Western Rite Catholic and Byzantine Rite Etiquette
#1
Any suggestions about how a Western rite Catholic should conduct himself in an Eastern Catholic Church?  I may have no choice, if I want a reverent Mass (or Divine Liturgy, in this case), to make an Eastern rite church my parish-away-from-home parish when out-of-town.  (For instance, do I genuflect?  Is making the sign of the cross from left to right?  What should I know about receiving Holy Communion?  Etc.)  Perhaps there is a web link or pamphlet I can get hold of?  Advice would be appreciated. 
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#2
Bow deeply instead of genuflecting. Cross the opposite direction as you normally would (and you'll be crossing yourself a lot). When you receive Communion, tell the priest your name and he'll give you Communion by pouring the Body and Blood from a spoon into your mouth.

Other than that, copy what other people are doing and see if you can't find a missalette before Divine Liturgy.
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#3
(10-08-2009, 11:57 PM)Miquelot Wrote: Any suggestions about how a Western rite Catholic should conduct himself in an Eastern Catholic Church?  I may have no choice, if I want a reverent Mass (or Divine Liturgy, in this case), to make an Eastern rite church my parish-away-from-home parish when out-of-town.  (For instance, do I genuflect?  Is making the sign of the cross from left to right?  What should I know about receiving Holy Communion?  Etc.)  Perhaps there is a web link or pamphlet I can get hold of?  Advice would be appreciated. 

I'm Roman Catholic rather than Eastern Catholic, but love to attend the Divine Liturgy when I can, which is only a few times a year, when I am traveling.  It is a beautiful ligurgy.  Here are a couple of links:
http://www.byzcath.org http://www.melkite.org

As to etiquette:  You make the sign of the cross from your right shoulder to your left - the reverse of the Latin custom.  The general eastern custom I've observed is to make a prostration (typical of what I've seen is to make a profound bow, with one's fingertips touching the floor, or as deep a bow as possible) rather than genuflect - but the particular practice perhaps varies among the different Eastern Catholic Churches.  I would observe what others do ("When in Rome .....");

As for Holy Communion, a Roman Catholic is welcome to take Communion, though they may have different (more strict) fasting rules.  One could arrive a bit early and ask the priest, or another parishioner.

Taking Communion is a bit differnt.  In Ruthenian Liturgies I've attended, one goes toward the sanctuary with one's arms crossed and folded against one's chest.  When you approach the priest you bow, say your name (while I was still learning, priests would ask me for my name - one's Christian name), as they use your name while giving Communion: The servant of God (handmaid of God) N., partakes of the precious, most holy and most pure body and blood of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ for the remission of his (her) sins and for life everlasting. Amen.  The priest holds a cloth with the chalice, and the communicant takes the end of the cloth to hold under their chin (similiar to the patten), tips their head back, opens the mouth wide, and the priest administers the Sacred Body and Precious Blood with a spoon.  If there are altar servers or a deacon, they may hold the cloth under the communicant's chin.  If one is tall, or taller than the priest, one may need to bend their knees a bit so the priest can reach their mouth with the spoon.  For you first Liturgy, try and sit toward the front so you can observe how others do it.

Hope this helps.
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#4
I am Roman Catholic but go to Byzantine-ruthenian Divine Liturgy twice per month.

My experience is that the Byzantine parishioners are very friendly and usually helpful. I didn't know how to follow the hymn book for the Liturgy when I 1st went, but a few parishioners helped me through it.  Byzantines love to stick around for about an hour after the Liturgy and chat and have coffee etc. Stick around afterwards and ask questions and get to know the people.

The Hymn book will tell you when you "should make a profound bow" and when to cross yourself. You will cross yourself alot! I still do it like a Roman Catholic and no one seems to care.  The laity chant the entire liturgy along with the Priest. The laity have their parts and the priest has his parts.

I've noticed the Byzantine folks to be alot more friendly and laid back, and a lot less scrupulous than Roman Catholics. Don't worry, no one's going to snicker because you didn't cross yourself or because you didn't put the cloth under your chin when you received communion. No one will care if you're out of tune with the chanting or if you aren't wearing a suit, coat and tie.
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#5
Having grown up in the Ukrainian Catholic church (switched to Roman Catholic when I got married)  I can tell you that after going to TLM you will feel much more at home at a Byzantine church than at a NO church...  It was my experience that most of the parishoners do dress up a bit more than the local NO church, so Sunday best really IS Sunday best.

    As a rule, Byzantines don't genuflect when entering the pew... a bow is more appropriate, but I have seen it done.  Don't worry if you don't cross yourself right to left.. nobody will care... they will notice that you are Roman Catholic, but you won't get shunned.  Also, the Byzantine way of doing it is by using your thumb and two fingers, sort of like an OK sign, but add the middle finger down... representing Father,Son and Holy Spirit, as opposed to the five fingers of the Roman rite.

Also, the Blessed Sacrament is given in both species, mixed together in the Chalice from a spoon... the texture may take a bit of getting used to...you don't need to stick your tongue out, but do open wide and tip your head back a bit  so the Priest can flip it into your mouth securely.

You will be doing alot more sit/stand/kneel and Blessing yourself throughout the Mass than you would in the Roman rite as well.  Finally, on occasion after Liturgy, in the Ukrainian church at least, the congregation is invited to file down to the tetrapod and receive a piece of blessed bread and an anointing of holy oil on the forehead which the priest gives.  Our priest used to have this little metal thing with a round ball on the end that he'd dip into the oil and make the sign of the cross on your forehead...  not sure on what days this is done or if its done in every Byzantine church.  Just follow along and enjoy.
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#6
I want to thank everybody on this forum for their helpful instruction and counsel.  I have actually attended Divine Liturgy two or three times in my life before, but I was not a communicant at the time.  What I was most intimidated about was presenting myself for Holy Communion -- if I miss a bow or sign of the cross, not the end of the world; but to receive the Sacrament without due reverence is another story altogether.  It is also encouraging to know that I am not alone in "defecting" from regional Catholic parishes where liturgical abuses are routine and going Eastward (ritually speaking, of course) as a corrective. 
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