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New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? #416203 09/06/16 03:00 PM
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N Mosley Offline OP
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A recent article in L'Espresso online states that there may be a plan in the works to unify various Byzantine Catholic churches in Italy under one sui iuris church.

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In recent months the apostolic nuncio in Italy, Adriano Bernardini, sent to the bishops in question a letter from the congregation for Oriental Churches aimed at gauging the feasibility of erecting a metropolitan Church “sui iuris” that would embrace all the faithful of the Byzantine rite living in Italy: Ukrainian, Romanian, Italo-Albanian, etc.

The plan stipulates the extension of the jurisdiction of the diocese of Piana degli Albanesi to the Byzantine faithful of all of Sicily; of the diocese of Lungro degli Albanesi to the Byzantine faithful of all of the southern peninsula of Italy; and of the monastery of Grottaferrata (see the photo) to the Byzantine faithful of south-central Italy.

This would give rise to a sort of unified “Catholic Church of the Byzantines in Italy,” which would bring together the faithful of Churches with their own traditions, with different calendars, some Gregorian and some Julian, and even with different rites, since in the eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi there are also Latin rite priests and parishes.

No one wants this unification. The Ukrainians aspire to a jurisdiction of their own, as in Germany, England, and France, and the Italo-Albanians don’t want to hear about anything that would destroy their identity. They descend from the emigration that came to Italy from Albania in the 15th century, and for the most part the language of their daily life and of the liturgy is Albanian, protected by the national law on linguistic minorities. But they are fewer in number than the Ukrainians of recent immigration Italy recently, and they are afraid that their future bishops, appointed by the pope by virtue of canons 155 and 168 of the code of the Eastern Churches, will be Ukrainians and not Italo-Albanians.

Curiously, however, the very bishop whom Pope Francis installed in 2015 in the diocese of Piana degli Albanesi, Giorgio Gallaro, is an active proponent of the metamorphosis.

Sicilian, a canonist, already of the Latin rite before temporarily emigrating to America, Gallaro does not speak Albanian, does not love Greek and is seeking to impose the use of Italian. Heedless of the liturgical prescriptions, he also goes to celebrate in the Latin churches of the eparchy, wearing Latin vestments. He has shortened the solemn Byzantine liturgies of Holy Week, perhaps too verbose for him, but to which the population is very much attached. He is gradually removing from the main town of the eparchy the priests of the Greek rite, some of them married with children, replacing them with Latin priests. Also in Martorana, Palermo, over which he has jurisdiction, he has interrupted the historical sequence of Italo-Albanian “papàs.”

Understandably, a protest is rising against him. The presbyteral council of the eparchy and the college of consultants has resigned almost en bloc.

And a popular lay conference is scheduled in Piana degli Albanesi for the second half of September, in defense of the Greek and Albanian languages in the liturgy and in public institutions, starting with the schools.


Ecumenists Out of the House. But Inside It’s a Melee

Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: N Mosley] #416204 09/06/16 03:51 PM
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Fr. Deacon Lance Offline
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Knowing Bishop George, I don't believe a single thing written in this article by the discredited journalist Magister.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: N Mosley] #416271 09/20/16 11:50 AM
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Deacon Peter Offline
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Well, I do not defend Mr. Magister, but his article may have some "grains of truth" dispersed here and there. wink

Especially it seems to me quite possible that Rome is seeking ways to improve the canonical status of the Italo-Albanian Church. A Church with three "bishoprics" is a natural candidate for metropolitan status. Note that we've already seen creation of two Metropolitan Churches in Europe (Slovak & Hungarian), the Italo-Albanian one might be the third in line. And giving them jurisdiction over other Byzantines seems logical (even if not pleasant for our UGCC or Romanian GCC faithful in Italy). So is the practice in Czech Republic and Greece, for instance.

Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: N Mosley] #416356 10/04/16 03:16 PM
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UkrCathLDN Offline
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It is not logical having the Italo-Albanians with jurisdiction over UGCC. It will never happen.

Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: N Mosley] #416362 10/05/16 05:39 PM
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If the Orthodox are seeking to regularize the jurisdictional chaos of their Diaspora, is it not logical and quite appropriate for Greek Catholics to do the same with theirs? It will take a good deal of "humble pie", but it must be done.

Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: UkrCathLDN] #416364 10/05/16 11:35 PM
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Nelson Chase Offline
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It is not logical having the Italo-Albanians with jurisdiction over UGCC. It will never happen.


I actually think it is a good idea. We only have to look to the OCA as a model. The OCA has eparchy's for parishes of the Russian (the majority), Bulgarian, and Romanian traditions all under a single metropolitan. Why can't Byzantine-rite Catholics of various traditions not do the same? I think in the US it should happen and the sooner the better.

Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: N Mosley] #416372 10/08/16 05:11 AM
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OCA is a total mess controlled by Russians.

Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: UkrCathLDN] #416381 10/10/16 03:18 PM
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Deacon Peter Offline
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Originally Posted by UkrCathLDN
It is not logical having the Italo-Albanians with jurisdiction over UGCC. It will never happen.


We'll see what happens, but such a model is quite logical (as the IAChurch is an indigenous one in Italy) and in line with other examples which already occur. Please explain, why do you think that model existing in Czechia or Greece "will never happen" in Italy?

Re: New Sui Iuris Italian Byzantine Church? [Re: N Mosley] #416390 10/14/16 01:41 PM
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Andrew J. Rubis Offline
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As a preface, let me say that my family and I spent a month amongst the Italo-Albanians during the summer of 2015. My own close association with them goes back to 1988-1990 when I chanted in their parish in Lecce.

The prospect of a unified jurisdiction of the three existing elements (Piana, Lungro, and Grottaferrara) with their defined territories (Sicily, continental Italy, and Grottaferrata and environs) has long been appealing to the Italo-Albanians. Every so often, they hold a joint "synod" of sorts, even inviting the Orthodox Church of Albania, whose representatives always attend as "observers." The question of expanding that jurisdiction to include the areas where non-Albanians are living is more complicated.

Italo-Albanians approx. 250,000
Immigrants in Italy (2014):
Romanians 1,081,000
Albanians 502,000
Ukrainians 233,000
Moldovans 150,000

Greek/Byzantine Rite plus Orthodox worshippers in Italy are now the second largest religious group, after Catholicism. (If the rate of immigration from Africa and the Middle East continues, Islam will become the second largest.)

Already, in the Diocese of Lungro, a good 30% or more of the clergy are of Romanian origin for two reasons: the lack of Italo-Albanian candidates and the arrival of numerous Romanians into these traditionally Italo-Albanian communities. However, I noticed that two of the Italo-Albanian seminarians/chanters whom I had met during that summer vacation were recently ordained as deacons and one is scheduled to be ordained a priest. Perhaps, with renewed linkages with Albania since 1990 and renewed interest in the language, the Italo-Albanians will no longer have a shortage of candidates from within. For sure, the Romanian-born clergy are not introducing substantial amounts of Romanian into the Liturgy, but serve in Greek and Italian. Most of the Italo-Albanian clergy also serve primarily in Greek and Italian but do add substantial amounts of Albanian. Both Italo-Albanians and Romanians are receptive to using substantial amounts of liturgical Greek, so there is a unifying factor there among the 2 million Albanians and Romanians (I'm including the Italian born Italo-Albanians (Arberesh) in that total).

That linguistic liturgical link is not a commonality with the Ukrainians. I tend to agree that the Ukrainian immigration should be addressed on its own and with its own linguistic solution.

Approx half of the Italo-Albanians have immigrated to Torino, Milano, and other Northern industrial hubs. 10,000 are in Torino and attend the Greek Rite Arcangelo Michele Church. Many others have gone to Rome to be joined by 7,300 immigrants from Albania where at least there is San Atanasio Church - part of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. But the immigrants, both Albanian and Romanian have overwhelmingly gone to the North to cities where no Greek Rite parish functions. Only about 37,000 of the Albanian immigrants have gone to Regions in the South where the fifty Italo-Albanian parishes exist. Still most of these have gone to actual towns in those regions where no Italo-Albanian or any other Greek Rite/Orthodox parish functions - such as the 2,600 Alb. immigrants in Altamura - where San Nicola dei Greci was shut down by the Latin Rite hierarchy in the 1600s (as in so many other Southern Italian cities during that time).

So the discussion of a unified Greek/Byzantine Rite jurisdiction needs to encompass the whole of Italy, look at where the Greek Rite peoples are living, and be prepared to transfer, at a minimum, to this jurisdiction the buildings (Arcangelo Michele in Torino, San Atanasio in Roma, San Nicola dei Greci in Altamura, San Marco in Rossano, and San Giovanni Crisostomo in Bari) where Greek Rite services are currently led by clergy from Lungro, but only at the pleasure of the local Latin hierarch. Additional properties in Genoa, Milano, Prado, Florence, Rimini, Ravenna and elsewhere would need to be identified and transferred.

I'm not convinced that anything so bold is about to be implemented.



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