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Byzantine catholic church, what is it?

TruthSeeker

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Can someone explain their history and how they differ from orthodoxy ?

 

Serge

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This has been well covered on the Internet, including message boards, in the decade I've been online but in short:

After the mediæval estrangement of the Christian West and East there were reunions with Rome of parts of the Orthodox (and the big reunion at the council of Ferrara-Florence that fell through after the Turks overthrew the Byzantine Empire). Those parts are the Byzantine Catholic churches.

These partial unions happened for various reasons, such as Greeks and Albanians living in Italy, avoiding Polish persecution (the Ukrainian Catholic Church started in 1596) or Hungarian Protestant persecution (the Ruthenian Catholic Church started in 1646), Roman Catholic work for individual conversions* (the Melkite Church in 1724, the very tiny Greek Byzantine Catholic Church circa 1900), people on their own reading their way into it (the Russian Catholics) and in one case, nationalists looking for a better deal - their own national church - than they got at the time from the Orthodox (the Bulgarian Catholic Church in the late 1800s).

How do they differ from the Orthodox today?

They're under Rome.

And most of them have disobeyed Rome and latinised themselves - trading their own rite's customs for Roman Catholic ones. (Exceptions: the Melkite Church, which is the analogue to the Antiochian Orthodox, and the tiny Russian Catholic Church, the 100-year-old analogue to the Russian Orthodox.) They're supposed to be just like the Orthodox but often aren't.

In North America they're not allowed to ordain married men. (Rome's concession since 1929 to American RC prejudice against the BCs - it made some BCs switch to the Orthodox.)

They're smaller churches than the Orthodox.

Hope that answers your question.

*Which they don't do anymore - the goal now is corporate reunion, not individual conversion at the expense of the Orthodox using the BC churches.
 

Deacon Lance

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While I concur with most of what Serge wrote I would add:

While most Byzantine Catholic Churches suffered some Latinization most of it was largely external and did not impact the essence (bishops wearing latin choir vesture) of the Rite although in some cases Latin practices dispalced Byzantine ones Stations of the Cross replacing Presanctified).  All Byzantine Churches are working at restoring authentic Byzantine tradition where it was lost.

The ban on ordaining married men in America is rescended or ignored depending on how you want to look at it.  All Byzantine jurisdictions in America have married priests serving in them.  All but the Piittsburgh Metropolia have ordained married men here in the US and that will soon likely change.  Recently the Byzantine Eparch of Parma ordained a married man in Rome who is now serving him in Parma.  Officially the Pittsburgh Metropolia may ordain married men but the eparch must have it preapproved by Rome.

Fr. Deacon Lance
 

Orthodoc

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[Can someone explain their history and how they differ from orthodoxy ?}

Their history varies depending on which ARC (automonous ritual church) you are talking about. Most of the slavic branches are a result of politics and loss of basic human rights that were denied them when they came under Roman Catholic (mostly Polish) domination as long as they remained Orthodox.

To day they practice similiar but latinized ritual and traditions of their Orthodox Catholic ancestors but (though most will deny this) the very fact that they are 'in union with Rome' their theology is that of the Roman Catholic Church with the exception of the filioque which Rome has instructed them to omit from the Creed (an omission that was guaranteed them and never kept after the Union of Brest Litovsk was signed).

Most are confused as to what their theology is or should be. Anything which seems contradictory is explained away as either being a 'theologumenia' or as saying the same thing but from a different view point.ÂÂ

Orthodoc

 

Deacon Lance

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Orthodoc,

Only the Belarusan and Ukrainian Churches were ever under Polish dominion.

The Filioque was added by the Ukrainians at the Synod of Zamosc under their own misguided initiative.

Fr. Deacon Lance
 

Serge

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Deacon Lance said:
Orthodoc,

Only the Belarusan and Ukrainian Churches were ever under Polish dominion.

The Filioque was added by the Ukrainians at the Synod of Zamosc under their own misguided initiative.

Fr. Deacon Lance
That's right, Father. At the time of the 1596 union that started it the Ukrainian Catholic Church included the metropolia of Kiev which included not only the central Ukraine but I think also extended north into Byelorussia; all that land was ruled by Poland (then a potential big power) at the time. Then this church shrank back to its present Galician homeland (the far southwestern Ukraine, centred in Lemberg/L'vov) when the Russians got Byelorussia and most of the Ukraine (and outlawed the Byzantine Catholic Church in all Russian territories). Galicia was Polish (and that part of Poland Austrian until World War I) until World War II.
 

Orthodoc

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And the Carpatho Russians (including the priests) were under serfdom to their Hungarian (also Roman Catholic) landlords.
By swearing allegiance to the Pope, the clergy were freed from serfdom so the landlords didn't have our priests working their fields anymore.


Orthodoc
 

Serge

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Orthodoc said:
And the Carpatho Russians (including the priests) were under serfdom to their Hungarian (also Roman Catholic) landlords.
By swearing allegiance to the Pope, the clergy were freed from serfdom so the landlords didn't have our priests working their fields anymore.


Orthodoc
I've read somewhere that at the time (the early 1600s) the Hungarian rulers weren't Catholic but Calvinist* and trying to turn their Carpatho-Russian (Ruthenian) subjects into Calvinists. For some reason (the Turks?) Constantinople wasn't in a position to help the Carpatho-Russians. So on their own they went to the Roman Catholics for help.

*Before the Counter-Reformation eventually won in Central and Eastern Europe, a lot of people there went Protestant - there were Polish Lutherans, as many Latvians still are.
 

Deacon Lance

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Orthodoc,

You need to brush up on your history.  The Hungarian lords in the Carpathians and Transylvania were in the majority Hungarian Reformed with a few here and there converting to Latin Catholicism and that realtively late after teh Union of Uzhorord had been completed and immunity for the Greek Catholic priests in place.

Fr. Deacon Lance
 

Krysostomos

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Is it so, that in fact the so called byzantine or eastern catholic churches should be closer to the orthdox ones than the roman one?!?
Are the theology, tradition & liturgical practices similar to the orthodox or oriental churches rather than to the roman catholic church?
 

Meekle

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Krysostomos said:
Is it so, that in fact the so called byzantine or eastern catholic churches should be closer to the orthdox ones than the roman one?!?
Are the theology, tradition & liturgical practices similar to the orthodox or oriental churches rather than to the roman catholic church?
They are closer to the Roman Catholics because they are in communion with the Pope. As for their theology and Liturgicals practices, I don't know.
 

Anastasios

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Meekle said:
They are closer to the Roman Catholics because they are in communion with the Pope. As for their theology and Liturgicals practices, I don't know.
If you don't know about their theology then how can you say they are closer to Roman Catholicism?

For what it's worth, I would agree they are closer to Roman Catholicism since they are under the Pope (and I use the word "under" intentionally, for those who would make an issue out of prepositions) but I think you have to know what their theology is in order to make such a determination.

Liturgically they are closer to Orthodox but what distinguishes Orthodox from Byzantine Catholics is the latter's acceptance of the post-schism western errors which have been officially and synodically condemned as heretical by the Orthodox Church on multiple occasions, which far outweighs differences in liturgical style.

That being said, I find that rank and file Eastern Catholics from the Middle East and Europe are usually quite close in spirit to Orthodoxy and I easily move in their circles due to my past with them, my appreciation for my time spent with them, and their closeness of spirit with us. Of course, it goes without saying that I wish that we could be united in Orthodoxy, though.

Anastasios
 

Meekle

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Anastasios said:
If you don't know about their theology then how can you say they are closer to Roman Catholicism?
Closeness is determined by whom they are in communion with. Similarity is determined by other factors. I was answering the question of closeness, not similarity.
 

Krysostomos

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Anastasios said:
Liturgically they are closer to Orthodox but what distinguishes Orthodox from Byzantine Catholics is the latter's acceptance of the post-schism western errors which have been officially and synodically condemned as heretical by the Orthodox Church on multiple occasions, which far outweighs differences in liturgical style.
So the eastern catholic churches accepts all "new" roman catholic dogmas?!? I never have been quite sure about it...
 

Anastasios

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Krysostomos said:
So the eastern catholic churches accepts all "new" roman catholic dogmas?!? I never have been quite sure about it...
Some will say they flat out don't; more common will be that they will say that we believe the same things but express them slightly differently or that neither side has officially condemned the other (which is historically untrue) and that therefore things like papal infallibility can be worked out; the rank-and-file will say of course they accept all post-schism dogmas, after all that's why they are in communion and subject to the universal jurisdiction of the papacy.

Anastasios
 

suzannes

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This is a bit of an aside, but...When my parents were first married, they lived in an apartment and became friendly with three elderly sisters that lived there.  They had a nephew who was an RC priest.  He died a few years ago,and my family had been out of touch with him.  Interestingly, his obituary said that in the '90's he had visited Russia, and was so impressed with Orthodox piety, that he transfered to a Byzantine parish when he returned (!)
 

Irish Hermit

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The young fogey said:
And most of them have disobeyed Rome and latinised themselves - trading their own rite's customs for Roman Catholic ones. (Exceptions: the Melkite Church, which is the analogue to the Antiochian Orthodox, and the tiny Russian Catholic Church, the 100-year-old analogue to the Russian Orthodox.)
A History of the Russian Catholic Church on the Web.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The entire brief history of Byzantine Catholicism in Russia is a masterpiece of ineptitude. Truly, after reading this history, the Orthodox could be justified in thinking that God and His holy Mother are protecting the Russian people by sowing confusion among those who would wish to subvert holy Orthodoxy.


THE HISTORICAL DESTINY OF THE RUSSIAN CATHOLIC TRADITION OF THE BYZANTINE RITEThe Russian Exarchate

Fr. Sergey Golovanov (b. 1968) is pastor of Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic parish of the Byzantine-Slavonic rite in Sargatskoe (Omsk region)

(in English.  May need a few moments to load)

http://vselenstvo.narod.ru/library/histdest.htm

 
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