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I am going to attempt to bring back this Thread.
I want to begin by saying that I appreciate and support Fr. Deacon John and Administrator John for the handling of the first posting of this Thread topic.
We should not personally attack individuals. We should address behaviors and methods, not individuals.
Again, thank you both for your leadership on this Forum.

Volodymyr
One of the reasons why Byzantine Churches and her members are declining in numbers is because of a lack of evangelizing. Eastern Christianity is the best kept secret of Christendom. The reason it is a secret is because we do not wish to evangelize, nor do we make any real effort. I was a member of a Ruthenian Byzantine parish a few years back and I mentioned the possibility of rounding some of us up and going throughout the neighborhood and going door-to-door and sharing the Gospel and Jesus, and then having an Inquirer's Evening. You should have seen the reaction! It was as though I had asked to take one of The Doors home with me. Initially, I was upset with this. But I had to take some things into consideration:

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

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

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

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

Christ is Risen!!
Hello there, perhaps there could be a new church denomination made if the current ones are unwilling to (perhaps made up of former Protestants/Protestants theologically looking eastward) that could do evangelizing (and hopefully inspire the other Byz. Rites churches).
I don't believe there is any such thing as denominations within the Church. There is only the Catholic Church with it's various theological expressions. You could certainly get a ministry within a parish church going which focuses it's prayer and efforts on evangelizing.
A couple of points about evangelizing:

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

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

- Attracting new people to a parish can threaten the entrenched in terms of power and control, hence they eschew evangelizing.
As a Latin, I can tell you that, while I do have a desire to formally change rites, this proves difficult for a few reasons which I will list here:

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

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

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

These are the three largest problems I have encountered in my wish to switch rites and become an EC. I hope you find them useful.
Originally Posted by RyanOwens
As a Latin, I can tell you that, while I do have a desire to formally change rites, this proves difficult for a few reasons which I will list here:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

One gets the feeling that EC bishops think that parishes are like mushrooms - keep them in the dark and they will magically sprout up. There is a reason that Evangelical Protestants build mega-churches. They EVANGELIZE! The EC doesn't know the meaning of the word, and as Fr. Thomas Loya told me one day many years ago "If the Byzantine Catholic Church in America doesn't learn how to evangelize, it will be gone in 50 years." I think that is a pretty spot on assessment.
Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Originally Posted by RyanOwens
As a Latin, I can tell you that, while I do have a desire to formally change rites, this proves difficult for a few reasons which I will list here:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


And what is particularly sad about it being gone in 50 years is that it won't be gone because there is no demand. There are many Latins, like myself, who are attempting to join. I seriously know of many. But the Bishops are not working with us. I also know many who would be prepared to take up Holy Orders (at least up to and including the Diaconate, myself also included) but there is no movement on the other side. It is clear that God has His desires for the EC churches but there seems to be nothing coming from the ecclesial powers-that-be. It is vert sad.
What you are saying is true. The Orthodox Church doesn't act like this. I have seen 13 good friends "dox" in the last couple of years, and now a couple of them are ordained, one being a priest and one being a deacon. The Orthodox see talent, holiness, and dedication and don't sit on the fence waiting for some magic fairy to come along, tap them on the shoulder and say "That's the one." They do what is needed to be done. This is why Orthodoxy is growing in America while the ECC is dying. As I understand it, the Ruthenian Church in America had 250,000 members back in the 1950's and St. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh was filled to capacity with priestly students. Today that number hovers around 50,000 and the seminary is pretty much a ghost town, a beautiful building with great potential that is going to waste.

How very sad.
Hi Ryan,

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

Also, don't think that just because you haven't officially changed ritual churches that you can't actively participate in life at your Byzantine parish. In my eparchy, the large majority of us who attend the Byzantine liturgy and participate as altar servers, cantors, etc. are in fact Roman Catholics.
I believe there are 15 seminarians hardly a ghost town. We also recently received an Orthodox priest into our Archeparchy.
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
I believe there are 15 seminarians hardly a ghost town. We also recently received an Orthodox priest into our Archeparchy.


