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#103948 03/21/04 02:26 PM
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Slava Isusu Christu!

A question from this history-challenged Ruthenian for my learned brothers and sisters:

Why did the Uniates return to the control of the Church of Rome in the first place? Did Rome actively pursue their return? Did they solicit Rome on their own accord?

Were those that returned acting on a parish-by-parish basis or was it more sweeping and general? Obviously not all chose to return... why some and not others?

I had heard that they sought the protection of Rome in the face of potential conversion attempts at the hands of Protestant and Muslim missionaries... right? wrong?

I humbly defer to the many, MANY members of our little community who have a better grasp of all things historical than I... please help me fill in the blanks in my history book!

Thank you.

a pilgrim

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Glory to Jesus Christ!

Hello Pilgrim!

It might help if you were more specific. Do you mean the original Union agreements between Orthodox bishops and the See of Peter or are you referring to the resurrection of the Eastern Catholic churches after the unraveling of Soviet control?

Possibly some other episode that I am not familiar with?

In any case "return" and "control" are loaded terms that may not be fitting to the question. The eastern churches and western churches separated from each other. smile

Uniate is not a very good term either, since it has been so often used as an insult. Please use Eastern Catholic (or Byzantine Catholic, Coptic Catholic etc.) whenever possible if you are referring to Eastern Sui Iuris churches. wink

The eastern churches of various traditions and the church of Rome negotiated several reunion agreements in the past. Most were ultimately unsuccessful and some were only partially successful.

If you are referring to the Byzantine-Slav churches the best answer would be that the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople was weak and discredited while under the control of the Turk. The life expectancy of a Patriarch was pretty short if he was independent-minded.

The Catholic Powers of the west were powerful enough in the areas they controlled and the bishops of the Byzantine churches in those areas negotiated separate deals without the consent of the Ecumenical Patriarch. Politics has a great deal to do with the union agreements forged at that time, of course politics had a great deal to do with the initial breakups the church endured as well. It's a curse!

In Christ Our Lord,
Michael

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And even more specific than that...

Each eastern church that re-established union with with Rome did so under its own circumstances and in its own way. There is even a difference between the Ruthenians on one side or the other of the Carpathians. There's a nice article by Father Taft on-line that summarizes a bit of these histories.

Here is a reprint of Fr. Taft's lecture:
http://www.jbburnett.com/analogion/taft_uniatism-toronto2000.pdf

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To complicate matters still further, much depends on the period you are referring to, and whom you have in mind. "Ruthenian" is a term notoriously difficult to define.
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WHOA! I think apologies might be in order on my part...

I was somewhat hasty in posting my question this morning, as I was on my way out the door for Church at the time. I wasn't really comfortable with using the terms "return" and "control" myself, but I couldn't find the proper wording I was looking for and, as I said, I was in a hurry, so I chose to post anyway. I'll use more verbal discretion in the future.

I truly meant no offense, either, in my use of the term "Uniate." I was looking for a general, catch-all type term to apply to all the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome and thought that "Uniate" might convey what I was looking for. Bad choice on my part - I'm sorry if I offended.

Coalesco, I am, in fact, curious about the original Union, rather than later ones applicable to individual siu juris Churches (djs - thanks for the link to Fr. Taft's lecture! Very interesting read!).

Here's the long story of what prompted my question in the first place...

I was baptized and chrismated into the Byzantine Catholic Church (many years ago!) and was raised Byzantine Catholic - even attended and graduated from a Byzantine Catholic parochial school. Ours was, not surprisingly, the only Byzantine Catholic parish within a good many miles, and I interacted quite regularly with many Roman Catholic friends. Occasionally, the topic of religion would come up and I'd have to try to explain the Byzantine "Rite," as we called ourselves then, to my friends and, on many occasions, even to their Roman Catholic parents as well. A typical conversation among us guys would go something like this (picture 10-year-old boys sitting on an EJ&E Railroad overpass, throwing bits of cinder railroad ballast at beer cans down below):

