries.

The monastery continues to sponsor Western rite initiatives and missions in the Archdiocese through the provision of texts and translations provided on the basis of need, and also guides the Western Rite missions of the Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of North and South America and the British Isles, and assists with those who seek information about the ancient Western rite. The monastery itself still uses the Sarum rite for the daily cycle of services.

The cylce of services at those associated with traditional Western practices in many monastaries prior to the Great Schism, which include the regular canonical hours, as well as the Hours of the Virgin, followed by a daily Liturgy or dry mass depending upon the circumstances.

In 2008, the texts of the Medieval Monastic Psalter were approved for use in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.

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