Faith/Spirituality Forum: Eastern Rite Catholic Church's
Eastern Rite Catholic Church's QUESTION from Daniel Harrison on August 8, 2002 Dear: Br. John,
My Name is Daniel Harrison, i am a Byzantine Catholic. I saw some post on the Eastern Catholic Church. I noticed that some of the people, on here are not quiet familiar with the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. Here is what Eastern Catholics Are.
Yes, we are Catholics in union with the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) whom we recognize as the visible Head of the Catholic Church. We are recognized as being Catholic by the local Roman Catholic Bishops and the Bishops of the United States of America and the whole world.
Having said that we are Catholics, we must now state that we are NOT Roman Catholics, but Catholics who are identified as being Eastern Catholics. AS Catholics, we Eastern and Roman Catholics share the same faith and have the same seven sacraments. The difference is that we Eastern Catholics have a different way or rite of expressing our faith in regards to Liturgy and customs. At the Last Supper, after Jesus changed bread and wine into His own Body and Blood, He told His disciples to Do this in Memory of me. This they did. As the disciples brought the Gospel to different parts of the world, they adapted ceremonies of the Liturgy to the customs and music of that people. In the end, four great centers of Christianity emerged with distinctive Christian customs, but the same faith. These centers were located in the great cities of Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome and Alexandria. A couple of centuries later when the capital of the Roman empire was moved to the Eastern city of Byzantium and renamed Constantinople, an adaptation of the Antioch way of celebrating Liturgy was made. Thus a new center of Christianity arose in Constantinople and her ritual became known as the Byzantine Rite. From Constantinople the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe were converted by Sts. Cyril and Methodius and naturally followed the Byzantine Rite. Today the Byzantine Rite is subdivided into ecclesiastical jurisdictions based on ethnic groupings, such as Greek, Ukrainian, Ruthenian, Russian, etc.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 14, 2002 Dear Mr. Harrison:
Thanks for the reminder that that Catholic Church is more than the Roman Rite. There are nine major rites and when the various sub-categories are added up I think it comes to 22 rites that are ALL Catholic.
We have a rich and beautiful Church that is TRULY universal.
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