• Christ is Risen!
  • Please remember: Pray for Ukraine in the Prayer forum; Share news in the Christian News section; Discuss religious implications in FFA: Religious Topics; Discuss political implications in Politics (and if you don't have access, PM me) Thank you! + Fr. George, Forum Administrator

Identity and background of Eastern Catholics

Alpo2

High Elder
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
606
Reaction score
253
Points
43
Faith
Fenno-Ugric Orthodox
Jurisdiction
Finnish Orthodox Inside of Finland
Church is not a museum of past religions
Lol we are exactly a museum of past religions. Basically a dictionary definition. Have you ever even been to a church? We use dead or archaic languages, object much of the modern society, celebrate thousand year old rituals, uphold obscure religious laws, wear funny hats, grow ridiculous beards and all that. Much of Orthodoxy consists of things that is usually taught only in ecclesiastical history classes.
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
This is the whole point. If Catholics stopped acting like Orthodox were unreasonable for considering them heterodox and stopped pretending like the Eastern Catholic Churches were in any meaningful sense autonomous or "Eastern", then ironically there'd be a lot less bad blood.
I don't know of any Catholics who consider the Orthodox unreasonable for thinking we are heterodox. We disagree with your assessment, but understand your reasoning and agree with the logic behind it.

The Eastern Catholic churches *are* autonomous. They are not autocephalous, nor do they claim to be.

What exactly are we if we are not Eastern? There might be less bad blood on your side, but you're creating more on ours by refusing to acknowledge us for what we are, even if you are unhappy with us being what we are.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
The Eastern Catholic churches *are* autonomous.
I mean.... how? At the end of the day, all of your bishops are simply auxiliaries to the bishop of Rome.

What exactly are we if we are not Eastern?
For one, your canon law is decidedly not eastern. And your liturgical life is, in most instances, a very bad attempt at imitating eastern liturgical life. Your clerical education, in most instances, is wholly western, as are most instances of your preaching and theology. On the latter point, most of what is portrayed as being 'eastern' in Melkite Catholic theology is actually inherited from Gallicanism. And then, as I think about it, the entire way that Eastern Catholic monastic life is ordered (again, with rare exceptions) is purely western.
 
Last edited:

J Michael

Cave Dweller
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
12,596
Reaction score
366
Points
83
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
Faith
Byzantine Catholic
Jurisdiction
Here and now (well...sometimes...)
This is the whole point. If Catholics stopped acting like Orthodox were unreasonable for considering them heterodox and stopped pretending like the Eastern Catholic Churches were in any meaningful sense autonomous or "Eastern", then ironically there'd be a lot less bad blood.
"Bad blood"? I think bad blood only exists to the extent that people are unwilling to forgive each other. That, unfortunately, seems to happen a lot, especially between so-called Christians.
 
Last edited:

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
So...what is meaningless about our autonomy? What, in your opinion, would make our autonomy meaningful?
Your autonomy isn't meaningful because the papal bureaucracy can override any synodal or even diocesan decisions at a whim. Your Code of Canon Law (written in Latin, of all things) is a one-size-fits-all document made by a colonial office for all "Easterners" no matter their heritage. So the 'particular law' thing is kind of a joke...
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
I mean.... how? At the end of the day, all of your bishops are simply auxiliaries to the bishop of Rome.
As are all the bishops of the autonomous Antiochian Archdiocese simply auxiliaries to Metropolitan Joseph.

For one, your canon law is decidedly not eastern. And your liturgical life is, in most instances, a very bad attempt at imitating eastern liturgical life. Your clerical education, in most instances, is wholly western, as are most instances of your preaching and theology. On the latter point, most of what is portrayed as being 'eastern' in Melkite Catholic theology is actually inherited from Gallicanism. And then, as I think about it, the entire way that Eastern Catholic monastic life is ordered (again, with rare exceptions) is purely western.
Canon law: fair point.

Liturgical life: how many Eastern Catholic parishes have you been to? If you're ever in Northern Virginia, please come visit Holy Transfiguration and see if it is a bad attempt at imitation. Side note: The Antiochian Orthodox parish that I began attending, which is the reason I am now Melkite, started as a mission by a bunch of converts from the Episcopal Church. They began to learn chant from the Ruthenian Catholic parish in the same town. We certainly aren't "imitating" any more than Protestant converts to Orthodoxy are. Imitating is just learning. Once you've learned it, you're no longer imitating.

Clerical education: Which Eastern Catholic seminaries have you studied in?

Eastern Catholic monasticism: How many Eastern Catholic monasteries have you been to? There are many that have some degree of Latinization, in structure if not liturgical life. But I don't know of a single one that is purely Western.
 

