Byzantine Catholics

2005-06-08

Three blocks from my house can be found the Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church. Since I often walk by this church, I naturally became interested in the exact nature of these Byzantine Catholics. It turns out that Byzantine Catholics (also called Eastern Catholics) derive from the Christian community of Constantinople, from which missionaries were sent to many parts of eastern Europe. Unlike the Eastern Orthodox and Russian Orthodox branches of Christianity, Eastern Catholics recognize the Pope in Rome as the head of the Catholic Church but differ from Roman Catholics in their rites and customs (e.g., their celebration of the Liturgy). The Eastern Catholics seem to be subdivided along ethnic lines, thus the existence of separate Ruthenian, Belarussian, Romanian, Russian, and Ukrainian jurisdictions. The church in my neighborhood is of the Ruthenian jurisdiction. (Ruthenia or Subcarpathia is a small area formerly comprising the far eastern tip of Czechoslovakia to the east of the Carpathian Mountains, now known as the Transcarpathian province of Ukraine, whose primary towns are Uzhgorod and Mukachevo. During the time when I was teaching English in Czechoslovakia, a loony politician of the far right named Miroslav Sl√°dek loudly agitated for the return of this region -- in Czech "Podkarpatsk√° Rus" -- to Czechoslovakia, but his irredentist claims didn't score many points with the voters.)


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal