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#390098 - 01/23/13 07:08 PM When in Constantinople...
Roman Interloper Offline
Member

Registered: 05/20/12
Posts: 324
Loc: New York
I have often written at various places in this forum about my "adventures" outside of Catholic worship into the temples of Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy over the course of almost a year, now. I have been, I am sure, greatly enriched by my liturgical and social experiences with a number of Orthodox communities in my area.

I continue to find myself worshipping in both Catholic and Orthodox environments, feeling more and more at home in both as time goes by. Others, I realize, will differ with my perspective, but I find myself more and more perceiving only one Church (with a capital 'C'), and no longer two Churches(or several, as the case may seem to others).

The point of this post is not to get into all of that, however (there are plenty of discussions on this board that are knee-deep in it already). My hope is simply to be able to learn the thoughts and observations of any Catholics (all sorts of Catholics...Eastern, Roman, Oriental, contemporary, traditionalist, and anything in-between) who find themselves regularly or even just occasionally worshipping in Orthodox temples. It would be interesting to me to discover the way in which you, as Catholics, immerse yourselves in or otherwise experience Orthodox worship services, Eucharists especially.

I ask this, I suppose, because we Catholics are not in proper communion with the Orthodox, of course, and are prevented, therefore, from sharing the Body and Blood of the Lord with them (among other things). In what spirit of prayer, then, do you join the Orthodox when you stand with them in prayer on their turf, so to speak?

I invite discussion of the reverse situation as well, of course...that is to say, of Orthodox Christians worshipping in Catholic churches (although I gather that this is rather less common than the reverse), or of Eastern Orthodox who visit the temples of the Oriental Orthodox, and vice-versa.

Whatever the case, how would you describe your interior experience of worship in such circumstances? Do you permit yourself to become absorbed in the liturgy or is there something that holds you back? Or do you find yourself, perhaps, so fascinated by the differences between your own worship and theirs that it's rather difficult to participate beyond the level of a reverent spectator?

In my own case, I can say that I have experienced a range of experiences, from mere observation to nervous self-conciousness to heartfelt prayer. It would be interesting to know what others experience.

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#390099 - 01/23/13 07:19 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
Alice Offline
Moderator
Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 10714
Loc: USA
Quote:
I ask this, I suppose, because we Catholics are not in proper communion with the Orthodox, of course, and are prevented, therefore, from sharing the Body and Blood of the Lord with them (among other things). In what spirit of prayer, then, do you join the Orthodox when you stand with them in prayer on their turf, so to speak?


In a spirit of praise and worship to the same God!
Remember, even Orthodox Christians are not always communing and sharing the Body and Blood of the Lord at many liturgies because they have not confessed, prepared, fasted and/or they may even be under a temporary penance of ex-communication.

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#390107 - 01/24/13 04:54 AM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
JLF Offline
Member

Registered: 08/26/07
Posts: 224
Loc: Fairfax, VA, USA
As a cradle-Byzantine Catholic, and having experienced hundreds of Orthodox services, mostly Divine Liturgies, in the last 20 years or so, I can honestly and humbly say I feel right at home. In fact, with all due respect to my Roman Catholic friends, when traveling and away from home, I prefer to attend, and go out of my way to do so, an Orthodox Liturgy rather than a Roman Mass. I think the last Roman Mass I attended was when my godson was baptized, and he's turning 11 in April, so it's been more than ten years. For example, when last in Constantinople, I went all the way across the city to the Patriarchal church for liturgy on Sunday rather than across the street from my hotel to the Roman Catholic Cathedral. I must admit that the new deacon in charge of the English office couldn't understand why!

The liturgy with which I grew up, and that I know almost by heart, in both English and Slavonic, is the same between my home parish and any Eastern Orthodox liturgy -- with perhaps minor differences in translation, singing style, what's put in and what's left out, etc. But those are minor while the essence of the Liturgy, what Metropolitan Kallistos calls the "Inner Meaning of the Eucharist" in his OLTV lecture series, is the SAME. We experience heaven on earth and immerse ourselves into praise and thanks and sharing and everything that God offers us in this world, and get a glimpse of the next.

