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Author Topic: Ukrainian Greek Catholics - the result of forceful conversion or not?  (Read 3844 times) Average Rating: 0
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ialmisry
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« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2011, 10:47:49 PM »

It would appear that I've caught podkarpatska at a bad time. Maybe one of the other Orthodox here could be so kind as to explain to me how "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics" in the following post:

For most ECs, it wouldn't be a matter of re-joining the Orthodox Church*, but rather of joining it for the first time.


*At least not in the literal sense. I suppose you could call it "re-joining" in the sense that their ancestors were Orthodox. Not really the same thing though.

I'd rather avoid speaking for someone else speaking for someone else, but I think his point was that those who see themselves as "Orthodox in communion with Rome" see themselves as Orthodox.  According to them, they never left Orthodoxy, or at least since their "union."
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« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2011, 01:23:02 PM »

It would appear that I've caught podkarpatska at a bad time. Maybe one of the other Orthodox here could be so kind as to explain to me how "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics" in the following post:

For most ECs, it wouldn't be a matter of re-joining the Orthodox Church*, but rather of joining it for the first time.


*At least not in the literal sense. I suppose you could call it "re-joining" in the sense that their ancestors were Orthodox. Not really the same thing though.

I'd rather avoid speaking for someone else speaking for someone else, but I think his point was that those who see themselves as "Orthodox in communion with Rome" see themselves as Orthodox.  According to them, they never left Orthodoxy, or at least since their "union."

Thank you, you did a good job of speaking for me. I was trying to formulate an explanation of my comments and you summed them up.

I can only speak for my family and those who I know, both those who returned to the Orthodox Faith and those who remained Greek Catholic.

In the Rusyn dialect they spoke, they would have referred to their religion not as 'Pravoslavnyj' (literally 'Orthodox' ) nor as 'Katoliceskjy' ( 'Catholic' in the sense of being Roman), but as 'nash Viryj' (our Faith) or 'nase cerkovnyj' (our church). (Please excuse my attempts at phonetics, it's the best I can recollect.)

It is hard to explain in terms modern ears understand, but you have to keep in mind that in the Slavonic, the Union NEVER required changing the intonations 'Vsich vas Pravoslavnjch Christian...' and so on in the liturgy. From the gradual implementation of the Union of Uzhorod through its final success in the early 18th century, the commemorations of the village priest may have changed Bishops, but they always prayed for the intention of all Orthodox Christians. (Pravoslavnjch Christian...) For nearly four centuries this continued.

I realize that the Byzantine Catholic Church in America, after the schisms of the 20th century, in their initial translations of this phrase, they did not state 'Remember in Your Kingdom, all Orthodox Christians' but rather 'Remember in Your Kingdom, all Christians of the True Faith'. Yet, in 2009, their bishops' Pastoral Update recommended restoring the use of the term 'Orthodox Christians'. (Needless to say, this proposed change has caused some confusion among their faithful! - particularly where there had been a history of division and litigation with the Orthodox.)

Likewise, in the Slavonic Trebniks and Sborniks published by the Greek Catholics in both Presov and Lviv through the Second World War, the term "Vsich vas Pravoslavnyj Christianyj..." was retained. (I am referencing the 'Velikyj Cerkovnjy Sbornik' published in Presov in 1937 with the imprimatur of the Blessed Bishop+Pavel (Goidich). )  

Bishop Pavel certainly knew that he was a Greek Catholic and united with Rome and not Orthodox, but to the faithful, the Church was not perceived globally, but rather locally and to those living in the mid-20th century it continued unchanged. It can be argued that it was only as a result of the Latinization efforts in the Americas urged on by the Latin hierarchy and the forced liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church in  Europe following the war that those perceptions were forever changed - whether you retained your Eastern Catholic identity or followed canonical Orthodoxy.