And how many rooms are there at SSC&M? When I was there many years ago, there were hardly any seminarians. Nice to hear that there are 15. Would that it be 50.
To put it into perspective, St Paul Seminary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has about 20 seminarians for 630,000 Catholics.
Posted By: CCS Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America - 11/04/18 09:27 PM
Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Originally Posted by RyanOwens


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

I don’t know if the issues the two of you are speaking of play out differently in the Ruthenian and Ukrainian churches, but as far as Transfer goes, the recommendation I’ve seen (and this includes from Ruthenians and Ukrainians) is to get involved in parish life and after at least year or more, speak with your priest about transferring.
I have a recurring thought, and I would like to share it. How do we evangelize? We are not going to sit on the street and pass out tracts and yell about abortion or gay marriage through a bullhorn, others do that . We are likely not going to go door to door like the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, so how? What is really the most beautiful thing about the faith of the Eastern Church? I would say prayer and liturgy. We certainly cannot conduct Liturgy in a town square of a large city park, but we could sing the akathist or say vespers while venerating Icons. The people who find they're way to the ECC are seekers, but who planted the seed. I know how I got here. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Posted By: DocT Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America - 01/31/19 04:03 PM
I agree 100%.

Excellent choirs, a good priest and a parish that understands and loves Divine Liturgy is a fantastic outreach.

Practicing the Faith in God's intended way is attractive.

On the other hand, if the parish is full of despondent Latin Mass folks, who pray the rosary and do everything latin-style and who are only there because there isn't a good Latin Mass alternative.....this type of parish will not prosper, as they don't know who they are or why they're there.
Originally Posted by CCS
Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Originally Posted by RyanOwens


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


I know your parish and I visit there from time to time, as circumstances allow, for Saturday Vespers. Fr. Joseph is a marvelous homilist and a wonderful priest.
Originally Posted by DocT
I agree 100%.

Excellent choirs, a good priest and a parish that understands and loves Divine Liturgy is a fantastic outreach.

Practicing the Faith in God's intended way is attractive.

On the other hand, if the parish is full of despondent Latin Mass folks, who pray the rosary and do everything latin-style and who are only there because there isn't a good Latin Mass alternative.....this type of parish will not prosper, as they don't know who they are or why they're there.


My experience with the Ruthenians is that they have NO IDEA who they are. In the 20th century, the Ruthenian Church was bullied by Latin bishops and caved in rather than standing for who they are supposed to be according to the Union of Brest. There are a few hardy souls trying to be Orthodox, but they are not treated kindly, either by the clergy or their fellow parishioners, who don't understand what they are trying to accomplish.

And then there's the whole issue of being "Orthodox in Communion with Rome." How does one do that and remain Orthodox in theology and praxis. I still hear ECC's talk about indulgences and Purgatory, neither of which is Orthodox theologically. I was speaking with someone about being "Orthodox in Communion with Rome" one day after Liturgy and got jumped all over by an indignant parishioner who raised his voice to tell me, quite firmly, 'NO! We are Catholic!" I let it drop rather than start an unprofitable floor fight.

How can you be "in communion" with that with which you do not agree, such as the various doctrines of the Latin Church which were invented after the schism of 1054? The term "in communion" speaks of a unity of mind and thought, and in theological thought, means that we share all doctrines in common. This is precisely why Protestants aren't allowed to partake of the Eucharist, the very symbol of unity - because they don't have unity with our beliefs.
I believe Christ the Saviour Seminary in Johnstown has 4 or 5 students
One of the big problems is lack of control within the EC eparchies in the US. The chancery is nearly 600 miles from our parish. Because of this great distance, bad pastors have free reign to really pull parishes down before any change takes place. My parish had two terrible pastors in a row. That did grave damage.
Posted By: ajk Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America - 03/06/19 08:01 PM
Originally Posted by Exegete
The chancery is nearly 600 miles from our parish. Because of this great distance, bad pastors have free reign to really pull parishes down before any change takes place. .
Distance is a factor but not an excuse. The bishop should especially know the presbyters, his brother priests (and deacons too), mindful that at his ordination, the presiding hierarch gave him the pastoral staff saying:

"Take the pastoral staff, that you may feed the flock of Christ entrusted to you; and may you be a staff and support to those who are obedient. But lead the disobedient and the wayward to correction in gentleness and to obedience and they shall continue in due submission."
Posted By: ajk Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America - 03/06/19 09:27 PM
Originally Posted by DocT
Excellent choirs,..
Even better, all the people singing plainchant.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
My experience with the Ruthenians is that they have NO IDEA who they are.
We are the "light under the basket" ; see Did Balamand make us redundant.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
In the 20th century, the Ruthenian Church was bullied by Latin bishops and caved in rather than standing for who they are supposed to be according to the Union of Brest.
Brest got it right but the sub-Carpathian Ruthenians -- in the US the BBC; see Ecclesiology -- came in at the union of Užhorod.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
There are a few hardy souls trying to be Orthodox,
But this is a perfect example of "they have NO IDEA who they are." We are Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholics not Orthodox.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
And then there's the whole issue of being "Orthodox in Communion with Rome."
This is a well-intentioned phrase that sows confusion and reaps dissatisfaction..

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
How does one do that and remain Orthodox in theology and praxis.
By being Eastern Catholic in theology and praxis; see below on "Failure of our Church."

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
I still hear ECC's talk about indulgences and Purgatory, neither of which is Orthodox theologically.
They are more Orthodox in concept than Orthodox admit but are a convenient wedge for the pure-Orthodox hammer to pound..

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
How can you be "in communion" with that with which you do not agree, such as the various doctrines of the Latin Church which were invented after the schism of 1054?
This is another example of " a convenient wedge for the pure-Orthodox hammer to pound." I'm "in communion" exactly because I do agree. Again this is also an example of not knowing who we are. What is our main failure as a Church. Saying it again (see link: see end of post) but his time not as a question:
Originally Posted by ajk
A Failure of our Church: To effectively articulate why, as eastern, orthodox Christians we are, and why one should be Catholic – we, who are living (though perhaps rather imperfectly) the desired unity.
So rather than the polemic of "invented" I offer that one can not do better, faced with the ecumenical challenge, than to reflect on the balanced optimism of St Thomas Aquinas concerning faith, reason, and intellectual challenges:
Quote
Since faith rests upon infallible truth, and since the contrary of a truth can never be demonstrated, it is clear that the arguments brought against faith cannot be demonstrations, but are difficulties that can be answered.
Summa Theologiae 1a.1.8
The proper course here is to address and answer difficulties rather than affirm or encourage contradictions.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
The term "in communion" speaks of a unity of mind and thought, and in theological thought, means that we share all doctrines in common.
Ideally yes.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
This is precisely why Protestants aren't allowed to partake of the Eucharist, the very symbol of unity - because they don't have unity with our beliefs.
But by your own characterization of Orthodox issues, neither should the Orthodox.
AJK,
Wow, you made some great points there. I think i agree almost entirely.
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
I believe there are 15 seminarians hardly a ghost town. We also recently received an Orthodox priest into our Archeparchy.



Is there a thumbs up or "like" function on this forum - something to express my approval without having to cause offense to anyone?
I am a revert to the Catholic faith from Evangelicalism. I returned to the Church about three years ago. Similar to this forum’s initiator, my father was Byzantine and my mother was Latin. I have been following this forum for about two years. This is my very first post. With that said, I have a question… The Latin Rite has RCIA. Do we Byzantines have anything remotely similar?
AmericanMix:

Christ is in our midst!!

Welcome to the forum. May your time here help your growth in your relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob
Moderator
Thank you for welcoming me 'aboard', Theophan!


Glory to Jesus Christ!
Originally Posted by AmericanMix
I am a revert to the Catholic faith from Evangelicalism. I returned to the Church about three years ago. Similar to this forum’s initiator, my father was Byzantine and my mother was Latin. I have been following this forum for about two years. This is my very first post. With that said, I have a question… The Latin Rite has RCIA. Do we Byzantines have anything remotely similar?


My UGCC has "UCIA" instead of RCIA. I am enrolled in it at the moment. I was raised protestant, was atheist for 12 years, and now this Easter upon completion of UCIA I shall be Christmated into the UGCC.

This is my introductory post to the forum, so I'd like to also say hi to everyone, and also say that I am here because I want to evangelize this beautiful, hidden gem that is Byzantine Catholicism.
Zaradeptus, Glory to our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ! I too am a new member of this forum. And even though your journey is not quite complete yet... A BIG welcome to the Eastern Lung of the Church that Christ founded! Thank you for the 'heads up' about the program that your church up in Alberta has. Do you know if your church has any evangelistic/catechetical connections with any of the UGCC (or Melkite or Ruthenian or any EC) churches here in the New York/New Jersey area?
Originally Posted by ajk
Originally Posted by Exegete
The chancery is nearly 600 miles from our parish. Because of this great distance, bad pastors have free reign to really pull parishes down before any change takes place. .
Distance is a factor but not an excuse. The bishop should especially know the presbyters, his brother priests (and deacons too), mindful that at his ordination, the presiding hierarch gave him the pastoral staff saying:

"Take the pastoral staff, that you may feed the flock of Christ entrusted to you; and may you be a staff and support to those who are obedient. But lead the disobedient and the wayward to correction in gentleness and to obedience and they shall continue in due submission."


I would think that a man, with the awesome responsibility of being a bishop and chief shepherd of his flock, would want to be "out among the sheep" so to speak. That is, that he would visit a parish every weekend, see how the Liturgy is conducted, listen to the choir, check out the cantor(s), and offer correction if needed and encouragement.

12 years at my parish and NEVER once (at least to my memory) ever had a visit from the ordinary. And it is only 4 hours from the chancery.
Irish Ruthenian: "There are a few hardy souls trying to be Orthodox,"

AJK "But this is a perfect example of "they have NO IDEA who they are." We are Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholics not Orthodox."



My spiritual father would highly disagree with you.

History also would highly disagree with you.

When I read the Canons of Brest, I see Rome telling the Orthodox that they can stay Orthodox.

Ruthenianism in America is a Latinized cross-breed. Which is why, I think, that Pope Francis has stated that Uniatism is outdated and needs to be scrapped.

It didn't work.
zaradeptus:

Christ is Risen!!

Welcome to the forum. Sorry fothe two month delay in welcoming you.

Bob
Moderator
Posted By: ajk Re: The Bane of Eastern Christianity in America - 05/21/19 06:54 PM
For a fuller context see the source post here.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Irish Ruthenian: "There are a few hardy souls trying to be Orthodox,"

AJK "But this is a perfect example of "they have NO IDEA who they are." We are Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholics not Orthodox."



My spiritual father would highly disagree with you.
You and your spiritual father (if he's not Orthodox) should go to your typical Orthodox church, explain this to the priest, and ask him if he will give you Communion.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
History also would highly disagree with you.
Can you be more specific?

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
When I read the Canons of Brest, I see Rome telling the Orthodox that they can stay Orthodox.
Then there need not have been a union.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Ruthenianism in America is a Latinized cross-breed.
It was but that was its via from which it is emerging with successes and failures. I choose to honor the the path of our ancestors, a path that I did not walk and that I do not despise, while confident that it needed to change course, and confident that their faith was genuine. Actually, as I have written here before (as I recall) Latinization stood out in need of correction and that may be a happy fault. What should define "Ruthenianism" if not, at the core, our liturgical expression. We have a Recension and don't follow it in such a way that we embrace it as proclaiming our proper and historical uniqueness. In embracing Orthodoxy, Ruthenians who followed Toth are now and were made to become Russified. Johnstown has fared better under Constantinople but, as I observed and predict, they will become more and more Hellenized. So we, the BCC, are the co-heirs and custodians of a unique liturgical Recension and we squander it piecemeal as exemplified in the 2007 liturgical revisions.

Originally Posted by Irish_Ruthenian
Which is why, I think, that Pope Francis has stated that Uniatism is outdated and needs to be scrapped.

It didn't work.
Well, we're still here, and the Ukrainians and the Melkites and... Uniatism is the present bogyman that is not ecclesiastically correct. It's an historical transient while the real substance is Communion: the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the ONE Body of Christ.

What exactly was it that Pope Francis stated?
I have noticed many Protestants have been converting mostly to Latin Rite Catholicism and it is just more readily available and more widely known. Many feel turned off on seeing a more ethnic rooted parish and don't feel a sense of belonging (even though there are still ethnically rooted Latin Rite parishes in the Rustbelt and the great plains). Also, the Latin Rite seems to be a bit more of a comfortable transition for those raised Methodist, Anglican, and Lutheran.

That being said, many of the Melkite, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Ethiopian Catholic, Syro-Malabar (they are establishing missions across the country), Chaldean and Maronite parishes can be held up by immigrants.
Christos Voskres!

I concur that it is principally due to the ubiquity of Roman parishes in comparison to the few Eastern parishes.

I am from the West, but have bi-ritual faculties and serve both a medium-sized Western parish (1,400 families) and a small Ukrainian parish (50 families, perhaps). For many years I taught RCIA classes, and the "closeness" of the Mass to their own liturgical practice made it easier for Lutherans, Methodists, and other mainline Protestants to join the West. Few, if any of them, had any experience of Eastern worship; much less knowledge of the East in general.

Whenever I can get ANYONE (Catholic or Protestant) to Divine Liturgy for the first time -- they are always amazed (sometimes awestruck) by the full immersion of the senses in worship. This, coupled with the typical outpouring of Eastern hospitality (and Ukrainian pastries) always seems to leave a beautiful mark upon them.

In the final analysis, I think we could have many more Eastern converts if we could simply find those looking for another home and get them to visit one of our Temples. Since many of the RCIA candidates come from those engaged to or dating a Catholic, who, (also due to the simple math of the size of our Churches) tend to be Roman.

Fr. Deacon Christopher

[/quote]

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


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

As an Orthodox, it is very much important that a bishop visits their flock as much as possible.
Quote
There are many Latins, like myself, who are attempting to join.


I have been under the impression that Latins are included in Melkite parish headcounts, but I don't know if they are included in the Melkite Eparchy Registry.

If not, the inconsistency between the numbers could be an impetus for more official transfers.
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Fr. Deacon Christopher, I am a Latin rite Catholic who has found the Byzantine Greek Catholic Church (Ruthenian), Eparchy of Passaic, NJ. I was attracted by the Divine Liturgy and the manner of worship where the faithful play an integral part of the Liturgy- in responses, prayer, and song.
I am aware that Latin rite Catholics know little about Eastern Christianity, about the 22 or 23 Eastern Catholic rites because they have never been taught about them. The word "Orthodox" is rarely if ever mentioned from the pulpit. Also, I don't see that Christian unity is mentioned from the Latin pulpit nor are prayers requested for reuniting the holy Apostolic Churches. How can we change this? Is it that the Latin Church is not interested in reconciliation with the Orthodox? As a personal action on my part I have been trying to promote awareness to the term "Holy Theotokos" as the Greek title of the Holy Mother of God as the "God-bearer". Latin rite Catholics should know who the holy Theotokos is. (They know what the Greek term "Kyrie eleison", "Christe eleison" is so why should they not know who the holy Theotokos is?)).
Furthermore, if Latin rite Catholics could relate more closely to Eastern Catholicism and its Orthodox traditions, it would make reconciliation with the Orthodox Church much easier.
Well let’s start with the correct translation of Theotokos. It is not “Mother of God”. That is Mater Theou. It is not “God Bearer”. That is Theophoros. Theotokos literally translated is “Birthgiver of God” or super literally “She who gives birth to God”
The reason that so few Western Catholics know anything about Eastern Christianity (both Orthodox and Catholic) is primarily related to size, and geographic distribution.

While studying for the priesthood is when I first encountered the Divine Liturgy. Although I had lived in several different states, there weren't Eastern parishes in those areas.

The Eparchy that I serve covers more than half the continental US, 28 states in all, with temples in only 15 of those states. There are around 12,500 Ukrainian Catholics in the eparchy. In my Western archdiocese the neighboring parish has more Catholics than the entire eparchy!

As such, if Roman Catholics never meet Eastern Catholics, or never visit their temples or experience the Divine Liturgy it is often because they simply will not meet such a person, or happen across such a parish.

One can read and study about Eastern praxis and worship, watch a video on your computer, and the like; but that is no substitute for actually attending and having your senses over-run with chant and bells and incense and icons and glistening vestments.

In our country, Catholics are much more likely to encounter Eastern worship in the areas that immigrants from Eastern Europe settled. Along the northeastern seaboard, as well as PA, and OH have greater concentration of Eastern Catholics and parishes. Most of those that exist in CA, AZ, and NV were formed by migration of those Eastern Catholics as either snowbirds or retirees, or both.

I would suggest you invite Catholics that you meet to attend Divine Liturgy with you at your temple. Be a spark and let the Holy Spirit work upon them.

Finally, I don't think knowledge of Eastern Christianity is the real stumbling block to reunification of East and West; I think it is primarily papal supremacy.

Fr. Deacon Christopher
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