An enjoyable Saturday-afternoon drive though the little WASP college town of Swarthmore brought me (past a decent-sized Roman Rite church nearby ) to this romantic Gothic church complete with cemetery and lych-gate, the former Leiper Presbyterian Church. Several members of the Leiper family are buried here.
She looks good by the lych-gate.She got a lot of love from the congregation; met a few of them that way.
The lych-gate. I think in medieval England the funeral procession with the coffin would stop under one of these for part of the service.
Copies of icons by renowned painter Christina Dochwat. This parish has third-generation Americans but many such parishes have families who fled from the Soviets right after World War II; all are grateful, patriotic Americans as well as enthusiastically nationalistic about the Ukraine. In the opposite corner is the Ukrainian flag. (Ukrainian Catholics are actually a minority from the country's far west.) The Litany of Peace in the Byzantine Rite, in the tradition of praying on a Christian empire's behalf, prays for the government and the armed forces specifically.
A detail I remember from my first traditional Catholic Mass in person in 1985. The embroidered towel (рушник, rushnik, towel) placed on some holy images is a surviving pagan Ukrainian custom.
"In peace let us pray to the Lord." "Lord, have mercy." Fr. John Ciurpita, pastor. The fine iconostasis is from the former Holy Ghost Church, Chester.
The servant of God John partakes of the Precious and All-Holy Body and Blood of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins and everlasting life.Orthodoxy without the attitude, from me: being at a Byzantine Rite service for the right reasons, not to look cool or make some anti-Catholic statement, left or right, is great. At home I broke out the Orthodox prayer books for the pre- and post-Communion offices.
It's nice to know that a building once used for schismatic purposes is finally being used to celebrate the one true Church.Worse than in schism; in heresy, but their heart was in the right place as born Presbyterians. We should pray privately for them, commending them to God's infinite mercy as I'm sure Fr. Ciurpita does.
A spoken Divine Liturgy? The Ruthenian Byzantine church I occasionally attend has one on Saturday evening. An anticipatory Sunday liturgy. (Oh, the awful and horrid latinisation.) I have not yet been to one.My instinct is to try to be a purist too, and unlatinized Byzantine Catholicism is a desire of the church deserving of much-needed support. That said, the people want the latinized forms and deserve respect, and this spoken Liturgy doesn't offend me. The only thing I didn't like was a Novus Ordo-ism, having a lady lector facing the congregation from a lectern off to the side, rather than a man facing the altar, but you can't always have your way and her heart's in the right place. I'll take it over schism.
By the way, in this country the Ukrainian Catholic Church normally uses the Western date for Easter and the Gregorian calendar, unlike in the Ukraine. No problem; it's not doctrine. The only reason the Orthodox date for Easter is different is to spite Rome by retaining the inaccurate Julian calendar to calculate the date. Again, not de fide, so the church is fine with having two observances of Easter and two fixed-date calendars to keep the peace. Everything that's not doctrine (and most things aren't) should be negotiable.
Not having ever been in a Byzantine jurisdiction, it's not my place to say. Still, sometimes I feel that some Byzantines online can be a bit over-zealous in campaigning for de-latinisation, to the point where they seem to side with the schismatics against the orthodoxy of the Latin Church.You're right; that only adds to the difficulty of being an unlatinized Byzantine Catholic as the church wants and some are called to be. Some Byzantine Catholics online do side with the schismatics (or rather, in the case of born Orthodox, people born into schism but not personally guilty of it; estranged traditional Catholics), which is why I don't read their fora anymore and would never send inquirers there. They're almost always converts who in their understandable love for the rite make the mistake of putting it above the church. The sin of the Orthodox is they think their culture is the church. The church has many cultures: rites, schools of spirituality, and even theological opinions (not to be confused with doctrine) that don't always like each other.
Rome didn't intend to have latinized forms of Eastern rites; the Byzantine Catholics usually latinized themselves. An ecumenical problem because it makes the Orthodox think they can't trust us to preserve their customs. And sometimes we screwed up. The church can set and change disciplinary rules such as having married priests or not in a certain country, but banning the practice in America caused two waves of schism, circa 1900-1914 and in the 1930s, for no good reason. Something like 60% of American Russian Orthodox are descended from ex-Byzantine Catholics.
A detail about this place: Presbyterian pews without kneelers, a nice halfway practice for a moderate Byzantine Catholic parish. You may sit, and their custom has that in parts, but kneeling isn't traditionally part of the rite.