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I am interested in knowing if there are any Eastern Catholics who have a devotion to the "Little Flower", Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, and who are followers of her "Little Way".

Saint Therese is one of the most popular saints in the history of the Catholic Church. She was declared "the greatest saint of modern times" by Pope Pius X and was declared Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II. Her autobiography, "Story of a Soul" is regarded as a masterpiece on spirituality and, after the Sacred Scriptures, is one of the most widely read books in the history of religious/spiritual literature.

Recently, her relics have been touring the United States. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to pray before the beautiful reliquary. It was an incredible experience! Other Eastern Catholics also were present to venerate the relics.

Saint Therese is certainly a popular saint within the Eastern Catholic Churches. Around the world, there are Eastern Catholic parishes named after her. There is a Saint Therese Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. Another Ruthenian Catholic parish in California is naming one of its four new church bells after St. Therese.

I have seen her image in Russian, Melkite, Armenian, and Coptic Catholic parishes. During a visit to a Coptic Orthodox parish, I was surprised to see an image of St. Therese for sale in its bookstore. A parishioner of that parish told me that there are Copts in Egypt who visit St.Therese Catholic Church in Cairo and pray to her. I have also been told that some Muslims in Africa also have a devotion to St. Therese.

St. Therese has a special significance for Russian Catholics. She is the patroness of Russia and Russian Catholics- as declared by Pope Pius XI. The Russian Byzantine Catholic College(Russicum) in Rome and its chapel are under the patronage of St. Therese. Her image is part of the iconostasis at Our Lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic Church
in San Francisco.

In the book, "Byzantine Daily Worship", the Melikite Catholic Church celebrates her feast on October 3rd, with a tropar and kondak of St. Therese for use on that day.

Even "Eastern Churches Journal"(Summer 1997)
devotes one of its articles to Saint Therese and how her "Little Way" and Eastern Christian spirtuality are entirely compatible.

I look forward to any responses.

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I'm not an Eastern Catholic so I might be disqualified to answer this question. But I have always felt that St. Therese had a personality and a spirituality that would have fit better in Eastern Christianity rather than Roman Catholicism. Her kind of mysticism strikes me as eastern. I think that she sometimes gets a bad rap because she is so often misrepresented by Traditionalist Roman Catholics. She was far from being the plastic, pink-cheeked, obedient, docile saint represented in so many RC parishes.

Her contemporaries were for the most part infected with Jansenism. It was quite common for French Carmelite nuns to offer themselves as sacrifices for sins. St. Therese offered herself as a sacrifice to God's love. She represents a definitive break with the predominant French Jansenism within French Catholicism of her time.

Jennifer

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The appeal of St. Therese is quite universal. Isn't it that there is a Byzantine Carmelite monastery of women in the US? The Syro-malabar (malankara? I don't exactly remember - oh my, I hope this is not sign of old age)in California has produced an icon of her in the Eastern tradition. I have one displayed in our parish church.

Incidentally, she is known to be the little flower of Jesus and apparently she promised to shower roses to her devotees. Believe it or not, we witness an incident here at my parish. We had a novena as a preparation of her feastday. He feast fell on a first friday and our church had more people than usual. We only prepared a hundred roses to distribute to the people and I was afraid it wouldn't be enough. Many of the people in the pews were also worried. To cut the story short, after all the people were served, two flowers remained, one for me the presider and the other for my altar server. The people spontaneously clap that day...we had our miracle.

Fr. Mark

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Dear in Christ,

Everything which you have noted about Ste. Therese is true across the board in Roman, Byzantine and Orthodox traditions. There are indeed Byzantine Carmelites...Holy Annunciation Monastery in Sugarloaf. PA, and our own dear Fr. Elias, O.Carm, who is pastor of St. George Byzantine Church in Aliquippa. PA, as well as some humble monk/moderator of another of these forums.

unworthy servant

Fr. Kyrill, T.O.Carm

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Father Kyrill,

Let me understand correctly, You are an Orthodox priest and a member of the Third Order of Carmelites? I think that is great. However, I must ask how your bishop feels about you being a member of a Catholic order. I am in no way trying to say that it is problematic, but I am curious how the Orthodox hierarchy views this affiliation.

