Latin Rite Catholic Dopers: Ask the Byzantine Catholic Chick

or “Thea Logica Solicits Cheap Help for Her Research Project”.

OK, so I got this bright idea. A lot of Latin Rite Catholics come to visit my little Byzantine Catholic parish. Some of them stay. Many are confused. They ask a lot of questions to the effect of “What in the name of Sam Hill is going on here?”

So yesterday during liturgy, the idea hit me… I could put together a little brochure to explain the Byzantine Liturgy to the visiting Latins, a little FAQ kind of a thing. Heck, I hold a teaching office in my church, it’s my job to educate people about these sorts of things. I do occasionally find myself answering questions about the icons, theology, Byzantine spirituality, etc.

But really, I’m at a loss as to what specific questions I would need to answer to guide a confused Latin Rite Catholic through the Byzantine liturgy.

So, if you’re a Latin Rite Catholic who has visited a Byzantine Catholic parish and been a bit bewildered, ask me a question. I won’t promise an immediate answer, I may have to research it a bit, which will take time, but what ends up in this thread will provide the basis of an educational campaign that will sweep… the corner of Lindell and O’Bannon.

I’m not going to exclude questions from Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Pagans, atheists and agnostics, but I will ask you to forgive me if my answers are a bit on the short side. I would welcome other Catholic Dopers hellping me to field these questions…

OK, let the questioning begin.

Is an Eparchy the same thing as a diocese? Are there metropolitan and suffragan eparchies? How many eparchies are there in the US? Is there any body similar to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, or a concept of an ecclesiastical province?

All these are administrative, I know, but I’m curious. :slight_smile:

I’m assuming that the Byzantine Rite follows the usual eastern custom of offering Eucharist to all baptized members of the Church. What is the practice with regards to Latin Rite children who have not yet had their First Communion?

Do you wear an “Equal Rites” button when you attend Latin Rite services?

Help the protestant: is there much of a difference between the Latins and the Byzantines? I thought there was just one “flavor” of Catholics all this time …

Former Roman Catholic here. Does Latin Rite refer to the Roman Catholic Church, or is it only those congregations that insist on celebrating the Mass in Latin?

Latin Rite refers to the church in communion with Rome with a liturgy based on the original (for that group of churches) Latin. The Eastern Rite churches are those churches in communion with Rome with a litugy based on the original (for those regions) Greek traditions (not always celebrated in Greek, today, any more than the Latin Rite continues to clebrate in Latin).

The Eastern Rite churches are called Eastern Rite because (after the Latin Rite swallowed up the Gallican, Gothic, and a few other Rites) Latin was pretty much the only tradition that survived in the West of Europe, with all the other Rites survivng in the East.

Thanks, tom~.

OK, yes, an eparchy is pretty much the same thing as a diocese, only they tend to be geographically much larger, due to the fact that there are much fewer Byzantine Catholics than there are Latin Rite Catholics. Yes, there are metropolitan eparchies, suffragan I don’t know. Lemme get back to you on the rest.

OK, now SnoopyFan

Um, well, let me put it this way. The Byzantines are what the Eastern Orthodox would be if the Eastern Orthodox were still in communion with Rome. We use the same liturgy as most of the Orthodox Churches ( the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, or of St. Basil during Lent and certain holy days), and our theolgy and spirituality more closely resemble the Greek or Russian Orthodox than they do the “Roman Catholic”. We do accept the authority of the Pope, and of all the ecumenical councils post 1054, which the Orthodox do not. Also, Catholics come in nine flavors- Latin Rite, Byzantine Rite, Maronite and Melkite (which are the majority of Middle Eastern Catholics), Syrian, Coptic, Chaldean, Malabar and Melankarese (the last two are predominately in India). Add into this the local and national traditions that exist within the various rites, and you can probably find a flavor of Catholic to suit any taste.



um, no.

JohnM :


Basically, if you have the right to receive Communion within your own rite, you can receive Communion in the Byzantine Church as well. So, a Latin Rite child who has not yet received First Communion would not be able to receive in a Byzantine Church either. However, if you are not eligible to receive communion, you can still come forward when the Eucharist is given and receive a blessing. When you approach the priest, you hold one finger over your mouth, to quietly and discreetely let him know you can’t receive, and he will bless you. Also, in the Italo-Greek Church, we have this nice little thing called the antidoran. It’s a bit of bread that is placed at the entrance of the church, or, preferably, held by an officer of the church, for your intentions. As you enter the church, you take a little piece of bread from a dish, silently make your request of God and place it on a plate. At the end of the liturgy, the bread is distributed to the people in attendance. You don’t even have to be a Christian to receive the antidoran. I’m not sure if the other national traditions have this practice, but I think it’s nice, because even if you can’t receive communion, you aren’t entirely left out.

More specifically, based upon the Liturgy of Milan.

More specifically, based upon the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great (possibly with the Liturgy of St. Gregory the Great for pre-consecrated Gifts).

