The Eastern Catholic Church
WHAT WE BELIEVE: We worship God in the Holy Trinity, glorifying equally the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten before all ages, and that He is of one essence with the Father. We believe that Christ incarnate is truly man, like us in all respects except sin. We worship the Holy Spirit as Lord and Life-giver who proceeds from the Father. We also believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Jesus Christ was without sin, but He was crucified for the sins of the whole world. Jesus Christ rose bodily from the grave to give eternal life to all those who believe in His Resurrection.
THE DIVINE LITURGY (The Mass): The Divine Liturgy is the principal liturgical service of our Church. The Liturgy consists of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word, in which the Gospel is preached, and the Liturgy of the Faithful, in which the Holy Eucharist is offered.
THE HOLY EUCHARIST: The Holy Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion) is the rite that Christians perform in fulfillment of the instruction that Jesus gave to do in his memory. The Holy Eucharist is consecrated at every Divine Liturgy, and the faithful partake of the newly consecrated Gifts. We believe that when the bread and wine are consecrated in the Eucharist, they cease to be bread and wine, and become instead the body and blood of Christ: although the empirical appearances are not changed, the reality is changed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
BYZANTINE SIGN OF THE CROSS: Blessing oneself with two fingers brought to the thumb represents the Trinity. The last two fingers held to the palm represent the two natures of Jesus--God and man. For the first 1,200 years of the Church, in making the Sign of the Cross, the hand was typically brought from the right to the left shoulder. In the East this is still the practice, to signify Christ enthroned at the right hand of the Father.
INCENSE: We use incense as a sign of reverence for the sacred place and the sacredness of the people who are made in Gods image and as a sign of preparing for something important about to happen in the Liturgy. It is our prayer ascending like the smoke of incense before the throne of God.
BOWS AND BLESSINGS: We bow and make the Sign of the Cross many times during the Liturgy, as a sign of our faith, and the receiving and accepting of Gods blessings. Following the making of the Sign of the Cross, reverence to God is further expressed by bowing the head. We bless ourselves every time we mention the Persons of the Trinity by name, or whenever the priest blesses the congregation. We also bow and sign ourselves whenever we enter or leave the church.
ICONS: Icons have been an integral part of our faith since the beginning of Christianity. More than just paintings, they have a deep spiritual significance. Referred to as "Windows into Heaven," they provide a focal point for prayer, helping us be more in-tune with God and saints. We do not worship icons, of course; worship is for God alone. But we do venerate them, believing that the honor given to the icon passes on to the person it images.
THE ICONOSTASIS: The Iconostasis is an altar screen or wall which, in our church, separates the Sanctuary from the nave. The Sanctuary is where the Eucharist is celebrated, which symbolizes the Divine world. It is separated from the nave which is the part reserved for the believers and symbolizes the human world. The iconostasis is the most distinctive feature of Eastern Catholic Church. It has three openings: the royal doors in the center and two smaller doors called deacon doors. The royal doors are flanked by the icons of Christ (on the right) and the Mother of God (with Christ) on the viewer's left. On the far right is the patronal icon of the parish, Holy Family, and in the far left, is the icon of St. Nicholas.
WE ARE: While
Catholics only think of the Catholic Church as being comprised of the
Catholic” Church, there are, in fact, almost 22 different “churches”
comprise the “Catholic” Church. The largest and best known, of those
is the “Roman” Catholic Church. However, the next largest church within
Catholic Church is the “Ukrainian- Byzantine” Church. We are Catholics
with the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, and a successor of the apostle
virtue of our communion with the Church of Rome, we are a Catholic
shares the same faith, beliefs and sacraments with other sister
However, each Church has its own way of expressing the Faith through
Liturgy and ceremonies based on unique customs and traditions. Jesus
founded His Church through the Apostles. By the grace received from God
Pentecost, the Apostles established faith communities or churches
the ancient world.
family of Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Church is very honored and
welcome you to our parish, an Eastern Catholic faith community of
people are surprised to learn that there are twenty-two distinct
Churches which form the Catholic Church: the Western or "Latin" Church,
which nearly all Americans are familiar with, and the Eastern Churches,
of which there are twenty-one.