That being said, the term 'Orthodox in union with Rome' is NOT a term used by Orthodox to describe our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters. Rather, it is a term adopted by SOME of Eastern Catholic clergy and hierarchs to describe their relationship with Rome. The retired Major-Archbishop Lubomyr of Ukraine used the term often when he described the UGCC. I did not use it in a mocking or derogatory manner and the attempt to call the Orthodox Church by the acronym penned by Peter does not strike me as being respectful of the Eastern Catholics who use the term "Orthodox in union with Rome' to describe themselves.
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« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2011, 01:31:22 PM »

That being said, the term 'Orthodox in union with Rome' is NOT a term used by Orthodox to describe our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters. Rather, it is a term adopted by SOME of Eastern Catholic clergy and hierarchs to describe their relationship with Rome. The retired Major-Archbishop Lubomyr of Ukraine used the term often when he described the UGCC. I did not use it in a mocking or derogatory manner and the attempt to call the Orthodox Church by the acronym penned by Peter does not strike me as being respectful of the Eastern Catholics who use the term "Orthodox in union with Rome' to describe themselves.

In his defense (I'm sure he'll spring to it himself), I think that acronym is a play on ialmisry's personal insistence on using "The Vatican" to refer to the Roman Catholic Church. 
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« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2011, 02:59:58 PM »

the attempt to call the Orthodox Church by the acronym penned by Peter does not strike me as being respectful of the Eastern Catholics who use the term "Orthodox in union with Rome' to describe themselves.

Wow, you must seriously think I'm a push-over. First you say "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics" because I referred the OCNICWTV as "The Orthodox Church"; now you're complaining because I'm telling it like it is?

I've got some news for you: calling the OCNICWTV "The Orthodox Church" was an ecumenical courtesy. I'm not going to keep calling you guys "The Orthodox Church" to give you amunition to use against me.

So I would suggest you get use to being called the OCNICWTV.
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« Reply #49 on: April 26, 2011, 03:03:27 PM »

In his defense (I'm sure he'll spring to it himself), I think that acronym is a play on ialmisry's personal insistence on using "The Vatican" to refer to the Roman Catholic Church. 

Actually, it was his suggestion. (He added "though it has no reference for us", whatever that means.)

The Orthodox Church not in communion with the Vatican is fine, though it has no reference for us.
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« Reply #50 on: April 26, 2011, 03:12:31 PM »

"but I also have a profound respect for those who did not and remained Eastern Catholic as I understand the forces that motivated them."

Podkarpatska,
I'm trying to better understand why Eastern Catholics are reluctant to re-join the Orthodox church. Can you elaborate on these forces that motivate them to stay EC? Is it simply a matter of anti-Russian/anti-communist sentiments?
(emphasis added)

Byron, forgive me for being a tad redundant, but now that I'm better able to say what I mean ...

First of all, it's not a matter of joining the Orthodox Church, but rather the OCNICWTV (Orthodox Church not in communion with the Vatican).

Further, for most ECs, it wouldn't be a matter of re-joining the OCNICWTV*, but rather of joining it for the first time.


*At least not in the literal sense. I suppose you could call it "re-joining" in the sense that their ancestors were ONICWTV. Not really the same thing though.
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« Reply #51 on: April 26, 2011, 03:17:57 PM »

Christ is risen!
In his defense (I'm sure he'll spring to it himself), I think that acronym is a play on ialmisry's personal insistence on using "The Vatican" to refer to the Roman Catholic Church. 

Actually, it was his suggestion. (He added "though it has no reference for us", whatever that means.)

The Orthodox Church not in communion with the Vatican is fine, though it has no reference for us.
It means that since the Vatican means nothing to us besides the vestige of a former Orthodox Patriarch once in Catholic communion, it is a meaningless characterization for us. Of course, for those who predicate the whole Church on the Vatican's supreme pontiff, it means a lot.

Catholic communion is not defined by communion with a particular see, as the heresy promoted at the council of Ravenna would have it: the Orthodox are not defined by communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch, as they would mean the Orthodox were in communion with the Arian, Macedonian, Monothelite, Iconoclast and Ultramontanist patriarchs of Constantinople, which they were not.

Btw, I didn't suggest OCNICWTV, someone used it and I simply recorded no objection save that those who would expect us to act on a self definition as not being in communion with the Vatican will be disappointed.  Much to the chagrin of many (Fr. Pachwa for one), we do not wait to see what the Vatican does so we can do the contrary.  The Vatican doesn't enter in the equation at all.
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« Reply #52 on: April 26, 2011, 03:47:26 PM »

"but I also have a profound respect for those who did not and remained Eastern Catholic as I understand the forces that motivated them."

