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Author Topic: St Constantine the Great  (Read 6876 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 03, 2010, 01:18:53 PM »

I have noticed that many (most) Eastern Catholics venerate St Constantine the Great as a saint of the Church (like the Orthodox). But I have had many Roman Catholics tell me that he is not considered to be a saint in the Latin West. Is there any official information that he is NOT saint in the Latin West.  I can find no official statement on internet searches.
 Huh
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 08:55:15 AM »

Anybody?
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2010, 09:28:44 AM »

Might have to do with him moving the Roman Empire from Rome to the Bosporan Kingdom. laugh
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2010, 11:17:32 AM »

My recollection is that I've heard St. Constantine referred to as a saint on EWTN.  Though, I've found that the RC's are big on promoting negative aspects of his secular life---an Orthodox priest I know told me, "They don't like him, that's when it all started," kidding somewhat.
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 01:03:26 PM »

My recollection is that I've heard St. Constantine referred to as a saint on EWTN.  Though, I've found that the RC's are big on promoting negative aspects of his secular life---an Orthodox priest I know told me, "They don't like him, that's when it all started," kidding somewhat.

Interesting. I do not believe he is commemorated on the Latin calendar. This is somewhat perplexing.
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 02:29:02 PM »

Interesting. I do not believe he is commemorated on the Latin calendar. This is somewhat perplexing.
He isn't.  His mother is, but not him. 

The majority of Roman Catholic priests I ever spoke with never saw him as a saint, with some saying he wasn't even particularly an example worth emulating.  I remember when I was being confirmed, a pupil wanted to be done so in the name of "St. Constantine the Great".  The Priest said Constantine would be fine, but it would be one of the Seven Sleepers.
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 02:48:28 PM »

This Catholic website seems to portray Constantine as a Catholic saint.

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=2731
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2010, 03:52:07 PM »

This Catholic website seems to portray Constantine as a Catholic saint

Yes. That is the only site that I found that referred to him as a saint. But what is this site? Do they speak for the Latins? 

Not even New Advent refers to him as a saint.

Quite unusual.  Undecided
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2010, 04:32:10 PM »

Can anyone confirm the truth or falsity of the claim that Constantine was baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia?
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« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2010, 06:43:07 PM »

There is a comprehensive official Calendar of Catholic Saints.  I don't know where to find it.

This has been discussed several time on CAF so a search there may provide answers.
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« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2010, 06:51:31 PM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2010, 09:45:59 PM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.

Eusebius of Nicodemia was far from a confirmed Arian and had wobbled around between an arian and an orthodox confesion of faith.  When it was time to baptize the emperor Constantine on his deathbed Eusebius was orthodox.
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2010, 11:07:58 PM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.

Eusebius of Nicodemia was far from a confirmed Arian and had wobbled around between an arian and an orthodox confesion of faith.  When it was time to baptize the emperor Constantine on his deathbed Eusebius was orthodox.

Where did you get that information? Wikipedia, New Advent, and OrthodoxWiki all appear to contradict you.
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2010, 11:22:50 PM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.

How do you explain St. Isaac of Ninevah?
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2010, 12:33:57 AM »

Somebody dropped me a note to say this is in "Constantine and Eusebius" by Timothy D. Barnes

Eusebius of Nicomedia signed the orthodox confession of faith at the Council of Nicea in 325 to refute the accusations that he was an Arian sympathizer.

However his theology continued to vacillate.   It is the belief of the Greeks that when he baptized the Emperor Eusebius was Orthodox and this is the tradition I have received from the Serbs.

Of course Canon vij of the Second Ecumenical Council can be used to argue that Arian baptism was acceptable anyway.
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2010, 03:00:57 AM »

The Church, our Holy Orthodoxy, "recognized" St. Constantine as a saint, and accorded him the title, "Equal to the Apostles."  That is all that counts.
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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2010, 11:45:51 PM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.

How do you explain St. Isaac of Ninevah?

Huh? What makes you think that I recognize him as a Saint?
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« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2010, 11:55:21 PM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.

How do you explain St. Isaac of Ninevah?

Huh? What makes you think that I recognize him as a Saint?

Well, all the Oriental Orthodox Churches do.
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« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2010, 11:57:22 PM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.

How do you explain St. Isaac of Ninevah?

Huh? What makes you think that I recognize him as a Saint?

Well, all the Oriental Orthodox Churches do.

Do they?
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« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2010, 11:59:24 PM »

Eusebius of Nicomedia signed the orthodox confession of faith at the Council of Nicea in 325 to refute the accusations that he was an Arian sympathizer.

And he baptized Constantine 12 years later. As a matter of fact, even at Nicaea he didn't refute the idea that he was an Arian sympathizer. Rather, what he tried to refute was the idea that Arius was heterodox.

However his theology continued to vacillate.