J Michael

Cave Dweller
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
12,596
Reaction score
366
Points
83
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
Faith
Byzantine Catholic
Jurisdiction
Here and now (well...sometimes...)
Your autonomy isn't meaningful because the papal bureaucracy can override any synodal or even diocesan decisions at a whim. Your Code of Canon Law (written in Latin, of all things) is a one-size-fits-all document made by a colonial Home Office for all "Easterners" no matter their heritage. So the 'particular law' thing is kind of a joke...
You didn't answer the second question, " What, in your opinion, would make our autonomy meaningful?"

"the papal bureaucracy can override any synodal or even diocesan decisions at a whim." How often has that happened, especially in the last 50 years or so?

Maybe there should be a little more ethnophyletism in the Code of Canon Law.
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
Your autonomy isn't meaningful because the papal bureaucracy can override any synodal or even diocesan decisions at a whim. Your Code of Canon Law (written in Latin, of all things) is a one-size-fits-all document made by a colonial office for all "Easterners" no matter their heritage. So the 'particular law' thing is kind of a joke...
Our autonomy isn't meaningless because papal bureaucracy can't override a synodal decision in the same way, with the same ease, that it can within the Latin church. If an autonomous church can resist ecclesial bureaucracy from above it, papal or otherwise, then it is not autonomous; it is autocephalous. Autocephaly is an ecclesial model that does not exist within Catholicism. You are expecting autocephaly from autonomous Catholic churches in order to recognize them as meaningfully autonomous.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
"the papal bureaucracy can override any synodal or even diocesan decisions at a whim." How often has that happened, especially in the last 50 years or so?
I cited a case from a couple months ago above. It happens fairly often in matters of episcopal appointments, retirements and things like that. The current Eastern Code of Canon Law was promulgated in 1983 and gets updated sporadically through bureaucratic, rather than synodal, processes (the last update was this past summer).

" What, in your opinion, would make our autonomy meaningful?"
I don't think the Eastern Catholic Churches can be considered to have any meaningful autonomy so long as the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches exist. But all the more so, there's no such thing as an autonomous church that is subject to immediate, arbitrary intervention from an outside power that is, by law, "judged by no one".


Our autonomy isn't meaningless because papal bureaucracy can't override a synodal decision in the same way, with the same ease, that it can within the Latin church.
In practice, this means that your bishops can send a few more letters and fill out a few more forms if they're really, really mad. This isn't what any normal person would call autonomy.


But, to return to the point of "easternnesss"-- this is a major way that your church is not eastern. Its bishops are just guys in funny hats at the bottom of the totem pole in a very western bureaucracy that they have no real role in shaping.
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
In practice, this means that your bishops can send a few more letters and fill out a few more forms if they're really, really mad. This isn't what any normal person would call autonomy.


But, to return to the point of "easternnesss"-- this is a major way that your church is not eastern. Its bishops are just guys in funny hats at the bottom of the totem pole in a very western bureaucracy that they have no real role in shaping.
How then do you distinguish autocephaly from autonomy? If Metropolitan Joseph resists Patriarch John, or Archbishop Leo of Helsinki resists Patriarch Bartholomew, what happens? If the patriarch has no authority to do anything to them, then their churches are really autocephalous. If the patriarch does have the authority, to censure or depose, then how is that different from the Pope doing it?
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
How then do you distinguish autocephaly from autonomy? If Metropolitan Joseph resists Patriarch John, or Archbishop Leo of Helsinki resists Patriarch Bartholomew, what happens? If the patriarch has no authority to do anything to them, then their churches are really autocephalous. If the patriarch does have the authority, to censure or depose, then how is that different from the Pope doing it?
In Orthodoxy, an autonomous church is one whose primate (or sometimes all of its bishops) is elected locally but consecrated by the mother church, on whose synod he sits. In no Orthodox church does a patriarch possess the right to censure and depose unilaterally. These things have to happen synodally. So, bishops of an autonomous church have the right of appeal to the mother church when they are judged by their local synod (at least theoretically-- most autonomous churches are too small to get together the necessary 12 bishops to canonically judge a bishop. Even in the case of Cyprus, prior to very recently they had to invite bishops from other patriarchates to make the quorum to render a judgement) and can also be judged by the synod of the mother church, of which they are a part.

Even auxiliary bishops in Orthodox churches can only be judged synodally. So in this sense, even Eastern Catholic patriarchs have, juridically speaking, less autonomy than an Orthodox auxiliary bishop.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2007
Messages
2,874
Reaction score
193
Points
63
Age
58
Location
USA
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Patriarchate of Antioch
I tend to think that until a situation becomes politically charged, most of the people on both sides probably have little awareness of any faith differences.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
Liturgical life: how many Eastern Catholic parishes have you been to?
A fair number, but only in Lebanon and Syria. Same for monasteries-- but the canon law thing applies to monasteries as well, as they're regulated according to western models and are very heavy on 'active orders', something with no eastern analogue.

