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Originally Posted by Nelson Chase
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Socalled Ruthenians in our area avoid the Ukrainian Catholic churches. Nothing new.

And Ukrainian Greek Catholics in my area avoid my Byzantine Catholic parish. Sadly, this is nothing new. This is a problem of both our churches. A Melkite mission uses our temple, do you think they participate with us? Nope. We've opened everything to them but rarely, if ever, do we do anything together, or see a Melkite join our adult classes for example.

We need to stop bickering and pointing out others faults, and actually act like we are in communion with each other.

Inter-Greek Catholic cooperation and participation is painfully pathetic. Ukrainians, Byzantines, Melkites, and Romanians need to work together because if we don't soon there won't be a Greek Catholic Church in America. We need to think outside of our own little cliques and evangelize or else we will be but a distant memory.
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Paul,

Yes, the Ukrainian government is indeed corrupt. But that corruption comes from a specific source . . . He has obviously never been to Moscow smile.

And everyone's experiences with Ukrainian and Russian priests are different. To make a universal judgement as that fellow did is simply uncharitable, not to mention his shocking commentary that the Ukrainians deserve to suffer and die etc.

However, in Prague there are Ukrainian Orthodox priests who are under the omophorion of the Metropolitan of Czechia and Slovakia - they gave me an icon of St Gorazd the Holy New Hieromartyr under the Nazis.

I also saw how EC and Orthodox priests there wouldn't speak to one another.

I was shocked to see that at my mother's retirement residence recently as well.

As you say, this is all a very grave problem - even more of a problem when EC's don't cooperate amongst themselves.

Alex


Amen, to you both.

The only way I want Greek Catholics to not exist is if there's reunion, with the various Orthodox jurisdictions, not any kind of forcible absorption, or conscious reabsorption into respective mother churches (would take a miracle for that to happen)

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It's truly pathetic how Slavs dislike each other and pass along untruths. No wonder much of the informed world think people of Slavic descent are not very bright. Shame on us all.

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Originally Posted by Pavloosh
It's truly pathetic how Slavs dislike each other and pass along untruths. No wonder much of the informed world think people of Slavic descent are not very bright. Shame on us all.

Amen to that indeed. It is funny, but for whatever reason the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox of the ACROD descended from the Pittsburgh Byzantine Greek Catholic eparchy get along quite well with our Ukrainian Orthodox brothers of the UOCUSA.

I don't want to generalize, but I think that the Ukrainians of the UOSUSA primarily came to America in the great waves of Slavic immigration which ended prior to World War Two while many - not all - of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics were admitted as refugees after the devastation of the war. Perhaps the shaping of the respective identities differed and the geographic source of the two groups are different?

In my experience, the local UGCC parish here is rather outgoing and friendly. Back in the 1960's and 70's there were several parishioners there who were - for lack of a better word - very mean to my dad - the ACROD Orthodox priest in town. It was ironic as we come from villages right on the Slovak side of the Polish border and the ancestral villages of most of that parish are - you guessed it - on the Polish side of the Tatras nearby. Most of the parishioners there appreciated my dad, he would visit them if he saw they were in the hospital while on his daily rounds and they would swap stories. I remember one ole gentleman my dad's age who would laugh and tell me they liked my dad even though he had a 'southern accent'.

Eventually the really zealous ones found themselves in a distict minority as most of us were more interested in being Americans while not forgetting where our parents and grandparents came from to seek a better life.

As I said, perhaps the experiences of the two waves of immigrants were so different and that causes the friction????

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Who knows what goes on in the heads of Slavs . . . smile

Alex

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We sit around waiting to be persecuted.

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Originally Posted by DMD
I don't want to generalize, but I think that the Ukrainians of the UOSUSA primarily came to America in the great waves of Slavic immigration which ended prior to World War Two while many - not all - of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics were admitted as refugees after the devastation of the war. Perhaps the shaping of the respective identities differed and the geographic source of the two groups are different?

It is true that the 1940s-50s immigrants were mostly Greek Catholics escaping the Soviets, but the bickering began much earlier. There were some geographic factors involved.

The experience of Bishop Ortynsky in 1907-16 led to the Greek Catholic division into Rusyn/Slovak/Hungarian and Ukrainian eparchies in the 1920s.

The parish affiliation seemed to be based on which side of the Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy they came from. Some parishes split. A hundred years later, it is hard to understand the reasons why.

The Ukrainian Orthodox came mostly from further east in what was the Russian Empire. They were not part of the Carpathian food fight, but they thought of themselves as separate from the Russian Patriarchate.


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I am aware of the 'food fight' among the Rusyn Ruthenians and the Galician Ruthenians and the struggles of Bishop Soter Ortynsky (who consecrated my own, now Orthodox, church building before the War.

