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I am a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. Due to my location, I have never visited a Byzantine Catholic Church or other Eastern Catholic Church. This may change soon when I will be in another state on business. Based on the information on this website, my impression is that the Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy is virtually identical to the Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy (with the exception of the reference to the Pope). Is my impression accurate? If I do visit a Byzantine Catholic Church, are there other differences that I may notice? I appreciate any responses. Thanks.

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Dear Harmonica,

You may also see that Eastern Catholics may kneel and have pews . . .

They may skip some portions of the Divine Liturgy and the services may be somewhat shorter than what you are used to.

Be careful to avoid getting taken in by those Eastern Catholics . . . wink

Alex

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Alex,

Thanks for the quick reply. Your comments have led to a couple more questions. Which portions of the Divine Liturgy are omitted? Why are these portions omitted?

Harmonica

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Harmonica
The antiphons are different, and there will not be litanies in between each one (I'm going on the Russian style liturgy, not sure if the greeks use the exact same one though). They'll use different communion songs. Mainly there aren't as many litanies. There may or may not be antidoron at the end of liturgy and most likely none after communion.

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"Why are these portions omitted?"

Good question! But I highly doubt that there is a GOOD reason!

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It's been a while, but at the UGCC liturgies I have attended the liturgy itself did not exceed an hour. Normally in Orthodox parishes in my experience it will be 1 1/2 to 2 hours just for the liturgy. I do remember the litanies were missing. I can't remember off-hand what else may have been different/missing that made it shorter.

I do remember they did not distribute antidoron, nor do I remember actually seeing any antidoron off to the side with the Zapivka (which I actually don't recall seeing either). The parishes I visited also did not have Orthros before the litrugy or Vespers the night before which struck me as odd. They also recited the Filioque.

There was also just a very different feel from Orthodox parishes there. It's hard for me to exactly put my finger on it or clearly explain. I didn't feel like I was in an Orthodox church though.

Andrew

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Andrew,
I am Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic. It has been my experience that the Litanies are omitted but not Vespers. Divine Liturgy varies somewhat in different parishes. Some sing everything, including the Filioque and others recite quite a bit, depending on which Liturgy you attend (Sat. evening or Sunday) I have attended a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy and was able to follow it fairly easily. I don't think it would be difficult for someone in the Orthodox Church to follow Byzantine Divine Liturgy. It is almost word for word.

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Harmonica,

Welcome to The Byzantine Forum!

Technically speaking, there are no differences between the Divine Liturgy and the other Divine Services (Vespers, Compline, Matins, etc.). The official books are almost identical, except for some minor differences that one will find between the Greek and Slavic recensions (a rubric here and a prayer there).

There are certainly Byzantine Catholic (Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Melkite and etc.) parishes that celebrate the fullness of the Divine Services. Sadly, most parishes seem to abbreviate the Divine Services to some extent. Many parishes do not serve Vespers or Matins at all.

In some Greek Orthodox parishes I�ve visited they omit the verses of the antiphons and only sing �Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us� three times. Other parishes seem to omit the litanies between the Gospel and the Cherubic Hymn. Similar things occur in our parishes. They are supposed to be there but, for some unknown �pastoral reason� they are not taken. They are all beautiful and should be taken and, hopefully, we will once again return to a time when the omission of them is scandalous rather than commonplace.

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Dear Harmonica,

I saw a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy on EWTN...and as a fellow Greek Orthodox I can say that I felt extremely comfortable and at home with it...infact, I found it extremely beautiful!

It could have been that it was completely in English--I don't know. All I know is that Fr. Michael Sopoliga celebrated quite a beautiful Divine Liturgy. smile

In the Risen Christ,
Alice

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Harmonica,
One difference that I think you'll notice is that the Greek Orthodox stand for almost the entire liturgy and sit only for the reading of the epistle and the homily. Byzantine Catholics sit for more of the liturgy. One other difference is the singing of a hymn (often Marian) at the beginning of the liturgy.
-Wolfgang

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Dear Harmonica,

Sadly, when the RC Church "shortened" its liturgy, UGCC bishops felt they had to "keep up with the Jonuses" wink and do something similar.

So they introduced the POSSIBILITY of omitting the Second Antiphon and the Ektenia for the Catechumens and one more later on.

When that happened EVERY UGCC parish, save for a few more traditional ones, brought in the shortened forms.

My parish does not and if Andrew were in it, I think he truly WOULD feel he is in an Orthodox Church (in fact, the Greek Orthodox advisers to the film production "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" personally recommended my parish of St Nicholas as the BEST example of an Orthodox Church they ever saw - so THERE, Andrew! wink ).