In Christ,
Lance, deacon-candidate


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
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I believe there was (and is?) a great devotion to St Therese among the Russian Orthodox emigre population in France.

Peace,
Brian

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Glory to Jesus Christ ! Here, Byzantino, is an indulgenced prayer to St. Therese for the Russian people. It was indulgenced at the time of the foundation of the Russicum in 1929. " O loving and compassionate saint, deign to comfort our Russian bretheren, victims of a long and cruel persecution of the Christian name; obtain for them perseverance in the faith, progress in the love of God and of neighbor, and in confidence toward the most holy Mother of God; prepare for them holy priests who shall make reparation for the blasphemies and sacrileges committed against the holy Eucharist; grant that angelic purity, especialy in the young, and every Christian virtue may once more flourish amongst them, to the end that this noble people, being delivered from all slavery and returning freely to the one fold entrusted by the loving Heart of the Risen Christ to Saint Peter and his successors, may at length taste the joy of glorifying the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit in the fellowship of the holy Catholic Church. Amen." Does anyone know whether any of the priests trained at the Russian College practised a devotion to St. Therese ? Did any of these priests spread such a devotion to the Russian Catholics in their parishes ? There was a holy card of St. Therese praying to Christ hanging from a Russian cross while below Bolshevik iconclasts burn a Russian church and smash icons. A Russian peasant falls to his knees in prayer, making the sign of the cross, his eyes turned heavenward. The prayer on the card, printed in Old Slavonic and Latin reads: " Saviour of the world, save Russia. "This card was printed some time between 1931 and 1943. Byzantino, could you describe that icon of St Therese at Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Church ?

[This message has been edited by Doulos of Fatima (edited 01-17-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Doulos of Fatima (edited 09-30-2000).]

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I would like to thank all those who have responded to my topic on Saint Therese and the Eastern Catholic Churches.

Fr. Mark,
Thank you so much for sharing your account on the 'miracle of the roses' that occured at your parish. How wonderful!!! It made my day to read it. I'm still happy about it as I re-read your reply.
Yes, I too have seen a Syro-Malabar icon of St.Therese.

Fr.Kyrill,
Thank you for your reply. I would like to know more about devotion to St. Therese among the Eastern Orthodox.

I was not aware that a non-Catholic could become a member of a third order religious community. Is this a general rule to accept non-Catholics or an exception? Like Lance, I too am curious at the reaction of your bishop and fellow Orthodox priests on your being a third order Carmelite.
I would appreciate any further information you can provide on the Byzantine Carmelites of Holy Annunciation Monastery. Do the Byzantine Carmelites have devotion to all the Carmelite saints(St. Therese, St.Teresa de Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross/Edith Stein, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified(Greek-Melkite)?
A friend of mine is interested in knowing if the Byzantine Carmelites have a "Byzantine version" of the brown scapular. Is there one?

Unfortunately, I do not believe the relics of St.Therese made a visit to that Byzantine Carmelite monastery during its tour through the U.S.

bripat,
Thanks for your reply. I am very interested in knowing more information on devotion to St. Therese by the Russian Orthodox of France. Would you know how devotion to her began among them?

Doulos,
Thank you so much for that Russian prayer to St. Therese. Yes, I too have seen that Russian holy card of St. Therese, which depicts her praying before Our Lord Crucified as the Bolsheviks destroy a Russian church.

An icon of St. Therese as well as how she came to be the patroness of the Russicum can be seen at:

www.praiseofglory.alabanza.com/russicum.htm [praiseofglory.alabanza.com]

>>could you describe that icon of St Therese at Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Church<<

The icons on the iconostasis at Our Lady of Fatima Russian Catholic Church do have a western influence-similar to what you would see at Ukrainian Catholic churches in western Ukraine-, so the icon of St.Therese could not be considered an icon in the Byzantine sense. Saint Therese is depicted full length cradling roses in her arms.

Actually, you can see this icon at:
www.byzantinecatholic.org/bio/page3.html [byzantinecatholic.org]

Scroll down until you see the picture of Deacon Gerald chanting the Gospel. Look at the far right of the picture. The picture's a bit dark, but you'll be able to see the icon of St. Therese-holding flowers- on the iconostasis.



[This message has been edited by Byzantino (edited 01-18-2000).]

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You know, I've never quite focused on this before, but when I looked at the photo of Deacon Gerald and the other clergy around the Paschal icon, I felt like I was watching theater. This is the first time that I have encountered a "byzantine" ceremony where there are no Greeks/Russians/Ukrainians/Arabs present. I guess that I am seeing things for the first time, from an ethnic Orthodox point of view, i.e., that the Latinos are "playing" at being Orthodox (for nefarious purposes?!?!).

I know that we Byzantines/Orthodoxes are welcoming of all who come to us, but I must admit that I felt really weird viewing this image. Perhaps some, like myself, are ethnics with variant Surnames, but I'm so used to -poulos, -iak, -vich, etc. that I feel really uncomfortable. No offense to anyone, but how does it come to be that a Byzantine liturgy comes to pass without "our own people" being a part of it. Have we ethnics been rendered 'redundant'?

For the record, as a bi-Ecclesial kid (RC and Greek), I had a great devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux. I thought her theology of "little-ness" and simple devotion to God's will was just great because it focused not on the major questions of theology, but rather on the simplicity of trying to get to God through simple means of loving God and loving one's neighbor. (I purchased several dozen roses for her shrine in my RC parish church prior to leaving home for religious life. --I still have the pictures of this.) My point is that the spirituality is the primary focus here. Not ecclesiastical jurisdiction. God loves His children who love Him and who love their neighbors. No big whoop. I mean, what is going to happen when Mother Teresa is brought for beatification and canonization. Do you think that the Albanian Orthodox are going to deny her because she was a child of the Roman Patriarchate? I don't think so. A wonderful saint is a wonderful saint, and who cares where he/she prayed.

Blessings to All!

[This message has been edited by Dr John (edited 01-18-2000).]

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Glory to Jesus Christ ! Two of the jesuits trained at the Russicum (a college under the patronage of St.Therese) did develop close relations with communities of Carmelite nuns. Walter Ciszek helped in the foundation of the Byzantine Ruthenian Annunciation convent in Pennsylvania. Those nuns promote his canonization. They have recently opened a house in the Mukachevo Eparchy. Karl Patzelt, of Our Lady of Fatima Russian Catholic Church, worked with some Carmelites in Northern California. They later opened a Byzantine Russian house in Finland. Both establishments were founded to pray for the triumph of the Immaculate Heart, the conversion of Russia, and her return to the Catholic Church. Hopefully, Fr. Elias can give you more details regarding the role of St. Therese in these communities.

[This message has been edited by Doulos of Fatima (edited 01-19-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Doulos of Fatima (edited 01-19-2000).]

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Dear in Christ Byzantino and Lance,

May God Bless you!

My journey to Carmel has been a long and rather involved one, but needless to say a Blessed one. At some point in my private devotion I inquired of the Third Order Provincial Delegate if there were some "affliate" category which an Orthodox Clergyman could participate in, never ..ever..thinking of regular membership. His response was to have me begin studying the Preparatory Lessons before Reception in the Third Order. I was quire surprized. The Father General of the Carmelite Order ( O.Carm ) gave his Blessing to this, as they consider Orthodox as "good Catholics" -( which is the prerequisite for membership ) They told me that this was the first time this had ever been done, and so I am mightily honored.

As I said before, this is a part of my spiritual life and private devotion. It is Blessed by my Confessor, who is also a Bishop; but is not general knowledge among my brother clergy. I am not out to create a "splash" about this, but just thought your question deserved an answer. Carmel has been very open to me, and the more I learn of the Mother of God's Order, the more I can relate it to my own Orthodox monastic tradition.


Some of you may be interested to know that Fr. Elias is putting together a weekend retreat in Niagra for Byzantine/Carmelites. He will be posting more information about this as the time draws closer.

unworthy servant,

+Kyrill

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>>...I felt like I was watching theater.This is the first time that I have encountered a "byzantine" ceremony where there are no Greeks/Russians/Ukrainians/Arabs present. I guess I'm seeing things for the first time, from an ethnic point of view,i.e., that the Latinos are "playing" at being Orthodox(for nefarious purposes?!?!)