Likewise the liturgy that I experience in Byzantine Catholic churches around the world -- Ukrainian, Melkite, Ruthenian, Romanian -- are the same, in their essence, with what I experience at home.

This feeling of warmth and comfort is sometimes even stronger when I've been the person organizing and arranging such liturgies, i.e. the Orthodox liturgies at Orientale Lumen Conferences. I particularly remember the years when Metropolitan Kallistos, Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos (of blessed memory), and Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos (of blessed memory) all concelebrated a Divine Liturgy in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Vladyka Vsevolod did it one year in complete Church Slavonic in the Crypt Church, then the three were together in the Crypt Church and then again in the Upper Church. Those were very special events.

Then there was the first liturgy of Metropolitan Tikhon in his cathedral in Washington that I was invited to videorecord last November, and the liturgies of Archbishop Vsevolod on several occasions in Constantinople, and finally the various occasions I have attended Liturgies celebrated by Patriarch Bartholomew in St George's Cathedral in Constantinople, one where Pope Benedict was even attending!

All were the same, yet all unique. But all felt like home where I could fully experience "heaven on earth" and therefore experience God himself (even if I couldn't fully participate in the banquet)!

Jack

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#390108 - 01/24/13 04:55 AM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: JLF]
JLF Offline
Member

Registered: 08/26/07
Posts: 224
Loc: Fairfax, VA, USA
Oh, and it's not "their" turf, it's God's! Jack

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#390125 - 01/24/13 08:54 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: JLF]
8IronBob Offline
Member

Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 844
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: JLF
Oh, and it's not "their" turf, it's God's! Jack


Yeah, you're right about that. Although there are times when Divine Liturgies are celebrated outside of their "natural habitat" too, like this weekend, and I think I've posted this a couple of times, and it does kind of tie into this topic, is bringing that "Heaven on Earth" experience to the Roman Church by way of a Byzantine priest concelebrating with the Roman priests, and doing so in unity, and bringing that experience to both congregations (the parish in which hosts the DL, and the priest and guest congregation's parish joining in).

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#390129 - 01/24/13 10:28 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
Michael_Thoma Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/05
Posts: 2283
Loc: Chicago
Jack,

Like you, I have traveled further to attend a Syriac Orthodox or Malankara Orthodox Liturgy. I will attend Roman Mass, but feel more at home with the same Tradition. When these aren't available, I first look for Byzantine then Roman.

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#390131 - 01/24/13 10:53 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: JLF]
Jaya Offline
Member

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 671
Loc: Ohio
Originally Posted By: JLF
As a cradle-Byzantine Catholic, and having experienced hundreds of Orthodox services, mostly Divine Liturgies, in the last 20 years or so, I can honestly and humbly say I feel right at home. In fact, with all due respect to my Roman Catholic friends, when traveling and away from home, I prefer to attend, and go out of my way to do so, an Orthodox Liturgy rather than a Roman Mass. Jack

It is the same for me (although I'm not a cradle Byzantine). When I'm away from home, if there is no Eastern Catholic church in the area, I go to an Orthodox church, where I usually feel very much at home. If I'm attending an Orthodox liturgy, during the time Communion is being given, I generally just close my eyes and turn my attention inwards for an inner communion with the Lord in silent prayer. At a Roman Mass, on the other hand, I feel like I'm in a foreign country whose ways I cannot relate to, and at the end of the Mass, I don't feel spiritually nourished in the same way I do in the Eastern tradition, whether Catholic or Orthodox.

Over the years, I have also attended other Orthodox services, - ones that, at the time, were not offered by the local Eastern Catholic parishes, for example, the Canon of St Andrew, or Great Vespers before a major feast. The experience of such services, for me, has always been as deep and prayerful as if I am in my own Byzantine Catholic parish.