If you're ever in Northern Virginia, please come visit Holy Transfiguration and see if it is a bad attempt at imitation. Side note: The Antiochian Orthodox parish that I began attending, which is the reason I am now Melkite, started as a mission by a bunch of converts from the Episcopal Church. They began to learn chant from the Ruthenian Catholic parish in the same town. We certainly aren't "imitating" any more than Protestant converts to Orthodoxy are. Imitating is just learning. Once you've learned it, you're no longer imitating.
This is one of those things where what I'm told about specific cases in North America sounds nothing like what I've seen as the norm in the Middle East, where virtually no one is imitating Orthodoxy, to say the least.

I'll leave aside personal discussion of Catholic higher ed (which I've benefited from and have many dear friends in), just to avoid being too personal in this forum.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
As are all the bishops of the autonomous Antiochian Archdiocese simply auxiliaries to Metropolitan Joseph.
In a normal autonomous church, the bishops are not all auxiliaries of the primate. Nor is the Antiochian Archdiocese autonomous. Calling the archdiocese "self-ruled" was something Met Philip wanted and got, but it had no actual meaning, as it was understood expressly not to mean autonomous in the normal canonical sense. At the time of the whole bizarre affair of demoting its bishops to auxiliaries, which was pretty indefensible on a number of levels, I believe it was pointed out that such an arrangement is kind of contrary to having one bishop with a set of auxiliaries. In any case, largely I think to avoid having to figure out what the term means, under Met Joseph it's been dropped from the letterhead and website of the archdiocese and I don't think anyone mentions it anymore.
 

J Michael

Cave Dweller
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
Messages
12,596
Reaction score
366
Points
83
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
Faith
Byzantine Catholic
Jurisdiction
Here and now (well...sometimes...)
I tend to think that until a situation becomes politically charged, most of the people on both sides probably have little awareness of any faith differences.
You mean like on internet discussion boards :)?

I can't speak for Eastern Catholics in the Middle East, which as a region has its own set of horrible and unique problems, but I think you're right--most people just get on with their lives and practice their faith, whether it be Orthodoxy or Catholicism of whatever variety, etc., doing (or not, as the case may be) whatever they can to attain the Kingdom of Heaven.

At the EC parish I was baptized in, unless you were paying VERY close attention, you wouldn't have been able to distinguish it from an Orthodox parish.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,159
Reaction score
157
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
Liturgical life: how many Eastern Catholic parishes have you been to? If you're ever in Northern Virginia, please come visit Holy Transfiguration and see if it is a bad attempt at imitation. Side note: The Antiochian Orthodox parish that I began attending, which is the reason I am now Melkite, started as a mission by a bunch of converts from the Episcopal Church. They began to learn chant from the Ruthenian Catholic parish in the same town. We certainly aren't "imitating" any more than Protestant converts to Orthodoxy are. Imitating is just learning. Once you've learned it, you're no longer imitating.
Well, Melkite Greek Catholics certainly do seem to have one commonality with most Protestant converts to Orthodoxy insofar as neither group seems to be able to chant. In this respect, they are both imitators and poor mimics at that.
 

Dominika

Merarches
Staff member
Global Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
8,204
Reaction score
542
Points
113
Age
30
Location
Poland
Website
www.youtube.com
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Antiochian Patriarchate/POC
Clerical education: Which Eastern Catholic seminaries have you studied in?
I know some ex EC that became EO. Also I know at least to some extend how does it look like in Poland and the Middle East.

Eastern Catholic monasticism: How many Eastern Catholic monasteries have you been to? There are many that have some degree of Latinization, in structure if not liturgical life. But I don't know of a single one that is purely Western.
Some in Poland - totally latinised; Lebanon - maybe a bit less latinised, but still; and you even feel less monastic spirit plus some lead e.g charismatic prayers.


All in all, I agree with Samn and I think we share similar experience from the Middle East, I add also Poland (so different sui iuris Churches) and if you have any precise questions, I can answer to them or at least try ;)
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
325
Reaction score
231
Points
43
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
Lol we are exactly a museum of past religions. Basically a dictionary definition. Have you ever even been to a church? We use dead or archaic languages, object much of the modern society, celebrate thousand year old rituals, uphold obscure religious laws, wear funny hats, grow ridiculous beards and all that. Much of Orthodoxy consists of things that is usually taught only in ecclesiastical history classes.
Tradition is the living faith of the departed. Traditions are the dead faith of the living.
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
Well, Melkite Greek Catholics certainly do seem to have one commonality with most Protestant converts to Orthodoxy insofar as neither group seems to be able to chant. In this respect, they are both imitators and poor mimics at that.
I've heard my share of bad Orthodox chanters. This seems more a case of individual lack of talent than anything.
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
A fair number, but only in Lebanon and Syria. Same for monasteries-- but the canon law thing applies to monasteries as well, as they're regulated according to western models and are very heavy on 'active orders', something with no eastern analogue.