JOE: So, I'm Catholic... what are you?
ME: I'm Catholic too, only I'm Byzantine Catholic.
JOE: Byzantine Catholic... what's that?
ME: Well, we're Catholics under the leadership of the Pope, just like you, but the way we worship looks a little different than the way you do.
JOE: Why?
ME: Because, many years ago, right after Christ died for us, we all did things pretty much the same. But then, some of the Apostles went West and some went East and each group wound up doing things the way the people in those areas did them. For many reasons the two groups officially split in 1054, with the Western group becoming the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Group becoming the Orthodox Church.
JOE: Orthodox, huh? Hey, Nick, ain't that what you are?
NICK: I sure am!
JOE: So, what's different between us Roman Catholics and you Byzantines?
ME: As far as what we believe about God goes... nothing. But, the way we practice those beliefs is nerely identical to the way Nick here does it in his Church.
JOE: So you're Orthodox?
ME: No, I'm Catholic.
JOE: But you just said you do things just like Nick's Church does.
NICK: Hey, the cross on top of your Church has three bars on it, just like our church, doesn't it?
ME: Yes, it does.
Nick: And you guys get pussywillows instead of palms on Palm Sunday, just like us, right?
ME: Yes again.
JOE: Pussywillows? C'mon, you guys are lying, right?
NICK: And don't you guys say a lot of "Hospodi Pomilujis" during the Liturgy?
JOE: Liturgy? What the heck's a Liturgy?
ME: Yes. We worship in Old Slavonic too, just like you, Nick.
JOE: Old Slavonic? Man, you guys are REALLY losing me now!
NICK: I hate to break it to you, buddy, but it sounds like you're Orthdox, just like me.
ME: No, I'm Catholic. My Church is under the leadership of the Pope of Rome, just like Joe's Church... yours isn't, Nick.
NICK: Boy, you Byzantine Catholics sound a whole lot more like us Orthodox than Joe and the Roman Catholics.
ME: Like I told you guys, we ARE just like the Orthodox Church... only we're under the Pope.
JOE & NICK: Wow! How'd that happen?

...and that's where I'd get stuck. And, as is evident by my question, I'm still kinda stuck today...


What I was hoping for was a clear-cut answer as to how some of the Eastern Churches wound up in communion with Rome, and some did not - the kind of answer that Joe and Nick would understand. I realize that that's asking for quite a bit! Funny, but it seems a lot easier to explain the "separation" than it is to explain the "reunion" (again, please pardon my choice of terminology - I honestly mean no offense).

Thank you all for your responses. I truly appreciate them and look forward, with enthusiasm and with your help, to digging deeper into the history of my Church!

Slava Isusu Christu!

a pilgrim

BTW - incognitus - boy, are you ever correct! Talk about a word that's difficult to define - "Ruthenian!" I'm currently in the process of attempting a bit of family geneology... one brick wall after another, my friend! I think this process would be a whole lot easier if I were, say, Italian or Chinese or ANYTHING a little more clear-cut than "Ruthenian!"

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a pilgrim:

If I understand you correctly, then your church (BC) was not part of the original union, but took its first major step in that direction fifty years later. While many elements were the analogous, two were different. The immediate political coersion on the part of our local prince (a Calvinist) was decided anti-union. In addition, after fifty years of happenings north and east, I think it is fair to say that union activity was not undertaken with any illusions as to its being a panacea for all of our problems.

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Dear Fellow Pilgrim,

In the 16th century, the Church of Kyiv found itself torn in about four directions. It had gotten its spiritual heritage from Constantinople before the Great Schism of 1054. It shared its cultural heritage with its Muscovite brethren.

Constantinople had been conquered by the Turks, Moscow had asserted itself as the new center of Rus culture and declared itself a Patriarchate, claiming authority over the Church of Kyiv.

Much of the territory of the Kyivan Metropolia had become part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was Roman Catholic, and pressured the Byzantines to become "Catholic".

There were also Protestant influences at work, throughout Europe in those years.

The Kyivan hierarchy tried to work for Christian unity. Representatives from Rus participated in the Western Councils of Lyon in 1245 and Constance in 1418. Isidore, the Metropolitan of Kyiv, was himself one of the creators of the Union of Florence in 1439. It is not clear that the Bishops of the Church of Kyiv ever considered themselves as "out of communion" with the Church of Rome.