Actually, the modern “Latin Rite” is the Gallican, specifically as given form in Milan (yes, Milan was part of the “Gallican” family of Liturgies). The actual “Roman” liturgies are no longer practiced. As regarding the East, its liturgical tradition is also quite sparse in comparison to older variety.

Not hardly. It is Rome that fell into schism, error, and heresy. We did not break from them, they broke from us.

I’d aver that in a thread called, “Ask the Byzantine Catholic Chick,” the obvious reference point is that of the Byzantine Catholic Church. So Thea Logica is well within the bounds of normal practice to say, “The Byzantines are what the Eastern Orthodox would be if the Eastern Orthodox were still in communion with Rome,” just as, were the thread about the Orthodox Churches, it would be acceptable to say that Rome fell into heresy and broke from the East.

  • Rick

Does the Byzantine Church arise from the Latin crusader kingdom that siezed the Eastern Roman Empire?

Actually, any look at the history of the Uniates shows that she would be wrong, there. Uniates did not maintain communion with Rome. Uniates rejoined communion with Rome after centuries of division from Rome. Thus, it is not accurate to claim that they are what the Orthodox would have been had there never been a break in communion with Rome. The Uniates also participated in that break for centuries.

From a neutral perspective, you broke from each other.

Sorry. Small joke showing just how old I am. Through the 60s there were several political buttons demanding Equal Rights. It was also, of couse, the period when a lot of changes were happening in the Latin Rite. I went to school with several Maronites and a couple of Chaldeans who never made any point of their differences with us “Latins,” then, in grad school, I encountered a guy who was militantly Greek Catholic who would show up at the campus chapel (there being no other Greek Catholics for miles and miles) wearing his Equal Rites button.

Well, Dogface, I’m Italo-Greed Byzantine and the Italo-Greek church never split with Rome (is, in fact, under the Roman Patriarchate), and it therefore not a Uniate church.

As for the Uniate churches-

They still use the liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, still have the same basic theology and spirituality as the Orthodox, the same traditions. Heck, the Nicean Creed still doesn’t have that dratted * filioque* clause in it in the Eastern Rite Catholic liturgies. Also, under Catholic canon law, Orthodox Christians are eligible to receive commumion in Catholic churches. Orthodox canon law forbids it except in cases of emergency.

So, yes, it is accurate to say that Byzantine Catholic is what Eastern Orthodox would be if the Eastern Orthodox Churches were still in communion with Rome. Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that Byzantine Catholocism is Orthodoxy within the Catholic Church. Next thread- it’s been almost 950 years. How come you guys are still holding a grudge?

OK, maka

No. Although I must say that the sack of Constantinople and attempted forced Latinization of the Greeks went a long way toward making sure the schism would become final (all that nastiness in 1054 was really just the beginning of a long process- between then and 1453, when Constantinople fell to the Turks, there were several unsuccessful attempts at reconciliation. The filioque clause remains a sticking point to this day. More for the Orthodox than the Catholics - being that the Italo-Greek and Uniate churches don’t use it, it’s highly unlikely that Rome would insist that the Orthodox churches adopt it as a condition of reunification.)

The Byzantine Catholic Churches are descended from the churches founded by St. Paul. The Roman Church is descended from those founded by St. Peter. The Byzantine Rite is actually about twenty years older than the Latin Rite. The various churches all grew up together, and for the most part, played nice together until 1054, when the church split over what were actually fairly minor doctrinal issues. In the process, Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, was handed a bull of excommunication by a papal legate named Humbert, who rode his horse into the Hagia Sophia during the liturgy to hand Cerularius the accursed document. To be fair, Cerularius was not exactly being cooperative. He refused to meet with the papal delegation, and there is a possibility that he would not have been excommunicated if he had. Also, there is some question as to whether the excommunication was valid. The bull contained several false accusations and incorrect statements, and Pope Leo IX, who issued the bull, died while Humbert and Co. were in transit from Rome to Constantinople.

That is UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY inaccurate. It is not possible to be both Orthodox and Roman Catholic, since to be in communion with Rome, since that sort of Catholic means that one must adhere to heretical doctrines.

If one does not adhere to Orthodox doctrine, one is not Orthodox. Orthodoxy is much more than a mere “rite”, no matter what Rome’s propagandists might claim.

Dogface, can you read, or are you simply faking it? Try again.

Byzantine Catholicism is Orthodox Catholocism.

Secondarily, where does all this hysterical anger come from? To be prefectly honest, there are very few and minor doctrinal differences. In any practical point of view, there shouldn’t be any difference between us. Perhaps in the years to come we will reunite.

Y’know, Dogface, this is the second time in a bit over a week that you have made spurious claims about what “Rome” or “the West” might claim.

Do you have any citation that “Rome” claims that it is only a matter of “different rites”?

I appreciate your perspective and the information you bring regarding Orthodox beliefs. There are differences between the capital C Catholics and the capital O Orthodox and you do a good job of presenting the Orthodox perspective. However, you also couch your views in wildly unsubstantiated attacks against “Rome” and “the West” that are beginning to garner you an image as the Jack Chick of the Orthodox.

Calm down. We can recognize your views without having you launch into an angry tirade every time the subject arises.