While the Western Church makes up the vast majority of the Catholic Church, there are around 17 million Catholics who are members of an Eastern Church. Some of more well-known of the Eastern Churches include the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Maronite Catholic Church, the Melkite Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Coptic Catholic Church. Holy Family parish is part of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
With the exception of the Maronite Church, the Eastern Catholic Churches were formed when Christians who had been members of Eastern churches which had cut ties with the Holy See, once again sought reunion with Rome.
The largest Eastern Christian Church which is not in union with the Bishop of Rome is commonly called the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since most Eastern Catholic Churches came out of Eastern Orthodox Churches, there are many direct counterparts between the two. For example, there is a Ukrainian Orthodox Church and a Ukrainian Catholic Church; the former is not in union with Rome while the latter is. Sharing the same heritage, one group is Orthodox, the other is Catholic. Understandably, this situation often causes great confusion, not only among non-Catholics, but Catholics as well.
This chart shows the various Catholic liturgical families (rites) and their ancestry. Jerusalem, the place of the founding of the Catholic Church, came first in time. Then three major branches eventually formed within the Church: Roman, Antiochian and Alexandrian. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is part of the Antiochian branch, specifically coming under the Byzantine rite. The Catechism, quoting from Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on Divine Liturgy, states:
"The liturgical traditions or rites presently in use in the Church are the Latin . . . and the Byzantine, Alexandrian or Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite and Chaldean rites. In 'faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity, and that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.'" (CCC 1203).
When the Church of Rome and the Church of
Constantinople severed ties
with one another in the 11th century, the Church in Ukraine gradually
followed suit and finally gave up the bonds of unity with Rome. When
Ukrainian Orthodox bishops met at a council in Brest-Litovsk in 1595,
seven bishops decided to re-establish communion with Rome. Guaranteed
that their Byzantine tradition and Liturgy would be respected and
recognized by Rome, they and many priests and lay faithful were
re-united with the See of Rome, while others continued to remain
In the 19th century many Ukrainian Catholics began to emigrate to North America, bringing their pastors, traditions and liturgy to Canada and the United States. Under Communist rule, Catholics in Ukraine were persecuted, with many being imprisoned and murdered; in 1945 all the Ukrainian Catholic bishops were arrested or killed.
Today the Ukrainian Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Catholic Church, with about 7 million faithful in 40 countries, 70% in Ukraine and 250,000 in the United States. It is led by His Beatitude Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, Archbishop-Major of Kyiv (Kiev)-Halych and all Rus. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II on February 21, 2001.
According to Vatican II, “All members of the Eastern Churches should be firmly convinced that they can and ought to always preserve their own legitimate liturgical rites and ways of life, and that changes are to be introduced only to forward they own organic development. They themselves are to carry out all these prescriptions with the greatest fidelity. They are to aim always at a more perfect knowledge and practice of their rites, and if they have fallen away due to circumstances of time or person, they are to strive to return to their ancestral tradition.” It is clear from the words of the council that the vision for the Eastern Churches is very different from that proposed for the West, and therefore the success or lack of success should be judged accordingly. As long as Christians have been able to build their own churches, the areas of the altar had been marked out as a special place; sometimes rails have been used, and sometimes steps. In Byzantine churches, a screen of icons marks off the altar. This screen developed over many hundreds of years from a simple open screen to a real wall of icons, with doors (also covered with icons) that permit the celebrants to process to and from the altar. To the Latin Catholic, it may seem that the Church is trying to hide the altar from the laity, but the idea that something sacred can be “hidden” behind an icon seems strange to Eastern Catholics. Icons are always the sign of presence. The icons on the icon-screen are the household of Heaven made up of Christ, the Mother of God, the Angels, and the Saints. Heaven is with us when we celebrate the liturgy and, in a mystical way, actually celebrates the liturgy with us. For Byzantine Catholics, with their long history of theology and devotion, the icon-screen represents a real celebration of the presence of God among us.