By 1595, Metropolitan Michael and his fellow Bishops decided that the best solution to the tug of war over the Kyivan Church was to appeal to Pope Clement VIII to formally rejoin the west, while seeking to retain the Byzantine ecclesial traditions, by means of the Union of Brest.

The Ukrainian Church's view of its own history is at:

http://www.ugcc.org.ua/eng/ugcc_history/history/

The text of the Union of Brest is at:

http://www.archeparchy.ca/history/union_of_brest.htm

The Archeparchy of Winnepeg also has texts of many Papal letters on the subject of the Eastern Churches.

Blessed Pilgriming,

John
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Dear Friends,

With respect to the Union of Brest, the ecclesial/political situation was rather unique.

The Polish King appointed new Orthodox bishops in his dominions - he appointed ones who were very friendly toward his policies of trying to bring everyone under RCism in his Kingdom.

The EP was naturally suspicious of those bishops and, more and more, gave lay brotherhoods Stauropeghial status with the power to watch over the bishops and report on them to Constantinople.

The bishops developed a strong Western cultural orientation, were on very good terms with the Polish King and aristocracy, and began to resent the EP's willingness to effectively limit their authority under lay brotherhoods.

And the fact that the Orthodox bishops saw that RC bishops enjoyed many more privileges than they in the Kingdom certainly didn't hurt matters . . .

Alex

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Glory to Jesus Christ!

I note that L'viv only joined the Union after 1700 (not sure exactly when). By that time the Carpatho-Rusyns of Hungary would have been in the Union of Uzhorod for over 50 years and the Union of Brest was over 100 years old.

It appears that L'viv was the only non-Catholic Byzantine diocese in the region and totally surrounded. How ironic that today it would be the source of strength for the reinvigorated UGCC.

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A book I found helpful in understanding an overview of all the "eastern christian churches" (Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, etc.) was "Eastern Christian Churches: A brief overview" by Ronald Roberson. It is consise, yet gives a good, readable, pretty much unbiased view of how each church developed. You can get it at Amazon:

Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Overview [amazon.com]

Note that this is just an *overview*. I was able to read it in a day. But after reading it, I at least felt I could navigate the waters to find out more details.

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I just discovered that that entire book I referenced in my previous post is available online:

Eastern Christian Churches [cnewa.org]

(Note that the different chapters are linked on the right side)

Cheaper than buying the book! smile

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The book is great!

I have a copy but it is so often lent out I rarely refer to it myself. The online version is interesting and helpful in that case!

I would like to recommend to anyone truly interested in the topic to subscribe to the Eastern Churches Journal. It's not cheap, but you can then lend it to other interested persons, everyone benefits!

Back copies are available as well.

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Dear Pilgrim,
Glad to have been of some slight help. This may be a bit more, since you're interested in your family's geneology: try Dr. Paul Magocsi's book *Our People*; if your people (forgive the expression) originated or spent time in such places as Eastern Slovakia, Transcarpathian Ukraine, North-Eastern Hungary or South-Eastern Poland, you may find some helpful information there. You can also sometimes get helpful information from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in places where they lived, or where you think they lived, in the USA. Lots of luck; this can be quite convoluted - but at least you're apt to meet some nice people in the process.
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I would like to recommend to anyone truly interested in the topic to subscribe to the Eastern Churches Journal. It's not cheap, but you can then lend it to other interested persons, everyone benefits!
Is that still published? I went to their website, and it looked like it hadn't been published since 2001. Do you have information on how to subscribe to it?

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Just received the latest issue of Eastern Churches Journal in the mail late last week, so it's still being published (though it tends to run about two issues behind schedule - religious journals have that habit). To subscribe, send a letter to Eastern Christian Publications, PO Box 146, Fairfax, Virginia 22030-0146 with a note enclosed saying you wish to subscribe to Eastern Churches Journal and asking what the current rates are (they vary depending on where the journal has to be sent to the subscriber).
Incognitus

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