Podkarpatska,
I'm trying to better understand why Eastern Catholics are reluctant to re-join the Orthodox church. Can you elaborate on these forces that motivate them to stay EC? Is it simply a matter of anti-Russian/anti-communist sentiments?
(emphasis added)

Byron, forgive me for being a tad redundant, but now that I'm better able to say what I mean ...

First of all, it's not a matter of joining the Orthodox Church, but rather the OCNICWTV (Orthodox Church not in communion with the Vatican).

Further, for most ECs, it wouldn't be a matter of re-joining the OCNICWTV*, but rather of joining it for the first time.


*At least not in the literal sense. I suppose you could call it "re-joining" in the sense that their ancestors were ONICWTV. Not really the same thing though.

You have missed my point and I continue my assertion that you are looking into the issue from a Roman world view and have misinterpreted the historical status on the ground just as badly as those who looked at it from the perspective of Moscow.

I am not trying to put words into the mouths of anyone, I am merely using the terminology that people themselves use to describe themselves.

Frankly, there is nothing to be gained in exchanging silly acronyms or in referring to a Church as a place. In the case of faith, words can injure just as surely as sticks and stones.

I am old enough to have known and lived among many people who came of age in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I grew up in a world centered around the neighborhood Church, listening to personal narratives of faith, hearing about and living with the consequences of the bitter divisions that name calling, misunderstanding and the imperialistic ambitions of 'higher powers' in both the eastern and western Christian world created within the Rusyn, Galician, Lemko and Ukrainian communities. I think that I have an accurate understanding of what people believed prior to the mid 20th century and how they viewed their world.

I will willingly concede that my family and my children, two and three generations removed from the chaos that was, properly view themselves as Orthodox Christians and that my Eastern Catholic cousins now view themselves more as a Catholic than as Eastern Christian (Orthodox or otherwise.)

For better or worse, that is the way it is today. However, for the first three and a half centuries of the Unia, that was not the case, especially among the peasant class and among the so-called 'boots on the ground.'

When the chaos of schism surfaced during the late 19th and continuing through the mid-20th century, first in America as fanned by Archbishop Ireland and others, and later in Europe as brutally enforced by the Communists, neither those who remained Greek Catholic, nor those who accepted the omophor of the Orthodox perceived themselves as having changed their faith. It was always the 'other guys' who changed and in community after community in America and Europe things were never the same as people struggled with their consciences, their hearts and their families to chose what they prayed was the proper path.
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« Reply #53 on: April 26, 2011, 04:34:21 PM »

The foreign language terms in podkarpatska's posts are in Slovak. Please do not try pronouncing them in English.
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« Reply #54 on: April 26, 2011, 05:13:01 PM »

Podkarpatska,

I see you have once again made a very long post that doesn't answer my question: What did I say that you have a problem with?

And talk about bossy: first you had a problem with me because I referred to the OCNICWTV as "the Orthodox Church"*, now you have a problem with me because I'm telling-it-like-it-is by saying OCNICWTV.

*How is that different from what you profess to be doing when you say "I am merely using the terminology that people themselves use to describe themselves."?
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« Reply #55 on: April 26, 2011, 05:17:22 PM »

P.S. It also amazes me that you have not objected to Byron's statement:

Podkarpatska,
I'm trying to better understand why Eastern Catholics are reluctant to re-join the Orthodox church.
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« Reply #56 on: April 26, 2011, 05:48:39 PM »

For most ECs, it wouldn't be a matter of re-joining the Orthodox Church*, but rather of joining it for the first time.

*At least not in the literal sense. I suppose you could call it "re-joining" in the sense that their ancestors were Orthodox. Not really the same thing though.

Peter,

Many Eastern Catholics would consider it rejoining.  Of course as many Eastern Catholics are former Latin Catholics for them your statement would be true.
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« Reply #57 on: April 26, 2011, 05:55:29 PM »

Wow, you must seriously think I'm a push-over. First you say "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics" because I referred the OCNICWTV as "The Orthodox Church"; now you're complaining because I'm telling it like it is?