Law: The cannon law of the Eastern Churches, which was revised after the Second Vatican Council, is contained in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, which was promulgated by Pope John Paul II on October 18, 1990, and took effect on October 1, 1991. In accordance with this universal legislation, each of the Eastern Catholic Churches can develop its own particular law. There are some aspects of the discipline of the Eastern Churches that are well known to Latin Catholics, for example, the different discipline in regard to clerical celibacy. More recently, the Existence of married clergy in the East has been used as an argument for making priestly celibacy optional in the West. Questions posed by the Latin Church about it’s own life and discipline can only be answered by that Church from within its own tradition. The fact that some priests are married and some not has ever been a question of debate in the East. As Pope Paul VI noted, “If the legislation of the Eastern Church is different in the matter of discipline with regard to clerical celibacy…this is due to the different historical background of that most noble part of the Church, a situation which the Holy Spirit has providentially and supernaturally influenced.” Vatican II, in this matter, stated, “While recommending ecclesiastical celibacy this sacred Council does not by any means aim at changing that contrary discipline which is lawfully practiced in the Eastern Churches. Rather the Council affectionately exhorts all those who have received the priesthood in the married state to preserve in their holy vocation and continue to devote their lives fully and generously to the flock entrusted to them.” The Eastern Churches have a deep reverence for the celibate state as lived by monks and nuns. The episcopate, the fullness of the priesthood, is only bestowed on celibate priests. The Second Vatican Council sought the restoration of the permanent diaconate. The deacon has always had a central role in the liturgical life of many Eastern Churches, but unfortunately under the influence of the Latin Church, the diaconate came to be seen as a step towards ordination to the priesthood. The permanent deacon, both in the West and the East, is ordained “not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry.” Nevertheless, the deacon is seen as a member of the hierarchy and not a layman. In the Liturgy, the deacon is at the service of the bishop and through him the entire Church. The deacon also has a role in preaching. As the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches states, “Bishops, priests and deacons, each according to the grade of his sacred order, have as their foremost duty the ministry of the Word of God”. Deacons, like priests of the Eastern Churches, may be either celibate or married men.
Один товариш запитав мене, що означає для мене cім’я і, бажаючи з’ясувати для мене і для нього я вирішив шукати у літературі, новітніх інформаційних джерелах, переглянув соціологію, політологію і, навіть, Конституцію України та й дішов до висновку, що шукаю не там. Я продовжував шукати у творах світової літератури: Оноре де Бальзак, Т. Шевченко з його “Катериною” та “Наймичкою”. Я знайшов там жаль, розпач, любов, надію......Минав час а я продовжував шукати відповіді... І шукаю досі... Ми завжди кудись поспішаємо, день розбитий на години, хвилини. Наше життя – це рух, бізнес, дорога... Ми з головою поринули у світ, “тягнемо” з нього інформацію, знання. Однак, забуваємо, що дещо набагато ближче і дорожче є поруч з нами. Сподіваюсь, що написане стане комусь у пригоді і спонукатиме до роздумів:”Що означає сім’я для мене?” І я впевнений, що тоді після важкого дня ви не впадете на диван у пошуках потрібного телеканалу, але усміхнетеся батькові, допоможете матері, знайдете про що поговорити з рідними – і у свій неповторний спосіб відкриєте свою сім’ю. З часом відповідь на запитання “Що таке сім’я?” зродиться просто та природньо.
християнський часопис “Пізнай правду” березень-квітень 2005)
Щастя дістається тому, хто багато працює…..Щастя – мов здоров’я, коли його не помічаєш, то означає, що воно є….Ніколи не плюй у криницю, з якої п’єш воду
Не закривай рота тому, хто тобі відкриває очі…Мудрість – це знати, як робити, чеснота – це робити.
Наша любов є тільки тоді справжньою любов’ю, коли вона вибирає Боже перед людським, а вічне – перед дочасними речами світу цього. (християнський часопис “Пізнай правду” січень-лютий 2005)
Catechism of the Catholic Church, an authoritative
compilation of the Church's doctrine issued in 1992, recognizes that
practice of ordaining married men has long been considered legitimate
During the patristic age, clerical marriage was permitted before ordination and a cleric could have only one wife. Clement of Alexandria, (c. 150-215) commenting on the Pauline texts, emphasized that marriage, if properly used, is a way of salvation for all: priests, deacons and laymen (curiously he did not mention bishops). In both the Apostolic Canons (2nd-3rd centuries) and the Apostolic Constitutions (c. 400) celibacy was not compulsory. A bishop or priest who left his wife "under pretense of piety" was to be excommunicated. New tendencies at the beginning of the 4th century tried to prohibit clerical marriage while individual choice in the matter had been the rule up to this time. At the first Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) Spanish bishop Ossius of Cordoba wanted the Council to decree celibacy as a requirement for ordination throughout the universal church, but Egyptian bishop Paphnutios (see APPENDIX below) protested that such a rule would be difficult and imprudent and that celibacy should be a matter of vocation and personal choice. The Council endorsed Paphnutios's position. A few scholars today call into question St. Paphnutios's intervention at the Council considering his role to be a legend.