Seemingly under his leadership. He led a council in 335 which deposed St. Athanasius.

It is the belief of the Greeks that when he baptized the Emperor Eusebius was Orthodox and this is the tradition I have received from the Serbs.

Why does OrthodoxWiki make no designation of his faith other than him being an Arian, then?
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« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2010, 12:10:48 AM »

Do they?

I'm sure that he is. I dug through the archives on the forum. It appears that he is not found on the official calendar of the Armenians but he is still highly regarded.

Salpy said this:
He said that although St. Isaac is not on our calendar, he wrote nothing that was objectionable to our theology and some (not all) of his works were translated into Classical Armenian in the middle ages.  So he may not officially be a saint, but at the very least you can say his works are respected by the Church.

EkhristosAnesti said that H.H. Pope Kyrillos VI considered him a Saint:
When the late Pope Kyrillos VI was asked what his favourite spiritual reading was, he replied that he found no greater fulfillment than in the works of St Isaac the Syrian. After having read a fair bit of St Isaac and the little of Pope Kyrillos that has been translated into english it became clear that the late Patriarch's words exuded St Isaac's spirituality and that his personal experience of the Divine remarkably paralleled that of St Isaac.

If St Isaac's spiritual teachings served not only as an authoritative basis of the late Pope Kyrillos' spiritual contemplations, but furthermore served to influence a life as remarkable and saintly as that of Pope Kyrillos, then that's sufficient confirmation of his Sainthood as far as i'm concerned.

From this thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=post;quote=220217;topic=15328.0;sesc=60290aa5d1103ac6f0640dedcc4bc1f5

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« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2010, 12:13:32 AM »

I don't understand how we could possibly venerate Constantine with any legitimacy if he did not receive the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries, but rather was baptized by a confirmed Arian. There is no certainty of salvation outside of the Orthodox Sacred Mysteries.

How do you explain St. Isaac of Ninevah?

Huh? What makes you think that I recognize him as a Saint?

Well, all the Oriental Orthodox Churches do.

Do they?

The Armenian Church has Emperor Constantine as a saint.  His feast day this year is going to be on Tuesday, June 15 (along with his mother, Helen.) 

With regard to his baptism, I know this was discussed a while back in another thread, but I can't find it.   Lips Sealed  I recall one of the guys here who went to seminary addressed it.  If I recall correctly, he said that what mattered was whether the officiating priest was still in the Church, not whether or not he himself personally held heretical beliefs.  A heretic who has not separated from the Church can still do valid sacraments.  Someone who has separated from the Church cannot.  Or something like that.   Smiley  Evidently the person who baptized St. Constantine was still in the Church, even though he still may have held heretical beliefs.  He was not in schism at the time of the baptism.
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« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2010, 12:15:19 AM »

Oops!  I misread the post above and thought you guys were debating whether St. Constantine was a saint in the OO Church. 

Andrew is right about St. Isaac of Ninevah.
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« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2010, 01:51:18 AM »

I've learned something shocking to me from this topic; the Roman Catholic Church doesn't accept the Undivided Church of the early first millennium's recognition of Constantine the Great, "Equal to the Apostles," the Roman Emperor who had seen the vision of a Cross with the words, "With this Conquer," who  ended the persecution of the Christians, who recognized marriage as an honorable estate, who convened the 1st Ecumenical Synod, who facilitated the construction of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) in Jerusalem.  I checked a Franciscan web site, which has a roster of Roman Catholic saints; nothing for St. Constantine.  (I couldn't find a comprehensive roster of saints in the Vatican's web site, only a list of recently recognized holy people by Popes John Paul II, and Benedict.)

All kidding aside, I will respectfully tell this to my bishop, this should be a topic for the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue!  This topic goes right along side unleavened bread and purgatory.
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« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2010, 07:02:29 AM »

A saint on any calendar in any Catholic Church is a saint in all.  That does not mean every saint gets celebrated liturgically in every Catholic Church.  St. Constantine is on every Byzantine Catholic Church sui iuris' calendar, hence he is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church, Latin ignorance of this fact not withstanding.
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« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2010, 07:34:37 PM »

A saint on any calendar in any Catholic Church is a saint in all.  That does not mean every saint gets celebrated liturgically in every Catholic Church.  St. Constantine is on every Byzantine Catholic Church sui iuris' calendar, hence he is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church, Latin ignorance of this fact not withstanding.

