www.byzcath.org

Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic

Posted By: Jeremiah

Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/17/14 11:03 AM

My Question . . . As a Greek Orthodox Christian who is seeking to be received into the "house" of the Byzantine Catholic Church, what exactly is the process?

My general understanding is that it is relatively simple, i.e., I speak to a priest, with whom I will meet a couple times to discuss the pastoral dimension of my move. Then I give my confession of faith and receive Reconciliation, after which I will then receive the Eucharist, and then that's it. I'm Byzantine Catholic. But again, this is just my general understanding.

What I Have Done So Far . . . I am already in touch with a Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic priest not far from my home (southeastern Pennsylvania). Our first meeting, which took place after liturgy (I did not receive), was about an hour, and was incredibly enlightening. He essentially confirmed my general understanding of the process, which I described above.

However, he was uncertain about a possible peculiarity in the process: since I am coming from the Greek Orthodox Church (of America), and since my reception into the Catholic Church requires my enrollment in the Church sui iurus of the same Eastern liturgical rite, it is unclear if I can simply be received into any Byzantine Catholic Church generally, or if I must be received into the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church (as opposed to Ruthenian, Melkite, Ukrainian, etc.) specifically.

If a general reception is acceptable, then no worries. The process will go smoothly. But if a specific reception is required, this could present quite the problem since there are either too few or no actual Greek Byzantine Catholic churches anywhere in the United States.

Why I Am Moving To Byzantine Catholic . . . A very quick summary of my faith background: I was baptized in a liturgical Protestant tradition as a teenager. In my twenties I chose to become Greek Orthodox, where I was not baptized but received only Holy Chrismation, since my prior baptism in the Protestant tradition was recognized as valid. For the past few years, during which I have done a tremendous amount of moving due to work and family-related circumstances, my faith life has been weak and empty. In the past year, however, I have experienced a rather remarkable revival in my faith and spiritual practice. As such, I'm now eager to live out my faith more fully with a community of Christians.

I love the Eastern (Orthodox) tradition and its spirituality, and I love my Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. It, and they, have nurtured me in my faith and I shall never disparage them (why would I?).

That being said, I also love the Western (Catholic) tradition, and love my Catholic brothers and sisters. I am particularly moved by the witness of Pope Francis and the increasing emphasis on more bold evangelization. I am also impressed with the exceptionally positive changes taking place in so many Catholic churches.

And so, whereas I am blessed in my Eastern spirituality and at the same time am powerfully motivated to evangelization, I wish to retain my Eastern spiritual tradition while also being in communion with the Western tradition (by which I mean in communion with the Roman Catholic Church). The logical conclusion for myself, following a great deal of reflection and prayer, is to enter the "house" of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

There is also a practical matter that informs my decision. As I said earlier, I love my Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters, and will always cherish the Greek Orthodox Church. Having said that, it has been my experience that there is a pervasive "foreign-ness" (for lack of a better term) that continues to be exhibited in so many Greek Orthodox (and other Orthodox) communities that makes it difficult for me to express a fullness of my faith in my own familiar cultural surroundings.

Where evangelization is concerned, sharing Christ in a particular socio-cultural framework can only be truly successful if the sharers can communicate in words and ways that are familiar to the hearers. In my view, the Orthodox tradition(s) here in America (God bless them!) tend to be very encapsulated and have a long way to go in learning how to effectively engage people "on the outside." Conversely, I find that the Western tradition -- which includes the Eastern churches in communion with it -- is far more embracing, and is better suited to (and already far more successful in) the task of evangelization here in this part of the United States.

I am not blind to the divisive historical, theological, and ecclesial (and, yes, certainly political) issues that exist between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Those are issues already covered in numerous threads on this forum, and I have no desire to discuss them in any detail here. But ultimately my objective is not to "sell" any particular tradition, per se, be it Eastern or Western; nor to "sell" the Church, for that matter. The Church is our Mother, which serves to nurture us for a singular purpose: to share the Good News of freedom in Christ. And my goal is to do just that in a way that is best understood -- linguistically and culturally -- by the people I encounter in my local community and in the broader society in which I live.

Many thanks, and God bless.

JEREMIAH
Posted By: jjp

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/17/14 09:49 PM

Advice from a current Byzantine Catholic who attended (but not joined) the Greek Orthodox Church before entering the BCC:

Be very discriminating as to the parish that you join. Some Byzantine Catholic churches are nearly indistinguishable from their Orthodox counterparts. Others, including my own, are more influenced by the unfortunate history of Roman suppression and have a "hybrid" mentality that has one foot in the Roman Catholic church and do not fully embrace the Byzantine tradition. These are mostly populated by Roman Catholics who seek to keep communion with Rome while having "the smells and bells of old" as one recruiting flyer for our church put it. If you are like me, this can be suffocating.

I definitely understand being put off by the foreign-ness of the Greek Orthodox church, however. If you don't speak Greek it can be challenging.

Have you considered the Antiochian Orthodox Church? My brother belongs to one, and while some retain their heavy Arabic influence, they are also a popular destination for evangelical converts and thus are very accessible to mainstream American sensibilities. Definitely worth checking out. I have my eye on one near where I live.

I'm also a big admirer of Pope Francis. Do consider that he wont always be Pope, however, and if the next one rubs you differently it may be difficult.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, PLEASE understand that the vocation of the Eastern Catholic churches is to work towards the healing of the schism that created their very existence, and then finally to disappear back from whence they came. It is a very specific calling that most do not understand.

I thought that I would be able to retain my Byzantine spirituality while being in happy communion with Rome, but it has not been the case for me - I am forced to choose one or the other. I genuinely hope that if you do this you can avoid a similar circumstance.
Posted By: Administrator

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/18/14 09:11 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
My Question . . . As a Greek Orthodox Christian who is seeking to be received into the "house" of the Byzantine Catholic Church, what exactly is the process?

My general understanding is that it is relatively simple, i.e., I speak to a priest, with whom I will meet a couple times to discuss the pastoral dimension of my move. Then I give my confession of faith and receive Reconciliation, after which I will then receive the Eucharist, and then that's it. I'm Byzantine Catholic. But again, this is just my general understanding.

What is the process for an Orthodox to become Byzantine Catholic?

In most places there is no process, since Orthodox are already welcome to partake of the Eucharist. I've known several Orthodox who have become Byzantine Catholic (and even Roman Catholic) simply by signing up as a member in a parish and receiving their offertory envelopes.

A discussion on the pastoral dimension of your move makes sense (and confession is always good). You need to know both what you are embracing and what you are leaving behind.

Yes, technically you become a member of the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church (even if you are received by a Melkite, Roman or any Catholic priest). But you are always free to join any Catholic parish there and worship for as long as you like. You certainly can do the paperwork to join another Byzantine Catholic Church (i.e., Melkite, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Romanian), but it is not necessary.

God bless!
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/18/14 11:29 AM

Thanks for your reply, jjp.

Regarding the Antiochian Orthodox Church, while I have visited a number of them in the past with friends during my more active years in the Greek Orthodox Church, moving to that particular Orthodox tradition is not something I would consider. Again, my core objective is missional, namely to fulfill the Christian evangelistic purpose in a way that can be most effectively communicated and understood in my culture and society. As I see it, and as my reflection and prayers have led me, the Catholic Church is best suited to most effectively fulfilling that purpose here in this culture and society (i.e., the Eastern U.S., generally).

This isn't to say that the Eastern Orthodox traditions do not have value, or do not have purpose here in the United States. They certainly do, as my own personal experience can testify to. However, their value -- and indeed their sacred place in the "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church" -- notwithstanding, they are far less effective in evangelistic outreach here in the U.S. than the Catholic Church.

The Orthodox Churches were originally established here in the U.S. to serve Christians from non-western cultures (largely from eastern Europe, southeastern Europe, and the eastern Mediterranean) who emigrated to the United States. Those Orthodox churches then became key cultural havens supporting certain ethnic communities (Greeks, Russians, Lebanese, etc.). Now, while the Catholic Church also did this when first coming to America (such as in serving immigrant communities from Ireland, Italy, Spain, and so on), it was far more successful in assimilating into American culture than the Orthodox churches have been. And in many cases -- though perhaps with the arguable exception of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) -- Orthodox communities here in the United States still retain a heavy ethnic cultural focus and identity which, while a blessing, nonetheless has the effect of too often being far more out of touch with the broader American culture than the Catholic Church.

Now, while the Byzantine Catholic churches here in the U.S. certainly retain a great deal of their own various cultural identities -- and, for sure, some to a larger degree than others, as you mentioned -- they have a unique advantage in their communion with the Roman Catholic Church, as far as I see it. The complexities of history being what they are (which may or may not include your view of the "schism healing" vocation of the Eastern Catholic churches), I've nonetheless discovered that they've learned how to better integrate themselves into American culture than their Eastern Orthodox counterparts, and largely as a blessed consequence of their communion with the RCC. And this is key when considering the centrality of the Christian evangelistic mission.

So again, the missional aspect of my faith is what primarily informs my decision. And you're right, Pope Francis will not always be Pope. But he is the light that is shining right now, and I have seen it and thereby have chosen to respond accordingly. And yes, church communities can be messy on several levels, both on the local and larger scale. But that's just part of the nature (at least in this current age) of being human. But in so being human and at the same time Christian, my singular aim should be to serve the will of God, not my own.

Thanks, and God bless.

JEREMIAH
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/18/14 11:50 AM

Thanks for your reply, Administrator (John?).

What actually led me to take the Byzantine Catholic "route of entry" is an experience I had relatively recently in speaking to a Roman Catholic priest about my being received into the Catholic Church. After an excellent discussion, he informed me that I would have to go through RCIA and then be received at next year's Easter vigil. I was, to say the least, dumbfounded at the thought of having to wait nearly a full year to receive the eucharist. I'm already catholic in faith, and it was my understanding that reception for Eastern Orthodox Christians into the Catholic Church is quite simple and not at all time consuming (and in fact shouldn't be, according to my understanding of Church policy on such matters).

So, much like the account in Mark 2:1-5, since I could not get in through the "front door" of the house where Jesus is, I'm trying to break in "through the roof." And for the same reasons as the paralytic in that passage: I'm eager to come to Jesus and receive his grace.

Anyway, from what I gathered in my conversation with the Byzantine Catholic priest I spoke with, my process of reception will very likely not take long at all. Due to some schedule and travel issues on my end, and some general administrative issues on his and the Eparchy's end, I'm suspecting the process will probably only take perhaps only a couple more weeks from this point. It sure beats having to wait nearly a full year.

Thanks, and God bless.