Dr. John,
Careful, careful, Dr. John. You almost offended this Latino(I take it you meant "Latin" as in "Roman", instead of "Hispanic", and believe me, this "Latino" worships God in the Byzantine tradition, not "playing" Orthodox, but I understand what you meant. [Linked Image]

I have always found the Eastern Catholic Churches to be more open to all ethnicities than the Eastern Orthodox Churches. That is the beauty of being a member of the Catholic(Universal) Church.

Our Lady of Fatima Russian Catholic Church is not the only "non-ethnic" Eastern Catholic parish in the United States. There are other parishes in which the majority of parishioners are from different ethnic backgrounds.

It is beyond count the many times that I have read or heard of the Eastern Orthodox Churches described as "ethnic" churches, and how that identification has worked against them.

Among the Eastern Catholic Churches in the United States, the Ruthenian and Russian Catholic Churches have drawn many non-Slavs to their parishes(Latino-Americans, Filipinos, African-Americans,Italians, Irish,etc.). One reason is due to the almost exclusive use of English in these parishes. I think that is wonderful.

The reality is that if it were not for the influx of non-Slavs, non-Greeks, non-Arabs, to some Eastern Catholic parishes, some of these parishes would have to close. I'll go out on a limb and say that the future of many of these Eastern Catholic parishes will depend on bringing in people from all ethnic groups.

Even when I have visited Eastern Catholic parishes which can be described as "very ethnic"( i.e. Ukrainian, Armenian, Coptic), I never felt like I was an outsider.
That was not always the case when I visited Orthodox Churches.

Only in the Catholic Church would you find Saint Therese,a French Roman-rite nun being declared the patroness of Russia, the Russicum, and Russian Byzantine Catholics.

Where did this mentality develop that to be a true "byzantine", one must be an ethnic, Greek, Slav, Arab, or from any part of the Middle East or Eastern Europe, or to experience a "true" Byzantine liturgy, it must be only be chanted in Slavonic or Greek?
Others have expressed these same thoughts to me as well.




[This message has been edited by Byzantino (edited 01-19-2000).]

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Glory to Jesus Christ ! Byzantino and others will be interested in the ikon of St Therese venerated by the monks of the Byzantine Carmelite monastery in France, St. Elias at http://praiseofglory.alabanza.com/byzcarmel2.htm

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Here are the troparion and kontakion of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus as used by the Melkites on her feastday in the Melkite liturgical calendar(October 3rd). You can find this in the book, "Byzantine Daily Worship".

TROPARION OF THERESE(First Tone)

O Holy Therese, you became sublime through your humility and flew on the wings of your longing for God. When you arrived in the Eternal City and, wearing the crown of virginity, appeared before your Divine Spouse, you kept your promise to remember those who have recourse to you: you showered upon the world the roses of mercy and grace. Since you multiplied miracles, intercede with Christ God that He may save our souls.

KONTAKION OF THERESE(Fourth Tone)

The Holy Virgin Therese of the Child Jesus, full of the abudance of divine wisdom, went with joy along the way of evangelical childhood, and with the grace of God attained in this way the summit of virtue. Wherefore she now bestows blessing as she promised upon all those who come to her with faith. O divine child, intercede with Christ God that He may have mercy on our souls!

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Oct. 1st is the feast of the Protecting Veil of the Theotokos, yet I'd be interested in knowing if there are any Byzantine Catholic parishes( whether Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Melkite, Russian, etc.) that will mention Saint Therese during the commemoration of saints that occurs at the dismissal prayer at the end of the liturgy this Sunday.
Since devotion to Saint Therese is popular among the various Byzantine Catholic churches, I wouldn't be surprised if some parishes do commemorate Saint Therese either on Oct. 1st( the current feast date of Saint Therese) or on Oct. 3rd(the old feast date).
The feast day of Saint Therese is an offical feast day in the liturgical calendar of some Byzantine Catholic eparchies around the world. The eparchy of Presov, Slovakia celebrates the feast on Oct 3rd.
Please let me know if your parish does commemorate Saint Therese on Oct 1st or Oct 3rd.

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