I am learning my way around our Ukrainian Catholic Church. What are the finer points of confession in the Byzantine Rite? Can someone tell me how it differs in form and theology from the Latin Rite, if at all.
Thanks so much,
It really depends on the rite you are in.
But, yes it is slightly different, it seems to just depend on how 'romanized' or 'orthodox' a particular priest or parish is.
Up home at Church, we always used a side room just before with a chair and screen, very Roman confession.
Here always before the icons of Christ, our priest names some general sins and then ask for others.
Maybe someone has a link for the prayers, they are beautiful that the priest prays over you.
Here are the beginning prayers I've used for many years. I particularly like the sentiments expressed. The commentary that follows is one I wrote for my spiritual father when he asked me where I'd found such a profound approach to the beginning of confession.
From The Romanian Orthodox Prayerbook: prayers of the penitent before beginning confession
Addressed to God the Father and to Our Lord, Jesus Christ
In the presence of Thy priest, O Lord my God, I confess that I have sinned against Thee in thought, in word, and in deed, in body and soul alike, and also that I have omitted to do what Thy Holy Law requires of me. But now with contrition and repentance, I turn again to Thy Mercy and I entreat Thee to forgive me and to wash me clean of every stain. O Lord, evermore fill my heart with the light of Thy Truth that I may learn to do and desire only that which pleases Thee.
Addressed to the priest confessor
Father, hear my confession. Pray for me. Grant me penance and guidance for the health of my soul, and grant me absolution. Amen. It has been (how long) since my last confession. I have done the penance that was given me at that time, which was to . . .
The Eastern Church�s approach to confession tells us that the priest not only stands in persona Christi, granting the assurance of Christ�s forgiveness and absolution by virtue of his ordination, but also is the voice by which the Holy Spirit gives guidance to the penitent. At the same time, the priest stands as a witness of what is said both at the time of confession and later at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The words addressed to God remind the penitent that this sacrament is linked to Baptism and to the new life engendered in us at that time that is now being restored. In this approach, we have another way of looking at the ongoing mystery of God working with us for our good and for our salvation. This has helped me understand what Pope John Paul II means when he encourages us to �breathe with both lungs of the Church.� We can speak to the argument that we can confess to God alone because we confess to Him in a concrete way, in the context of our human condition. We gain humility and remove the temptation to put off what must be part of our Christian growth: ongoing conversion of life.
Glory to IC XC!
This is what we use in our parish (After we have prayed the prayers from the Order of Confession):
Mystery of Reconciliation
The following are instructions for the penitent approaching the Mystery of Reconciliation:
Cross yourself twice; kiss the Gospel Book and the Cross; cross yourself a third time.
Then, facing the Gospel Book and the Cross, say:
I confess to the Lord my God before you, reverend father, all my sins which I have committed up to the present day and hour, in deed, word and thought. Every day and every hour I sin through ingratitude to God for His great and numberless blessings to me and His most gracious providence and care for me, a sinner. I have sinned through...
(Here one should mention specifically all the sins which may be burdening the soul.)
I have sinned with all my senses, both spiritual and physical, wherefore I repent to the Lord and ask forgiveness. Absolve all my sins, reverend father, and bless me to partake of the Mysteries of Christ. (kneel)
After the priest has spoken to you and given absolution, get up and cross yourself twice; kiss the Gospel Book and Cross; cross yourself a third time and bow. Then turn towards the priest, bow to him, saying �Thank you, father,� kiss the end of the epitrachelion which he is wearing, and go to your place. There, stand or kneel down, say your penance, and thank God for His great mercy.
Thank you for the link to the Archeparchy of Winnipeg, it is a good help. Sometimes the most obvious resources escape me.
I still would be interested in hearing more from posters in regards to all the different forms that this Mystery takes.
I am also curious about frequency. In the Latin Rite, one is encouraged to go to Confession at least once per year, and at the soonest opportunity if one is in mortal sin.
This form would certainly be humbling and inspiring. I tend to be quite comfortable with my dark and lonely confessional, though. These penitents are in the open? Or is the Gospel and Cross in a confessional?
Forgive my ignorance!
What is an epitrachelian?
Yes, Theophan, that is a lovely approach.
One of the things I have come to appreciate about the Eastern Rites is a profound understanding of one's humble state in the Divine Liturgy and, it seems, also in this Mystery.
What is an epitrachelian?
The Byzantine name for the priest's stole.
In IC XC,
Perpetua, if you have a copy of the Ukrainian Catholic Anthology
it includes two different forms that are generally used, in addition to an examination of conscience. I highly recommend that book as it has many other prayers, the Little Hours, preparation for Communion, post-Communion prayers, etc. in addition to the words and music for the Divine Liturgy in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic usage.
Archimandrite Ephraim has a Canon of Supplication for those about to confess on his site at http://www.anastasis.org.uk/canon_for_confession.htm
This is great stuff! I love hearing how other Byzantines do things. I was raised during the latinization period of the sixties and missed out on so many things. What about Byzantine-Ruthenian confession? We had the confessio boxes built into a back corner of the church and no iconstatis. We also did First Holy Communion. So I missed out on some great stuff. Any links or complete procedure for Byzantine-Ruthenians?
Hi Tjm, my experiences are almost identical to yours, first communion etc. in the mid sixties. This was in a Hungarian Byzantine parish, we did have the iconastisis though. As I remember confession was in a side room, not the confessional box.