JEREMIAH
Posted By: 2lungsambassador

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/18/14 12:42 PM

Jeremiah,

I wish you well in your journey and I am sure it is not without doubts and regrets. Having gone through a similar journey not too long ago I will risk making a few observations, knowing that each experience is unique. I too went from Protestant to Orthodox--I was searching for the "original" Church. Years went by and I was drawn back to the faith of my mother's people. My wife (who was originally Roman Catholic, then Protestant, then Orthodox) and I came to the conclusion that we were definitely done with active participation in the Orthodox Church. We revere the Eastern worship and reverence, but never felt at home there. (That doesn't do justice to the full experience of course, but that will have to do for the sake of brevity.) Although the Catholic Church accepts the validity of Orthodox sacraments, we also knew that if we received the Eucharist while still Orthodox we were essentially excommunicating ourselves from Orthodox communion, so we fully submitted to the authority of the Church in communion with Rome. We had to work through canonical issues of marriage first, then she had to go to confession. I was received into the Church as a Melkite since I was chrismated in the Antiochian Orthodox Church. (Side note: I had to fight to be received by the proper Eastern Church as the canon lawyer was mistaken about which Antiochian body in communion with Rome was the correct one.) I then chose to petition both the Melkite exarch and the local Latin ordinary to change my ascription. I could have just had the closest Melkite priest enroll me but I chose to do it the way I did because I felt the call to be Latin. (I am French-Canadian on my mother's side.) Bottom line: you may have to educate yourself and advocate for yourself. Don't be afraid to pester (respectfully, of course) the requisite authorities. A change like this should involve some risk and effort. Finally: try not to fall into the trap of "finding the perfect--or ideal--Church." There have been many times I have missed the reverence of Orthodoxy and I am not as sanguine about Pope Francis as you...but he's the pope. Being Latin Catholic is an exercise in humility, but we have to be in it for the long game.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/18/14 08:00 PM

Hello 2lungsambassador.

Thanks for your well wishes.

As for doubts and regrets, I can honestly say I have none. As far as I'm concerned I'm neither "leaving" Orthodoxy nor "becoming" Catholic, per se. My faith is catholic no matter if my communion resides in the west or the east. The Church is the Church, and I confess the very same faith as every member of the Church family:

Quote
"I believe ... in one holy, catholic, and apostolic church."

My decision to engage my worship life in the Byzantine Catholic Church is both holistic and practical. Holistic in that the BCC possesses the great depth of eastern spirituality while also being advantaged by the influence of western openness and evangelistic passion; Practical in that being in communion with my Catholic brothers and sisters affords me expansive opportunities to work with them in the increased evangelism Pope Francis has boldly called for.

And I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is no perfect or ideal church community. That's been the case from the very beginning: the apostles were always bickering, arguing, competing, etc. What a mess they were. Yet they're who Jesus chose. So I suppose if I ever do feel I've found the "perfect" community, then I should perhaps be worried.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/20/14 06:11 AM

I came back because the Catholic Church includes the East but the Orthodox don't really include the West. In a way the Catholic Church includes the Orthodox, and not vice versa.

I love both the unlatinized forms of the Byzantine Rite and the old latinized forms. Both exist in the church, as they should.

My understanding is you don't have to be received by a Greek Byzantine Catholic priest. Any Catholic priest can receive you, but you would automatically be a Greek Byzantine Catholic canonically. Because you were baptized Protestant, some might say you would belong to the Latin Church, but I'll assume not. The late forum member Fr. Serge (Keleher) was born Roman Rite but, a Russian Orthodox priest, got to come back as a Russian Catholic priest.

Catholics unofficially move between "particular churches" all the time. Ukrainian Catholics move away from their old neighborhood to a place with only a Roman Rite church so they go there without officially switching; conservative Roman Riters getting away from liberal parishes, and those who feel called to the East, likewise move over. Officially switching only becomes an issue if you marry or are being ordained. So being Greek Byzantine Catholic and joining a Ukrainian parish for example is no problem.

Also, I think reception is easy for ex-Orthodox. Simply receiving Communion here makes you a Catholic; that's certainly how the Orthodox see it. Best answer, I think, to make it official is to tell the Catholic priest what you want to do and go to confession or just make a profession of faith, and you're in!

Making you go through RCIA and waiting a year like the Protestants taking instruction sounds like that tiresome refrain, the priest is ignorant of the Eastern churches and how to handle possible conversions like yours.

Anyway, life and people in the Catholic Church aren't perfect ("sinners of whom I am the first"; "I'd refuse to join any club that would take me as a member") but it is the church.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/21/14 08:39 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
I came back because the Catholic Church includes the East but the Orthodox don't really include the West.

I hate to say "That's not a good basis for choosing which communion to belong to [Linked Image]" ... but, well, this definitely seems like the time to say it. [Linked Image]
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/21/14 07:53 PM

Standard reaction on this board. To be fair, the Episcopalians include the East too. But it's not the same of course.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/21/14 08:26 PM

Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by The young fogey
I came back because the Catholic Church includes the East but the Orthodox don't really include the West.

I hate to say "That's not a good basis for choosing which communion to belong to [Linked Image]" ... but, well, this definitely seems like the time to say it. [Linked Image]

I may have been a bit undiplomatic this morning. Sorry about that. I could say that it is as good as saying: the Roman Communion is the true church because it has the most members, or the most power, or the most money. smile
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/21/14 08:40 PM

Whatever any individual's reason for choosing communion with the Catholics or the Orthodox, I'm sure we can all safely assume it's personal and therefore subjective (some people make the choice for doctrinal or theological reasons; others for cultural or family reasons; others for marital reasons; the list goes on). As such, we should be reticent to claim there are "good" reasons or "bad" reasons for such choices. One's reasons are what they are.

Having said that, I must say that I have discovered far greater charity in the Catholic Church than with the Eastern Orthodox when it comes to ecumenism. And so there's some truth in what [u]The young fogey[/u] wrote: "[i]the Catholic Church includes the East but the Orthodox don't really include the West.[/i]" With perhaps some extremely minor exceptions, we don't really see any Western/Latin rite Orthodox churches. This in contrast to Catholicism, which "includes" the East far more charitably than the East "includes" the West.
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/22/14 03:31 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah

What actually led me to take the Byzantine Catholic "route of entry" is an experience I had relatively recently in speaking to a Roman Catholic priest about my being received into the Catholic Church. After an excellent discussion, he informed me that I would have to go through RCIA and then be received at next year's Easter vigil.


Originally Posted by The young fogey

Making you go through RCIA and waiting a year like the Protestants taking instruction sounds like that tiresome refrain,


Christians wishing to come into full communion with the Catholic Church need only have enough instruction to come to the point where they and their catechist and priest determine they are ready to be received into the Church. The Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the full Communion of the Catholic Church may take place at any Mass, including a daily Mass, and in extraordinary circumstances need not even take place in a Mass. The Easter Vigil is really intended for the Celebration of the Sacraments of Initiation of unbaptized persons, although there is the option of having the Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians at the Easter Vigil.

Quote
Those baptized persons who have lived as Christians and need only instruction in the Catholic tradition and a degree of probation within the Catholic community should not be asked to undergo a full program parallel to the catechumenate" (NSC 31). For this reason they should not share in the same, full RCIA programs that catechumens do.


Quote
[t]he reception of candidates into the communion of the Catholic Church should ordinarily take place at the Sunday Eucharist of the parish community, in such a way that it is understood that they are indeed Christian believers who have already shared in the sacramental life of the Church and are now welcomed into the Catholic Eucharistic community . . . " (NSC 32).


Quote
It is preferable that reception into full communion not take place at the Easter Vigil lest there be any confusion of such baptized Christians with the candidates for baptism, possible misunderstanding of or even reflection upon the sacrament of baptism celebrated in another Church or ecclesial community . . . (NSC 33).


NSC is National Statutes for the Catechumenate set out by the US Bishops. The priest you spoke with in the Latin Church may have decided to deviate from the US Bishops desire, as have many parish priests and their Director of Religious Education. But that is not what the NSC states. Any validly baptized Christian is to be received as soon as possible as indicated in NSC 31 quoted above.

There is no formal liturgical Rite for Orthodox Christians coming into full communion. Jeremiah would certainly not be confirmed/chrismated. He would be received by confession, recitation of the Creed, and Holy Eucharist. The question is only in which Catholic Church he would be ascribed.
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/22/14 03:53 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Because you were baptized Protestant, some might say you would belong to the Latin Church,


That would be me smile or I would at the very least think it is quite possible. I think Jeremiah and the Byzantine priest should consult with the local canon law office.

A Christian, ie someone who as been validly baptized, regardless of whether they are received into the Catholic Church by Chrismation in an Eastern Catholic Church is ascribed as Latin Catholic. Fr. George Gallaro, whose doctorate is in Eastern canon law, is a professor of canon law and ecumenism at the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius. He discussed this Church Ascription Upon Conversion in the "Word From the Wise" blog.

Having become Christian by baptism in a western ecclesial community/Protestant church it is not clear that having been Chrismated into the Greek Orthodox Church would be different from having been received into the Catholic Church by Chrismation in an Eastern Catholic Church, in the later case one would be ascribed Latin Catholic.

I think a change in church sui juris for someone who was living as a Greek Orthodox would be relatively simple once they're Catholic.

Since there are areas where there are important differences in Canon Law which depend on whether one is canonically Latin or canonically another Church I do think OP should consult the chancery and get the advise of their canonists. smile
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/22/14 06:41 AM

Originally Posted by likethethief
I think a change in church sui juris for someone who was living as a Greek Orthodox would be relatively simple once they're Catholic.

I think and hope so. And if marriage or ordination doesn't come up, it might not matter. Just go to an Eastern church.
Posted By: MichaelO

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/22/14 08:51 AM

There's no real difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Go to the parish you are happy at.

That's enough.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/22/14 11:40 AM

Originally Posted by MichaelO
There's no real difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Go to the parish you are happy at.

That's enough.


That view's pretty standard on this board. It's nicer than triumphalism, but no. "Tous schismatiques" logically denies the church; it really says there is no church. The church is not a house divided in principle.

That said, born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt. None of their defined doctrine, as opposed to their opinions, is un-Catholic. We don't solicit conversions like what Jeremiah is thinking of doing, but because of the true-church claim, as Fr. Serge said to me, we accept them - quietly.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/22/14 01:01 PM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
Whatever any individual's reason for choosing communion with the Catholics or the Orthodox, I'm sure we can all safely assume it's personal and therefore subjective (some people make the choice for doctrinal or theological reasons; others for cultural or family reasons; others for marital reasons; the list goes on). As such, we should be reticent to claim there are "good" reasons or "bad" reasons for such choices. One's reasons are what they are.

Actually, I feel the same way. That's why I wanted to make it clear that I don't usually say "That's not a good basis for choosing which communion to belong to." -- even though I felt it appropriate to do so in this case, in view of TYF statement (and having read his writings in general for quite a while -- read and enjoyed, that is, not read with gritted teeth).
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/22/14 01:17 PM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Originally Posted by MichaelO
There's no real difference between Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

Go to the parish you are happy at.

That's enough.

That view's pretty standard on this board. It's nicer than triumphalism, but no.

I've encountered Christians who held that view and were very triumphalistic.

But I digress ...
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/23/14 02:16 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Originally Posted by likethethief
I think a change in church sui juris for someone who was living as a Greek Orthodox would be relatively simple once they're Catholic.

