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The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America #418130
04/17/18 12:27 PM
04/17/18 12:27 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 127
scottsdale, az
volodymyr Offline OP
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volodymyr  Offline OP
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scottsdale, az
I am going to attempt to bring back this Thread.
I want to begin by saying that I appreciate and support Fr. Deacon John and Administrator John for the handling of the first posting of this Thread topic.
We should not personally attack individuals. We should address behaviors and methods, not individuals.
Again, thank you both for your leadership on this Forum.

Volodymyr

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: volodymyr] #418131
04/17/18 02:11 PM
04/17/18 02:11 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 127
scottsdale, az
volodymyr Offline OP
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volodymyr  Offline OP
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scottsdale, az
One of the reasons why Byzantine Churches and her members are declining in numbers is because of a lack of evangelizing. Eastern Christianity is the best kept secret of Christendom. The reason it is a secret is because we do not wish to evangelize, nor do we make any real effort. I was a member of a Ruthenian Byzantine parish a few years back and I mentioned the possibility of rounding some of us up and going throughout the neighborhood and going door-to-door and sharing the Gospel and Jesus, and then having an Inquirer's Evening. You should have seen the reaction! It was as though I had asked to take one of The Doors home with me. Initially, I was upset with this. But I had to take some things into consideration:

1.] One, is I am a revert to the faith. Though I am a Byzantine according to Canon Law [my Father was Byzantine my Mother Roman Catholic], I was raised in the RC Church and then was a Protestant for years. Both Western approaches emphasize the role of the laity. So I ended up being a Eucharistic Minister and starting Men's Bible Studies--which I still do.
2.] Two, as a revert to the Faith, I was ignorant of the roles, or lack of, of the laity in the Eastern Churches.
3.] Our ancestors in the respective Eastern Churches were not really challenged to evangelize the faith as is necessary today. They did not have to;nor they dare not try to. During times when Socialist and Communist regimes were in power, our ancestors practiced their faith privately in underground churches in fear of their lives. Icons, prayer books, etc. had to be hidden from government emissaries. And during times of non-Communist regimes, everyone was a baptized Christian practicing either Orthodoxy or Byzantine Catholicism; everyone knew who Jesus was, no need to tell them. Correction of incorrect behavior would be the type of "evangelizing" engaged most often.
4.] Most parishioners I have personally encountered believe the way a church is to grow is by making sure their children get married and have more children. This will indeed spread the Tradition among family members, but what about neighbors who do not know the love of Jesus??

So I asked the Lord for forgiveness of my harsh judgment and now just pray for our Churches.
So we all need to be evangelized anew. Christians are to be knowing, loving, and serving God by being in communion with Him.
We have become too comfortable in America. We need to be cognizant of the fact that we are not here to live the American Dream; nor to waste excessive time and money on sports and entertainment; nor have a Nationalist attitude; and certainly not seeking a life of comfort. Our loyalty is to the Cross.

I challenge all clergy who may read this post to pray about emphasizing this in their respective Parishes. St. Paul admonishes us in his First Letter to the Corinthians by writing: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" [I Cor. 9:16]. Jesus Himself taught that "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also confess him before My Father..."[Matthew 10:32]. Powerful words. Public sharing of Jesus is NOT an option.

And I also pray for and challenge all laity who read this post to open up their Bibles. Read it. Pray it. And share Jesus with those you work with, or family members who have left the faith... again, this is not an option.

Christ is Risen!!

Last edited by volodymyr; 04/17/18 02:31 PM.
Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: volodymyr] #418164
04/22/18 07:26 PM
04/22/18 07:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 1
Surrey, BC
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Avrowolf Offline
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Surrey, BC
Hello there, perhaps there could be a new church denomination made if the current ones are unwilling to (perhaps made up of former Protestants/Protestants theologically looking eastward) that could do evangelizing (and hopefully inspire the other Byz. Rites churches).

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: Avrowolf] #418166
04/24/18 10:40 AM
04/24/18 10:40 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 11
Lompoc, CA
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InquiringByzantine Offline
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I don't believe there is any such thing as denominations within the Church. There is only the Catholic Church with it's various theological expressions. You could certainly get a ministry within a parish church going which focuses it's prayer and efforts on evangelizing.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: volodymyr] #418223
05/07/18 09:33 PM
05/07/18 09:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 29
The Wild West
Exegete Offline
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The Wild West
A couple of points about evangelizing:

- It's very hard (yet very rewarding) work. Many are simply not up to the challenge, or they don't care to be up to the challenge.

