Author Topic: Slovakia - Why are there so many more Eastern Catholics than Orthodox?  (Read 1632 times)

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Offline Byron

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Looking at the stats for Slovakia, i am surprised there are so many more Eastern Catholics than Orthodox:

EC: 220,000 - 4.1% of the population
EO: 50,000 - 0.9%

What is the reason for this? Why didn't more stay Orthodox after the fall of communism? Or rather how many Eastern Catholics were there before 1989?

Also what are relations generally like between the two groups these days?
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Offline deusveritasest

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Union of Brest?
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Offline AirKoryoTU-204

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I don't really think Orthodoxy had a foot hold in the Czech or Slovak republics prior to the 1990s.  I guess the Russian Empire never extended out as far as Slovakia, only the USSR would have reached these lands.

 I am guessing the 200,000~ Orthodox Czechs and Slovaks are converts from Catholicism.
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Offline ag_vn

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What about the Czech Republic, what are the numbers for the Eastern Catholics and Orthodox there? Who are more numerous?

Offline mike

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I don't really think Orthodoxy had a foot hold in the Czech or Slovak republics prior to the 1990s.  I guess the Russian Empire never extended out as far as Slovakia, only the USSR would have reached these lands.

 I am guessing the 200,000~ Orthodox Czechs and Slovaks are converts from Catholicism.

So why there are Eastern Catholics?

Union of Brest?

Uzhorod (?) most likely. These areas were not in the Commonwealth.

What is the reason for this? Why didn't more stay Orthodox after the fall of communism? Or rather how many Eastern Catholics were there before 1989?

Maybe that post can help you.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 04:05:47 AM by Michał Kalina »

Offline Michał

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I guess the Russian Empire never extended out as far as Slovakia, only the USSR would have reached these lands.

The Warsaw Pact -- yes. The USSR -- no.

I am guessing the 200,000~ Orthodox Czechs and Slovaks are converts from Catholicism.

Eastern Catholicism, mainly -- to be precise.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 06:49:41 AM by Michał »

Offline Irish Melkite

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What about the Czech Republic, what are the numbers for the Eastern Catholics and Orthodox there? Who are more numerous?

The Exarchate reports 7,675 and notes that there are an additional 'few thousands from Greek Catholic eparchies in Ukraine and Slovakia' - whom I presume are there as workers, students, etc

http://www.exarchat.cz/

Annuario Pontificio, on the other hand, reports 178,150 -  ???

http://www.cnewa.org/source-images/Roberson-eastcath-statistics/eastcatholic-stat10.pdf

Don't ask me where AP got its numbers; I'm betting on the Exarchate to be correct.

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Offline ag_vn

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Thank you, Neil :)

I forgot to check the statistics for the Eastern Catholic Exarchate there in AP.

From what I found now for the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church, it has between 71 000 and 100 000 faithful. So, if they are about 50 000 in Slovakia, those in the Czech Republic are between 21 000 and 50 000.

If the statistics of the Exarchate are accurate, then the Orthodox are more numerous. If the statistics of AP are accurate, then the Eastern Catholics are more numerous.


Offline AirKoryoTU-204

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I guess the Russian Empire never extended out as far as Slovakia, only the USSR would have reached these lands.

The Warsaw Pact -- yes. The USSR -- no.

I am guessing the 200,000~ Orthodox Czechs and Slovaks are converts from Catholicism.

Eastern Catholicism, mainly -- to be precise.

I guess so, although the Soviets had a historical foothold in the area i.e. Soviet Slovak Republic and the capture of Czechoslovakia by the USSR then the Carpathian Ruthenia succession to the USSR and today Ukraine.

Correct me if I am wrong, I don't know much about Eastern Catholicisim, but from what pictures I've seen over the net, it looks nearly identical to Orthodoxy, is the only diffrence that they hail to Rome?

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Offline podkarpatska

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The Greek Catholics are the descendents of the Orthodox of Carpatho-Rus, called Ruthenians by the Latins, 'Rusyn', 'Rusin' or Carpatho-Russian by some of them today and are Greek Catholic as a result of the Union of Uzhorod. They are within the Eparchy of Presov with a Diocese in Kosice. Transcarpathia, i.e.the Eparchies of  Mucachevo and Uzhorod, was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the nation of Czechoslovakia prior to World War 2 and was ceded to the USSR and annexed to Ukraine pursuant to the agreements at the  Potsdam Conference and the end of the war.

Within both the USSR and Czechoslovakia, the Greek Catholic Church was 'liquidated' in 1947 by the Communists. It should be noted that the Greek Catholics in Slovakia were not impacted by the anti-Greek Catholic attitude among the Latin clergy and hierarchy that they faced in America, nor was forced celibacy ever attempted by Rome in these regions in modern times.