I think and hope so. And if marriage or ordination doesn't come up, it might not matter. Just go to an Eastern church.


In addition to marriage and ordination, children are affected by the father's Church status since the children are ascribed into the Church of the father, at least until they're 14, when they can freely select any Church sui iuris. One need not be married to have children so I'd add that as another instance where Church ascription matters. I completely agree that one is free to live as a Catholic in any Church sui iuris regardless of which one is canonically a member. Personally I spend a fair amount of time in Orthodox Churches as well, in particular most festal vigils, and Presanctified, probably other times if I thought about it more.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/23/14 07:06 AM

Maybe churchgoers are less likely to have children out of wedlock.

Non-communing attendance outside of Sundays with the Orthodox is great. Definitely in the spirit of the Western convert Russian Catholics, who aren't self-haters but all positive, in love with the East: "We have bishops! They just happen not to be Catholic right now."

Understandably the Ukrainian Catholic exiles who were the first Eastern Christians I knew well and the first traditional Catholics I knew in person - took me to my first traditional Catholic liturgy - didn't feel that way.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/23/14 10:02 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Non-communing attendance outside of Sundays with the Orthodox is great.

I like to go to the PNCC parish in town (on Sundays), as I regard it as my "home parish" so to speak -- notwithstanding the fact that I'm officially in the Roman Communion, because that's how my parents had me baptized (some would dub that "a technicality", but I don't want to uncork that can of worms). It would be nice if it satisfied the "Sunday obligation" requirement, since on some weekends getting to two liturgies is slightly inconvenient (all the more so if one of the other one is Melkite), but what are you gonna do, right?

smile
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 04:21 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Maybe churchgoers are less likely to have children out of wedlock.


A man can be widowed and be the father of young children, and I have a friend who adopted a child as a single parent. Not common but happens. And I dare say churchgoers do sometimes have children outside of of marriage. smile
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 04:57 AM

Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by The young fogey
Non-communing attendance outside of Sundays with the Orthodox is great.

I like to go to the PNCC parish in town (on Sundays), as I regard it as my "home parish" so to speak -- notwithstanding the fact that I'm officially in the Roman Communion, because that's how my parents had me baptized (some would dub that "a technicality", but I don't want to uncork that can of worms). It would be nice if it satisfied the "Sunday obligation" requirement, since on some weekends getting to two liturgies is slightly inconvenient (all the more so if one of the other one is Melkite), but what are you gonna do, right?

smile


I went to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy on a Sunday because their deacon was being made a protodeacon and I wanted to share in the happy event. Another Sunday the baby of friends was being baptized. When SF has the annual Bay to Breakers run from the Bay to the Ocean it shuts down major routes making it insane to get out to our parish and back home again. I just went to an Orthodox Church close to home. On those Sundays I saw no need to also go to a Latin Church where the Liturgy, the readings, the feastday, would be entirely different from my parish, having been in an Orthodox Church with the identical Liturgy as my home EC parish, apart from the heirarchs commemorated in the diptychs. July 6th was the altar feast, old calendar, for an OCA Church where we frequently go for Vespers. Their altar feast happened to fall on a Sunday so again I was there instead of my home parish.

I love the Roman Rite and I often go to daily Mass but as far as going to Mass on a Sunday after going to DL in an Orthodox Church, in order to fulfill an "obligation", it makes zero sense to me.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 06:45 AM

Originally Posted by likethethief
Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by The young fogey
Non-communing attendance outside of Sundays with the Orthodox is great.

I like to go to the PNCC parish in town (on Sundays), as I regard it as my "home parish" so to speak -- notwithstanding the fact that I'm officially in the Roman Communion, because that's how my parents had me baptized (some would dub that "a technicality", but I don't want to uncork that can of worms). It would be nice if it satisfied the "Sunday obligation" requirement, since on some weekends getting to two liturgies is slightly inconvenient (all the more so if one of the other one is Melkite), but what are you gonna do, right?

smile


I went to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy on a Sunday because their deacon was being made a protodeacon and I wanted to share in the happy event. Another Sunday the baby of friends was being baptized. When SF has the annual Bay to Breakers run from the Bay to the Ocean it shuts down major routes making it insane to get out to our parish and back home again. I just went to an Orthodox Church close to home. On those Sundays I saw no need to also go to a Latin Church where the Liturgy, the readings, the feastday, would be entirely different from my parish, having been in an Orthodox Church with the identical Liturgy as my home EC parish, apart from the heirarchs commemorated in the diptychs. July 6th was the altar feast, old calendar, for an OCA Church where we frequently go for Vespers. Their altar feast happened to fall on a Sunday so again I was there instead of my home parish.

I love the Roman Rite and I often go to daily Mass but as far as going to Mass on a Sunday after going to DL in an Orthodox Church, in order to fulfill an "obligation", it makes zero sense to me.


I don't have a problem with that.
Posted By: Chtec

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 09:16 AM

Originally Posted by likethethief
There is no formal liturgical Rite for Orthodox Christians coming into full communion. Jeremiah would certainly not be confirmed/chrismated. He would be received by confession, recitation of the Creed, and Holy Eucharist. The question is only in which Catholic Church he would be ascribed.


I wonder how many RC priests are like the one that Jeremiah encountered. I only say that because I received a call once from a man who had been baptized at my (Orthodox) parish as an infant, became non-observant as an adult, only to have a religious awakening in the Roman Church as an older man. He was enrolled in an RCIA program, and needed proof of his baptism. In the letter that I wrote, I supplied this man with information on two levels. From the Orthodox perspective, joining the Roman Catholic Church makes him *not* in "good standing" with the Orthodox Church, and thus ineligible for things like a church funeral. From the Catholic perspective, since he already had received the sacraments of baptism *and confirmation* he technically should not be in an RCIA program and should not be confirmed. (I quoted the relevant sections of Catholic Canon Law, too.)

I can't help but think that many Roman Catholic priests are simply ignorant of Eastern practices--either Orthodox or Catholic--and don't take the time to actually learn what their own canon law states.

Fr. David
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 09:36 AM

Originally Posted by Chtec
Originally Posted by likethethief
There is no formal liturgical Rite for Orthodox Christians coming into full communion. Jeremiah would certainly not be confirmed/chrismated. He would be received by confession, recitation of the Creed, and Holy Eucharist. The question is only in which Catholic Church he would be ascribed.


I wonder how many RC priests are like the one that Jeremiah encountered. I only say that because I received a call once from a man who had been baptized at my (Orthodox) parish as an infant, became non-observant as an adult, only to have a religious awakening in the Roman Church as an older man. He was enrolled in an RCIA program, and needed proof of his baptism. In the letter that I wrote, I supplied this man with information on two levels. From the Orthodox perspective, joining the Roman Catholic Church makes him *not* in "good standing" with the Orthodox Church, and thus ineligible for things like a church funeral. From the Catholic perspective, since he already had received the sacraments of baptism *and confirmation* he technically should not be in an RCIA program and should not be confirmed. (I quoted the relevant sections of Catholic Canon Law, too.)

I can't help but think that many Roman Catholic priests are simply ignorant of Eastern practices--either Orthodox or Catholic--and don't take the time to actually learn what their own canon law states.

Fr. David

I would expect a Catholic to understand at least this ^^ part ... we're not Anglicans you know. wink
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 10:27 AM

Of course Fr. David said the right things. There's that parallel true-church claim, but more important to us, this man has been chrismated and communed. He is not a Protestant or non-Christian and thus does not belong in RCIA.

I don't buy the liberal myth that our seminaries churn out pious ignoranti, and I can't believe they would not teach what the church does about the Christian East. That said, not every priest is an intellectual or interested in this subject, and as everyone who's gone to school knows, what you're not interested in and don't use (and frankly, in parish life this doesn't come up much), you forget.
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 04:50 PM

Originally Posted by Chtec

I can't help but think that many Roman Catholic priests are simply ignorant of Eastern practices--either Orthodox or Catholic--and don't take the time to actually learn what their own canon law states.

Fr. David


Father David, I would agree with the first part of your statement. Not so much for the second part. smile I think that our priests need to be aware of what they don't know, and then go to the pros.

Canon Law, like secular laws, can be very difficult to understand accurately. My own opinion is that whenever someone who is either Orthodox or has a hint of Eastern or Oriental Catholic in their family presents themselves for marriage, confirmation, baptism of children... the priest, deacon, or whomever is handling that needs to go straight to their chancery for advise from the canonist there. We don't have any EC canonist in the chancery for the RC parish where I'm a catechist. But when needed they have their go-to EC canon lawyer/s they contact and get answers.

When someone calls or comes into the rectory inquiring about "becoming Catholic" I think most often they are referred to the parish Director of Religious Education. I know my DRE is very well educated. I've been a catechist under her for many years and she continues to inspire me. But given the high ratio of RC Catholic parishes to Orthodox parishes at least where I live it's likely pretty rare for an RC parish to have this experience of Orthodox seeking to become Catholic more than once, if that.

However, that being said, the National Statutes for the Catechumenate are quite clear regarding Orthodox, which they call "Eastern Christians".
Quote
RCIA, Appendix, 2, #474: In the case of Eastern Christians who enter into the fullness of Catholic communion, no liturgical rite is required, but simply a profession of Catholic faith, even if such persons are permitted, in virtue of recourse to the Apostolic See, to transfer to the Latin rite.


I fear many DREs and possibly priests, that I can't say, don't know the ins and outs of the RCIA ritual text and the appendix. For sure we had a deacon who completely contradicted on a different topic what is clearly stated in the appendix.

My DRE knows the ritual text including the appendix. Her copy of our Study Edition, and mine, have the pages falling out from frequent referencing. Sadly the North American Forum for the Catechumenate where she and I greatly benefited from a number of excellent in depth training weekends, closed last year for lack of financial resources.

For the canon law part, I wouldn't know as much as I do, which is very limited, if I hadn't been an Eastern Catholic when I was a student in the one term of canon law that was required in the 3 year program where I was trained in this Diocese. I asked a lot of questions in and out of class and the teacher has kept himself very available to me for my questions since then.

From all I have learned over the years my usual response for anything that involves canon law remains "Contact your chancery and ask them." smile

Posted By: Mark R

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/24/14 10:50 PM

Yes. Unless someone makes the actual effort to learn about something, he will not know of it unless it is fashionable or scandalous, and then in a distorted form.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/30/14 10:30 AM

Hello Fr. David.

My experience was exactly that: the Roman Catholic priest I spoke to didn't seem to have a clue that by virtue of my being Greek Orthodox I already share the same faith as all Catholics. It is why I sought another avenue, and thereby found the Byzantine Catholic Church.

As an aside, this past weekend I informed several Greek Orthodox friends of mine, two of whom are G.O. priests, about my "change of address" to Byzantine Catholic. Not only were none of them surprised by this (for reasons I'll explain in a moment), but they confessed privately to me that they see no substantive difference between Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic (or between Roman Catholic for that matter). They fully understand that my faith has not changed.

