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Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century #411917 06/11/15 01:49 AM
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mardukm Offline OP
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I read from Russian Catholic website that many Old Ritualists joined the Catholic Church at the end of the 19th century. I have always imagined that the Old Ritualists are like the SSPX - super traditionalists. Hence, I would think they would be the LEAST inclined to come into communion with Rome.

Can anyone shed any light on why the Old Ritualists would make such a move? Is it possible that in those days, the ecclesiological divide was not so stark (despite the recent promulgation of the V1 decrees)?

Blessings

Last edited by mardukm; 06/11/15 01:49 AM.
Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: mardukm] #411939 06/11/15 10:26 PM
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Dear Brother Marduk,

Well, the Ven. Potapy Emilianov of the Old Believers did come into communion with the UGCC together with most of his parish (he is the first Old Ritualist Greek-Catholic with an actual canonization Cause at Rome).

You ask a very interesting question and I'd like to offer my thoughts on it, if I may.

Tsarist Russia persecuted the Old Believers mercilessly and martyred a great number of them (many of these have now been glorified as saints by the priested Old Ritualist Orthodox jurisdictions, including Bila-Krinitsa in Bucovina, Ukraine).

Tsarist Russia persecuted them precisely because they dared to maintain the old rites and refused to accept the new ones. There was a political reason for Russia to do this (I know you will find that hard to believe, but it is what it is . . .).

The Tsar at this time saw himself, in the aftermath of the Fall of Constantinople, as the leader of the entire Orthodox world with Moscow eventually to be seen as the "Third Rome" (Elder Rome having fallen away by heresy and New Rome having been taken over by the Turks).

This geopolitical dream needed to ensure that the Tsar and Muscovy followed the same rites as all the other Orthodox. Therefore, the stubborn insistence of the Old Believers that the old rite was the only true one and, following the Stoglav Sobor, that those who did not follow it were anathematized presented a problem to the Russian Tsar and his government.

The Greeks didn't care how the Russians crosses themselves or what-not. We have seen how open the EP was to St Ambrose of Bila-Krinitsa and how readily it acknowledged the validity of his hierarchy, while, at the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Tsarist government, made all kinds of threats in reaction to this.

In Ukraine, the Greek traditions took hold readily and, for the most part, the saints and teachers of the Kyivan Baroque opposed the Old Ritualists on a number of grounds (like St Dmitri of Rostov). Yet, at the same time, there was a tremendous tolerance in Ukraine for different religious confessions.

Even Socinians escaped to Ukraine to escape persecution. The Old Believers, likewise, were made to feel very much at home in Ukraine where they could not only practice the Old Rites without fear of persecution, but they could also employ printing presses there to publish any number of their books and pamphlets i.e. the Son of the Church and many others (they never actually hung up their icons on nails on the wall, but leaned them on ledges so that they could scoop them up at a moment's notice and run when the gendarmes came for them . . .).

The Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan of Canada, His Beatitude Ilarion (Ohienko) included a list of these publications in one of his books - although the title escapes me now (old age and lingering doses of iv antibiotics, you see).

He himself affirmed that the Old Believers felt quite comfortable and protected in Ukraine - despite their war of words with the Orthodox theologians of Kyiv.

While there were always a number of Russians, especially aristocrats, who were drawn to Europe and also to Catholicism, I don't think one can say the same about why some Old Believers became Greek Catholics at the turn of the century.

The reason for this is doubtless because they shared a history of persecution by the Russian state with the Ruthenian Eastern Catholics (in this case, Ukraine and Belarus) and their earlier, historic experiences of freedom to practice their tradition in Ukraine. Perhaps one could posit that they felt that it was better to maintain the Old Rite in communion with Rome where Ven. Fr. Potapy came to know and love the UGCC Metropolitan Andrew of Galicia than to continue to be open to the possibility of persecution in Tsarist Russia (even though Tsar St Nicholas II did bend over backwards to protect them).

Metropolitan Andrew was personally fascinated by the Old Rite and maintained a chapel for the celebration of the Old Rite Liturgy. He approved both the Old and the Nikonian Rites for Russian Catholics in perpetuity (which Rome acknowledged and has always respected).

It could have been that Metropolitan Andrew's personality, self-effacing humility and Christian spirit drew Fr. Potapy and his parish to the UGCC.

In fact, this is what is happening even today with an eparchy of the UAOC in eastern Ukraine (one would think that the western regions where the UAOC is most active might consider this as a possibility rather than the east). Archbishop Ihor who heads this eparchy has seen a number of his priests leave his jurisdiction because of his interest in entering communion with the UGCC, but recently one of his parishes held a meeting and there was a majority vote to moe forward with the plan!)

So I would say that these factors, the freedom that Old Believers felt in Ukraine as opposed to the fierce persecution they experienced in Russia and the meeting of two holy personalities of a very high Christian spirit, Metropolitan Andrew and Fr. Potapy, led to what for all intents and purposes was the unlikeliest of ecclesial alliances!