There is not one tradition for each parish, but all the parishes I know up here in Canada have the antidoron and more (especially the parish of St Elias).

To be fair, one would find liturgical differences in the usage of the Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Churches and those of the Russian tradition.

The Latinization in the Ukrainian Catholic Church is not ONLY because of Latin influence - it was historically a deliberate acceptance on the part of the Ukrainian Catholics in an attempt to fight off the "Russification" movement emanating from the Orthodox Russian imperial empire - and later from that of the Soviet Union.

In addition, during the Kyivan Orthodox Baroque era, Latinizations were quite commonplace in the Orthodox Church (perhaps even moreso than in the EC churches). St Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain thought nothing of translating into Greek numerous Western spiritual works and he even refers to a practice of "Orthodox indulgences . . ."

Alex

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Originally posted by tlk:
Andrew,
I am Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic. It has been my experience that the Litanies are omitted but not Vespers. Divine Liturgy varies somewhat in different parishes. Some sing everything, including the Filioque and others recite quite a bit, depending on which Liturgy you attend (Sat. evening or Sunday) I have attended a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy and was able to follow it fairly easily. I don't think it would be difficult for someone in the Orthodox Church to follow Byzantine Divine Liturgy. It is almost word for word.
The parishes I visited did not have Vespers or Orthros as I said. They may have had a regular liturgy Saturday night, which is something I�ve never run across in an Orthodox church. It was also unclear to me when/how the proskomedia was served. I did notice also that the congregation sat almost the whole time as someone else mentioned. There was also no trapeza after the liturgy as I�m accustomed to. These are just a few things.

As I said in my visits it did not feel as though I was in an Orthodox Church. That was just my impression. Much of that I don�t think has to do not so much with the actual form of the liturgy itself or the aesthetics of the building but other factors. There were devotions I had never heard of and things like the Knights of Columbus society. The first, second and fourth Sundays of Lent were not called the Sundays of Orthodoxy, St. Gregory Palamas and St. John Climacus IIRC. I did not end up attending those services there, but I have to wonder during those days what the homilies were about? What troparian were sung and what did people do in the church? During the year our priest normally talks about Orthodox saints in every homily, either past or present. These can be theologians, monastics, elders and so on. I can�t recall actually what the homilies covered at the UGCC�s I attended, but I doubt if I went now I would hear about Elder Joseph the Hesychast or St. Nikolai Velimirovic who have been talked about recently just as examples. I was also under the impression that all of the priests where I visited were unmarried. Not that there aren't Orthodox Archimandrites, but my experience and pastoral counsel has always been with priests from the white order.

I can probably keep coming up with other things like differences in feast day observances, fasting regimens and so on. Some certainly are just my own impression and feelings. Some are not though, and that�s why despite the similarity in liturgy, I did not feel at home. I felt like I was in a Catholic church.

Andrew

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Thank you all for your responses to my post. They are all appreciated. Also, thank you for welcoming me to these forums.

There were several good points about the differences between Orthodox jurisdictions and individual parishes. In my own city, for example, the local Antiochian Orthodox parish always has Vespers on Saturday nights while my Greek Orthodox parish only has Vespers prior to certain feast days.

When I asked about which portions of the Divine Liturgy were omitted, I was concerned that the Epiklesis during the Holy Anaphora might be omitted. I have read of Latinizations on this website, and the omission of the Epilesis would be, in my view, a huge Latinization. From the responses so far, that does not appear to be the case.

I have really enjoyed reading these forums and this website. It has been helpful for a Greek Orthodox to learn more about Byzantine Catholics and other Eastern Catholics. Learning about Eastern Catholicism has helped me appreciate the fullness of Eastern Christianity (Maybe this is what Alex meant when he warned me to avoid being taken in by Eastern Catholics. biggrin ).

Harmonica

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There is not one tradition for each parish, but all the parishes I know up here in Canada have the antidoron and more (especially the parish of St Elias).

To be fair, one would find liturgical differences in the usage of the Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Churches and those of the Russian tradition.
Dear Alex,

I couldn't agree with you more. One might find that some Greek Orthodox parishes in the U.S. have quite a few 'latinizations' (though in our case, we call them 'protestantizations or Americanizations' *wink*) implemented within...

In Christ,
Alice

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One other difference that I observed at the Greek Orthodox church I sometimes visit is the Great Entrance. At the GO church, it is a very solemn procession through the church and the faithful turn reverently to face the Eucharist as the priest and the altar servers walk by. The people never turn their backs to the Eucharist during the procession.
-Wolfgang

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