I've got some news for you: calling the OCNICWTV "The Orthodox Church" was an ecumenical courtesy. I'm not going to keep calling you guys "The Orthodox Church" to give you amunition to use against me.

So I would suggest you get use to being called the OCNICWTV.

Can you please act like a gentleman and remember you are a guest on an Orthodox forum.  If some here don't give us the courtesy of refering to our Churches properly, please don't go down to their level. 
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« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2011, 06:01:22 PM »

P.S. It also amazes me that you have not objected to Byron's statement:

Podkarpatska,
I'm trying to better understand why Eastern Catholics are reluctant to re-join the Orthodox church.

I think that you understand what I am saying and you simply can not let it pass. In my posts here over the years I have been extremely sympathetic to and understanding of Eastern Catholics to the point where many of the hard-core Orthodox here, and elsewhere, will accuse me and my late Bishop, Metropolitan Nicholas, of being "pro-'Uniate' ". (not my word, I am using it for effect, not offense.) You just can't please all of the people all of the time.

My real problem is with the Church of Rome's position regarding the Eastern Catholic churches; with the failure of the Eastern Catholic Ruthenian Bishops in this country to assert their historical rights and act like the 'sui juris' Church that the Church of Rome claims them to be and a number of other issues. However, since I am not an Eastern Catholic I really can't answer why more Eastern Catholics do not feel a desire to 'return' to Orthodoxy.

Frankly, I am neither concerned with those decisions of others nor do I lose any sleep over them nor do I harbor any ill will towards my friends for the decisions that they make regarding faith. However, if one sincerely believe that you (and your ancestors) didn't leave in the first place I think that answers your question. My grandparents 'left' the Greek Catholic Church because the Greek Catholic Church that they cherished was in the process of leaving them in the 1930's. They first formed the Committee for the Preservation of the Eastern Rite and made their case to Rome, who ignored their heartfelt petitions and responded by actually excommunicating people like my mother's father and my father. Only then did they turn to Constantinople. Others honestly reached a different conclusion. In any event, I truly think that Rome would have been far happier if the Greek Catholics in the US had simply disappeared.

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« Reply #59 on: April 26, 2011, 06:05:56 PM »

Wow, you must seriously think I'm a push-over. First you say "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics" because I referred the OCNICWTV as "The Orthodox Church"; now you're complaining because I'm telling it like it is?

I've got some news for you: calling the OCNICWTV "The Orthodox Church" was an ecumenical courtesy. I'm not going to keep calling you guys "The Orthodox Church" to give you amunition to use against me.

So I would suggest you get use to being called the OCNICWTV.

Can you please act like a gentleman and remember you are a guest on an Orthodox forum.  If some here don't give us the courtesy of refering to our Churches properly, please don't go down to their level. 

Christ is Risen! Thank you Deacon. If I have ever disrespected any Eastern Catholic Church, I profoundly apologize. Disagreement can be accomplished by not acting in a disagreeable manner and I have striven to keep that in mind. As I have said before, for me to disrespect the Greek Catholic Church would be for me to disrespect my ancestors and the faith that they struggled to preserve for all of us who followed them.
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« Reply #60 on: April 26, 2011, 06:16:43 PM »

Christ is Risen! Thank you Deacon. If I have ever disrespected any Eastern Catholic Church, I profoundly apologize. Disagreement can be accomplished by not acting in a disagreeable manner and I have striven to keep that in mind. As I have said before, for me to disrespect the Greek Catholic Church would be for me to disrespect my ancestors and the faith that they struggled to preserve for all of us who followed them.

Indeed He is Risen!  Voistinu Voskrese!

Podkarpatska,

You have no needs to apologize.  I have always found your behavoir to be exemplary without exception.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #61 on: April 26, 2011, 06:16:58 PM »

P.S. It also amazes me that you have not objected to Byron's statement:

Podkarpatska,
I'm trying to better understand why Eastern Catholics are reluctant to re-join the Orthodox church.

I think that you understand what I am saying and you simply can not let it pass. In my posts here over the years I have been extremely sympathetic to and understanding of Eastern Catholics to the point where many of the hard-core Orthodox here, and elsewhere, will accuse me and my late Bishop, Metropolitan Nicholas, of being "pro-'Uniate' ". (not my word, I am using it for effect, not offense.) You just can't please all of the people all of the time.