This is one of those things where what I'm told about specific cases in North America sounds nothing like what I've seen as the norm in the Middle East, where virtually no one is imitating Orthodoxy, to say the least.

I'll leave aside personal discussion of Catholic higher ed (which I've benefited from and have many dear friends in), just to avoid being too personal in this forum.
Now this is something that would be really interesting to look into further. I know my particular parish experience is probably better than most in this regard, but I've never seen an EC parish here that is absolutely horrible. They all (at least of the Byzantine rite) seem to be at least partially de-latinized. But I've wondered when I look at pictures of EC parishes in Eastern Europe how much they have delatinized and if their experience is similar to what is here in North America. If a parish that is thoroughly Orthodox in practice (or, for arguments sake, as thoroughly Orthodox as is possible while still remaining Catholic) is really a North American anomaly, and not even that common here, that's a paradigm changer.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
This seems more a case of individual lack of talent than anything.
Setting aside variation of individual talent, the style of chant that's traditionally considered "good" among Melkite Catholics, as exemplified by the video of Sr Marie Keyrouz (a Choueirite nun) linked above, is so syrupy as to be almost unbearable for people accustomed to the Orthodox style of Arabic chant (though there are Orthodox chanters who sometimes try to imitate this, which is literally referred to as "Catholic" chanting). Ironically, the best chant I've heard at a Melkite Catholic liturgy, one of the best Arabic soloists I've ever heard, was at a liturgy served versus populum on a completely bare altar with no iconostasis, more or less following Novus Ordo rubrics as much as feasible with the text of the Divine Liturgy. Much more even than the older, classic 'latinizations' that can be identified in printed liturgical texts, this novus ordoization of Melkite Catholic liturgy, very much tied to the way that the priests are trained, is the biggest single way that the Catholics differ liturgically from the Orthodox.

That said, the westernness is what ordinary parishoners go to Melkite Catholic parishes for. During a discussion about latinization I was mostly politely listening in on, a Melkite Catholic priest of my acquaintance basically ended things with "Why bother talking about latinizations? People-- even Orthodox families-- come for first communion and western hymns. I'm not going to make my people angry." Unlike in North America, where there are a lot of Melkite Catholics who are there because they're Catholic but want eastern liturgy, in the Middle East, the people are easterners who are there to culturally identify with the west, and particularly with France.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,159
Reaction score
157
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
Soeur Marie Keyrouz not to your taste?

Until I read your last comment, I thought perhaps you were being serious. 😄

For the benefit of other readers, the Levant has its own style of so-called Byzantine Music (the term Byzantine Music is arguably a misnomer, but that’s a different topic), but this isn’t it.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
Until I read your last comment, I thought perhaps you were being serious.
This isn't remotely one of her worst, though. Someone once gave me an album by her, which I can't find online, where I couldn't identify the melody of a single hymn she was allegedly singing.
 

Cavaradossi

Archon
Joined
Jun 23, 2011
Messages
2,159
Reaction score
157
Points
63
Faith
Orthodox
Jurisdiction
AANA
This isn't remotely one of her worst, though. Someone once gave me an album by her, which I can't find online, where I couldn't identify the melody of a single hymn she was allegedly singing.
She has a lovely voice, but it’s like Fayrouz singing Christos Anesti. You find yourself wondering when the Casio keyboard will start playing some riffs in maqam Bayati to liven things up.
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
Until I read your last comment, I thought perhaps you were being serious. 😄

For the benefit of other readers, the Levant has its own style of so-called Byzantine Music (the term Byzantine Music is arguably a misnomer, but that’s a different topic), but this isn’t it.
I just went to look for the livestream of a liturgy at my parish last year for the Dormition, where Axion Estin was chanted, but it appears to have already been taken down. Our chant does not sound like this nun. This video is Pascha this year.

 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
Ok, apparently I can't post individual videos. Here's the parishes youtube channel. I am now interested to hear from Orthodox if they see anything in our liturgy that would tip them off that it is not an Orthodox parish.


Well, now I'm also seeing you can click the Watch on YouTube link to go to the video from Pascha.
 

Katechon

High Elder
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
503
Reaction score
244
Points
43
Location
Germany
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
ROC-MP
Here is a stunning video of "Ukrainian Catholics" chanting the Cherubic hymn in a lovely way:

 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
I know some ex EC that became EO. Also I know at least to some extend how does it look like in Poland and the Middle East.


Some in Poland - totally latinised; Lebanon - maybe a bit less latinised, but still; and you even feel less monastic spirit plus some lead e.g charismatic prayers.