The reason they weren't surprised is because they themselves -- all ethnically Greek and raised in the G.O.C. -- are incredibly frustrated at the divisive state of affairs within the G.O.C here in the United States (and, to a degree, the broader community of Eastern Orthodox churches in the U.S.). My two priest friends told me that there is a massive divide between the G.O. priesthood here (especially the younger more Americanized priests) and the hierarchy (the Archbishop, the Metropolitans, etc.). The hierarchs (most of them, at least), who have all the control, are trapped in a mindset of both Greek ethnocentrism and religious parochialism, and by continuing to aggressively push that mindset within the G.O. Archdiocese of America they are a big part of why any fruitful steps to the fullness of unified communion with the West remains an uphill climb.

This is why my friends weren't surprised at my move. The stubborn Orthodox attitude of "our way or no way!" does little to foster the unity and charity taught by Christ (and sadly there are many who perversely enjoy the battles that attend disunity). One of my priest friends, who expressed extreme frustration with the G.O. hierarchy, even told me privately that he would not refuse me communion in his G.O. parish even though I have moved to Byzantine Catholic. He said it is a sin to use the Body and Blood of Christ as a divider, when Christ instituted it as a uniter of all those baptized in the "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church," in which Catholics and Orthodox share the same membership.

At the Last Supper, Christ gave the bread and wine at the same time to Peter ("Rome/Catholics") and to Andrew ("Constantinople/Orthodox") and the other apostles, telling all of them (including Judas, by the way) "this is my body and my blood." Christ knew Peter was about to deny him. Christ knew Judas was about to betray him. And immediately after the sharing of bread and wine at the Last Supper -- immediately after partaking of the eucharist -- the apostles began arguing about who among them was the greatest (Luke 22:24) Yet in spite of the divisions among the twelve even then, Jesus still shared the same body and the same blood at the same table with all of them equally.

Don't we see the same thing today? The "apostles" in their present-day visible succession among Catholics and Orthodox are still arguing about who is the greatest. And in that argument they have made the body and blood of Christ a function of membership within divided church bodies rather than a sacrament of unity as One Body.

Anyway, I've digressed a bit.

My point, I suppose, was this: bottleneck is always at the top. By this I very simply mean that bottleneck to unity at Christ's Table is a fault of our leaders (be they ignorant R.C. priests or stubborn E.O. bishops), and a great portion of the laity and ordained on both sides are experiencing increasing frustration as a result. This frustration of disunity is one of the several reasons I moved to Byzantine Catholic: it is visible communion of East and West.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/31/14 12:04 AM

You will find the Ruthenian hierarchy, for its own reasons, equally resistant to unity.

Their deliberate actions to drive a wedge between themselves and their Orthodox brothers and sisters (documented thoroughly on this forum) are what are driving me away. Many others have already left, either to Orthodoxy or the Melkite Church (whose witness to unity I greatly admire).

I hope your "change of address" is fruitful and fulfilling, but I equally hope that you can endure the new challenges to unity that your new home has to offer.

Out of the frying pan...
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/31/14 01:08 AM

Being Catholic doesn't mean you have to believe the state of the Greek Catholic churches is perfect.

Spite was and is part of the reason they self-latinized; understandable given tsarist and Communist persecution. Which is why the first Eastern Christians I knew, Ukrainian exiles, would tell you flat out they weren't Orthodox. You could call them Roman Catholics; just don't call them Orthodox.

The trouble with Easternizers who thumb their noses at the magisterium is they make it harder for good Catholics who choose an unlatinized form out of love for the rite, which is what the church originally wanted for that.

The trouble with getting fed up and 'doxing is you're idolizing a good thing, a traditional rite, over the universal church. Byzantium isn't universality; it's only part of the picture.

The church has both unlatinized and old latinized forms, as it should.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 07/31/14 11:05 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
Hello Fr. David.

My experience was exactly that: the Roman Catholic priest I spoke to didn't seem to have a clue that by virtue of my being Greek Orthodox I already share the same faith as all Catholics. It is why I sought another avenue, and thereby found the Byzantine Catholic Church.

As an aside, this past weekend I informed several Greek Orthodox friends of mine, two of whom are G.O. priests, about my "change of address" to Byzantine Catholic. Not only were none of them surprised by this (for reasons I'll explain in a moment), but they confessed privately to me that they see no substantive difference between Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic (or between Roman Catholic for that matter). They fully understand that my faith has not changed.

The reason they weren't surprised is because they themselves -- all ethnically Greek and raised in the G.O.C. -- are incredibly frustrated at the divisive state of affairs within the G.O.C here in the United States (and, to a degree, the broader community of Eastern Orthodox churches in the U.S.). My two priest friends told me that there is a massive divide between the G.O. priesthood here (especially the younger more Americanized priests) and the hierarchy (the Archbishop, the Metropolitans, etc.). The hierarchs (most of them, at least), who have all the control, are trapped in a mindset of both Greek ethnocentrism and religious parochialism, and by continuing to aggressively push that mindset within the G.O. Archdiocese of America they are a big part of why any fruitful steps to the fullness of unified communion with the West remains an uphill climb.

This is why my friends weren't surprised at my move. The stubborn Orthodox attitude of "our way or no way!" does little to foster the unity and charity taught by Christ (and sadly there are many who perversely enjoy the battles that attend disunity). One of my priest friends, who expressed extreme frustration with the G.O. hierarchy, even told me privately that he would not refuse me communion in his G.O. parish even though I have moved to Byzantine Catholic. He said it is a sin to use the Body and Blood of Christ as a divider, when Christ instituted it as a uniter of all those baptized in the "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church," in which Catholics and Orthodox share the same membership.

At the Last Supper, Christ gave the bread and wine at the same time to Peter ("Rome/Catholics") and to Andrew ("Constantinople/Orthodox") and the other apostles, telling all of them (including Judas, by the way) "this is my body and my blood." Christ knew Peter was about to deny him. Christ knew Judas was about to betray him. And immediately after the sharing of bread and wine at the Last Supper -- immediately after partaking of the eucharist -- the apostles began arguing about who among them was the greatest (Luke 22:24) Yet in spite of the divisions among the twelve even then, Jesus still shared the same body and the same blood at the same table with all of them equally.

Don't we see the same thing today? The "apostles" in their present-day visible succession among Catholics and Orthodox are still arguing about who is the greatest. And in that argument they have made the body and blood of Christ a function of membership within divided church bodies rather than a sacrament of unity as One Body.

Anyway, I've digressed a bit.

My point, I suppose, was this: bottleneck is always at the top. By this I very simply mean that bottleneck to unity at Christ's Table is a fault of our leaders (be they ignorant R.C. priests or stubborn E.O. bishops), and a great portion of the laity and ordained on both sides are experiencing increasing frustration as a result. This frustration of disunity is one of the several reasons I moved to Byzantine Catholic: it is visible communion of East and West.

Not to digress further, but reading this makes me think of Frederica Mathews-Green comparing the issues in Orthodoxy with the issues in her previous church (the ECUSA) -- well, more contrasting than comparing. Which is not to suggest that everyone needs to have the same attitude toward Orthodoxy that she does. I hope you'll find the grass greener in Catholicism.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/03/14 11:02 PM

** UPDATE ON MY JOURNEY **

For the past month I have been in regular contact with a priest at a Byzantine Catholic parish (Ruthenian) not far from my home. He has been not only gracious and very kind, but his pastoral direction and counsel have been a tremendous blessing.

As I mentioned in my original post, following my first meeting with Fr. there was a canonical question regarding the process of my being received as a Greek Orthodox Christian into the Byzantine Catholic Church: could I be received into any Byzantine Catholic Church generally, or must I be received into the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church specifically (as opposed to Ruthenian, Melkite, Ukrainian, etc.).

So here's the news: I can be received generally, and in fact will be officially received next Sunday (10 August 2014) via a formal Profession of the Catholic Faith, reception of the Mystery of Reconciliation (i.e., Confession), and the partaking of the Eucharist. (During the next week I will be engaging in intense personal preparation, accordingly as Fr. has guided me.)

As for my enrollment, here's the very interesting part. While I will be received generally (in this case at a Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic church), the priest informed me that my actual sui iuris enrollment will be in the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church (NOTE: the term "Greek Byzantine" here refers to one of the 22 particular Eastern Catholic churches, and is not to be confused with the general usage of "Greek Catholic" as synonymous with "Byzantine Catholic"). As such, after I am received, the priest who receives me must then send a notice to the nearest Greek Byzantine Catholic Church indicating my enrollment therein.

Now, if my information is correct, there are no Greek Byzantine Catholic (GBC) churches in the United States. As such, I'm not entirely sure who would be notified. With the highest concentration of Greek Byzantine Catholics being in Greece (and only around 2,500 at that, though this number may have grown since statistics were last recorded), I imagine it may be possible that notification of my enrollment would have to be sent to the Greek Catholic Exarchate in Athens, Greece. This, of course, is just a guess, as I'm not versed in the more intricate particulars of this kind of ecclesial administration.

Either way, the good news is that my full reception into the Catholic Church will take place in one week. It's something I'm extremely joyful about. And I'm additionally pleased that I will not have to endure the unnecessary and time-consuming process of having to go through RCIA at the local Roman Catholic parish and wait until next April to be officially received as if I were a catechumen or a Protestant convert, rather than the Catholic that I already am.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/04/14 09:28 PM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
As for my enrollment, here's the very interesting part. While I will be received generally (in this case at a Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic church), the priest informed me that my actual sui iuris enrollment will be in the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
...
Now, if my information is correct, there are no Greek Byzantine Catholic (GBC) churches in the United States.


Indeed, this same issue (although not necessarily wrt the GBCC specifically) has come up before, although I don't think I could find the thread.
Posted By: JBenedict

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/05/14 09:10 AM

Yeah! Glad to hear it worked out and that you're being received correctly and promptly!
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/06/14 03:23 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
** UPDATE ON MY JOURNEY **


So here's the news: I can be received generally, and in fact will be officially received next Sunday (10 August 2014) via a formal Profession of the Catholic Faith, reception of the Mystery of Reconciliation (i.e., Confession), and the partaking of the Eucharist. (During the next week I will be engaging in intense personal preparation, accordingly as Fr. has guided me.)



Congratulations!
I am quite surprised, and confused, by the link you provide that they apparently plan to use a lengthy "Profession of Faith" taken from the Tridentine Rubrics of the 1962 Roman Missal, for the Reception of Converts. The Catholic Church is quite clear that an Orthodox Christian coming into the Catholic Church is not a convert. In fact no Baptized Christian is presently considered a convert. A convert is one coming into the Church from outside of the Christian faith.

The language of the Profession of Faith you link to is something I wouldn't be comfortable professing.

In the Roman Missal Typical Edition used in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite the Profession of faith is simply "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God." Ritual text, reception within Mass

Quote
Profession of Faith
RCIA 491 The one to be received then joins the community in reciting the Nicene Creed, which is always said at this Mass.
The celebrant then asks the one to be recieved to add the following profession of faith. The candidate says:
"I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."


