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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.

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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").

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

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This is an example of what I was referring to: Great Entrance (YouTube) [youtube.com]

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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!


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Thank you Nelson! smile

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Congratulations, Jeremiah!!

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Congratulations Jeremiah!

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

Alex

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

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