Metr. Andrew also insisted that his Exarch to Russia, Bl. Leonid Fyodorov, make available the Old Rite to his Russian converts - which he most certainly did.

Fyodorov became the parish priest of a community of Old Rite Greek-Catholics in St Petersburg and wrote to the Tsar that his community was praying for his son, St Alexis. The Tsar was obviously very impressed and responded with a hand-written thank you letter to the self-described "Russian Old Rite Orthodox in communion with Rome."

Whenever the Tsarist police tried to evict or arrest members of his group, Bl. Leonid Fyodorov always produced the letter and, on the strength of it alone, the police backed off and left them alone.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 06/11/15 10:30 PM.
Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: mardukm] #412089 06/26/15 02:29 AM
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mardukm,

Alex has, as always, provided an excellent explanation of the complex motivating factors involved in the decision of some Old Ritualists to come into communion with the Russian GC Church.

Pope St Pius X declared that former Orthodox Old Believer communities entering communion with the Catholic Church retained the right to continue worshiping according to the liturgical forms that they had historically served. And, in 1928, Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptitsky), of blessed memory, who at the time exercised a canonical omophor in regards to Russian Greek-Catholics, clearly enunciated that the Old Believer rituals were to be preserved intact, forbidding any admixture of Synodal and pre-Nikonian praxis.

I'd curious as to which site you read that suggested Old Ritualists entering communion in the late 19th century. Although it's certainly possible that there were individuals who did so earlier, the earliest dates that I've seen attributed to such would be about 2 decades later than that.

(Even the existence of the Russian GC Church is usually only dated to 1894, when the Russian Orthodox priest, Father Nicholas Tolstoy, of blessed memory, was received into communion in Rome under the omophor of the Melkite Patriarchate.)

It was not until 1909 that Father Eustachios (Susalev), a presbyter of the Popovotsy (priested) Old Believers in Saint Petersburg, was received into union with Rome, together with his parishioners. And, it was yet a decade later before the Servant of God Father Patapios (Emilianov) entered communion, together with the parishioners of the Edinovertsie (Uniate Old Believers) Russian Orthodox parish which he pastored in Nizhnaja Bogdanovka.

Father Patapios was received, in orders, by Metropolitan Andrew and accompanied by his parishioners, numbering 852 adults. That was in 1918, I believe. During the early '30s, he, together with many Russian Catholic and Orthodox clergy and hierarchs, was arrested and transported to the gulags. On 14 August 1936, he was martyred in odium fidei at Nadvojtsy in the Republic of Karelia.

It is likely that many of Father Patapios' parishioners suffered the same fate as him. Small numbers escaped to China, taking up residence in Shanghai and Harbin, where other Russian Catholic and Orthodox emigres had also established a presence. This situation continued until the Communist Chinese takeover made it impossible to remain there and they emigrated, principally to Australia, Brazil, and the West Coast of the US.

The small, now extinct, Catholic Old Ritualist community at Mt Angel in Oregon was among those who fled Shanghai.

The status of Old Ritualist Catholics in the Soviet Union itself was unknown for decades. Until Russian Greek-Catholics emerged from their virtual catacomb existence in the late twentieth century, it seemed unlikely that any organized bodies of Old Ritualists survived the eight centuries of persecution. However, a small group did and the Russian GC Church in Russia numbers a Catholic Old Ritualist community in St Peterburg among its parishes.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: Irish Melkite] #412104 06/26/15 10:31 PM
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Brother Neil is much better than that Alex fellow, I would say!

He has pin-pointed something that would appear to more fully explain why an Old Rite Edinoverie group would see its way to Rome at that time.

The Edinoverie are, in fact, "Old Rite Orthodox Uniates" if one is allowed to use such a term who were in union with the ROC.

The fact of the matter is that the original Old Believers, especially St Avvakum, condemned ANY participation in any "Nikonian" or "New Rite" jurisdiction. Did not the earlier Russian Stoglav Council anathematize as heretics any Christian who would not observe the Old Rites? It did indeed.

This explains, in part, the paths taken by the "priestless Old Believers" - they found themselves in the position of not having the Priesthood and Episcopacy, together with the Sacraments which required Priests.

By seeking St Ambrose to provide their particular group with Sacramental Orders, these Old Believers were not simply involved with the principle of "economia" or anything like that - they changed their founders' original position on the validity of the "New Rite" and its sacraments/Mysteries. (Avvakum had, at one time, called on his Old Believer followers to even trample on Bread consecrated according to the 'Nikonian' rites etc.).

The same is true of the "United Believers" in the ROC. Other Old Believers saw and continue to see them as people who have betrayed their Old Believer heritage by reducing it to being simply a "rite" alongside the Nikonian/later Byzantine rite.

Ven. Hieromartyr Potapy then already came from a tradition (Edinoverie) that had not remained true to the original vision of the founders of the Old Believer schism.