- Evangelizing also takes a fair amount of creativity. Not all possess that.

- Attracting new people to a parish can threaten the entrenched in terms of power and control, hence they eschew evangelizing.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: volodymyr] #418541
09/09/18 02:12 PM
09/09/18 02:12 PM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 7
Charlottetown, PE, Canada
RyanOwens Offline
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As a Latin, I can tell you that, while I do have a desire to formally change rites, this proves difficult for a few reasons which I will list here:

1) The difficulty of receiving a response from an Eparchy on the process of change. I have attempted to contact several Eparchies in the last few months and I will let you all guess how many have responded to me thus far. If you guessed zero, then you are correct. No eparchial office, staff, let alone a Bishop, has responded to my interest at all. This could be for a number of reasons but if, as this thread suggests, Eastern Catholic churches in North America are diminutive in size, then surely there cannot be so much going on at the Eparchy's administrative centre that emails cannot be answered in a timely manner. I am still patient, as I believe that it is of a vocational matter that I should go from the Tiber to the Bosphorous and so am willing to wait and believe that God will deliver me at the right time, but if I were not so sure, then I can assure you all that I would simply have given up by now.

2) Many Latins have the belief that Eastern Catholics are rabidly ethnic and virulently anti-Latin. I've heard horror stories from Latin Catholics who have attempted to seek out the Eastern churches and have been shunned from the community because they are not old-stock. Likewise, I've heard great stories from Latins who have been welcomed with open arms. I am aware that it is not an issue in every parish or eparchy, but I do also know that it does happen: a Latin from, say, Irish ancestry attends a Divine Liturgy at a Ruthenian church and is not exaclty welcome, because his surname begins with O' and doesn't end in -sky. If you've seen this in your parish, it would be wise to root it out. The maintenance of the culture of the region whence the church comes is of vital importance, and I do not believe that it should be watered down by the introduction of foreign cultures; however, an Irishman who is looking east should not be excluded from doing so provided he is prepared to partake in the cultural elements, as well as the extraneously religious elements, of the church.

3) Parishes are disparate and not easily accessed. This one doesn't have any easy answers. There are very few missions or parishes and the ones that do exist seem to be clumped together. Although I am loathed to imagine it, were I a Bishop, I think it would be worth going outside of the traditional enclaves of my community to find men (Latin or otherwise, married or otherwise) to ordain and found mission parishes across the region of my eparchy. I know of several men who would be good candidates for ordination; having been married, they cannot be ordained in the Latin church, but they could be ordained in the Eastern church. EC Bishops should do a better job of finding those men, inviting them to seminary, and ordaining them with the intention of setting up EC missions around North America to help grow the churches.

These are the three largest problems I have encountered in my wish to switch rites and become an EC. I hope you find them useful.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: RyanOwens] #418543
09/09/18 10:46 PM
09/09/18 10:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 278
Virginia USA
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Irish_Ruthenian Offline
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Originally Posted by RyanOwens
As a Latin, I can tell you that, while I do have a desire to formally change rites, this proves difficult for a few reasons which I will list here:

1) The difficulty of receiving a response from an Eparchy on the process of change. I have attempted to contact several Eparchies in the last few months and I will let you all guess how many have responded to me thus far. If you guessed zero, then you are correct. No eparchial office, staff, let alone a Bishop, has responded to my interest at all. This could be for a number of reasons but if, as this thread suggests, Eastern Catholic churches in North America are diminutive in size, then surely there cannot be so much going on at the Eparchy's administrative centre that emails cannot be answered in a timely manner. I am still patient, as I believe that it is of a vocational matter that I should go from the Tiber to the Bosphorous and so am willing to wait and believe that God will deliver me at the right time, but if I were not so sure, then I can assure you all that I would simply have given up by now.

