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Someone will probably hammer me if this has been mentioned in the past, but I keep wondering about the back and forth "unions" between the Orthodox and the Rusyns over the centuries. I can not imagine they would have taken the form of what we are used to today with "professions of faith" and chrismation we are accustomed to here when entire parishes and dioceses were converted one way or the other in the 17th century in U�horod to Greek Catholicism,in 1950 back to Orthodoxy and in Pre�ov in 1991 back to GC, leaving politics out of the picture. Was it simply an agreement between the bishops that filtered down to the parishes and the people. I am mainly thinking about the conversion of the GC to Orthodoxy in 1950 and the conversion back to GC in the early 1990's. Its just that these days we see so many individual conversions but rarely entire populations.

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Originally Posted by bergschlawiner
Someone will probably hammer me if this has been mentioned in the past, ...

LOL, Luke, I think you've managed to phrase a question that hasn't been posed previously - at least not in relation to the timeline parameters you've used - so, you're probably safe from being hammered on that count biggrin

Many years,

Neil



"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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To understand the reasons behind, and the implementation of the unit in Eastern Europe, you should read Professor (now Bishop) Borys Gudziak's Crisis and Reform" They Kyiva..., and the Genesis of the Union of Brest. [amazon.com]

The situation leading to the unia were complex and very confusing, in many ways a unique product of their time and place. The book explains it very well.

As to the reason why whole populations do not convert, we no longer live by the principle of Cujus regio eijus religio, "Whose realm, his religion".

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Originally Posted by bergschlawiner
Someone will probably hammer me if this has been mentioned in the past, but I keep wondering about the back and forth "unions" between the Orthodox and the Rusyns over the centuries. I can not imagine they would have taken the form of what we are used to today with "professions of faith" and chrismation we are accustomed to here when entire parishes and dioceses were converted one way or the other in the 17th century in U�horod to Greek Catholicism,in 1950 back to Orthodoxy and in Pre�ov in 1991 back to GC, leaving politics out of the picture. Was it simply an agreement between the bishops that filtered down to the parishes and the people. I am mainly thinking about the conversion of the GC to Orthodoxy in 1950 and the conversion back to GC in the early 1990's. Its just that these days we see so many individual conversions but rarely entire populations.
The reason would be that now for decades, both options have been left open. Hence both legally exist, and there are no "crypto" populations to speak of. The cases you mention involved one side existing by banning the other, and the fall out when the ban was lifted. With both legally existing side by side now for decades, both have stable populations. If one wants to switch, he just assimilates into the congregation already there, thus diluting the impetus of the population he left as a whole to go over.

In the late 1800's until WWII there was also a massive moment "Back to Orthodoxy" which went from the congregations up to the bishops. In Czechoslovakia, it overwhelmed the Orthodox Church,which came from a mass conversion as Western Rite Orthodox, and brought it back to the Constantinopolitan Rite. In Poland (where in territories controlled by the Czar, there was considerable "help" from the top), it formed the Polish Orthodox Church, which resisted the Warsaw-Vatican concordant against it.

Btw, the "conversions" in Czechoslovakia happened in the 1960's, when the GC were again legal. The 1990's was mostly issues of property being taken from the Orthodox and given to the GC. The Orthodox were simply evicted, and GC's already in existence took over. No doubt some Orthodox stayed with the new regime, but most just rebuilt elsewhere.

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I am getting the idea that nothing in being "converted" either way was as formal as here in the US, and that many people just went to the church they wanted to and were assimilated because they were the same nationality. Seems like little or no doctrine is involved.

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Seems like little or no doctrine is involved.

As an Orthodox abbot in Romania told my daughter, "Greek Catholic or Orthodox, it is the same thing".

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Originally Posted by StuartK
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Seems like little or no doctrine is involved.

As an Orthodox abbot in Romania told my daughter, "Greek Catholic or Orthodox, it is the same thing".
was that followed by a "so why don't you become Orthodox"?

The Holy Synod of Romania, in unambiguous terms, a few years ago stated that they are not "the same thing," with excommunication/deposition for those who act otherwise.

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Not at all. So sorry to disappoint you.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Not at all. So sorry to disappoint you.
As long as the abbott doesn't disappoint the Patriarch and Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and they do not disappoint those in union by the Orthodox diptychs of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, I have no complaint.

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I think you will find that reality on the ground is often at odds with synodal theory. Intercommunion in Romania was common before the communists. The communists tried to poison the waters by suppressing the Greek Catholic Church and transferring much of its property to the Orthodox Church (while simultaneously destroying or profaning many Orthodox churches. But that ended almost a generation ago, and the situation is now returning to normal.

It would be good if zealots on both sides would recognize the barrier of separation was never as rigid and impermeable as some would have it. Repeated decrees and encyclicals against intercommunion on both sides show that it was both common and persistent, and could not be suppressed. Vox populi and all that.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
I think you will find that reality on the ground is often at odds with synodal theory. Intercommunion in Romania was common before the communists. The communists tried to poison the waters by suppressing the Greek Catholic Church and transferring much of its property to the Orthodox Church (while simultaneously destroying or profaning many Orthodox churches. But that ended almost a generation ago, and the situation is now returning to normal.

It would be good if zealots on both sides would recognize the barrier of separation was never as rigid and impermeable as some would have it. Repeated decrees and encyclicals against intercommunion on both sides show that it was both common and persistent, and could not be suppressed. Vox populi and all that.
so much "vox populi" consists of nothing more than babbling.