All in all, I agree with Samn and I think we share similar experience from the Middle East, I add also Poland (so different sui iuris Churches) and if you have any precise questions, I can answer to them or at least try ;)
Not to sidetrack too much, but are the Polish Orthodox predominantly, ethnically Polish, Belarusian or Ukrainian? Or an even mix?
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
I mean, just looking at it briefly it looks more or less comparable to what I've seen in the rare American Antiochian convert parishes to attempt to use Byzantine chant-- the challenges of Byzantine chant in English I kind of feel are insurmountable. But, because of the linguistic and cultural differences, it winds up not being exactly the same as any of the norms in terms of church music in the Middle East, which is only natural.

All that said, yours and the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Toronto are the two examples of Eastern Catholics being very liturgically close to Orthodoxy that always get brought up online.
 

melkite

Elder
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
310
Reaction score
97
Points
28
Age
41
Location
Maryland
Faith
Melkite Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
I mean, just looking at it briefly it looks more or less comparable to what I've seen in the rare American Antiochian convert parishes to attempt to use Byzantine chant-- the challenges of Byzantine chant in English I kind of feel are insurmountable. But, because of the linguistic and cultural differences, it winds up not being exactly the same as any of the norms in terms of church music in the Middle East, which is only natural.

All that said, yours and the Ukrainian Catholic parish in Toronto are the two examples of Eastern Catholics being very liturgically close to Orthodoxy that always get brought up online.
I've been to that Ukrainian parish...it is stunning. If our two parishes are truly the only two EC parishes in the world that come close to Orthodox praxis, that is very disheartening.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
If our two parishes are truly the only two EC parishes in the world that come close to Orthodox praxis, that is very disheartening.
There's also Chevetogne Monastery, but they're not actually Eastern Catholic, but rather Latin Benedictines who practice the Russian liturgy in order for it to better inform their (very beautiful) practice of the Novus Ordo. But, in the Middle East, as I said, the logic of being Catholic isn't to be like the Orthodox, but in communion with Rome. It's to be as European as Rome will allow you to be. The Melkite Catholic Church began as a movement of bourgeois Syrians who wanted to become French not only by getting the legal protections on offer from the French to those willing to convert, but to take on a European identity through their liturgy. The first bishop to convert to Catholicism, the uncle and teacher of the first Melkite Catholic patriarch, wanted to completely abandon the Orthodox liturgy in favor of the Tridentine rite. Even in the 18th century Rome realized they had to to put the breaks on this because of how limiting it was to their expectations for their mission, though they did allow the complete reorganization of pretty much all aspects of monastic life apart from liturgy according to western models. Somewhere like Lebanon, if you want 'Eastern', you can always go to an Orthodox parish and (much more commonly), if you want Western, you can always go to a Melkite Catholic one. I've been told that in Ukraine, there's a tendency in UGCC parishes to avoid anything too liturgically Orthodox because it would imply sympathy to the Russians/Orthodox, though I've never been to Western Ukraine to see myself.

What challenges are insurmountable in English or convert Byzantine chant?
I honestly don't know technical aspects of chant enough to understand why myself. I've just only heard it once or twice done in English in a way that wasn't painfully awkward, and at that only by professional, rather than parish, choirs.
 

Katechon

High Elder
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
503
Reaction score
244
Points
43
Location
Germany
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
ROC-MP
There's also Chevetogne Monastery, but they're not actually Eastern Catholic, but rather Latin Benedictines who practice the Russian liturgy in order for it to better inform their (very beautiful) practice of the Novus Ordo.
There's also Niederaltaich abbey in Germany functioning along the same lines, with the Byzantine convent trying to mimick the Russian Liturgy as closely as it can, although in the German language. Their recordings sound rather off for my ears though, since they have a pretty academic, almost chamber choir correctness approach to simple Russian tones and hymns. It's retired (Eastern Rite) abbot also deemed it necessary to put a quote of a Hindu Mystic as an example of Eastern prayerfulness into the introduction of his book on the Jesus Prayer, which then got stylized as a "standard work".
 

Dominika

Merarches
Staff member
Global Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
8,204
Reaction score
542
Points
113
Age
30
Location
Poland
Website
www.youtube.com
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Antiochian Patriarchate/POC
Not to sidetrack too much, but are the Polish Orthodox predominantly, ethnically Polish, Belarusian or Ukrainian? Or an even mix?
Mix. There are some native Polish, some native Belarussians, some native Ukrainians, but above all "Locals" that are mix of all (and even more) above and most of them nowadays consider to be Polish.
 