This refers to "the candidate", which is a Christian other than Orthodox, because as indicated there is no liturgical rite for Orthodox coming into the fullness of Catholic communion.

Quote
Orientalium Ecclesiarum 25. If any separated Eastern Christian should, under the guidance of the grace of the Holy Spirit, join himself to the unity of Catholics, no more should be required of him than what a bare profession of the Catholic faith demands. Eastern clerics, seeing that a valid priesthood is preserved among them, are permitted to exercise the Orders they possess on joining the unity of the Catholic Church, in accordance with the regulations


Quote
CCEO Canon 897 A member of the Christian faithful of an Eastern non-Catholic Church is to be received into the Catholic Church with only the profession of the Catholic faith, after doctrinal and spiritual preparation according to each one's condition.established by the competent authority.


Quote
RCIA 474 In the case of Eastern Christians who enter into the fullness of Catholic communion, no liturgical rite is required, but simply a profession of Catholic faith, even if such persons are permitted, in virtue of recourse to the Apostolic See, to transfer to the Latin rite


I would add that in the recitation of the Creed you would profess it as Orthodox and Eastern Catholics do, without the filioque. But since you are making your profession in a Byzantine Catholic parish (Ruthenian) that won't be an issue. smile I would argue that a simple recitation of the Creed is an adequate "profession of the Catholic faith". smile
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/06/14 06:38 AM

Hello likethethief.

Thanks for the congrats. And I agree with you, by the way. After a more detailed re-reading of the Profession, I too now share a bit of confusion. I am uncomfortable -- and rightfully so, I might add -- that this particular Profession seems specifically geared toward converts. I am not a convert. Moreover, I now get the impression that this Profession is for those being received particularly into the Roman Catholic Church, Latin rite, as opposed to being received into an eastern rite Byzantine Catholic Church, which is what I want.

I'm going to bring this to the attention of the priest who will be receiving me, and who gave me the Profession to read over (which I believe was sent to him from someone in the Eparchy with canon law background).

It is perhaps worth noting (and I do not say this as a disparagement at all, only as a further insight) that the Byzantine Church I have been going to is very heavily "Latinized," for lack of a better term. On some Sundays a small group prays the rosary in the sanctuary before liturgy, which I found extremely surprising. And I was encouraged by the priest to pursue rosary devotions. I do not object to any of this, and I do have Catholic rosary beads (though I mostly use an Orthodox prayer rope for Jesus Prayer devotion). Again, I have no problem with this (though frankly I will likely continue in my Orthodox-style devotions). It's just a bit heavy on the Latin flavor than what I am used to (and oddly enough, almost more so than the Roman Catholic Church I initially went to when inquiring about reception).

Thanks for the details you quoted in your post. I am going to use those as a basis for a little bit of further research, and will be sending an email to the priest immediately. I'll keep you updated.

Thanks!
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/06/14 11:11 PM

So here's another update, with more good news: I emailed my Byzantine Catholic priest today regarding my concerns about the long-form Profession of Catholic Faith that he had originally given to me to read over, and which I was told I would profess this coming Sunday (8/10) when I am officially received. Using the incredibly helpful resources posted here by likethethief, and following the prudent advice of 2lungsambassador (who wrote "you may have to educate yourself and advocate for yourself," which turned out to be the case), I explained that I had reservations about the long-form Profession because it is intended for converts, and I am not a convert. I then outlined the specific details from the Canons (Eastern), official Church documents, and RCIA pertaining to the reception of Orthodox Christians into the Catholic Church, and asserted that it is likely more appropriate that I should recite the short-form profession.

He emailed me back and confirmed that I will indeed be reciting the short-form Profession, not the long-form.

And so on Sunday I will receive Confession, and will recite the Nicene Creed (sans filioque) with the following short-form profession added at the end: "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

I shall then join the congregation at liturgy, where I shall receive the Eucharist. And at that, I will be a Catholic.

Thanks to everyone who was so helpful in offering advice and information on this matter. You have each in a very real way become an unexpectedly integral part of this journey of mine. I am indeed blessed.

JEREMIAH
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 04:37 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
Using the incredibly helpful resources posted here by likethethief,


I'm very glad that was helpful. smile Serving in the RCIA with adults in the Roman Rite for a number of years I have seen the great wisdom in using what the Bishops recommend in the Roman Rite for the Roman Rite. Sadly so many Roman Rite parishes go with permitted, tho not preferred, options. I'm not as familiar with adult reception in the East. We've not had any baptisms nor chrismations in my EC parish in the many years I've been there unfortunately. We have had a handful of people make the canonical change of Church to our EC Church from the Latin Church so I am quite familiar with that process.

Quote
and following the prudent advice of 2lungsambassador (who wrote "you may have to educate yourself and advocate for yourself," which turned out to be the case)


I just re-read that post and was drawn to the very same quote.

Quote
He emailed me back and confirmed that I will indeed be reciting the short-form Profession, not the long-form.

And so on Sunday I will receive Confession, and will recite the Nicene Creed (sans filioque) with the following short-form profession added at the end: "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

I shall then join the congregation at liturgy, where I shall receive the Eucharist. And at that, I will be a Catholic.

Thanks to everyone who was so helpful in offering advice and information on this matter. You have each in a very real way become an unexpectedly integral part of this journey of mine. I am indeed blessed.

JEREMIAH


Sounds like a nice solution. Although there is no Rite required and the Church wants to make clear the completeness/validity of the Sacraments of Initiation you received with Orthodoxy, I know from experience how much it also means to the congregation when they are able to witness someone coming into full communion. I'm sure it will be a joyful day for all.

I know many or most of us Eastern Catholics have such mixed feelings when someone leaves Orthodoxy, or one of us becomes Orthodox. Each of us has to find our own way. I don't know for myself how I would survive without being able to worship in Orthodox Churches. I also can't imagine not being in communion with the Catholic Church. I was just in the local Greek Orthodox Church for Paraklesis, and Tuesday night in OCA for Festal Vigil. I hadn't been able to go to either for many weeks. I felt like getting down on my hands and knees and kissing the floor, in addition to kissing the icons. smile Even though I cannot receive Eucharist there, the boundaries are so blurred for me. I consider the priests in those two parishes every bit as much my priest as the priest in my EC parish, and the parishioners I know there are every bit as much my fellows as are the parishioners in my EC, or Latin, parish. In the case of these two services, Paraklesis and Vespers/Matins, of course there is no Eucharist.

May your journey bring you closer to Christ and may you glorify Him in all you do.

[Again, it wasn't just the content of that Profession of Faith, but that it is from the Rubrics of the 1962 Roman Missal which is used for the Extraordinary Form/Tridentine Mass. I just still am perplexed why that was ever considered.)
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 06:26 AM

Originally Posted by likethethief
I know many or most of us Eastern Catholics have such mixed feelings when someone leaves Orthodoxy, or one of us becomes Orthodox.

:thumbs up:

I always say that if I were Orthodox I wouldn't switch to Catholicism, but that doesn't mean that as a Catholic I'm going to switch to Orthodoxy. (I don't want to rehash old conversations, of course, just wanted to chime in on your point.)
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 09:20 AM

Originally Posted by likethethief
I know many or most of us Eastern Catholics have such mixed feelings when someone leaves Orthodoxy, or one of us becomes Orthodox.

I can totally understand this. And I share the feeling. I love the Orthodox Church, and my spirituality will always be rooted in the east. But the Oneness of the entire Church is more important to me, and stepping into the Eastern Catholic "house" is, for me, one means to more fully bear witness to and live out that Oneness (which, I must confess, is far more difficult to do as an Orthodox Christian, due vastly to the inner barriers and impediments peculiar to Orthodoxy). This is the very call of Eastern Catholics:

Quote
The Eastern Churches in communion with the Apostolic See of Rome have a special duty of promoting the unity of all Christians, especially Eastern Christians, in accordance with the principles of the decree, "About Ecumenism," of this Sacred Council, by prayer in the first place, and by the example of their lives, by religious fidelity to the ancient Eastern traditions, by a greater knowledge of each other, by collaboration and a brotherly regard for objects and feelings. (Orientalium Ecclesiarum 24)

I was speaking to a dear friend recently who is Greek Orthodox, and she and I both were struck with a kind of grief at my decision, not because I chose to move into the "house" of Catholicism, but because it nonetheless is a reminder of the absurdity of the division between West and East. More specifically, the grief comes from an acute frustration at the Orthodox hierarchy and their stubbornness and intransigence which, as many Orthodox see it, is a key impediment to unity. As it is, though, she completely supports my decision, and said she actually doesn't blame me (she herself sees the Catholic Church as far more charitable than the Orthodox when it comes to ecumenism and unity). This brings me to something you wrote in your most recent reply:

Originally Posted by likethethief
... the boundaries are so blurred for me.

Thre's a lot of truth in that, and I share the sentiment. And I suspect many more also do, more than we may realize. In my Greek Orthodox friend's eyes, and in the eyes of two Greek Orthodox priest friends of mine in fact, they see little difference (generally) between Eastern Catholic and Orthodox. My one priest friend even told me he would not refuse me communion in his G.O. parish, regardless of my switch. (His explanation for this was intriguing and fascinating, but it's a subject more suited to a dedicated post of its own, which I may perhaps do.)

Originally Posted by likethethief
Again, it wasn't just the content of that Profession of Faith, but that it is from the Rubrics of the 1962 Roman Missal which is used for the Extraordinary Form/Tridentine Mass. I just still am perplexed why that was ever considered.

I was perplexed as well. After time allowed me a more thorough review of it, I was frankly shocked. For starters, the Sancta Missa (where the long-form Profession is found) is of the Roman Rite, not Byzantine. And so the fact that it was even considered was stunning to me (and I am absolutely certain it was forwarded to my priest from the Eparchy, which makes it all the more curious; my priest, as far as I could tell, was completely relying on the Eparchy for guidance on reception of Eastern Orthodox, which gave me the impression it was not something familiar to his experience. So this gives me reason to imagine that it's a top-down issue).

I also suspect this may be an indicator of heavy "Latinization" of Ruthenian Catholic churches here in the eastern U.S. (Eparchy of Passaic). I'm not implying there's anything wrong with this. But it's something I've noticed. (Though I must confess a personal "itch" about this, in that there's a distinct quality to Eastern traditions that, when supplanted, is a mournful thing. And to this I must totally embrace what is mentioned in the Orientalium Ecclesiarum, as quoted here earlier: "Eastern Churches ... have a special duty of ... religious fidelity to the ancient Eastern traditions.")

Originally Posted by likethethief
May your journey bring you closer to Christ and may you glorify Him in all you do.

Thank you! I am joyful in my decision, and am looking forward to Sunday (the Feast Day of Saint Laurence Martyr, Archdeacon of Rome).
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 02:04 PM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
But the Oneness of the entire Church is more important to me, and stepping into the Eastern Catholic "house" is, for me, one means to more fully bear witness to and live out that Oneness.

My belief on this, in a nutshell. Welcome.