2) Many Latins have the belief that Eastern Catholics are rabidly ethnic and virulently anti-Latin. I've heard horror stories from Latin Catholics who have attempted to seek out the Eastern churches and have been shunned from the community because they are not old-stock. Likewise, I've heard great stories from Latins who have been welcomed with open arms. I am aware that it is not an issue in every parish or eparchy, but I do also know that it does happen: a Latin from, say, Irish ancestry attends a Divine Liturgy at a Ruthenian church and is not exaclty welcome, because his surname begins with O' and doesn't end in -sky. If you've seen this in your parish, it would be wise to root it out. The maintenance of the culture of the region whence the church comes is of vital importance, and I do not believe that it should be watered down by the introduction of foreign cultures; however, an Irishman who is looking east should not be excluded from doing so provided he is prepared to partake in the cultural elements, as well as the extraneously religious elements, of the church.

3) Parishes are disparate and not easily accessed. This one doesn't have any easy answers. There are very few missions or parishes and the ones that do exist seem to be clumped together. Although I am loathed to imagine it, were I a Bishop, I think it would be worth going outside of the traditional enclaves of my community to find men (Latin or otherwise, married or otherwise) to ordain and found mission parishes across the region of my eparchy. I know of several men who would be good candidates for ordination; having been married, they cannot be ordained in the Latin church, but they could be ordained in the Eastern church. EC Bishops should do a better job of finding those men, inviting them to seminary, and ordaining them with the intention of setting up EC missions around North America to help grow the churches.

These are the three largest problems I have encountered in my wish to switch rites and become an EC. I hope you find them useful.


I have experienced [b]1 myself when I was trying to communicate with the Eparchy regarding problems I was having. The lack of response from both the Ruthenian Eparchy, which I have left and to which I shall never return, as well as my current UCC eparchy, have left me sad and discouraged.

Yes, unfortunately, many of the "old-timers" are deeply ethnic and also don't like Latins. I remember a fine priest being driven from our Ruthenian parish because he had the initials S.J. behind his name. I remember hearing a story that many of us converts were considered "boat people," both Latin and non-Latin converts.

EC bishops don't seem to care when a man expresses an interest in being ordained. Yet there is a constant whining about the "lack of priestly vocations." Go figure. I told my priest one day, after he read a letter from the bishop exhorting men to consider being ordained, "The next time you see his grace, perhaps you could suggest that he stop writing letters and get out here and start ordaining men." The priest nodded his head in agreement.

When was the last time you EVER saw a bishop visit your parish for a regular "shepherding session" to be with the sheep. In 15 years with the Ruthenians at one parish, I never, ever saw that.

One gets the feeling that EC bishops think that parishes are like mushrooms - keep them in the dark and they will magically sprout up. There is a reason that Evangelical Protestants build mega-churches. They EVANGELIZE! The EC doesn't know the meaning of the word, and as Fr. Thomas Loya told me one day many years ago "If the Byzantine Catholic Church in America doesn't learn how to evangelize, it will be gone in 50 years." I think that is a pretty spot on assessment.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #418544
09/10/18 09:11 AM
09/10/18 09:11 AM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 7
Charlottetown, PE, Canada
RyanOwens Offline
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RyanOwens  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 7
Charlottetown, PE, Canada
Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Originally Posted by RyanOwens
As a Latin, I can tell you that, while I do have a desire to formally change rites, this proves difficult for a few reasons which I will list here:

1) The difficulty of receiving a response from an Eparchy on the process of change. I have attempted to contact several Eparchies in the last few months and I will let you all guess how many have responded to me thus far. If you guessed zero, then you are correct. No eparchial office, staff, let alone a Bishop, has responded to my interest at all. This could be for a number of reasons but if, as this thread suggests, Eastern Catholic churches in North America are diminutive in size, then surely there cannot be so much going on at the Eparchy's administrative centre that emails cannot be answered in a timely manner. I am still patient, as I believe that it is of a vocational matter that I should go from the Tiber to the Bosphorous and so am willing to wait and believe that God will deliver me at the right time, but if I were not so sure, then I can assure you all that I would simply have given up by now.

