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Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - Printable Version

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Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - aquinas138 - 04-06-2014

I've been attending a Byzantine parish for several months now. My advice - just go! The parish may have a green booklet with the outline of the service, called the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. This could have been confusing for a newcomer during Lent, since on the five Sundays of Lent, the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil is said instead, which is structurally the same, but the anaphora is considerably longer. Most of the congregational responses are the same in any event.

It is a good experience to encounter worship in the Eastern tradition; in many ways it is different from the Latin tradition, but it is interesting to observe the basic "skeleton" underlying both Divine Liturgy and Latin Mass, which of course speaks to the shared apostolic origin. I went as an observer the first several times, but I do communicate now. One thing I particularly like about the Ruthenian tradition, of which the Byzantine Catholic Church is an exemplar, is the prostopinije chant, which is quite easy to pick up on after a month or two of attending the services, and this simplicity lends itself to an unbroken tradition of congregational response. If you're mainly used to silent Low Masses, it might be jarring, but it seems quite appropriate in the context of the Divine Liturgy.

As far as the same things having different names, that's simply the fact that most of our terms for things ecclesiastical come from Latin, whereas for the Easterners, they are usually Greek in origin, sometimes through a Slavic or Arabic filter. Greek musical terms like "troparion", "kontakion", "prokeimenon", etc., are impossible to translate, so most languages just took the Greek terms into their own language. This is much like our hand missals tended to Anglicize Latin terms like introitus and graduale into "introit" and "gradual." If you're familiar with the structure of the Mass, then you'll get adjusted pretty quickly.


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - aquinas138 - 04-06-2014

You might also find this link interesting:

http://metropolitancantorinstitute.org/RecordedMusic.html

It has recordings of the main parts of the Divine Liturgy, in several variants, according to the Byzantine Church's official texts. Your parish might sound quite different depending on the makeup of the choir, but it is not a bad way to get familiar with some of the service.


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - Heorot - 04-06-2014

Thank you for the excellent resources aquinas138. :)


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - Jeanannemarie - 04-07-2014

Thank you Heorot and aquinas138 for your careful and informative explanations and resources.  I appreciate your input. 


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - spasiisochrani - 04-07-2014

(04-06-2014, 09:54 PM)Jeanannemarie Wrote:
(04-06-2014, 04:31 PM)spasiisochrani Wrote: It would be helpful to know what parish you are going to visit, or at least what jurisdiction they belong to. 
In the Pittsburgh Eparchy (hope I spelled that right.)

OK, so that's a predominantly "Ruthenian" (Carpatho-Rusyn) jurisdiction--people whose ancestors came from West of the Carpathian Mountains.   That means that the outlook and the music is pretty Western, so the chant will sound  European rather than Middle Eastern.

Here is an example of a Divine Liturgy celebrated at a Roman-rite seminary for a conference of (predominantly-Western) monks and nuns:



The monastery is actually under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy, but the choir is Ruthenian.

Here is a Ruthenian Pontifical Divine Liturgy in Cleveland, Ohio:



This was the parish's last Divine Liturgy.  However, although the parish was suppressed, the church building is still open for worship as part of the Eparchy of Parma's "Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center"--sort of an outreach and evangelization project).

http://www.byzcathculturalcenter.org/


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - spasiisochrani - 04-07-2014

(04-06-2014, 09:58 PM)Jeanannemarie Wrote: Thank you everyone for taking the  time for so much explanation.  Why does it all sound so foreign, different names for the same things?  It sounds very beautiful.  I think I would just observe.  I guess I could be researching this myself, but you are telling me what I want to know.  I wanted the personal viewpoints, not a Wikipedia definition.  Do you have to be of a certain ethnicity to be Byzantine (sucessfully, I mean) or is it like the Roman in the sense of being universal, even though it started out with certain ethnic groups?

The names are only different because they tend to be based on Greek rather than Latin.  People of any ethnicity can worship in any rite, but  the Latin Rite and the Byzantine Rite are pretty much the only truly trans-ethnic rites.  There are Byzantine Christians in Italy, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Syrian, Lebanon, Egypt, Canada, the US, Australia, Turkey, Singapore, China, Argentina, Brazil, and, most likely, other places I can't remember.  Other rites (e.g. Maronite, Chaldean, Coptic, Ethiopian/Eritrean, Malabar, Malankar, Syriac, Armenian) tend to be limited to their respective ethnic groups.


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - Heorot - 04-07-2014

spasiisochrani, those are amazing and excellent links. Thank you!

The setting of the first video is very familiar to Byzantines in North America; that is, a Latin parish church. Many Eastern Catholics need this for their liturgies, due to lack of committed church buildings of the Eastern rites. It's rather strange, in such cases, to see just two small icons on the sanctuary steps standing for a whole iconostasis! :D


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - spasiisochrani - 04-07-2014

(04-07-2014, 03:49 PM)Heorot Wrote: spasiisochrani, those are amazing and excellent links. Thank you!

The setting of the first video is very familiar to Byzantines in North America; that is, a Latin parish church. Many Eastern Catholics need this for their liturgies, due to lack of committed church buildings of the Eastern rites. It's rather strange, in such cases, to see just two small icons on the sanctuary steps standing for a whole iconostasis! :D

This was done at  Latin Seminary because it was done for a conference of Latin religious.  The monks have a nice little chapel with an iconostas at their monastery.

https://picasaweb.google.com/101605800611737986950/HolyWeekAndPascha2013#5876032101339762082


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - LoneWolfRadTrad - 04-08-2014

(04-06-2014, 02:22 PM)Jeanannemarie Wrote:   I live within an hour of a small Byzantine Church.  I have so often considered going, and now that Winter is over I could easily visit some Sunday morning.  I am held back by fear of the unknown!  My main reason for visiting would be to see if I could find something more like a Traditional Latin Mass, which is not an option for me here.  Perhaps I am dreaming, so if anyone has any comments on my objective or in helping me to understand what the experience might be like, please do speak up!  I am totally in the dark here!  Do women cover their heads?

Ukrainian rite is usually pretty solid.  But the Ruthinian rite has gone very liberal.  Big hint: if they use English instead of Old Church Slavonic, it's usually a bad sign.  I visited a Ruthinian rite parish that believed some very heretical things: speaking in tongues, interdenominational/ecumenical "healing" services, giving communion to non-Catholics, strange beliefs that involve longevity, it was the sort of heterodoxy you expect from some Novus Ordo parishes.  It was surprising.


Re: Can anyone help understand what to expect at a Byzantine Catholic Church? - loggats - 04-08-2014

Once again, I feel the need to reiterate that (having lived in three countries over a span of some ten years and visited my fair share of NO parishes) I've never encountered the kinds of abuses you guys talk about on a regular basis, and seem to think of as par for the course. I guess YMMV.