I don't think most born Greek Catholics, different from online Greek Catholics, who are largely converts (born Roman Riters, ex-Protestants, et al.), give traffic to and from the Orthodox much thought. Partly because their identity is clearly Catholic first, and second because such traffic is rare. (Which is why Catholic priests are befuddled when it comes up.) The angst is in online Greek Catholicism, again very convert and caught between the two churches.

I wouldn't tell a Greek Orthodox priest to disobey his rules (except for coming into the church) but great and not all that surprising to hear of one who's not rabidly anti-Catholic. He has nothing to prove.

As for the Greek Catholics who love the (unlatinized) rite so they get a lot of sustenance from non-communing attendance with the Orthodox for special services, I'm with the majority view of this forum. That's great.

The church has both the unlatinized and the old latinized forms of the rite, as it should. Being Catholic doesn't mean you have to do latinizations, even if your new parish does.

Doing the Novus Ordo profession of faith as part of coming into church is a latinization but what the heck? You'll be in the church. My druthers in that situation: talk with the priest so he can see if you need instruction, then confession, the Nicene Creed without the filioque per the church's preference in this rite, and Communion at Liturgy.

Peter J.'s statement ("if I were Orthodox I wouldn't switch") is true in that born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt so we don't solicit them.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 07:57 PM

Dear Serge,

I would love to attend Orthodox services, but I always get accosted by someone who demands that I "dox" as you say.

Don't know how you guys here get away with it. Conversely, perhaps when they see me, they are really impressed and then pull out the stops to try and get me to join them as a valued potential convert . . .

Is that stretching it? Yes? OK.

Alex
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 08:01 PM

The ethnics either leave you in peace or are very nice. "Catholic? Oh, that's great! It's so close."
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 08:06 PM

This isn't an official Orthodox document or anything, but it's an ol' favorite from Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on the subject of Orthodox coming into communion with Rome (or not doing so as the case may be): Never the Twain?

Quote
they wonder why the two groups don’t just get together and put better than three-quarters of all Christians under one (papal, naturally) roof, perhaps thereby causing Protestantism at last to see the light, get with the program and come aboard.

Father Richard John Neuhaus eloquently spoke for this Roman Catholic assessment at the Rose Hill Conference in South Carolina ...

(Too long to quote the whole article.)
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 08:30 PM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Peter J.'s statement ("if I were Orthodox I wouldn't switch") is true in that born Orthodox get the benefit of the doubt so we don't solicit them.

Just so long as I get credit for the "I wouldn't ..." part. cool

But seriously, you're absolutely right that we do not aim at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other (cf. the Balamand Statement) -- as is probably already known to most people on this forum, notwithstanding the fact that I've been trying my darnedest to let Catholics "somewhere else" know it, with mixed results.
Posted By: Lester S

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 10:18 PM

What if one consciously (which may allude to Phillip Rolfes's original conversion question post) decides one, over the other, without any coercion from either side?
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 11:07 PM

Having the faithful of one church (theirs) pass over to the other (ours) isn't our proximate goal but it is our long-term goal.

Originally Posted by Lester S
What if one consciously (which may allude to Phillip Rolfes's original conversion question post) decides one, over the other, without any coercion from either side?

Both sides accept these conversions because both claim to be the true church. We're supposed to do it quietly, as Roman Catholic layman turned Russian Orthodox priest turned Russian Catholic priest the late Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) told me while walking along the streets of New York nearly 15 years ago.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/07/14 11:57 PM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah

I also suspect this may be an indicator of heavy "Latinization" of Ruthenian Catholic churches here in the eastern U.S. (Eparchy of Passaic). I'm not implying there's anything wrong with this. But it's something I've noticed. (Though I must confess a personal "itch" about this, in that there's a distinct quality to Eastern traditions that, when supplanted, is a mournful thing. And to this I must totally embrace what is mentioned in the Orientalium Ecclesiarum, as quoted here earlier: "Eastern Churches ... have a special duty of ... religious fidelity to the ancient Eastern traditions.")


I am happy that you are happy, truly.

Be prepared for that "itch" to grow, and be prepared to deal with those around you who will act to make it grow by continuing to purposely supplant the Byzantine aspects of our faith.

I, too, comforted myself with official Catholic teachings on the fulness of the Eastern Churches.

Those teachings are not only ignored, but are fought tooth-and-nail by Ruthenians that fear being seen as different from their Roman counterparts, many of them former Romans trying to remodel our home into something they find comfortable.

This is of course not true of all Ruthenians, but it is true of many, and I can't help but try to make sure you are prepared to have to constantly fight against the dismantling of the unique attributes of the Byzantine churches.

I became so weary with that fight, and the harm it caused my spiritual life, that I am now contemplating Orthodoxy for no other reason than to live an Eastern faith without a structure around me trying to water it down until it is gone.

I hoped to find that within the Catholic Church, and again I truly hope that you can, but be prepared to have to choose. I will pray you do not have to and that the itch you feel does not grow. But it sounds familiar and I wish someone had given me these thoughts to contemplate.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 12:18 AM

A pretty common refrain in fora such as this.

As I like to say, the church has both the unlatinized and old latinized versions of the Byzantine Rite, as it should.

Ruthenian-Americans, reacting to two schisms here decades ago, very much favor the second, also because it's been part of their culture for centuries. So if you want unlatinized, then Ruthenian's probably not for you.

(Similar story with the Ukrainian Catholics, plus they are often immigrants who fled Soviet persecution that used the Orthodox.)

Picking on/looking down on conservative Roman Riters coming in is Modernism's and Orthodox anti-Westernism's cousin, not love of the unlatinized form.

Defend the unlatinized form, but 'doxing is making an idol of it.
Posted By: jjp

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 01:36 AM

I don't want to defend myself from fellow Christians at the expense of my own theosis and that of my young family.

I want spiritual nourishment and growth in the Byzantine tradition as completely as is reasonably possible, and a coherent Eastern worldview for my children to learn and grow within. Seeing my brother join exactly such a parish and watching his family gain insight and instruction that I've yearned for as a matter of course put things in perspective.

I'll go where that is offered. If it means "'doxing" then that's really beside the point.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 06:01 AM

All sin has an apparent good as its goal. The devil can turn even the theosis of yourself and your family into an idol. I'm no Pollyanna about church life and church people, and if you love the unlatinized form (reminds me of the officialese for my Mass, "the Extraordinary Form," because they barely put up with it, as they do you), you've got a rough row to hoe. That said, a recurring problem in this forum is the popularity of "tous schismatiques" theology, or treating Catholicism and Orthodoxy like mere denominations, which would mean there's no church. It's a distortion of our doctrine, that they have bishops and the Mass; they are estranged Catholics. "Tous schismatiques" also isn't fair to the Orthodox, whom this forum includes and professes to respect; they have a mirror true-church claim.

My view on this particular sin of schism (anti-Westernism from the ethnics, and Westerners 'doxing): ROCOR Russians, if you hate the Christianity of the country that literally saved your lives after World War II and gave you a home thanks to religious liberty; converts, if you hate yourselves so much that you really want to turn your backs on your own people and culture (an attitude I'd think born Orthodox would find foreign and repugnant) as well as the objective truth that we are the same faith (Trinity, hypostatic union, Mother of God, bishops, and the Mass), you all know that the Eastern European homeland's not Communist anymore, right? Put your money where your mouths are and buy a one-way ticket to Moscow, Athens, or Belgrade, ingrates. I love Russian, etc. culture, and the unlatinized as well as the old latinized forms, as does the church, but schism is evil.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 06:15 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Defend the unlatinized form, but 'doxing is making an idol of it.

However, not all Scots like haggis. This ^^ statement ought to say "Those converts who idolize the unlatinized form make an idol of it."
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 06:20 AM

No need. I distinguish between all defenders of the unlatinized form and those who make an idol of it. The latter, the ones who 'dox, make it harder for the good Catholics who try to defend that form.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 07:12 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
No need. I distinguish between all defenders of the unlatinized form and those who make an idol of it. The latter, the ones who 'dox, make it harder for the good Catholics who try to defend that form.


But you can't say " but 'doxing is making an idol of it" because some people 'dox without it having anything to do with Easternicity/Westernicity, let alone idolizing. (Plus I know some converts to Orthodoxy who believe that Western Rite Orthodoxy should be more Western, but that's another ball of wax.)
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 07:39 AM

I contend that choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism is idolizing Easternness, even if only implicitly; it's their logical conclusion based on their premise.

Exception: there is a kind of principled old-fashioned Anglican high churchman who's not a would-be Catholic, even if his liturgical practice resembles ours. Like the Carolines, Non-Jurors, and Tractarians, he believes in something based on Hooker that he thinks is Anglicanism; definitely non-papal. He holds that we're a branch of the church but in grave error, that his is the pure version of Western Catholicism, much like confessional Lutherans do. This describes most of American Anglo-Catholicism historically, in the Episcopal Church; the British version was would-be Catholic. I can see these 'doxing on principle, and a few have. They have my respect.

Then they get hit in the face with Orthodox anti-Westernism (again, the logical conclusion of Orthodox theological opinions), much like jjp and legions more in the Greek Catholic option get smacked with Catholics' suspicion about the unlatinized form. Then they either go completely native (Fr. Gregory Hallam in Britain), struggle to be Western Rite Orthodox and usually end up pressured to byzantinize the way Ruthenians are latinized, or go back.

A wise Catholic friend speaks for me:

Quote
Remember, Orthodoxy exists because of Tsars and Sultans. Its entire reason for being is to hate the West. Sad. The Council of Florence solved the Schism. Orthodoxy really only dates from after that point. Once the Schism was healed, the petty princes and the Ottoman sultans got to work. Once Byzantium fell, the tsars realized the benefits of a non-papal church they could control. And thus, Orthodoxy is born and nurtured.

Since Russian Orthodoxy was the first to repudiate Florence (some sort of Russian synod rejected it in 1441; also its declaration of independence from Constantinople?), it's the oldest Orthodox church as such; the Greeks as a separate church date from 1484 this month.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 07:55 AM

I recently discovered on the website of the Eparchy of Phoenix an excellent resource that outlines the distinctives of Byzantine Catholicism. Some of the articles date back to the nineties, some are more recent. But they're all excellent reflections and defenses of Eastern tradition(s) in Byzantine Catholic churches.

One of the articles I found particularly enlightening was the one titled Differences (found on the page's outline under the main heading "Our History of the Byzantine Catholic Church"). The author does a great job of highlighting (especially in the final two paragraphs) both the value and importance of maintaining Eastern liturgical, theological, and spiritual traditions, particularly as they relate to the mission of Eastern Catholic churches to broker unity with the Eastern Orthodox.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 08:13 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
I contend that choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism is idolizing Easternness, even if only implicitly; it's their logical conclusion based on their premise.

This doesn't make sense, even grammatically. (Note: I don't like grammar police, and certainly don't like to be one myself, but I have to make an exception here.) You say "their premise" so presumably you also meant "Their choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" (as opposed to propounding some grand Stephen-Hawkings-ish theory of "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" in general) but that would not entirely solve the problem, because it would still leave the question: Who?