I would agree that many of the UOC were from the more eastern sectors of Ukraine, but many along the east coast were 'refugees' from the UGCC when the issues of mandatory celibacy and other Latinizing factors (including ownership of Church property) came into play. Those parishes were Galician rather than Kievan or comprised of Ukrainians from both regions.

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Christ is in our midst!!

This comment will be a bit off topic, but it's parallel.

Similar contentious relationships have existed among Latin Catholics of all ethnic stripes, too, in the past. That's why in so many places that there are/were ethnic parishes on every corner of some cities.

In my own home parish, the priest forced all the groups to stay together because they "were all American now." That didn't work very well when the Irish and Germans--who didn't really have a love fest going on--found Italians and Poles joining them in the parish church. When parish dinners were held, it depended on what was being served if members would help cook, serve, and even eat.

And then when younger people married outside their ethnic group, their children were called "half breeds" by some of the older diehards. crazy

Where is/was that saying of St. Paul that "in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, . . ."?

How did the Gospel ever get as far as it has? confused

Bob

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Originally Posted by theophan
Christ is in our midst!!

This comment will be a bit off topic, but it's parallel.

Similar contentious relationships have existed among Latin Catholics of all ethnic stripes, too, in the past. That's why in so many places that there are/were ethnic parishes on every corner of some cities.

In my own home parish, the priest forced all the groups to stay together because they "were all American now." That didn't work very well when the Irish and Germans--who didn't really have a love fest going on--found Italians and Poles joining them in the parish church. When parish dinners were held, it depended on what was being served if members would help cook, serve, and even eat.

And then when younger people married outside their ethnic group, their children were called "half breeds" by some of the older diehards. crazy

Where is/was that saying of St. Paul that "in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, . . ."?

How did the Gospel ever get as far as it has? confused

Bob

I'm glad you posted that as the notion of their being 'the Polish, the Irish, the Slovak RC Church' has largely disappeared over the past generation and a half so to many RCC, the ethnicity within the Eastern churches - Catholic and Orthodox - is often viewed in negative terms or as a reason not to inquire further with us all.

In both the coal patch and small city I lived in growing up in the 50's and 60's there were any number of Roman Catholic parishes. In Freeland, PA I remember the Italian, Slovak, Polish and Irish parish - each seem far larger than our little Orthodox parish and perhaps as large as St. Mary's BCC, today both of the eastern parishes are still there while only one - the smallest - of the RCC buildings still functions while the others are fast becoming hulking shells of themselves due to their abandonment.

In Binghamton's First Ward we had two Slovak Catholic parishes - two different parts of Slovakia I've been told, a Lithuanian one and a Polish one. Across the tracks were two Irish parishes, downtown there was the Italian and another large Irish one, the northside had the Germans and the Southside had a large predominantly Irish one which became multi ethnic after the war and which split into three parishes of mixed ethnicity. Today - there are five parishes with only the one merged from the Slovak, Polish and Lithuanian one having even a remotely ethnic sense of identity. Meanwhile, all of the eastern churches - catholic and orthodox - hang in there - a total of ten combined in the valley. (each serves a population not confined by neighborhood like the old Catholic ones were at first.)

Times change.

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Christ is in our midst!!

The parish cemetery is another example of the divisiveness of ethnicity. I got to know the sections when I worked with the local funeral director when I was in high school.

In one corner nearest the highway, we have the Irish. Above them on the hill are the Germans. Across the entire property--leaving a huge swath of land (about an acre) that remained empty until the early 1970s--were the Italians. Somewhere in an area that became mixed on the back end of the empty area were a mix of Germans and Poles and those of mixed ethnic background.

When they ran out of room in the divided areas, the empty acre began to be used. It probably paralleled the growth of a newer generation that didn't identify itself with an ethnic identity, as well as the fact that there was "no room at the Inn" in the segregated sections of old. Have to love this.

Then there is a very old section along one border where people of mixed marriage used to be interred. The Catholic would buy a plot along the border of the Catholic cemetery; the Protestant spouse would buy one across the border in the Protestant cemetery.

Later, when it was permissible for the spouses to be buried in the Catholic cemetery together, a funeral director had to have the Protestant grave "bricked up" so that consecrated ground would not fall on a Protestant and have a load of unconsecrated earth brought in to fill the grave--because one couldn't put consecrated ground back onto a Protestant.

Thankfully all these things have gone by the wayside. I have heard really hair-raising stories from my older colleagues about making funeral arrangements and having to tell a family they needed a bricklayer for an interment and why; also the added expense of bringing dirt from another location to fill a grave. That's all before telling a family that the Protestant minister could not set foot in the cemetery to have a Committal Service for his parishioner.