Following the 'Prague Spring' in 1968, the Greek Catholic Church was revived in Czechoslovakia and the majority of the Eastern Christians returned to outward Greek Catholicism. After the fall of the USSR and the independence of Ukraine in the early 1990's, the same occurred within Transcarpathia and western Ukraine.

While Orthodoxy has maintained a foothold in both Slovakia and the Czech lands, the simple answer to the OP's question, IMHO, is that Orthodoxy was associated with Russia, the historic enemy and occupier of these regions. Unfortunately, the behavior of many of the emissaries of the Church of Russia did little during the post-Hapsburg years to dispel that association.

Prior to the war, the Orthodox had a more vibrant presence in the regions around Prague due to the relocation of Russians following the Revolution and the Civil War. In Slovakia, the Orthodox maintained a pre-war presence in and around Ladimirova as a result of the Russian Church in Exile locating in that area, it was the home village of the late Metropolitan Laurus of ROCOR. Today the Orthodox community is small, but vibrant, and maintains the traditional praxis and hymnology of the Rusyn people.

Orthodox Website from Presov Diocese: http://http://www.orthodox.sk/

Greek Catholic Website from Presov: http://www.grkatpo.sk/

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Slovakia - Why are there so many more Eastern Catholics than Orthodox?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2011, 09:02:17 AM »
I guess the Russian Empire never extended out as far as Slovakia, only the USSR would have reached these lands.

The Warsaw Pact -- yes. The USSR -- no.

I am guessing the 200,000~ Orthodox Czechs and Slovaks are converts from Catholicism.

Eastern Catholicism, mainly -- to be precise.

I guess so, although the Soviets had a historical foothold in the area i.e. Soviet Slovak Republic and the capture of Czechoslovakia by the USSR then the Carpathian Ruthenia succession to the USSR and today Ukraine.

Correct me if I am wrong, I don't know much about Eastern Catholicisim, but from what pictures I've seen over the net, it looks nearly identical to Orthodoxy, is the only diffrence that they hail to Rome?



The practice within Eastern Catholicism can vary from a praxis close, if not nearly identical to that of the Orthodox to a more westernized form as a result of Latin influence. Hence, 'it depends'.

Offline mike

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Re: Slovakia - Why are there so many more Eastern Catholics than Orthodox?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2011, 09:10:04 AM »
Correct me if I am wrong, I don't know much about Eastern Catholicisim, but from what pictures I've seen over the net, it looks nearly identical to Orthodoxy, is the only diffrence that they hail to Rome?

Their faith is different from ours.

Offline AirKoryoTU-204

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Re: Slovakia - Why are there so many more Eastern Catholics than Orthodox?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2011, 09:16:14 AM »
Correct me if I am wrong, I don't know much about Eastern Catholicisim, but from what pictures I've seen over the net, it looks nearly identical to Orthodoxy, is the only diffrence that they hail to Rome?

Their faith is different from ours.

Ok, I don't really know much about Eastern Catholicisim as I said before, although I assume they are similar, their services look similar their churches etc.  I think it's called Byzantine Rite in referance to Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholics. 

God bless.
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Offline Wyatt

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Re: Slovakia - Why are there so many more Eastern Catholics than Orthodox?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2011, 10:37:35 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong, I don't know much about Eastern Catholicisim, but from what pictures I've seen over the net, it looks nearly identical to Orthodoxy, is the only diffrence that they hail to Rome?

Their faith is different from ours.

Ok, I don't really know much about Eastern Catholicisim as I said before, although I assume they are similar, their services look similar their churches etc.  I think it's called Byzantine Rite in referance to Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholics. 

God bless.
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Offline theistgal

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Within both the USSR and Czechoslovakia, the Greek Catholic Church was 'liquidated' in 1947 by the Communists.

While Orthodoxy has maintained a foothold in both Slovakia and the Czech lands, the simple answer to the OP's question, IMHO, is that Orthodoxy was associated with Russia, the historic enemy and occupier of these regions. Unfortunately, the behavior of many of the emissaries of the Church of Russia did little during the post-Hapsburg years to dispel that association.

Yes, and that's how I have heard it from our elderly Eastern Catholic parishioners.  Some of them are still VERY bitter towards the Orthodox Church, because they feel (rightly or wrongly) that the Orthodox set out to destroy their church.  And because of that they would never even consider becoming Orthodox.

And as I say, they may be wrong, but that is how it was perceived at the time it happened, so you can't really blame them.
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Offline cyro

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Yes, and that's how I have heard it from our elderly Eastern Catholic parishioners.  Some of them are still VERY bitter towards the Orthodox Church, because they feel (rightly or wrongly) that the Orthodox set out to destroy their church.  And because of that they would never even consider becoming Orthodox.

And as I say, they may be wrong, but that is how it was perceived at the time it happened, so you can't really blame them.