Does this mean that any saint venerated by the Byzantine Catholics (pre-or post-schism) is therefore able to be venerated by any Roman/Latin Catholic?
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« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2010, 07:42:22 PM »

Yes, any saint on any Catholic Church sui iuris' calendar may be venerated  by any Catholic of another Church sui iuris.  Latins should not run around saying someone isn't a saint because he isn't on their particular calendar.
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« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2010, 01:25:55 AM »

Even though "the Vicar of Christ on Earth," who is infallible "when he speaks Ex Cathedra," hasn't proclaimed the individual as a saint?
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« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2010, 12:04:45 PM »

I've learned something shocking to me from this topic; the Roman Catholic Church doesn't accept the Undivided Church of the early first millennium's recognition of Constantine the Great, "Equal to the Apostles," the Roman Emperor who had seen the vision of a Cross with the words, "With this Conquer," who  ended the persecution of the Christians, who recognized marriage as an honorable estate, who convened the 1st Ecumenical Synod, who facilitated the construction of the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre) in Jerusalem.  I checked a Franciscan web site, which has a roster of Roman Catholic saints; nothing for St. Constantine.  (I couldn't find a comprehensive roster of saints in the Vatican's web site, only a list of recently recognized holy people by Popes John Paul II, and Benedict.)

All kidding aside, I will respectfully tell this to my bishop, this should be a topic for the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue!  This topic goes right along side unleavened bread and purgatory.

Yes. I have also found the whole issue rather shocking.
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« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2010, 12:58:52 PM »

Yes, any saint on any Catholic Church sui iuris' calendar may be venerated  by any Catholic of another Church sui iuris.  Latins should not run around saying someone isn't a saint because he isn't on their particular calendar.

st. Peter never went through the formal canonization process but is still recognized as a Saint in the Catholic Church. The formal canonization process is not always necessary.

That being said, I don't venerate Constantine, along with a few others on the Byzantine calendar. I am not required to.
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« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2010, 12:58:52 PM »

Constantine did not live a very saintly life. So can some one help me to understand why it is shocking that many Latins do not venerate him?
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« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2010, 01:03:58 PM »

Constantine did not live a very saintly life. So can some one help me to understand why it is shocking that many Latins do not venerate him?

I think he is venerated because he put an end to the Empire's persecution of Christians, and because he convened the First Ecumenical Council.  You're right, though, about the other parts of his life not being so great.   Smiley

I guess we have to remember that some saints are venerated because of some specific thing they did, not necessarily because their entire lives were exemplary.  Think of St. Paul, who before his conversion used to hunt down Christians and have them killed.  He called himself the worst sinner, and yet he is one of our greatest saints.   Smiley
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« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2010, 01:13:13 PM »

Constantine did not live a very saintly life. So can some one help me to understand why it is shocking that many Latins do not venerate him?

I don't think the shock is non-veneration by the faithful - there are some saints more popular, and some less.  I think the shock is finding no official recognition that he is a saint, versus, say, St. Patrick, who is not widely venerated in EO circles but is still on our list of Saints.  Since both lived before even a hint of the schism, there is an expectation that they'll be on some official list.
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« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2010, 01:26:02 PM »

Constantine did not live a very saintly life. So can some one help me to understand why it is shocking that many Latins do not venerate him?

His life showed a gradual move from paganism to Christianity.  Much of what is thrown about as examples of his alleged unholiness are slanders or anachronisms.  The good far outweighs the bad, and the move from sinfulness to piety is a great example for others to follow.  St Constantine the Great, pray to God for us!
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« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2010, 02:47:41 PM »

Constantine did not live a very saintly life. So can some one help me to understand why it is shocking that many Latins do not venerate him?

I don't think the shock is non-veneration by the faithful - there are some saints more popular, and some less.  I think the shock is finding no official recognition that he is a saint, versus, say, St. Patrick, who is not widely venerated in EO circles but is still on our list of Saints.  Since both lived before even a hint of the schism, there is an expectation that they'll be on some official list.
Thanks.
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« Reply #35 on: June 08, 2010, 12:43:09 PM »

Constantine did not live a very saintly life. So can some one help me to understand why it is shocking that many Latins do not venerate him?

I don't think the shock is non-veneration by the faithful - there are some saints more popular, and some less.  I think the shock is finding no official recognition that he is a saint, versus, say, St. Patrick, who is not widely venerated in EO circles but is still on our list of Saints.  Since both lived before even a hint of the schism, there is an expectation that they'll be on some official list.

There are many Saints venerated in the Latin Catholic Church that don't appear in the Roman Martyrology (the official list of Saints in the Latin Catholic Church). There are just too many to name them all. But, at the end of every day there is one last entry:

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

And I'm also sure that even the Eastern Orthodox don't venerate all the pre-Schism Saints venerated in every other Apostolic Church. For example, I doubt that the Eastern Orthodox venerate Saint Pontius Pilate, who is a Saint in the Ethiopian Church. And I haven't seen Saint Prosper of Aquitaine (d. 455), whose feast in the Catholic Church is June 25, on any Orthodox calendars.
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« Reply #36 on: June 08, 2010, 01:11:08 PM »

^ I did bring up the difference between veneration and recognition; the question is about official recognition, not popular veneration.  No, we do not venerate Pontius Pilate, but then again we're not in Communion with the Ethiopian Orthodox.  I don't know about St. Prosper; maybe I'll try and look him up some time.
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« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2010, 04:09:43 PM »

Even the Orthodox Latins of the Roman Patriarchate before their 11th century schism from the Church were a bit "picky" over whom they venerated as saints and over those with whom they entered into Communion. For example, Pope St. Liberius is venerated in the Eastern Churches, but not in the West, even in Orthodox times, it appears. He may have been purged later, but not venerating someone seen as a collaborator in heresy was a Roman Orthodox schtick. There were many times when Rom was out of Communion with certain patriarchs in the East before the 11th century due to Eastern heresy. But, even apart from that, the Roman Orthodox were pickier, supporting the ultra-Nicene Paulinus of Antioch over St. Meletios, someone the Romans viewed as tainted because he was elected by semi-Arians, even though he himself was thoroughly Orthodox.
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« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2010, 04:43:07 PM »

Being listed on any Catholic Church's calendar is official recognition.  A saint does not have to be on the Roman Rite calendar to be official.
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« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2010, 04:56:52 PM »

As a far as I know, the original canons of the Church (which, by the way, are still valid) dictate that it doesn't matter what the one baptizing believes in, as long as the baptism is in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  As a matter of fact, as opposed to some of the other Sacraments, anyone can baptize....not just priests.  I believe most of this was discussed at the Council of Carthage in the 3rd Century.

Please forgive me and correct me if I'm wrong.

Also, concerning the sainthood of Constantine, Equal-to-the-Apostles: is he a saint because he instituted a Christian theocracy or in spite of it?  If the former, then doesn't that sanction theocracy as the system that every Orthodox Christian must endorse?
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« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2010, 05:04:39 AM »

And I haven't seen Saint Prosper of Aquitaine (d. 455), whose feast in the Catholic Church is June 25, on any Orthodox calendars.

St. Prosper.
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« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2010, 09:09:53 AM »

Being listed on any Catholic Church's calendar is official recognition.  A saint does not have to be on the Roman Rite calendar to be official.
Are the Eastern Catholic Churches not subject to Rome?  How can you commemorate someone they do not recognize?
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« Reply #42 on: June 09, 2010, 09:46:28 AM »

Being listed on any Catholic Church's calendar is official recognition.  A saint does not have to be on the Roman Rite calendar to be official.
Are the Eastern Catholic Churches not subject to Rome?  How can you commemorate someone they do not recognize?

Because the Roman RITE is not, contrary to some ultramontane triumphalists, the be all-end all of the RCC.
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« Reply #43 on: June 09, 2010, 10:00:17 AM »

Being listed on any Catholic Church's calendar is official recognition.  A saint does not have to be on the Roman Rite calendar to be official.
Are the Eastern Catholic Churches not subject to Rome?  How can you commemorate someone they do not recognize?

Because the Roman RITE is not, contrary to some ultramontane triumphalists, the be all-end all of the RCC.

So you are saying that the Eastern Catholic "rites" are not subject to the Pope of Rome?
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« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2010, 10:34:59 AM »

Being listed on any Catholic Church's calendar is official recognition.  A saint does not have to be on the Roman Rite calendar to be official.
Are the Eastern Catholic Churches not subject to Rome?  How can you commemorate someone they do not recognize?

Because the Roman RITE is not, contrary to some ultramontane triumphalists, the be all-end all of the RCC.

So you are saying that the Eastern Catholic "rites" are not subject to the Pope of Rome?


Rome has seen fit to let the sui juris churches of its communion commemorate whom they wish.  In a very real sense, Rome has executed its authority with a very free hand.

If one would take the time to look, one would find a number of Eastern Catholic saints and blesseds missing from the offical calendar of Roman RITE.  Off the top of my head, Bl. Theodore Romzha was not commemorated in the list of saints (during which "Blesseds" are also commemorated) during the Anaphora at the local Roman Catholic church I last went to back on Nov 1, 2007, even though Pope John Paul II beatified him in 2001 (and assigned Nov 1 as his feast day) and the pastor of that RC church was very diligent in saying the Roman Calendar's saints names on any given day.  I would be surprised if Bl. Theodore's name was actually on the Roman Calendar.  On the Ruthenian calendar, St. Gregory Palamas is celebrated and we both know that he is certainly not on the Roman Calendar.

We see this phenomenon even in Orthodoxy.  Take, for example, St. Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre.  I would be incredibly surprised to find him commemorated on Mt. Athos on May 7, but, at the same time, none of the holy fathers there would dare to call in question his sainthood.

The Eastern Catholic Churches have, since Vatican II, have been given an enormous amount of freedom.  Do not mistake me: they are subject to the Roman pontiff.  However, since at least the pontificate of JPII, they have been given quite a long leash, so to speak.

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