2) Many Latins have the belief that Eastern Catholics are rabidly ethnic and virulently anti-Latin. I've heard horror stories from Latin Catholics who have attempted to seek out the Eastern churches and have been shunned from the community because they are not old-stock. Likewise, I've heard great stories from Latins who have been welcomed with open arms. I am aware that it is not an issue in every parish or eparchy, but I do also know that it does happen: a Latin from, say, Irish ancestry attends a Divine Liturgy at a Ruthenian church and is not exaclty welcome, because his surname begins with O' and doesn't end in -sky. If you've seen this in your parish, it would be wise to root it out. The maintenance of the culture of the region whence the church comes is of vital importance, and I do not believe that it should be watered down by the introduction of foreign cultures; however, an Irishman who is looking east should not be excluded from doing so provided he is prepared to partake in the cultural elements, as well as the extraneously religious elements, of the church.

3) Parishes are disparate and not easily accessed. This one doesn't have any easy answers. There are very few missions or parishes and the ones that do exist seem to be clumped together. Although I am loathed to imagine it, were I a Bishop, I think it would be worth going outside of the traditional enclaves of my community to find men (Latin or otherwise, married or otherwise) to ordain and found mission parishes across the region of my eparchy. I know of several men who would be good candidates for ordination; having been married, they cannot be ordained in the Latin church, but they could be ordained in the Eastern church. EC Bishops should do a better job of finding those men, inviting them to seminary, and ordaining them with the intention of setting up EC missions around North America to help grow the churches.

These are the three largest problems I have encountered in my wish to switch rites and become an EC. I hope you find them useful.


I have experienced [b]1 myself when I was trying to communicate with the Eparchy regarding problems I was having. The lack of response from both the Ruthenian Eparchy, which I have left and to which I shall never return, as well as my current UCC eparchy, have left me sad and discouraged.

Yes, unfortunately, many of the "old-timers" are deeply ethnic and also don't like Latins. I remember a fine priest being driven from our Ruthenian parish because he had the initials S.J. behind his name. I remember hearing a story that many of us converts were considered "boat people," both Latin and non-Latin converts.

EC bishops don't seem to care when a man expresses an interest in being ordained. Yet there is a constant whining about the "lack of priestly vocations." Go figure. I told my priest one day, after he read a letter from the bishop exhorting men to consider being ordained, "The next time you see his grace, perhaps you could suggest that he stop writing letters and get out here and start ordaining men." The priest nodded his head in agreement.

When was the last time you EVER saw a bishop visit your parish for a regular "shepherding session" to be with the sheep. In 15 years with the Ruthenians at one parish, I never, ever saw that.

One gets the feeling that EC bishops think that parishes are like mushrooms - keep them in the dark and they will magically sprout up. There is a reason that Evangelical Protestants build mega-churches. They EVANGELIZE! The EC doesn't know the meaning of the word, and as Fr. Thomas Loya told me one day many years ago "If the Byzantine Catholic Church in America doesn't learn how to evangelize, it will be gone in 50 years." I think that is a pretty spot on assessment.


And what is particularly sad about it being gone in 50 years is that it won't be gone because there is no demand. There are many Latins, like myself, who are attempting to join. I seriously know of many. But the Bishops are not working with us. I also know many who would be prepared to take up Holy Orders (at least up to and including the Diaconate, myself also included) but there is no movement on the other side. It is clear that God has His desires for the EC churches but there seems to be nothing coming from the ecclesial powers-that-be. It is vert sad.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: RyanOwens] #418545
09/10/18 03:23 PM
09/10/18 03:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 278
Virginia USA
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Irish_Ruthenian Offline
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Virginia USA
What you are saying is true. The Orthodox Church doesn't act like this. I have seen 13 good friends "dox" in the last couple of years, and now a couple of them are ordained, one being a priest and one being a deacon. The Orthodox see talent, holiness, and dedication and don't sit on the fence waiting for some magic fairy to come along, tap them on the shoulder and say "That's the one." They do what is needed to be done. This is why Orthodoxy is growing in America while the ECC is dying. As I understand it, the Ruthenian Church in America had 250,000 members back in the 1950's and St. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh was filled to capacity with priestly students. Today that number hovers around 50,000 and the seminary is pretty much a ghost town, a beautiful building with great potential that is going to waste.

How very sad.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: RyanOwens] #418547
09/10/18 04:27 PM
09/10/18 04:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 16
Nevada, USA
S
Sam64 Offline
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Nevada, USA
Hi Ryan,

Have you spoken to your parish priest about this? I spoke to mine about both changing ritual churches and a vocation to diaconate / priesthood and he was very helpful and receptive in both instances. I only ask because you mention the bishop in your post, but not your parish priest. Perhaps asking your parish priest to intercede with the bishop on your behalf would be more effective than trying to communicate with the bishop directly.