Dominika

Merarches
Staff member
Global Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 23, 2011
Messages
8,204
Reaction score
542
Points
113
Age
30
Location
Poland
Website
www.youtube.com
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
Antiochian Patriarchate/POC
Ok, apparently I can't post individual videos. Here's the parishes youtube channel. I am now interested to hear from Orthodox if they see anything in our liturgy that would tip them off that it is not an Orthodox parish.


Well, now I'm also seeing you can click the Watch on YouTube link to go to the video from Pascha.
Masks and type of candles ;) At least in comparison Orthodox-Catholics (various rites) in Poland, as I know ofc many Orthodox wear/are forced to wear masks and some use such type of candles, but in altar more rarely (some in Souther Poland that came back to Orthodoxy relatively not so far ago from Greek Catholicism - Lemkos). Also in chant I can hear some minor differences, it's a bit more "plain".
 

MarkosC

Elder
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
268
Reaction score
28
Points
28
Location
North America
Faith
Greek Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
Quite a wide ranging and ambitious thread. I’ll address the basic question raised in the title, and one particular subthread, seperately.

I’ll make comments on random elements here. (part 1)

That said, I only have a few comments on Middle Eastern socio-religi-politics; I’m not Middle Eastern, will never visit there, am honestly not remotely interested especially since this IME become heavily invested in extended-family or patron-client groups, and know very few first generation immigrants (and I’m not really interested in debating about that time period with the ones I know). (does this make me unsuitable for any kind of non-western Christianity? :D )


[snip] So, to simplify a very complicated and long event-- in its origins, it was neither a war of Lebanese against Palestinians nor of Christians against Muslims, but rather of one (probablly majority) element of the Maronite community against everyone else (and as time went on, primarily against itself).
That’s fine, but IIRC Lebanon itself is heavily a franco-maronite creation in the first place?



Were it not for state-level diplomatic actions by the Vatican (which is a state-level actor with its own, secular political interests), the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholics would have, in whole or in part, returned to their mother churches in, respectively the 90s and the early 2010s.
Interesting; could you please discuss this a bit more? The only thing I heard of was IIRC then Cardinal-Ratzinger’s “cool down” comments to the Melkite Synod’s “Zoghby initiative”, which honestly was very premature even to me who broadly supports the sentiment.

But again, no one here is blaming ordinary Greek Catholics, who are simply victims of history. In contrast, their clergy and intellegentsia bear the responsibility, in places where political constraints are no longer a problem, to bring their people back to the fullness of faith within Orthodoxy.
OK, I probably count as intelligentsia: what do you think I should do to bring my parish back to full Orthodoxy?


Church is not a museum of past religions and therefore Tridentine and Sarum liturgies should not be promoted for any reason. I read the Charter of the Western Ritualists (ROCOR) from their website and found it full of antiquarian references seeking to justify or contextualize their pursuit of an expression of Christian worship that suits them ‘just so’. I find it embarrassing.
At this point Gregorian chant and medieval/Renaissance polyphony is probably more alien to the average (at least American) Westerner than a Russian cherubic hymn by Tchaikovsky.
Lol we are exactly a museum of past religions. Basically a dictionary definition. Have you ever even been to a church? We use dead or archaic languages, object much of the modern society, celebrate thousand year old rituals, uphold obscure religious laws, wear funny hats, grow ridiculous beards and all that. Much of Orthodoxy consists of things that is usually taught only in ecclesiastical history classes.

Agree with these three comments.

From my perspective, having briefly dropped the “byzantine rite” to go back to the “Latin rite” for the Liturgy of the Hours, the point of the old stuff is to connect you to generations of Christians who came before you and pray the same prayers that greats like St. Ambrose supposedly prayed. For instance, in the current Latin liturgy of the hours (universalis app) begins with a hymn for each hour. The default are some perfectly nice English hymns, but you can also click and choose the traditional hymns of the hours in Latin and English. I find the traditional hymns not only beautiful and theologically better grounded, but also it is quite something to be praying the same hymns many saints have sung over over 1000 years.

Same thing of course goes with the psalms: you are praying the same thing (albeit in various translations) that God inspired people to pray for millenia.

The Latin church in the early decades of the last century did a remarkable job of bringing back Gregorian chant from basically extinction.
 

MarkosC

Elder
Joined
Dec 20, 2005
Messages
268
Reaction score
28
Points
28
Location
North America
Faith
Greek Catholic
Jurisdiction
Eparchy of Newton
Random comments on random elements part 2 and final.


But the basic historical fact, which I've seen on the ground and is obvious from history, is that the Eastern Catholics have fragmented local Christian communities and caused many of what would've been their most capable elements live in a fantasy-land of thinking they're Westerners, either totally disengaged from or hostile to their surroundings (there's a political element to this) and disengaged from their own heritage in a way somewhat more insidious than the category of lituregical 'latinizations--
I could believe this, again not having any direct experience.

for example, I've had UGCC and Melkite Catholic clergy separately complain to me that their mostly Jesuit-run education for priests deliberately avoids teaching any sort of liturgical theology.
Um the state of Latin-rite liturgical theology, practice, and teaching - heck, even basic presuppositions - at most Catholic seminaries has I’m told generally been poor-to-awful, if not nonexistent for 70+ years. IMO this failure to, and disinterest in, understanding the history and purpose of their own liturgy, and the poor liturgical formation that generates and perpetuates it, is the root of Latin-Rite Catholicism’s liturgical “crisis” since the 1970s. (but then IIRC Father John Meyendorff complained about the same thing in Orthodox circles? :D )

[favorite anecdote: a survey of pre-and-post Vatican II religious life in one another country I read about had zingers like “I never liked “By the Waters of Babylon” because it condones killing babies and so I’m glad we don’t sing it anymore” and “well Brother X sang because he pronounced Latin very well. But neither he nor us understood what he was singing”)

The corrective in traditionalist and conservative camps is generally fastidious rubricism and nitpicking of equal uselessness. Even the popes- when they have not been complicit - can do little about it. (e.g. I’m told that to accompany the revised 1970 missal Paul VI send a book of basic Latin Gregorian chants to each diocese that he hoped they’d teach every Catholic. Pope Benedict’s book on Liturgy is good, but only a bucket in the ocean, and IME not widely interiorized).



For one, your canon law is decidedly not eastern.
This is fair.

And your liturgical life is, in most instances, a very bad attempt at imitating eastern liturgical life. Your clerical education, in most instances, is wholly western, as are most instances of your preaching and theology.
That’s partially fair, partially sweepingly broad. Again we have the Latin model of seminary (assuming eparchy X is even able to have its own seminary and doesn’t just send their seminarians elsewhere) and we again have the chicken-and-egg problem of poor formation, indifferent interiorization of one’s own Rite (be it Latin or Eastern) in the parish perpetuating itself as folks move on to become priests, educators, and intelligentsia.

The Melkites in the US used to send their seminarians to Holy Cross Greek Seminary in Boston - due to various interpersonal contacts made before by the rector of their now defunct seminary. I’d imagine that it was quite the culture shock for the average Melkite seminarian.


In Orthodoxy, an autonomous church is one whose primate (or sometimes all of its bishops) is elected locally but consecrated by the mother church, on whose synod he sits. In no Orthodox church does a patriarch possess the right to censure and depose unilaterally. These things have to happen synodally. [snip]

Even auxiliary bishops in Orthodox churches can only be judged synodally. So in this sense, even Eastern Catholic patriarchs have, juridically speaking, less autonomy than an Orthodox auxiliary bishop.
Pope Francis claims to be trying to open the door for synodality in the Latin church. (generally the documents for the process quote Russian and Greek precedent). For the most part people on conservative Catholic and Orthodox internet boards are critical of his initiatives, to include the ones where he’s ostensibly trying to increase synodality.


That said, the westernness is what ordinary parishoners go to Melkite Catholic parishes for. During a discussion about latinization I was mostly politely listening in on, a Melkite Catholic priest of my acquaintance basically ended things with "Why bother talking about latinizations? People-- even Orthodox families-- come for first communion and western hymns. I'm not going to make my people angry." Unlike in North America, where there are a lot of Melkite Catholics who are there because they're Catholic but want eastern liturgy, in the Middle East, the people are easterners who are there to culturally identify with the west, and particularly with France.
I’ll buy this, granted that I again have not been to the Middle East.


I've been to that Ukrainian parish...it is stunning. If our two parishes are truly the only two EC parishes in the world that come close to Orthodox praxis, that is very disheartening.
Unfortunately I think this is probably true. You are lucky (?) enough to live in a small ghetto, though as you know some of the folks from Holy Transfiguration have gone on to other parishes and are doing what they can to continue.














OICWR is confessional within ECism, as a statement of who were are vice the Latinized.
 

FULK NERA

Elder
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
325
Reaction score
231
Points
43
Location
North America
Faith
Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction
OCA
Quite a wide ranging and ambitious thread. I’ll address the basic question raised in the title, and one particular subthread, seperately.

I’ll make comments on random elements here. (part 1)

That said, I only have a few comments on Middle Eastern socio-religi-politics; I’m not Middle Eastern, will never visit there, am honestly not remotely interested especially since this IME become heavily invested in extended-family or patron-client groups, and know very few first generation immigrants (and I’m not really interested in debating about that time period with the ones I know). (does this make me unsuitable for any kind of non-western Christianity? :D )




That’s fine, but IIRC Lebanon itself is heavily a franco-maronite creation in the first place?





Interesting; could you please discuss this a bit more? The only thing I heard of was IIRC then Cardinal-Ratzinger’s “cool down” comments to the Melkite Synod’s “Zoghby initiative”, which honestly was very premature even to me who broadly supports the sentiment.



OK, I probably count as intelligentsia: what do you think I should do to bring my parish back to full Orthodoxy?









Agree with these three comments.

From my perspective, having briefly dropped the “byzantine rite” to go back to the “Latin rite” for the Liturgy of the Hours, the point of the old stuff is to connect you to generations of Christians who came before you and pray the same prayers that greats like St. Ambrose supposedly prayed. For instance, in the current Latin liturgy of the hours (universalis app) begins with a hymn for each hour. The default are some perfectly nice English hymns, but you can also click and choose the traditional hymns of the hours in Latin and English. I find the traditional hymns not only beautiful and theologically better grounded, but also it is quite something to be praying the same hymns many saints have sung over over 1000 years.

Same thing of course goes with the psalms: you are praying the same thing (albeit in various translations) that God inspired people to pray for millenia.

The Latin church in the early decades of the last century did a remarkable job of bringing back Gregorian chant from basically extinction.
Alpo’s comment to the positive of churches as religious museums is ignorant and misses the distinction between active preservation and antiquarian restoration. Slavonic is not a ‘dead language’ in its Slavic church context because it never ceased to be the language of services and was thus never ’revived’. The age of this or that element of worship has no reflection on museum-like quality of the worship. As I quoted elsewhere, Tradition is the living faith of the departed and traditions are the repositories of the dead faith of the living.
 

Samn!

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Sep 14, 2010
Messages
1,215
Reaction score
339
Points
83
Jurisdiction
Patriarchaat van Erps-Kwerps
That’s fine, but IIRC Lebanon itself is heavily a franco-maronite creation in the first place?
Right, but creating a Franco-Maronite state with a shrinking Maronite minority ranks up there with Luso-Tropicalism and Rhodesia in the gallery of brilliant ideas of the colonial era.

Interesting; could you please discuss this a bit more? The only thing I heard of was IIRC then Cardinal-Ratzinger’s “cool down” comments to the Melkite Synod’s “Zoghby initiative”, which honestly was very premature even to me who broadly supports the sentiment.
There really needs to be a full history of what happened, starting with the Gregoire Haddad affair in 1975, which if the war (during which the Melkite Catholic position was rather more ambiguous than the Orthodox one) hadn't intervened would probably have led to very different outcomes. A major, unexamined factor in why it didn't work out in either the 70's or the 90's is the sharp difference in orientation between the bishops of that era (who, very much unlike now, were drawn by their interpretation of Vatican II towards Orthodoxy, helped along by some of them sharing a pan-Arab orientation with Met Georges Khodr) and the lay elites, who are happy to be honorary Junior Maronites (and in an explicitly, constitutionally sectarian political system, buy-in from lay elites is absolutely key-- only the Orthodox have basically chosen to neutralize this dynamic by a conscious choice on the part of the religious leaders and lay religious activists in favor of total political irrelevance for the entire community, for better or worse). It's a story that's difficult to piece together without full access to periodicals from that era- even accounts of the Haddad affair I've seen in secondary sources are almost the opposite of what I've read in contemporary accounts from as it was happening.

Pope Francis claims to be trying to open the door for synodality in the Latin church. (generally the documents for the process quote Russian and Greek precedent). For the most part people on conservative Catholic and Orthodox internet boards are critical of his initiatives, to include the ones where he’s ostensibly trying to increase synodality.
As bad as the current splits in Orthodoxy are (and I am currently very pessimistic about them), I expect the ripple effects of however the German Synodal Way shakes out to be just as momentous, even for Orthodox. It's a very weird moment for all organized forms of Christianity right now. The case of a pope pushing for a very, very hazily-conceived 'synodality' while also insisting that he can change the lex orandi (and so, implicitly, credendi) of his church motu proprio is enough to give one whiplash. In a different era, this type of chaos would've been an opportunity for Eastern Catholics to assert a juridical basis for becoming real sui juris churches, rather than the glorified 'rites' they are in practice. But, the dire situation in Lebanon right now and the fact that, at least in the Melkite Catholic Church, there has been a strong preference for consecrating total non-entities as bishops for the past 30 years, means that they will have to be reactive to events in Rome, which are being determined by wholly intra-European dynamics, once they see where the chips fall. As has always been the case.


OK, I probably count as intelligentsia: what do you think I should do to bring my parish back to full Orthodoxy?
Good question.
 

Deacon Lance

Protokentarchos
Joined
Oct 26, 2002
Messages
4,476
Reaction score
266
Points
83
Age
49
Location
Washington, PA
Faith
Byzantine Catholic
Jurisdiction
Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
A recently published article by one of my mentors, Archpriest David Petras:

 
Top