But to add my own thoughts about "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" I would ask:couldn't one just as easily say "choosing (Eastern) Orthodoxy over Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Calvinism, and Pentecostalism"? I'm not saying that "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" is an incorrect phrase exactly, but it does make it sound like a person has a particular interest in not-being-Catholic.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 08:45 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Then they get hit in the face with Orthodox anti-Westernism (again, the logical conclusion of Orthodox theological opinions), much like jjp and legions more in the Greek Catholic option get smacked with Catholics' suspicion about the unlatinized form. Then they either go completely native (Fr. Gregory Hallam in Britain), struggle to be Western Rite Orthodox and usually end up pressured to byzantinize the way Ruthenians are latinized, or go back.

Exactly: anti-Westernism among Orthodox is a very real problem, but we don't want to call-the-kettle-black.

Originally Posted by The young fogey
A wise Catholic friend speaks for me:
Quote
Remember, Orthodoxy exists because of Tsars and Sultans. Its entire reason for being is to hate the West. Sad. The Council of Florence solved the Schism. Orthodoxy really only dates from after that point. Once the Schism was healed, the petty princes and the Ottoman sultans got to work. Once Byzantium fell, the tsars realized the benefits of a non-papal church they could control. And thus, Orthodoxy is born and nurtured.


Yikes. frown But then, I bet most of us have a friend or two like that. Yet another reason that I ought to be spending more time in prayer.

But I don't think I'll pray for your kind of wisdom. blush
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 09:04 AM

Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by The young fogey
I contend that choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism is idolizing Easternness, even if only implicitly; it's their logical conclusion based on their premise.

This doesn't make sense, even grammatically. (Note: I don't like grammar police, and certainly don't like to be one myself, but I have to make an exception here.) You say "their premise" so presumably you also meant "Their choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" (as opposed to propounding some grand Stephen-Hawkings-ish theory of "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" in general) but that would not entirely solve the problem, because it would still leave the question: Who?

But to add my own thoughts about "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" I would ask:couldn't one just as easily say "choosing (Eastern) Orthodoxy over Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Calvinism, and Pentecostalism"? I'm not saying that "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" is an incorrect phrase exactly, but it does make it sound like a person has a particular interest in not-being-Catholic.


"Who" = the Orthodox; "what" = Orthodoxy.

Read convert stories; they often do have an interest in not being Catholic, because they were originally Protestant. Shows up in Fr. Peter Gillquist's testimonial, for example. He and his friends did a little homework, said "Whew! We don't have to be Catholic!" and headed to the East, contraception, divorce and remarriage, and all.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 09:37 AM

Originally Posted by jjp
Be prepared for that "itch" to grow, and be prepared to deal with those around you who will act to make it grow by continuing to purposely supplant the Byzantine aspects of our faith. ... I can't help but try to make sure you are prepared to have to constantly fight against the dismantling of the unique attributes of the Byzantine churches. ... I am now contemplating Orthodoxy for no other reason than to live an Eastern faith without a structure around me trying to water it down until it is gone.


I appreciate this. I've gotten similar advice from others, and I will certainly be watchful.

I've worshiped in Eastern Catholic churches a number of times in the past, and in all the cases there were no detectable Latin influences; they maintained a fullness of Byzantine distinctiveness.

The current Eastern Catholic parish I am attending is the first Ruthenian church I've worshiped in. The divine liturgy is essentially the same, with some minor differences in wording; it's also somewhat shorter than what I am accustomed to. There is also the very obvious exception of the Great Entrance being done like the Little Entrance (a quick trip from the deacon door into the Royal Doors). In Greek Orthodox churches the Great Entrance is a solemn procession, whereby the priest(s), deacon(s), and altar minister(s) exit out the left deacon door, proceed down the left side of the sanctuary, around to the back, then down the center aisle, and into the Royal Doors. It is a sublime moment that, at least for me, magnifies preparation for the Sanctification. And so not experiencing that was one thing that was extremely different for me.

But the small group saying the Rosary (and quite loudly, I might add; on the verge of ostentatious) just before liturgy really throws me off. I don't entirely object to it. It's just . . . different. Very different.

The interesting thing is I can worship in a Roman Catholic Church and feel completely comfortable, even when group Rosary prayers are said before Mass (this is in fact done at the Roman Catholic Church near me). It is something entirely ordinary for Roman Catholics and "fits" with the Latin way of performing devotions. But there's a dissonance that seems to occur when certain unique elements of one rite are blended into the uniqueness of another (again, as with saying Rosary before divine liturgy). It would be equally strange, for example, to hear orthros chants (in Byzantine style) at a Roman Catholic church prior to Mass. The "fit" just isn't there.

I suppose my point could be made into an analogy: you don't make a gyro with marinara sauce, and you don't add tzatziki sauce to pasta. Gyros are awesome, marinara sauce is awesome, pasta is awesome, and tzatziki sauce is awesome. They're all awesome. But this doesn't mean they all mix equally well. (And if anyone here says marinara sauce goes great with gyros, "let him be anathema!") smile
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 09:46 AM

Sure, it's hard because you know the unlatinized form, so you feel that the latinizations don't belong.

Maybe your calling is to be the kind of Catholic who defends the unlatinized form while respecting the latinized one.

Did you know that the abbot of Holy Resurrection Monastery (in America, always Greek Catholic, and now in the Romanian Catholic Church) is a born Greek Orthodox? Seems to have the same kind of calling you do in this regard.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 09:50 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by The young fogey
I contend that choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism is idolizing Easternness, even if only implicitly; it's their logical conclusion based on their premise.

This doesn't make sense, even grammatically. (Note: I don't like grammar police, and certainly don't like to be one myself, but I have to make an exception here.) You say "their premise" so presumably you also meant "Their choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" (as opposed to propounding some grand Stephen-Hawkings-ish theory of "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" in general) but that would not entirely solve the problem, because it would still leave the question: Who?

But to add my own thoughts about "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" I would ask:couldn't one just as easily say "choosing (Eastern) Orthodoxy over Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Calvinism, and Pentecostalism"? I'm not saying that "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" is an incorrect phrase exactly, but it does make it sound like a person has a particular interest in not-being-Catholic.


"Who" = the Orthodox; "what" = Orthodoxy.

Well, that does answer my pronoun-question, but (from my point of view) it actually makes things all the worse: you are "propounding some grand Stephen-Hawkings-ish theory of "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" in general". blush

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Read convert stories; they often do have an interest in not being Catholic, because they were originally Protestant. Shows up in Fr. Peter Gillquist's testimonial, for example. He and his friends did a little homework, said "Whew! We don't have to be Catholic!" and headed to the East, contraception, divorce and remarriage, and all.

Well to me (maybe an unnecessary qualifier, as it already applies to this whole post) that is like imaging a potential Orthodox saying "Phew, we don't have to be Protestant!" I.e. the former doesn't make any more sense to me than the latter.

P.S. It may appear that I'm about to go into a "Here are the arguments in favor of Orthodoxy ..." so let me clarify that I'm not. I'll let the Orthodox speak for themselves. whistle
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 10:05 AM

I'm not claiming a window into men's souls, let alone playing staretz online, a biggish pastime on the 'Net like gaming, I guess. The guy who's still Protestant or Roman Rite decides he wants to be Greek Catholic or Orthodox and is already lecturing everybody on the right way, and even says he has a vocation, before even talking to a priest or bishop about that. In a good Russian word, prelest.

God is the judge case by case, but yes, "choosing Orthodoxy over Catholicism" in general is objectively bad.

Protestants' reason to exist, like Orthodox', is not to be Catholic, so when they discover Catholic truths from studying the church fathers, two temptations for them are Orthodoxy (Oriental Orthodoxy still being too small and impractical to convert to in many cases) and high-church Anglicanism.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 10:10 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Did you know that the abbot of Holy Resurrection Monastery (in America, always Greek Catholic, and now in the Romanian Catholic Church) is a born Greek Orthodox?

I hate to tell you this, but I've met him too.

(Okay, I really didn't. I'm just trying to piggyback on Hilary Clinton's superb comedic abilities.)
Posted By: Mark R

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 10:15 AM

This discussion is getting so out of hand I hate to coment.
The level of discussion is pretty much on par with the usual internet religious dialogue, which is not saying much and I fear I am merely augmenting it.
To get back to Jeremiah...we have to respect his motivations out of his spiritual honesty...this is not about lifestyle choices or outworn polemics which bear little resemblance to reality.
I have my own opinions, presuppositions and prejudices which may be familiar to some readers. They are irrelevant in the face of seemingly mature, spiritual decision making.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 10:22 AM

Believing that Catholicism is the truth is uncool here, ironic considering the forum's affiliation, even though it's unofficial.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 10:54 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Believing that Catholicism is the truth is uncool here, ironic considering the forum's affiliation, even though it's unofficial.

I "assume" this is to Mark R (not sure since all your recent posts say "Re Jeremiah" whistle) in which case I think you're being a trifle unfair to his point, since we have gotten pretty far onto a tangent. blush

But for what it's worth, I support anyone's right to say that Catholicism is the truth. smile
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 10:59 AM

Never mind the "Re:" stuff. If I don't have a quote, I'm either writing to whoever posted directly before me or to the whole forum. In this case, the second.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 10:59 AM

As I see it, Orthodoxy and Catholicism are two houses in the same village: different ways of seeing things and doing things, but nonetheless equal members of the same body. And today they are charitable neighbors. I just moved into the other house, not as a choice of one "over" the other, but simply because it is where I feel called to. To put it simply.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 11:04 AM

That's treating the churches as denominations, the way Protestants look at Lutheran vs. Presbyterian now, for example. Equally true, just different opinions and styles, not rival true churches.

That's not quite what Catholicism teaches.

We see the other house as still having our priesthood and other sacraments, and all their defined doctrine is ours, but we're not equal. There's only one church. They are an estranged part of us.

They say they are the true church and have not dogmatized about us. Often they mirror our recognition, but sometimes, loudly, not.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 12:56 PM

Although I am a proud member of the UGCC, I would never personally try to convince an Orthodox Ukrainian to join the UGCC.

I wouldn't wish the Unia on my worst enemy.

And as for who has the truth, when it comes to Orthodox and Catholics, it depends who you ask . . .

I do see union with Rome as the ultimate ideal and goal of Christian unity

But not as things are today with the Vatican. Ecumenical niceties notwithstanding, Rome has a long way to go before it takes its own ecumenical agreements with the Orthodox seriously.

Rome must move from public relations to altered ecclesial relations.

Alex
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 01:07 PM

Being Catholic doesn't mean you have to believe the Greek Catholics in practice are perfect. They're very much not, as you say. And we're not trying to convince Orthodox individually. We want to bring them all into the church, because they're still part of us.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 01:14 PM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
That's treating the churches as denominations, the way Protestants look at Lutheran vs. Presbyterian now, for example. Equally true, just different opinions and styles, not rival true churches.

That's not quite what Catholicism teaches.

