Friday, October 06, 2017

Byzantine Catholics and the word "Orthodox"

Reclaiming Orthodoxy.

Yes, but. One thing I like about my part-time home, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, is in English it's not afraid of the term Orthodox. See the quotation below. I'd embrace what Fr. James Siemens and indeed Metropolitan Sviatoslav are saying except: 1) the Orthodox don't accept it and I don't want to be accused of lying, 2) the great majority of Slavic Byzantine Catholics don't think like this or talk this way (my part-time parish is typical in this regard) — many of the ones actually from Eastern Europe went to great lengths to remain in the church so don't even appear to stab them in the back, and 3) it seems to me that most of the Catholics who do this use it as a cover to attack our teachings: the National “Catholic” Reporter/Call to Action with a cool traditional liturgy; pseudo-Eastern Episcopalians. Most of them are obviously on their way out of the church and trying to take others with them. (They actually told me not to return to the church.) Byzantine Catholicism has much potential as a conservative, that is, authentic Catholicism "outside the box," without some Western cultural assumptions getting in the way (yes, you can have clerical marriage and be traditional); I hate seeing it perverted like that. (A problem I don't know how to solve: in America both they and the Orthodox are slowly dying out.) Don't get me wrong: I'm hip to describing Catholicism all in Orthodox terms, part of Byzantine Catholics' calling, even though, again, most Slavic Byzantine Catholics aren't interested in that.
May the Lord God remember in His kingdom our holy universal Supreme Pontiff N . . ., the Pope of Rome, our most reverend Archbishop and Metropolitan N . . ., our God-loving Bishop N . . ., and the entire priestly, diaconal, and monastic order, our civil authorities, and all our armed forces, the noble and ever memorable founders and benefactors of this holy Church, (our suffering brethren,) and all you orthodox Christians, always, now and ever, and forever.

— From the Great Entrance in the Divine Liturgy


  1. By the way, I just wanted to say thank your for your blog. I am a Roman Catholic who became Ukrainian Catholic officially 5 years ago. Most of your takes on the situation in the Eastern Catholic Churches is 100 percent accurate. There are things on this blog that nobody will tell you in real life but are 100 percent true.

    I didn't let the internet Byzantine converts affect me when they told me I was too Latin because I didn't like Aquinas or as one forum member put it, "My spiritual father would have NEVER approved you for a rite change." So much for being welcoming. These people only exist online and, low and behold, they end up becoming Orthodox and then having an axe to grind about the Catholic Church. The same people that post pictures on Facebook of their hipster beards on facebook or people who all they do is post pictures of Orthodox monasteries in facebook (and who are on facebook for 12 hours a day!)

    I briefly went through a period of being a Byzantine policeman (I was always grounded in Dogma though, so I never went through the phase of being like those people who say that "I don't need to accept the Roman Dogmas" while being united to Rome). I was the stand only, never sit type of a Rite-Changer. Going to all the services, standing the whole time, supplementing the services I couldn't go to with stuff online.... but then you have actual responsabilities, job changes, deaths in the family, and you meet a great girlfriend who you'll probably marry... that is Roman Catholic and who, while interested in the Byzantine rite, probably will not become super-militant about it...AND THAT'S OKAY.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for your blog, even though I have never commented it has helped me a lot! Happy New Year 2018.

    1. You're welcome and thanks. Facebook is a lifeline for me but of course I know what you mean. About your third paragraph: I don't correct people in person on ritual stuff (who am I to tell an 80-year-old born Ukrainian Catholic what to do?) but learn and do with bows, signs of the cross, etc. Going to all of the services is a good way to burn out an average layman. Good to learn that Orthodox laity in their homelands don't act like that, which makes the long services make sense. The services are like a long bus or train ride with the clergy and choir as the driver/engineer and conductors. The laity come and go as they feel like it: stop in, light candles in front of icons and at the table for the dead, say prayers, catch up with friends, and be on your way, staying for all of Vespers and going to confession to prepare for Communion a few times a year. The temptation to be super-militant, spiritual pride, is big for conservative Christians of any kind: focused on fighting liberals and being proud of that rather than on Jesus and his teachings.

      Happy new year 2018.


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