My real problem is with the Church of Rome's position regarding the Eastern Catholic churches; with the failure of the Eastern Catholic Ruthenian Bishops in this country to assert their historical rights and act like the 'sui juris' Church that the Church of Rome claims them to be and a number of other issues. However, since I am not an Eastern Catholic I really can't answer why more Eastern Catholics do not feel a desire to 'return' to Orthodoxy.

Frankly, I am neither concerned with those decisions of others nor do I lose any sleep over them nor do I harbor any ill will towards my friends for the decisions that they make regarding faith. However, if one sincerely believe that you (and your ancestors) didn't leave in the first place I think that answers your question. My grandparents 'left' the Greek Catholic Church because the Greek Catholic Church that they cherished was in the process of leaving them in the 1930's. They first formed the Committee for the Preservation of the Eastern Rite and made their case to Rome, who ignored their heartfelt petitions and responded by actually excommunicating people like my mother's father and my father. Only then did they turn to Constantinople. Others honestly reached a different conclusion. In any event, I truly think that Rome would have been far happier if the Greek Catholics in the US had simply disappeared.



Must say I am almost...emphasis on almost... tempted to thank those who would worry you and goad you because it has resulted in several beautiful posts that I am not sure you would have written otherwise.  It is a story and perspective that needs to be heard more often, I think.

So I, personally, am happy for the view from within.
and admire your good heart for holding steady under fire.

Fondly, in Christ

Mary
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« Reply #62 on: April 26, 2011, 06:29:16 PM »

Wow, you must seriously think I'm a push-over. First you say "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics" because I referred the OCNICWTV as "The Orthodox Church"; now you're complaining because I'm telling it like it is?

I've got some news for you: calling the OCNICWTV "The Orthodox Church" was an ecumenical courtesy. I'm not going to keep calling you guys "The Orthodox Church" to give you amunition to use against me.

So I would suggest you get use to being called the OCNICWTV.

Can you please act like a gentleman and remember you are a guest on an Orthodox forum.  If some here don't give us the courtesy of refering to our Churches properly, please don't go down to their level. 

Christ is Risen! Thank you Deacon. If I have ever disrespected any Eastern Catholic Church, I profoundly apologize. Disagreement can be accomplished by not acting in a disagreeable manner and I have striven to keep that in mind. As I have said before, for me to disrespect the Greek Catholic Church would be for me to disrespect my ancestors and the faith that they struggled to preserve for all of us who followed them.
I really appreciate your charitable approach when dealing with Catholics. I wonder how common such an attitude is among Eastern Orthodox Christians. Most of my experience with EOs is online, and the internet is not necessarily a pretty place. Thank you so much for your continued positive contributions.
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« Reply #63 on: April 26, 2011, 09:14:50 PM »

Wow, you must seriously think I'm a push-over. First you say "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics" because I referred the OCNICWTV as "The Orthodox Church"; now you're complaining because I'm telling it like it is?

I've got some news for you: calling the OCNICWTV "The Orthodox Church" was an ecumenical courtesy. I'm not going to keep calling you guys "The Orthodox Church" to give you amunition to use against me.

So I would suggest you get use to being called the OCNICWTV.

Can you please act like a gentleman and remember you are a guest on an Orthodox forum. 

I have not forgotten that this is an Orthodox forum, and I have not given up on trying to be a good guest. But that doesn't mean I'm going to be a push-over either. I was perfectly content with saying "the Orthodox Church" until this led to "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics." Now apparently podkarpatska is criticizing me for not saying "the Orthodox Church".

If some here don't give us the courtesy of refering to our Churches properly, please don't go down to their level. 

That's not the problem.
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« Reply #64 on: April 26, 2011, 09:24:34 PM »

For most ECs, it wouldn't be a matter of re-joining the Orthodox Church*, but rather of joining it for the first time.

*At least not in the literal sense. I suppose you could call it "re-joining" in the sense that their ancestors were Orthodox. Not really the same thing though.

Peter,

Many Eastern Catholics would consider it rejoining.  Of course as many Eastern Catholics are former Latin Catholics for them your statement would be true.