Given our shared liturgy, spirituality, etc, I feel much closer to my Orthodox brothers and sisters than to my Roman ones, even though we are not in communion. Truly a strange situation, and one for whose resolution I pray.

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#390148 - 01/25/13 01:25 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
Lester S Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 234
Loc: Oregon, USA
I'm rather "new" to the tradition, but I already prefer going to a Byzantine Catholic, or Orthodox parish, for liturgy. amid the relative chaos, of an Eastern liturgy, the pieces fit.

Hymnody, or Hymnography makes a difference, after thinking about what the Novus Ordo is really missing; and discussing it with my friend who's an astute individual when it comes to liturgical history. He basically says novus ordo has shot itself in the foot, due to the hymnography being disjointed, from the rest of the mass.

I'll find out, this Sunday, when my choir director friend, and I head to a mass, featuring a professional choir who does gregorian chant, and sacred prolifany (sp?).

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#390186 - 01/25/13 08:46 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
8IronBob Offline
Member

Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 844
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
Yeah, now if only I could master the Ukrainian language in the same way I could master Church Slavonic, I wouldn't mind the most traditional DLs at St. Josaphat. It seems like the English-language DLs over there are too "Latinized" anymore. I remember when the English language DLs were sung more, and I thought the chants and melodies were way more beautiful than in the Ruthenian Church. However, now that St. Josaphat has started reciting half their DL, that kind of threw me back to the Ruthenian tradition. I mean, St. Josaphat even recites the "Alleluia" and even in the Roman Church you can't get away without singing the Alleluia before the Gospel. So, uhh, yeah...

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#390193 - 01/26/13 12:41 AM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
jjp Offline
Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 679
Loc: California
I feel much more at home in Orthodox Divine Liturgies. It's where I worshiped before I became EC and will always truly feel like "home" to me.

I suspect that I might feel the same in a Melkite parish - we've yet to venture to the closest one to our house but I hope to soon.

There are parts of the current Ruthenian service that I struggle to prevent from interfering with my worship, but that is a topic has been expanded upon plenty in other threads.

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#390195 - 01/26/13 03:37 AM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: 8IronBob]
Lester S Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 234
Loc: Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: 8IronBob
Yeah, now if only I could master the Ukrainian language in the same way I could master Church Slavonic, I wouldn't mind the most traditional DLs at St. Josaphat. It seems like the English-language DLs over there are too "Latinized" anymore. I remember when the English language DLs were sung more, and I thought the chants and melodies were way more beautiful than in the Ruthenian Church. However, now that St. Josaphat has started reciting half their DL, that kind of threw me back to the Ruthenian tradition. I mean, St. Josaphat even recites the "Alleluia" and even in the Roman Church you can't get away without singing the Alleluia before the Gospel. So, uhh, yeah...


reciting the Alleluia? Even in the daily masses I used to attend, at a Novus ordo parish, sung the Alleluia - the only thing sung during a daily mass, in the morning

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#390203 - 01/26/13 03:20 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
8IronBob Offline
Member

Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 844
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
Well, I was referring to the UGCC reciting the Alleluia, and saying that in the Roman Church, you have to sing the Alleluia, but I'm guessing that rule doesn't apply to the Ukrainian Church, which is sad, imo.

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#390222 - 01/26/13 10:20 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: 8IronBob]
Pavloosh Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 880
Loc: Northeastern Pennsylvania
Please don't assume it's the same in every Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - come to Northeastern Pennsylvania churches and you'll see.

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#390227 - 01/26/13 11:48 PM Re: When in Constantinople... [Re: Roman Interloper]
8IronBob Offline
Member

Registered: 08/15/12
Posts: 844
Loc: Parma, Ohio, USA
Yeah, that's true... It depends on the parish's condition (attendance, ability to have a cantor or choir present, English vs. Ukrainian DLs, etc...). Maybe I was just in on the English language DL, and wound up feeling like it was all mleh. Maybe if I learned the Ukrainian language, and joined with those DLs, maybe I'd be in for a more traditional DL.

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