So Eastern Christians have no lock on "us vs. them" in church matters. And no one should wonder about human nature in this "us vs. them" mentality.

Bob

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This thread brings to mind something my father told me years ago. He's a retired policeman who was assigned to the security detail when Cardinal Slipyj toured the US and Canada in the mid '70's.

They visited all the Ukrainian Catholic parishes in the Cleveland area. Area UGCC clergy were out in full force, but there was no Rusyn clergy representation at all. Cardinal Slipyj conversed with my dad and upon finding out my father was Rusyn Greek Catholic, kind of took him under his wing.

Some years later my dad related the story to our Rusyn parish priest. He mentioned the lack of "our people's" (Rusyn) presence during the visit. The priest pretty much gave an answer of "we don't talk to them".

It's kind of sad to think of the highest ranking Byzantine Catholic prelate in the world coming to a US city with a very large Byzantine Catholic population, and being ignored by the Rusyn Byzantine clergy. The Rusyn/Ukrainian Greek Catholic population at the time was pretty much 2 to 1.

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Dear Etnick,

First of all, I felt so blessed by you sharing this story - thank you!

Certainly, Patriarch Josef saw the Rusyny not as "Ukrainians" but as who they were and are. At the same time, he wanted to be their Patriarch too which is why in the formal description of his Church he always added in brackets: "Greco-Ruthenian." I don't know how the Rusyny understood this, whether this added to their annoyance with him and the UGCC (I would hope not!).

Patriarch Josef embraced one and all. He learned to do that in Siberia where all sorts of Christian traditions (including Old Believers) who had the misfortune of sharing his fate would often see him as their bishop and defender. They would go overboard in trying to make him comfortable etc. This I know from people who spent time with him and who made it out of the Siberian exile.

Once in Rome, the Patriarch-Confessor came into contact with many other traditions and cultures who wanted to get close to him as they saw him as a living saint. Many people came to be married by him, most of whom were not EC, or to have their children baptized by him. When he travelled throughout the world to visit his flock, there were many Ukrainians and others who were neither Catholic nor Orthodox who wanted to meet with him. He publicly called them to come to the churches where he was serving at those times to pray along with him and everyone else. In Latin America, "our people" as they called themselves came out of the thick jungles (who knows which Church or faith they confessed!), to pray with him and to see him. He never called on them to convert etc. He was content to see them and to be with them.

But convert many did. My own Ukrainian school teacher, a staunch Orthodox Christian with whom I (in my misguided zeal) would often argue about topics like St Josaphat and the Union of Brest, became so enamored with the Patriarch after she met with him that she decided to become UGCC. Look, I knew her very well - that was a miracle in and of ITSELF! (Not that the Patriarch sought out converts at all - he didn't and accepted and loved you for who you were etc.).

A Ukrainian dissident who spent a few years in Siberia and who was an Orthodox Christian went to meet with the Patriarch after he escaped. The Patriarch blessed him and told him to continue the "good fight" on behalf of freedom in "the diaspora." That dissident was so taken by that attitude that he became UGCC.

The Patriarch saw himself as a representative of the Eastern Churches of eastern Europe and of their struggle to survive under Bolshevism. He was so totally unassuming, even though he came under attack by many in the West (including BOTH Catholic and Orthodox Ukrainians - at the time, more EC's attacked him than not).

I met him twice and the second time had an opportunity to converse with him in the privacy of our Vladyka's home.

Just wanted to let you know how blessed your father was to have met him in the way you describe. As for the Rusyns ignoring him, the Patriarch would not have held that against them - as you would know.

May the Holy Hierarch Josef pray unto God for us!

Alex




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Thanks for the reply Alex. You've said a lot of things about the Patriarch (sounds better than Cardinal or Major Archbishop) that say much about who he was and what he stood for. I certainly have to admire and respect a man who could survive that many years in the Gulags and live to be in his nineties!

After speaking with my father about this, he also mentioned having met Cardinal Mindszenty from Hungary who went through a similar situation.

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I had an RC friend in high school who was very traditional.

He often told me to be quiet about how Rome was treating Patriarch Josef . . .

Then when something similar happened to Cardinal Mindzenty (may he pray for us!), he turned away and said, "That Rome . . ." smile

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Originally Posted by DMD
I don't want to generalize, but I think that the Ukrainians of the UOSUSA primarily came to America in the great waves of Slavic immigration which ended prior to World War Two while many - not all - of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics were admitted as refugees after the devastation of the war. Perhaps the shaping of the respective identities differed and the geographic source of the two groups are different?
That sounds about right. I've never really known the Ukrainian Orthodox in America but the first Eastern Christians and East Slavs I knew, 30 years ago, were a Ukrainian Catholic family of refugees who came to America right after the war.

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