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This is just something I've been throwing around my brain for a few years. I have no idea whether it would be a good idea or a bad one, but I'm wondering if anyone has thought of this, if it's ever been discussed officially, etc.

While our jurisdicitional situation isn't exactly the same as the Orthodox in North America, we do have overlapping and, somewhat, competing eparchies. Could the Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Melkite and Romanian eparchies ever unite into one American Byzantine Catholic church? Or if the Canadians were included, their Ukrainian, Melkite and Slovak eparchies? What would the potential benefits be? What would the potential drawbacks be? The main problem I think of is the different practices between the Ruthenian, Ukrainian and Melkite recensions (if that's the right word to use for this), but that doesn't seem insurmountable. Do you think the good would outweigh the bad?

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Christ is in our midst!!

I am a Latin Catholic so I have no direct argument to be made here. I think it boils down to the idea that each local variation of the Byzantine tradition--along ethnic lines--would need to be "left alone to do their own thing liturgically." And that sort of mindset does not seem to be something that bishops seem to like--better if everyone is doing the same thing. Just MHO. Historically that seems to be the reason that the Ruthenians in Pgh were set apart in a separate eparchy from the Ukrainians in Phila. for example.

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I think that yes, it would be a good idea. Not happening but a good idea still. Theologically, there is supposed to be one ruling bishop per geographic region. Also there shouldn't be a Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Romanian or Melkite Catholic Church but a North American Eastern Catholic Church. To their credit, the Russian Orthodox attempted to start a North American Orthodox Church (OCA) and the Ruthenians have attempted to somewhat tone down the ethnic background. A pan-Eastern Catholic arrangement would allow for greater coordination among scarce resources. Perhaps, most importantly, it would reduce the total number of Eastern Catholic bishops in North America. Every time a bishop retires or dies, a replacement is needed. Priest are pretty scarce so the less vacancies that require fulfillment, the better.

There was talk a while back about a pan Catholic/Orthodox translation of the Divine Liturgy and related texts. In theory there is no reason why that could still not occur, at least among the Catholic branches.

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For the survival of our churches, I see little choice. Our shepherds need to end the ethnic charade of separate jurisdictions and unite into a single North American jurisdiction of Greek (Byzantine) Catholics with a strong, common voice with a unified liturgical English translation, and typikon worthy of the tradition we all adhere to. Instead of following, our leaders need to lead. In my view this is not a nicety, but absolutely critical, as is unity among all the Apostolic churches. The sooner it's done the better. I totally support "melkites" thread!

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Allow me to once again direct folks' attention to the 1970 Christmas Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Joseph (Tawil), of blessed memory, a line from which prints at the bottom of every post I make. At the time that he wrote this, Archbishop Joseph, then the still relatively new second Exarch for the Melkites in the US and later the first bishop of the Eparchy of Newton of the Melkites, was speaking not of the different Churches but of the insularity of the Melkites - not much different than that found in all the US Eastern Catholic Churches of the day. He spoke of two dangers - ghetto mentality and assimilation - and postulated the need for Melkites to find some middle ground between the two, which we eventually achieved. However, among the Byzantines, the Melkites had one advantage - it was the sole Byzantine Church that did not proclaim a nationality in its name - crossing Middle Eastern and Arabic bounds. The concern in 1970 was chiefly a reluctance to accept or reaction to reception of 'Americans' - those not of Middle Eastern or Arabic ancestry - into parish folds and the loss of youth who were not as bound up in the ethnicity as those of their immigrant and first generation forebears. A glance at the rolls of most US Melkite parishes and at its clergy roster will show that we've overcome the concern about accepting others, for the most part, although there are a very few parishes that are still somewhat ethnic enclaves and loss of youth is still an issue - but taht is true of many faiths.

When you look beyond us however, nationality is still expressed in the titling of our Sister Churches and can be a strong consideration in some instances. What has happened for the better is a spirit of cooperation among the Churches that didn't always exist and some efforts to reduce or eliminate duplication of effort. The Melkites no longer operate a seminary (for years, we did, training our own clergy and sometimes those of other Churches - the current Romanian eparch and one Maronite eparch were attendees); our seminarians now attend Ss Cyril & Methodius. Melkite, Ruthenian, and Romanian clergy provide pastoral care to the small Russian Byzantine communities, who are without their own canonical structure in the US; the Ruthenians and Ukrainians do likewise for the Italo-Greco-Albanians. There are coordinated efforts involved in the production of catechetical materials.

Will the day come when you visit a food festival and find the pierohi contents to have been stuffed into pita wrappings or have a choice between holubki and stuffed grape leaves? Possibly, I suppose. Keep in mind, however, as someone referenced the OCA, that it still has three dioceses that are ethnically denominated and which overlap its geographically based dioceses.Historically, though, Eastern Catholics did not always play nicely with others when the two largest US ethnic groupings were united under a single hierarch with a subordinate hierarch designated for one of the two. For all that the US is trumpeted as a melting pot, the temperature has not always been sufficient to combine all the contents into a homogeneous end product - the Byzantine Churches have that same issue.

Many years,

Neil

Last edited by Irish Melkite; 02/25/21 09:08 PM.

"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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The Ruthenian Metropolia, which receives criticism for using Byzantine Catholic without ethnic qualifier, has done the largely the same and Slav/Magyar heritage component is at a minimum.


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In the end it is a canonical question and unless you have the unanimity of the Synods in the old countries and the eparchies in America it has simply no chance.


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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
In the end it is a canonical question and unless you have the unanimity of the Synods in the old countries and the eparchies in America it has simply no chance.

And, of course, my friend, the concurrence of the Colonial Office - which just might prefer that we remain separated in smaller groupings. With size, albeit still miniscule in relation to our Roman brethren, sometimes comes the desire to flex one's muscles. Just saying ...

Many years,

Neil wink


"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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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
In the end it is a canonical question and unless you have the unanimity of the Synods in the old countries and the eparchies in America it has simply no chance.

It is a canonical question, and that is precisely why it is incumbent upon our eparchies to address this need to their respective overseas jurisdictions (including Rome). I view this as absolutely critical, and if the process is not begun soon then I fear for the vitality and viability of our Greek Catholic Churches in the USA. If it is looked upon as “pie in the sky”, then that’s exactly what it will be, and that is sad.

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As our saintly Fr. Serge of Blessed Memory was wont to say "probably not this side of the Parousia".

The only practical way this would happen is Rome bypass all the parent churches and order it so, and then there would be an overabundance of bishops to laity.


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