During the 4th century in the Eastern Church the growing influence of monasticism and Neoplatonism with their emphasis on the practice of celibacy led to a need for ecclesiastical legislation to govern the marriage of the clergy. Laws followed regional custom with the Eastern practice being more liberal than the West's. The Eastern practice was codified by the Emperors Theodosius II and Justinian I. Marriage was not permitted for candidates to the episcopacy. Deacons and priests continued to be allowed to marry provided it was before ordination, but marriage was not permitted after ordination. Soon after the 5th century under the influence of monastic life and economic conditions celibates were preferred for the episcopacy. Requiring the celibacy of a bishop would avoid confusing the bishop's personal holdings and those of the church and avoided problems in leaving a legacy to children. However, until the 12th century there were examples of Eastern bishops who were married.
The Trullan Synod (692 A.D.), also known as the Quinisext, determined that bishops should not be married, but marriage was permitted for deacons and priests before ordination. No marriage was allowed after ordination. A priest or a deacon could not renounce his wife on the pretense of piety, but sexual relations were prohibited prior to celebrating the liturgy, which usually meant the Sunday observance.
became a canonical obligation for the clergy in the
West by the actions of popes and regional councils. About the year 300,
council held at Elvira in southern
separation of the Eastern and
end of the 16th century and during the first half of
the 17th century, two Orthodox Churches in Eastern Europe united
The Union of Brest, according to Michael Lacko, S.J., indirectly became the occasion and the model for the second union, that of Uzhhorod. In Uzhhorod on April 26, 1646 Orthodox Bishop Parfenii Petrovych and several priests signed a document that came to be known as the Union of Uzhhorod whose terms stipulated that the Uniate Church in Hungary would retain its Byzantine rite and liturgical traditions, its bishops would be elected by a council composed of Basilian monks and eparchial clergy and the election would be confirmed by the Pope in Rome. The Uniate priests would enjoy all the rights and privileges accorded to Roman Catholic clergy In actuality, the Text is a copy of a letter dated 1552 and appended to a Report that the Bishop of Eger, Charles Esterhazy, sent to Pope Clement XIII on March 31, 1767. Three conditions for union with the Roman See were set forth in the 1552 letter. The conditions do not specifically mention the right of having a married clergy unless that idea is included in the first condition which states: "That it be permitted to us to retain the rite of the Greek Church". Lacko, however, in his analysis of the 1552 letter, believes the first condition concerns the Liturgy.
The situation regarding a married clergy in the European homelands from which Byzantine Catholics (at that time known in the United States as Greek Catholics) emigrated to North America shows that the majority were married and held positions in the parishes while celibate secular priests and widowed priests were destined to be bishops, occupied benefices of cathedral canons and taught in schools of higher learning.
immigration of Greek Catholics to
governing the transfer of married priests to territories
where their own rite is not native (for example, the Byzantine Rite was
native to North America in the 19th century) were set forth in the
the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith of May 2, 1890
Archbishop of Paris (Acta Sanctae Sedis, vol. 1891/92, p.390). These
applied to the
Bishop Basil Takach submitted the question of ordaining
married men to
Takach passed Cardinal Sincero's letter on to his clergy
ordering them not to reveal its contents to the faithful. In a letter
priests the Bishop stated that celibacy "is no longer a debatable
question." "Cum data fuerit" was renewed in 1939 for ten years;
however, by 1949, Pope Pius XII already had in place a commission for
revision of the Latin Code and a commission to produce the code for the
Churches. "Cum data fuerit" was never renewed after 1949. The
celibacy controversy of the 1930's resulted in the establishment of the
American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Diocese of America by
100, 000 former Byzantine Catholics under the jurisdiction of the
Constantinople. A widowed Byzantine Catholic priest, Father Orestes
was consecrated the first bishop and later made a metropolitan. During
period of the celibacy struggle, the ordinary of the Ukrainian
Bishop Constantine Bohachevsky never ordained married candidates.
priests left the Ukrainian jurisdiction, married, and were founders of
Ukrainian Orthodox jurisdictions in the
Now after some 70 odd years have passed since the celibacy struggle we arrive at the question what is the situation of married priests in today's Catholic Church, both Eastern and Western branches. The Roman Catholic Church's current position on marriage and celibacy of the clergy is succinctly stated in this paragraph from the New Catholic Encyclopedia : "The common opinion today may be summed up as follows: clerical celibacy is considered most proper to the sacerdotal ministry; it is in no sense a depreciation of marriage, but is the condition for greater freedom in the service of God. The law of celibacy is of ecclesiastical origin and may therefore be abrogated by the Church. In the early Church and in the East the marriage of bishops, priests, and deacons was permitted for good reason. Recent popes have found similarly good reason to dispense from celibacy in the case of married Protestant pastors who converted and desired ordination. Vatican Council II, at the request of the bishops from many countries, permitted a married diaconate, admitting married men of mature years."
Vatican Council welcomed the Eastern tradition of
married priests when it stated in the Decree Concerning the Ministry
of the Priest that "Celibacy is not required by the priesthood itself,
is evident in the practices of the early Church, and in the tradition
Eastern Churches" (No. 16 of the Decree Concerning the Ministry and
of the Priest). Giant steps forward in the attitude of the Roman
Church toward recognizing and honoring the practice of a married clergy
Eastern Churches occurred in the decade of the 90's. Two documents, in
particular, are significant for the Byzantine Catholic Metropolia in
The crucial statement in the Eastern Code regarding a married clergy is Canon 373, which declares: "the state of married clerics, sanctioned in the practice of the primitive Church and in the Eastern Churches through the ages, is to be held in honor." This positive attitude is buttressed by the existence of various canons pertaining to married clerics. Before a man can be ordained, he must present to his bishop written consent from his wife (Canon 769, Article 1.2). Some canons govern the conduct of married clerics, for example Canon 375 "Married clerics are to offer an outstanding example to other Christian faithful in conducting family life and in educating children." For a presbyter to be named a pastor, Canon 285, Article 2 stipulates "If the presbyter is married, good morals are required in his wife and children who live with him." Material support for the married priest and his family is stressed in two articles of Canon 390. Article 1 reads: "Clerics have the right to suitable support and to receive a just remuneration for carrying out the office or function committed to them; in the case of married clerics, remuneration must be adequate for the support of their families, unless this has been otherwise sufficiently provided." Article 2 of the same canon goes into specifics: "They also have the right that there be provided for themselves as well as their families, if they are married, suitable pension funds, social security as well as health benefits. In order for this right to be put into practice effectively, clerics are obliged on their part to contribute to the fund mentioned in can. 1021, art. 2 in accord with the norm of the particular law."
In addition to upholding the practice of a married clergy the Eastern Code of Canon Law respects the traditional eastern discipline that bishops are not to be married. Among the requirements listed in Canon 180 for a person to be considered suitable for elevation to the episcopacy, the third requirement stipulates that he must "not be bound by a marriage bond." Furthermore, this rule is reinforced in Canon 227, Article 2: "To be elected or appointed validly to the office of administrator of the eparchy, one should be a bishop or a presbyter who is not bound by the bond of matrimony."
We now turn
our attention to the implementation of the Eastern
Code's laws regarding the clergy and marriage today in various
the Eastern Churches. One of Metropolitan Judson Procyk's cherished
restoring ancient Eastern traditions in the
There has been only one ordination of a married man to the priesthood in the Pittsburgh Metropolia since the promulgation of the Particular Law. On February 12, 2006 Bishop John Kudrick, Eparch of Parma, OH, Metropolia of Pittsburgh, PA ordained married deacon, Joseph Marquis, to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
have been ordinations by the Ukrainians, Melkites
and Romanians in the
"In reference to the discipline of the clergy,
we declare that our tradition allows the ordination of both celibate
married men to the priesthood and is the same in the
(Par. 6)." In the previous year, 1971, the Holy Synod of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church at its annual meeting in
today, the Greek Catholic Church in