Also, don't think that just because you haven't officially changed ritual churches that you can't actively participate in life at your Byzantine parish. In my eparchy, the large majority of us who attend the Byzantine liturgy and participate as altar servers, cantors, etc. are in fact Roman Catholics.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #418549
09/11/18 01:28 AM
09/11/18 01:28 AM
Joined: Aug 1998
Posts: 4,149
Washington, PA
Fr. Deacon Lance Offline
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I believe there are 15 seminarians hardly a ghost town. We also recently received an Orthodox priest into our Archeparchy.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #418550
09/11/18 08:48 AM
09/11/18 08:48 AM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 278
Virginia USA
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Irish_Ruthenian Offline
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Irish_Ruthenian  Offline
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Virginia USA
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
I believe there are 15 seminarians hardly a ghost town. We also recently received an Orthodox priest into our Archeparchy.


And how many rooms are there at SSC&M? When I was there many years ago, there were hardly any seminarians. Nice to hear that there are 15. Would that it be 50.

Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #418553
09/11/18 04:39 PM
09/11/18 04:39 PM
Joined: Aug 1998
Posts: 4,149
Washington, PA
Fr. Deacon Lance Offline
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To put it into perspective, St Paul Seminary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has about 20 seminarians for 630,000 Catholics.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America [Re: Irish_Ruthenian] #418634
11/04/18 04:27 PM
11/04/18 04:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 3
Falls Church, Virginia
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CCS Offline
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Falls Church, Virginia
Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Originally Posted by RyanOwens


1) The difficulty of receiving a response from an Eparchy on the process of change. I have attempted to contact several Eparchies in the last few months and I will let you all guess how many have responded to me thus far. If you guessed zero, then you are correct. No eparchial office, staff, let alone a Bishop, has responded to my interest at all. This could be for a number of reasons but if, as this thread suggests, Eastern Catholic churches in North America are diminutive in size, then surely there cannot be so much going on at the Eparchy's administrative centre that emails cannot be answered in a timely manner. I am still patient, as I believe that it is of a vocational matter that I should go from the Tiber to the Bosphorous and so am willing to wait and believe that God will deliver me at the right time, but if I were not so sure, then I can assure you all that I would simply have given up by now.


EC bishops don't seem to care when a man expresses an interest in being ordained. Yet there is a constant whining about the "lack of priestly vocations." Go figure. I told my priest one day, after he read a letter from the bishop exhorting men to consider being ordained, "The next time you see his grace, perhaps you could suggest that he stop writing letters and get out here and start ordaining men." The priest nodded his head in agreement.

When was the last time you EVER saw a bishop visit your parish for a regular "shepherding session" to be with the sheep. In 15 years with the Ruthenians at one parish, I never, ever saw that.


I can only speak from a Melkite perspective, but here goes...

TRANSFER: For us, Transfer of Ascription proceeds from within parish life rather than by contacting the respective Bishops in advance. I went to my parish priest after a couple of years of parish membership and he helped me with the process. My Transfer was finalized on our parish Feast Day about 6-7 months after I submitted my packet to the parish secretary.

VOCATIONS AND ORDINATION: Melkite men are called toward ordination from within the community rather than being entirely self-selecting. I suspect that the Seminarians and Readers in my parish spoke first with our parish priest about their interest, but it starts in the parish and proceeds from there to the Eparchy and seminary. We currently have about three Seminarians, four Readers, and one Deacon in our parish who are studying with the goal of ordination to the priesthood. We also have a Ukrainian subdeacon from Canada whose bishop has sent him to serve in our parish while he studies at Catholic U.

BISHOPS VISITING THE FLOCK: Our Bishop visits the parishes of the Eparchy regularly - at least once a year. We will have another shepherding visit from him in a few weeks. We will also have a visit from our Patriarch next year. He visited half the parishes in the Eparchy last year and plans to visit the other half in the coming year.

I don’t know if the issues the two of you are speaking of play out differently in the Ruthenian and Ukrainian churches, but as far as Transfer goes, the recommendation I’ve seen (and this includes from Ruthenians and Ukrainians) is to get involved in parish life and after at least year or more, speak with your priest about transferring.


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