One MIGHT posit that just as the Ruthenian Orthodox Metropolia of Kiev in the late 16th century saw its union with Rome as simply a "change of patriarchates," so too the Edinoverie group of Ven. Potapy Emilianov did as well.

What is being suggested here is that such a change-over for a Edinoverie group would not be anywhere nearly as drastic as for a priestless Old Believer group (nor would it ever likely have happened).

With thanks to Brother Neil for his usual insightfulness.

Alex

Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #413638 10/21/15 10:12 AM
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Does anyone know of any recent Old Believer glorifications of their saints/martyrs?

Alex

Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: mardukm] #413652 10/22/15 01:01 PM
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Just wondering how the Old Believers react to "latinizations" or serving together with Roman Catholics?

Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: bergschlawiner] #413687 10/28/15 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bergschlawiner
Just wondering how the Old Believers react to "latinizations" or serving together with Roman Catholics?


I can only begin to imagine how horrified they might be at how irreverent many RC parishes are.

Nevertheless, I will let Alex and the others provide a more...factual response.

Last edited by Messdiener; 10/28/15 01:28 AM.
Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: mardukm] #413699 10/29/15 09:27 AM
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I read somewhere that the old believers had an otherwise Byzantine liturgy that uses the Roman canon. I don't think anyone uses it anymore. On the other hand one of their main arguments against the new rite is that its corruption sprang at least partly from the 4th Crusade and the importation of Latin customs in Constantinople.

Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: mardukm] #413705 10/30/15 12:15 PM
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Thinking of the fundamentalist reaction of the original"old believers" towards liturgical reforms in Russia that
did not materially change the Divine Liturgy makes me wonder how any of them could even consider the Roman Church as anything more than a protestant one to their minds! How about the "two finger" sign of the cross vs the RC sweep of the hand left to right? How bout no alleluias vs 2 or 3? Can't see it happening with that mindset.

Last edited by bergschlawiner; 10/30/15 12:16 PM.
Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: mardukm] #413752 11/05/15 08:44 AM
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mardukm Offline OP
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Dear admin,

I will try to find that website again. I should have posted it when I first asked the question, but I often read things and don't think anything of it until several days or weeks later.

Blessings

Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: mardukm] #414175 12/22/15 01:26 PM
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I would be interesting if they were revived in the West.

Re: Old Ritualists joining Catholic Church in 19th century [Re: Stephanos I] #414179 12/22/15 05:02 PM
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With respect to Berschlawinner's comment on Latinizations and the follow-up point regarding the importation of Latinisms to Constantinople - that is the point exactly!

For the Old Believers, Patriarch Nikon had already come under Latinist influences by simply accepting the "new rites" from Greece which included the three-fingered Sign of the Cross (which was once universal in both East and West and even Pope Innocent III once wrote a defense of the three-fingered Sign of the Cross while mentioning, in passing, a local tradition involving the whole hand etc.).

The Old Believers, mistakenly, believed this to be a Latin tradition which the Greeks had unwittingly accepted following what they considered to be a wholesale "giving in" to Latinization by them at the Council of Florence.

Anything that was Greek (and we know Patriarch Nikon was very enamoured by all things Greek - including Greek dress and even food - can anyone blame him? smile ), anything that was Greek, I will reiterate was considered suspect by the Old Believers as being a Latinization (including the development of Akathists which they likewise thought to be a Greek imitation of the many Latin devotional litanies which is why they only have one akathist to the Mother of God in their prayerbooks).

Their was and is great diversity among the Old Believers and they have more than one priestly jurisdiction to this day which are often too ready to excommunicate one another or else question each other's canonical legitimacy.

Given the fact that they tended to be isolated and then persecuted (they will never hang an icon on a nail in a wall, but simply lean it on a shelf so they may quickly grab their icons and run from the police!), the Old Believers sometimes sought union with others to simply survive, including with the ROC which persecuted them.

In addition, they never completely dissociated their souls from the need for the sacraments/mysteries of the Church. It continued in many of them as a great longing and over time the arguments against coming into union with canonical Churches simply lost their lustre with them.

As for the more direct Latinizations among the Old Believers, there were those Old Believer Eastern Catholics who, in accordance with the spirit of the time, became very attracted to such Latin devotions as Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacred Heart and the like.

Even a great "vostochnyk" Easterner like Bl. New Hieromartyr Leonid Fyodorov, who served in and Old Rite EC parish, once wrote: "When it comes to Eucharistic Adoration and the devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we (meaning the Russian Catholics of both rites), are their (meaning "Latin Catholics") students." That was the only time when Bl. Leonid allowed that there was something the West could teach the East . . .

And we shouldn't make the mistake of assuming that Latinizations came directly from Rome or from Poland. The fact is that the Kyivan Baroque era in the Orthodox Church was characterized by a heavy Latinization, including Western devotions that were simply cast into a Byzantine liturgical framework (or not) by the Orthodox liturgists and theologians trained in the West at the time.

Alex


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