Hello Theistgal. I like your comments in general. You don't seem very polemical and very kind.

I agree with you that Orthodox Church destroy some of their churches and that's very sad. It is completely understandable that they approach to Orthodoxy is very bitter, I can't judge that.

Unfortunately there is also another end of that story. For example, in Poland, after the war, most Eastern Catholic churches were destroyed or occuped (and changed) by Latin Catholic.

I feel very bad for Eastern Catholic. It seems like they are in the middle of the war (paradoxally, it's a Christian war, "show the other cheek and so on") and their mentality is divided. Hopefully it will work out just fine for you all.

Offline Gorazd

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After the fall of the USSR and the independence of Ukraine in the early 1990's, the same occurred within Transcarpathia and western Ukraine.
Not true for Transcarpatia. Whereas in the Lviv area, Greek Catholicism obtained an extremely high share of the population, in Transcarpatia, the gained only about 40%. And most of the 60% who remained Orthodox are in the canoncial church (Moscow Patriarchate). This is because historicially, they had never completely joined the Union anyway.

Offline Robb

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Within both the USSR and Czechoslovakia, the Greek Catholic Church was 'liquidated' in 1947 by the Communists.

While Orthodoxy has maintained a foothold in both Slovakia and the Czech lands, the simple answer to the OP's question, IMHO, is that Orthodoxy was associated with Russia, the historic enemy and occupier of these regions. Unfortunately, the behavior of many of the emissaries of the Church of Russia did little during the post-Hapsburg years to dispel that association.

Yes, and that's how I have heard it from our elderly Eastern Catholic parishioners.  Some of them are still VERY bitter towards the Orthodox Church, because they feel (rightly or wrongly) that the Orthodox set out to destroy their church.  And because of that they would never even consider becoming Orthodox.

And as I say, they may be wrong, but that is how it was perceived at the time it happened, so you can't really blame them.

I wonder where they could have gotten such a notion from?
Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Most are confusing two concepts here. Religion and culture became hopelessly intermixed in this region. During the 19th century the Panslavist movement took hold among certain elements of the population of Eastern Europe. While initially a movement which was intended to be a 'wedge' between the Austrian dominance of the Hapsburgs and the Russian Tsars, it soon split into several sub-groups, one of which was dominated by those who had a pro-Russification agenda.

Among the Ruthenian/Rusyn, Lemko, Galician and modern western Ukrainian populations this arm of pan-Slavism was met with both bitter opposition as well as with some eager acceptance. (Unlike the Czech pan-Slavists who made alliances with the south Slavs....like the Serbians). While the Ruthenian/Rusyn intellectual leader of this movement was Father Alexander Duchnovych, a Greek Catholic priest, Duchnovych had strong pro-Russian sympathies and used them as a tool to fight what he viewed was the increasing Magyarization of his peoples under the Hapsburg overlords.

As the 20th century dawned, the Orthodox minded factions became more entrenched with the Russian Church (which was natural given geography, history, money and the lack of an organized indigenous Orthodox hierarchy in the region. The vacuum caused by the rot of the Ottoman Empire led Constantinople and the Greeks to be otherwise preoccupied at the time.)

For better or for worse, as the 20th century progressed the Greek Catholic Church began to be seen as the vehicle to preserve cultural identity among many of these peoples in the new Czecho-Slovak federation and as a bulwark against Communist expansion from the new USSR (which was viewed as a Russian issue.) Following the war, we all know what the Communists attempted with the liquidation of the Greek Catholic church and the rest is history as they say.


Offline podkarpatska

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After the fall of the USSR and the independence of Ukraine in the early 1990's, the same occurred within Transcarpathia and western Ukraine.
Not true for Transcarpatia. Whereas in the Lviv area, Greek Catholicism obtained an extremely high share of the population, in Transcarpatia, the gained only about 40%. And most of the 60% who remained Orthodox are in the canoncial church (Moscow Patriarchate). This is because historicially, they had never completely joined the Union anyway.

I don't know about the actual percentages, but the leader of the Rusyn nationalist movement in Transcarpathia is Fr. Dymtry Sydor, the dean of the MP Cathedral in Uzhorod. Father is an interesting man and has been a thorn in the side of the pro-Ukrainian nationalists in the region.

It should be noted however that the Greek Catholics of Transcarpathia have resisted any attempts to merge them into the UGCC and have maintained their historical status in the eparchy of Muchachevo under Bishop Milan Sasik. It is an interesting stew to say the least.

An interesting article about a new Orthodox saint of Carpatho-Russia is posted today at ACROD. St. Job of Ugolka. If you read between the lines, it is consistent with my point, particularly the reference to 1956. http://www.acrod.org/readingroom/saints/st-job
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 08:17:21 AM by podkarpatska »