I know a Romanian (Orthodox of sorts) who recently claimed to me that the country folk in Romania (Arad, to be specific, and he was very specific) never bothered with a marital crowning until it came to baptize their first child. I see no reason why the Holy Synod should just recognize common law marriage and dispense with the Church's blessing, no matter how common shacking up becomes.

He, btw, claims that the "Romanian Greco-Catholic Church United with Rome" is the same thing too, and that popular opinion thinks so. I, however, know LOTS of Romanians on the ground (my sons' mother is Romanian) who make the Patriarch and Holy Synod look tame.

LOTS of Protestants commune at the parishes which commemorate your supreme pontiff Benedict XVI. I know that first hand. Should His Holiness revise his "Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the church" accordingly?

Yes, the Communists tried to poison relations, but after what the Habsburgs, Hungarians and General Adolf von Buccow crammed down their throats, many (but not all) thirsted for poison. Good will had given the Romanian Greek-Catholic church a constitutional position as second religion, favored before all others except the Orthodox Church. In response an unconstitutional concordant was signed between the Vatican and its loyal son, the King of Romania, which not only did not give the Orthodox restitution for what had been taken, but gave the RGCCUWR Crown lands. The later was given guarantees from state interference, while restrictions were placed on the Romanian Orthodox Church. After the War, the Vatican tried to get the ROC to submit to it through the papal nuncio in an anti-Communist front. The ROC chose the Kommissar's cap over the papal tiara. Like the deal struck with the Ottomans and Tartars, the argument can easily be made that they were better off for it.

Then there's that Conferenza Episcopale Italiana and its president, appointed by their supreme pontiff...

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You know, I really love the Orthodox. Nobody here is more vociferous in his defense of the Orthodox Tradition than I am. I think it is a wonderful thing to be Orthodox. But one need not be a **** about it, you know.

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You know, Stuart does have a point. Although I would say he is more vociferous in his responses.

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@StuartK - Funny you should mention that about the Romanian Church, I was just reading a website (translated in Google Translate from the original Slovak) that mentioned the ordeal of this, and it might be something that relates to this topic as a whole... I'll quote the snippet, and then I'll link the site (it might be retranlated to the original Slovak when you click on it, but run it through Google Chrome to have it translated to English the best it can):

Originally Posted by Let us love and respect to our position in the Church
Czech Catholic weekly published recently (KT 15.09.1995, p. 5) interview with Mario Visavanom Greek Catholic priest, pastor in Sighetu, the situation in the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church. In describing the known difficulties of a general nature, imbalances relations with the Orthodox Church, etc. said the priest also reflects the current issue of relations with the Holy See. Among other things, he says: "We disagree with <n�silnou orientaliz�ciou> Catholics, which has recently promoted the Roman Congregation for Eastern Churches, headed by Cardinal Silvestrini. We feel that we have sacrificed in the name of uniting Catholics and the Orthodox Church. Basically they want from us, so we were Orthodox in the Catholic robe. What for us is that of the Orthodox, we have to change. We recommended to serve liturgy <chrbtom &#318;u&#271;om>, eliminate Catholic elements, such as the Rosary and Stations of the Cross, instead of the word diocese we should talk Diocese and the like. It's incomprehensible. "
We quote here the words of pity and understanding for the difficulties of the Romanian Church, and also for its difficulty, reluctance, almost an internal failure to properly understand the needs of the Church today and the signs of the times.

I bolded the part that you hinted on there, StuartK. Just thought that came as a surprise. Here's the link to that site. Like I said, run the website through a Google Chrome browser to it can translate: http://greckokatolici.blogspot.com/2013_02_01_archive.html

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Back in the mid-1990s, relations between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics in Romania were contentious, to say the least. The problem was one of Church property--the Greek Catholics wanted their churches back, the Orthodox were unwilling to give them back (in part because theirs had been destroyed or desecrated by the Communists, who gave them Greek Catholic churches as compensation. Newly emerged from the catacombs, the Greek Catholics had nowhere to worship. Violence frequently ensued as one side tried to grab property from the other.

In that environment, the Balamand Declaration was most unwelcome by the synod of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church, which saw it as a "sell-out" to the Orthodox (one problem with the reemergence of the Greek Catholics in Eastern Europe was those who had gone underground were something like Rip Van Winkle--when they emerged, they had not assimilated anything of Vatican II, let alone the Decree on Ecumenism). So, from their perspective, Rome was coddling the very people who had oppressed those Greek Catholics who had remained faithful to Rome no matter what.

Things got so bad that, in the end, all the Romanian Greek Catholic bishops were summoned to Rome by Pope John Paul II. And, according to Bishop John Michael, rather than laying down the law, the Pope simply sat and listened for several days as the Romanian bishops vented. Then he explained the meaning of the Balamand Declaration, expressed his continuing support for the Greek Catholics, asked for their patience and fortitude, and told them to bear true witness to Christ in all they did.

And they went home, and gradually the fences got mended. There are still a lot of rough spots. Greek Catholics think they are under-represented in the national census, which affects how much property they were allocated (the census asks whether the respondent is "Orthodox" or "Hungarian"). They also still have problems with the civil administration in working through the process for getting permits to build new churches, but having gone through that process in Fairfax, VA, I think it might just be endemic.

Overall the situation today is much healthier than it was a decade or two ago, and continues to improve.

My information on the situation in Romania prior to World War II was provide by Bishop Florian of Cluj-Gherla.


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