Deacon Lance, I think what you said is a perfectly reasonable response to my post: you made it clear why you have a problem with what I said. In fact I would say that you have a good point.

Indeed, when ECs "go Orthodox", it is a re-joining in a certain sense, in much the same way that we can speak of Anglicans re-joining the Catholic Church if they as individuals were always Anglican.
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« Reply #65 on: April 26, 2011, 09:25:26 PM »

Peter,

But he was right, and now you are picking a fight with the most Eastern Catholic friendly Orthodox member of this forum.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #66 on: April 26, 2011, 09:48:36 PM »

I think that you understand what I am saying and you simply can not let it pass.

I do not understand the first part of "Peter is completely wrong and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics." I don't see how I could understand it unless you tell me what I said that you object to. (It's strange because we seemed to be on such good terms back when you responded to my question about ECs being excluded from Catholic-Orthodox dialogue.)

As far as the second part of it, " ... and typifies the usual Latin understanding of the Eastern Catholics", I can't simply let it pass because it stereotypes me. I don't wish to reveal a whole lot about myself to you, but to combat the stereotype I think it is sufficient to say that I've studied both Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy far more than the average Latin Catholic has, and I've been to something in the ballpark of 400 or 500 Melkite liturgies.
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« Reply #67 on: April 27, 2011, 06:40:06 AM »

P.S. It also amazes me that you have not objected to Byron's statement:

Podkarpatska,
I'm trying to better understand why Eastern Catholics are reluctant to re-join the Orthodox church.

I think that you understand what I am saying and you simply can not let it pass. In my posts here over the years I have been extremely sympathetic to and understanding of Eastern Catholics to the point where many of the hard-core Orthodox here, and elsewhere, will accuse me and my late Bishop, Metropolitan Nicholas, of being "pro-'Uniate' ". (not my word, I am using it for effect, not offense.) You just can't please all of the people all of the time.

My real problem is with the Church of Rome's position regarding the Eastern Catholic churches; with the failure of the Eastern Catholic Ruthenian Bishops in this country to assert their historical rights and act like the 'sui juris' Church that the Church of Rome claims them to be and a number of other issues. However, since I am not an Eastern Catholic I really can't answer why more Eastern Catholics do not feel a desire to 'return' to Orthodoxy.

Frankly, I am neither concerned with those decisions of others nor do I lose any sleep over them nor do I harbor any ill will towards my friends for the decisions that they make regarding faith. However, if one sincerely believe that you (and your ancestors) didn't leave in the first place I think that answers your question. My grandparents 'left' the Greek Catholic Church because the Greek Catholic Church that they cherished was in the process of leaving them in the 1930's. They first formed the Committee for the Preservation of the Eastern Rite and made their case to Rome, who ignored their heartfelt petitions and responded by actually excommunicating people like my mother's father and my father. Only then did they turn to Constantinople. Others honestly reached a different conclusion. In any event, I truly think that Rome would have been far happier if the Greek Catholics in the US had simply disappeared.



Hello,
Thanks for your reply. I think i understand what you are saying. EC's historically perceived themeselves as "Orthodox" until a few decades ago (circa 1940's and the liquidation) but not so much nowadays. Is this correct?

You grandparents were excommunicated by Rome? That's harsh, very harsh. They must have been devastated.

Btw when i say re-join i meant rejoin the original faith of their ancestors. Although as you say the centuries pass and new cultural traditions are formed, isn't the knowledge that the Unia was formed by political intrigue, ulterior motives and possibly violence, in the background of people's minds? Don't EC's find this shameful or wrong? Or is just too far in the past for people to care?









« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 06:41:12 AM by Byron » Logged

I. Metaxas - 4th of August Regime

"Country, Loyalty, Family and Religion".

Nationalism, Monarchy, Family and Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #68 on: April 27, 2011, 10:37:03 AM »

P.S. It also amazes me that you have not objected to Byron's statement:

Podkarpatska,
I'm trying to better understand why Eastern Catholics are reluctant to re-join the Orthodox church.