We see the other house as still having our priesthood and other sacraments, and all their defined doctrine is ours, but we're not equal. There's only one church. They are an estranged part of us.

They say they are the true church and have not dogmatized about us. Often they mirror our recognition, but sometimes, loudly, not.

We are divided, to be sure. But I tend to avoid getting into "they left us" or "we left them" arguments. It is utterly fruitless, and uncharitable, to do so.

The twelve themselves had disagreements. In fact, immediately after the last supper they were arguing over "who was the greatest." (Much as it still occurs today between West and East.) Their opinions and divisions notwithstanding, they were each their own individuals who were nonetheless equal members of the same body.
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 01:26 PM

By the way, "church" vs. "denomination" is a historic distinction between high-church Anglicans including Anglo-Catholics and other Anglicans, who consider themselves Protestants. Most Episcopalians, for example, although they were taught the necessity of apostolic succession (bishops, hence the denomination's name), were and are culturally and theologically Protestants, seeing themselves as a denomination (in the '40s they considered merging with the Presbyterians). The high churchmen saw themselves as not quite a denomination but, per the branch theory, as a branch of the Catholic Church with us and the Orthodox (and maybe the other Eastern churches). Today's Episcopalians, liberals, are denominationalists: sacramentally and liturgically high but they seem not to think apostolic succession's essential.

In England you had that distinction, which sounds Catholic, true-church-like, between "the church" (which may have really meant "the establishment," the government, rather than "our holy mother, the church") and "the chapel" (dissenting Protestants, non-episcopal, free church). Like how we distinguish between "churches" (the Orthodox) and "ecclesial communities" (Protestants including Anglicans: polite talk for "non-churches").
Posted By: jjp

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 03:41 PM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
Originally Posted by jjp
Be prepared for that "itch" to grow, and be prepared to deal with those around you who will act to make it grow by continuing to purposely supplant the Byzantine aspects of our faith. ... I can't help but try to make sure you are prepared to have to constantly fight against the dismantling of the unique attributes of the Byzantine churches. ... I am now contemplating Orthodoxy for no other reason than to live an Eastern faith without a structure around me trying to water it down until it is gone.


I appreciate this. I've gotten similar advice from others, and I will certainly be watchful.

I've worshiped in Eastern Catholic churches a number of times in the past, and in all the cases there were no detectable Latin influences; they maintained a fullness of Byzantine distinctiveness.

The current Eastern Catholic parish I am attending is the first Ruthenian church I've worshiped in. The divine liturgy is essentially the same, with some minor differences in wording; it's also somewhat shorter than what I am accustomed to. There is also the very obvious exception of the Great Entrance being done like the Little Entrance (a quick trip from the deacon door into the Royal Doors). In Greek Orthodox churches the Great Entrance is a solemn procession, whereby the priest(s), deacon(s), and altar minister(s) exit out the left deacon door, proceed down the left side of the sanctuary, around to the back, then down the center aisle, and into the Royal Doors. It is a sublime moment that, at least for me, magnifies preparation for the Sanctification. And so not experiencing that was one thing that was extremely different for me.

But the small group saying the Rosary (and quite loudly, I might add; on the verge of ostentatious) just before liturgy really throws me off. I don't entirely object to it. It's just . . . different. Very different.

The interesting thing is I can worship in a Roman Catholic Church and feel completely comfortable, even when group Rosary prayers are said before Mass (this is in fact done at the Roman Catholic Church near me). It is something entirely ordinary for Roman Catholics and "fits" with the Latin way of performing devotions. But there's a dissonance that seems to occur when certain unique elements of one rite are blended into the uniqueness of another (again, as with saying Rosary before divine liturgy). It would be equally strange, for example, to hear orthros chants (in Byzantine style) at a Roman Catholic church prior to Mass. The "fit" just isn't there.

I suppose my point could be made into an analogy: you don't make a gyro with marinara sauce, and you don't add tzatziki sauce to pasta. Gyros are awesome, marinara sauce is awesome, pasta is awesome, and tzatziki sauce is awesome. They're all awesome. But this doesn't mean they all mix equally well. (And if anyone here says marinara sauce goes great with gyros, "let him be anathema!") smile


Great analogy smile Totally agree. For a whole host of reasons, Ruthenians tend to be really fond of gyros with marinara sauce. Melkites, on the other hand, tend to make some of the best gyros you'll find (literally true at the last Melkite Middle East festival I attended).

As for me, I just want a good gyro (and would have been happy to be Melkite if there was a parish nearby).

I hope you find the gyro you are seeking as well.

PS: Re the materials on the Eparchy of Phoenix's site, that's my eparchy - take them with a grain of salt (to mask the strong marinara taste).
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 03:43 PM

Yes, if you want unlatinized, go Melkite or Russian Catholic if you can (if there's a parish nearby).
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/08/14 05:31 PM

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Although I am a proud member of the UGCC, I would never personally try to convince an Orthodox Ukrainian to join the UGCC.

No, I wouldn't either -- not just about the UGCC I mean, but in general.

Echoing TYF's comment, I don't see Catholicism and Orthodoxy as denominations. My bishop is in communion with the pope, and I don't believe I would be justified to break off communion from him (or him). It would be a different matter, of course, if I were 100% convinced that e.g. the Immaculate Conception were heretical.
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/09/14 01:52 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
There is also the very obvious exception of the Great Entrance being done like the Little Entrance (a quick trip from the deacon door into the Royal Doors). In Greek Orthodox churches the Great Entrance is a solemn procession, whereby the priest(s), deacon(s), and altar minister(s) exit out the left deacon door, proceed down the left side of the sanctuary, around to the back, then down the center aisle, and into the Royal Doors. It is a sublime moment that, at least for me, magnifies preparation for the Sanctification. And so not experiencing that was one thing that was extremely different for me.


I have never seen this in the Greek Orthodox cathedral here where I've been in DL and Presanctified many times. They go out the deacon's door walk across to the Royal Doors and go in.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/09/14 02:10 AM

This is an example of what I was referring to: Great Entrance (YouTube)
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/09/14 02:40 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
There is also the very obvious exception of the Great Entrance being done like the Little Entrance (a quick trip from the deacon door into the Royal Doors). In Greek Orthodox churches the Great Entrance is a solemn procession, whereby the priest(s), deacon(s), and altar minister(s) exit out the left deacon door, proceed down the left side of the sanctuary, around to the back, then down the center aisle, and into the Royal Doors. It is a sublime moment that, at least for me, magnifies preparation for the Sanctification. And so not experiencing that was one thing that was extremely different for me.

That's not a latinization but a difference between Greek and Slavic practice.
Posted By: likethethief

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/09/14 03:19 AM

Originally Posted by Jeremiah
This is an example of what I was referring to: Great Entrance (YouTube)


Yes. We do this in our parish. smile As the celebrant passes by in our parish typically people reach out and kiss the hem of his phelonion.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/11/14 10:57 AM

Christ is among us! He is indeed, and shall be!

It's now and finally official. Yesterday I was received into the Byzantine Catholic Church at the nearby parish that I've been attending for the past several weeks. I'm personally overjoyed, and give thanks to God.

The ceremony of reception was beautiful. It took place before the second liturgy. There was myself, the priest, my witness/sponsor, and four other people who observed. Before the ceremony, I gave my confession to the priest. It had been many years since my last confession (and that one had been my only confession ever), and I must say it was a powerful experience. In a very true and tangible way I felt my burdens lifted and released. I truly "feel" forgiven and free. It's really quite indescribable.

After confession I then joined the priest and the witnesses at the front of the church and stood before the tetrapod (which yesterday displayed the icon of the Transfiguration). I was given a white robe to wear. I was then given a white candle (with an ornate gold design of the cross on it), which was lit, and held it while I renewed my baptismal vows. With my hand on the book of the Gospels I then recited the Nicene Creed (the original one, sans filioque) followed by my profession of Catholic faith (which simply went: "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."). Afterward the priest said a prayer over me, and then sprinkled me with holy water reserved from the Easter vigil. The chanter, who was my witness/sponsor, and observers then sang a quick song of welcome and blessing.

It was a quick ceremony. I would say no more than 10 minutes. But it did not feel rushed; it was deeply reverential and extremely joyful, such that at one point I was at the edge of tears.

And then at liturgy I partook of the Eucharist, which was something I've been hungering for (starving for!) for a very long time.

I feel immensely blessed. And while I have no illusions about the very human state of things in the Church, and in any given church community, I very much feel a true sense of "being at home."

Thanks be to God.
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/11/14 11:30 AM

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Quote
It's now and finally official. Yesterday I was received into the Byzantine Catholic Church at the nearby parish that I've been attending for the past several weeks. I'm personally overjoyed, and give thanks to God.


Welcome to the Byzantine Catholic Church! From one Greek Orthodox who became Eastern Catholic to another!

Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/11/14 11:55 AM

Thank you Nelson! smile
Posted By: Anthony

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/11/14 01:38 PM

Congratulations, Jeremiah!!
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/11/14 09:35 PM

Congratulations Jeremiah!

It is my fervent hope that you won't "Lament" your action down the road . . . wink

Alex
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 12:37 AM

The church: life in it isn't perfect, but it's the only church we've got. Welcome.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 07:53 AM

There's also the Orthodox Church . . .

Alex
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 10:27 AM

They're an estranged part of us, still so close it hurts. Our brother's not estranged anymore.

You can't talk about Catholicism and Orthodoxy as if they were denominations. We're talking about rival true-church claims. "Denominationalizing" them isn't fair to them.

In a country with religious pluralism (the U.S. - not eastern Slovakia 100 years ago; no church-shopping there then), both of us often act like denominations, to get along with our neighbors, but in principle we're not.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 10:35 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
Our brother's not estranged anymore.

Not from us. (I guess technically I should say "Not from Catholics" since others are welcome to be on this thread as well.)
Posted By: The young fogey

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 10:47 AM

There is only one church.
Posted By: Jeremiah

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 11:30 AM

Thanks to all for the kind welcomes.

As to the issue of division between Catholics and Orthodox . . . we'll each have a different perspective on the matter, to be sure. But suffice it to say they are two siblings of one family, like Peter and Andrew (or Jacob and Esau). Each with their own identities, personalities, ways of seeing, ways of doing. And also with differences that clash, each with the other, and which for a time may cause separation and estrangement. As sometimes happens between brothers.

My reasons for "joining arms with Peter" have already been expressed a number of times on this thread. But mind you that while I recognize the differences between Peter (Catholic) and Andrew (Orthodox), I am not inclined to entertain the nuanced notions of disunity that too many still relish in arguing over.

All the differences between Catholic and Orthodox notwithstanding, we are One family. And I love my family, no matter how messy it can often times be.
Posted By: Lester S

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 11:44 AM

Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
There's also the Orthodox Church . . .

Alex


that is all.
Posted By: Peter J

Re: Greek Orthodox to Byzantine Catholic - 08/12/14 11:46 AM

Originally Posted by The young fogey
There is only one church.

Exactly. cool

Wait, what?
© 2019 The Byzantine Forum