I think that you understand what I am saying and you simply can not let it pass. In my posts here over the years I have been extremely sympathetic to and understanding of Eastern Catholics to the point where many of the hard-core Orthodox here, and elsewhere, will accuse me and my late Bishop, Metropolitan Nicholas, of being "pro-'Uniate' ". (not my word, I am using it for effect, not offense.) You just can't please all of the people all of the time.

My real problem is with the Church of Rome's position regarding the Eastern Catholic churches; with the failure of the Eastern Catholic Ruthenian Bishops in this country to assert their historical rights and act like the 'sui juris' Church that the Church of Rome claims them to be and a number of other issues. However, since I am not an Eastern Catholic I really can't answer why more Eastern Catholics do not feel a desire to 'return' to Orthodoxy.

Frankly, I am neither concerned with those decisions of others nor do I lose any sleep over them nor do I harbor any ill will towards my friends for the decisions that they make regarding faith. However, if one sincerely believe that you (and your ancestors) didn't leave in the first place I think that answers your question. My grandparents 'left' the Greek Catholic Church because the Greek Catholic Church that they cherished was in the process of leaving them in the 1930's. They first formed the Committee for the Preservation of the Eastern Rite and made their case to Rome, who ignored their heartfelt petitions and responded by actually excommunicating people like my mother's father and my father. Only then did they turn to Constantinople. Others honestly reached a different conclusion. In any event, I truly think that Rome would have been far happier if the Greek Catholics in the US had simply disappeared.



Hello,
Thanks for your reply. I think i understand what you are saying. EC's historically perceived themeselves as "Orthodox" until a few decades ago (circa 1940's and the liquidation) but not so much nowadays. Is this correct?

You grandparents were excommunicated by Rome? That's harsh, very harsh. They must have been devastated.

Btw when i say re-join i meant rejoin the original faith of their ancestors. Although as you say the centuries pass and new cultural traditions are formed, isn't the knowledge that the Unia was formed by political intrigue, ulterior motives and possibly violence, in the background of people's minds? Don't EC's find this shameful or wrong? Or is just too far in the past for people to care?






I would agree but not as specifically as you might think. It is hard to express what I am trying to say in English. For example, people of my grandparent's time would not have called themselves 'Pravoslavnjy' as that was for the 'real' Russians or for the 'katzaps' (a derogatory term used to describe those who left the Greek Catholic Church for RUSSIAN oriented Orthodoxy. Nor would they have described themselves as 'Catholic' as that would have referred to the Roman Catholics. Many of the larger villages, towns and cities in the eastern Europe of the Hapsburghs would have multiple churches, a Greek Catholic one, a Roman Catholic one and sometimes a Lutheran or other Protestant sect so they knew the differences existed. They would not have communed in the the Roman Catholic Church in the old days. They 'knew' what their faith was and they self-described it as I alluded to earlier. Their experiences with Roman Catholic clergy over the centuries made them realize that they had a different status within the Church even though both commemorated the Popes by the mid-18th century. That reality was brought home to the Greek Catholic pioneer priests in America as witnessed by St. Alexis and his interaction with Archbishop Ireland and some forty years later to Fathers Chornock, Molchany, Mihaly and others who left for Orthodoxy.

Again, as I said above, the schisms within the Greek Catholic world in America, coupled with the forced liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church in Slovakia and Ukraine following the war forever altered the status quo. Today most of my non-clergy Eastern Catholic friends do perceive themselves first as Catholic and most will commune in a Roman Catholic Church or attend Mass there if, as one told me recently, they 'are in a hurry.' The clergy are the ones most likely to self-describe themselves as 'Orthodox in union with Rome.'

However, an odd thing seems to be happening from my perspective. As many of the Latinizations within the Eastern Rites have been removed since Vatican II many do have an increased consciousness of their affinity with the Orthodox. There has been a campaign to restore the external 'eastern-ness' of the Greek Catholic churches over the past two decades. Some Eastern Catholics who grew up during the period of Latin influence actually oppose these restorations of older traditions.Yet, at the same time the numbers within the Eastern Catholic churches in the USA have been dropping even more precipitously than those of their Orthodox counterparts according to the recent data from various sources.

As to Peter's question, I think that my use of 'wrong' to describe his statements was probably inaccurate. From what I can see, my perspective on these issues is formed from 'within' and his is based upon 'external' observation and acquired knowledge. Hence, the proper perspective is, as is usually the case, probably somewhere in the middle. I am just trying to express what I have have learned over my life from my parents and grandparents' beliefs and life-experiences and from growing up in a neighborhood with two large parishes staring at each other, one founded in 1904 and Orthodox since 1939 - the other equally large Greek Catholic parish founded in 1942 as a result of the schism and built by the same peoples from the same villages, whose community was sundered by forces beyond the control and understanding of the pious people who came to America, worked hard, sacrificed much and tried to keep the faith as it had been given to them as a precious gift from their fathers and mothers. (Actually there is a third parish in the same neighborhood, one which split off from mine in 1915 and became part of the earlier wave of return to Orthodoxy and now OCA - again, built by the same peoples, from the same villages etc...)

In my city, there was an epic, expensive and bitter split in the 1930's which resulted in litigation that went on for years and years until 1942 when the 'independent' faction, now the Orthodox, finally won control of the Church properties. The people were so mean-spirited that they would not allow the losing side to remove their loved ones from the parish cemetery without further litigation and court orders. When my father became the pastor of the Orthodox parish in 1961 and as I was growing up in the 1960's people would cross the street rather than pass in front of one church or the other. The great 'borba' (literally the Church war) was fresh in the hearts and minds of those impacted by it.

However, today we realize that in many ways the two parishes are like a family that had a bitter argument and didn't speak for decades. Little steps towards better understanding have occurred while still respecting the different paths each took. When we celebrated our centennial some years back, the Byzantine Catholic parish had a large contingent who participated in the events and they presented our parish with an Icon of our patron saint. That was an incredible moment of healing for those still living from the days of hatred and division.

The straw that broke the parish's back in the mid 1930's was the celibacy decree and the attempt by Bishop Takach to remove a beloved pastor and his family and send a celibate priest to 'tame' the parish.

God must enjoy irony. During Holy Week we learned that the long time pastor of the Byzantine Catholic parish was being transferred and a new priest was being sent. Normally, this would not be big news. But, the irony is that almost eighty years after the unrest began, the Byzantine Catholic parish is being sent a married priest, with a Pani and a child. He was educated and ordained in Slovakia and his wife is from the states. I guess all that goes around comes around in life. The first married priests came from Europe a century or more ago and met resistance from the Roman Catholics. Today our Byzantine Catholic friends and neighbors don't know quite what to expect or how to deal with a married priest. I am sure they will figure it out.

Frankly it is difficult for scholars, clergy and lay people whose life experiences were not formed in this potent cauldron to fully understand and comprehend the nature of our mutual understandings. Hence, when I read harsh comments from the Orthodox about the Eastern Catholics like those expressed by Metropolitan Hilarion, a man whom I generally respect a great deal, I tend to take them with a large grain of salt. Likewise, when I see similar thoughts expressed from the Roman Catholic side, my instinctive reaction is to overreact, but I realize that is probably not the proper way to respond.

Christ is Risen!






« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 10:44:29 AM by podkarpatska » Logged
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« Reply #69 on: April 27, 2011, 02:11:48 PM »

Quote
But, the irony is that almost eighty years after the unrest began, the Byzantine Catholic parish is being sent a married priest, with a Pani and a child.

I think you really mean a Pani-Matka, the term used for a priest's wife.  Pani means Mrs. in English.
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« Reply #70 on: April 27, 2011, 02:58:57 PM »

Quote
But, the irony is that almost eighty years after the unrest began, the Byzantine Catholic parish is being sent a married priest, with a Pani and a child.

I think you really mean a Pani-Matka, the term used for a priest's wife.  Pani means Mrs. in English.


Among the Carpatho-Rusyn/Russian/'rusnak' parishes, the use of just 'Pani' is commonplace. When a friend of ours who grew up in a small town in western PA and who was married to a priest were assigned to his first very small parish in Buffalo, NY she went to the large Polish market and was amazed that everyone called her 'Pani', she had no idea that her husband and his little parish were so well known, until one of the Ukrainian women in the parish gently told her that the Polish custom is to call all married women 'Pani!' I really don't know why the tradition among the Carpathian Rusyns was not to use the full 'pani-matka' title, but that is the custom.
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