|The Eastern Catholic Churches:
~Orthodox Churches in Communion with Rome~
|Our Mission: To manifest the spiritual riches of Eastern Orthodoxy
within the Communion of the Catholic Church... to show forth her Catholicity
|The diffusion of the liturgical rites of the Catholic Church
and the various autonomous Churches which practice them:
|Elder Rome has called upon the Eastern Catholic Churches to return to our true
and historic Orthodox traditions: liturgical, canonical and theological. We have thus
been called to recover our full, historic Divine Liturgies. Our Canonical Services are
once again to be offered in our parishes. Our infants are to be fully initiated into the
Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion. Clergy of various
ranks are to return to our historic clerical attire. Our Holy Temples are to once again
reflect our traditional architecture (rather than that of the Latin Church). We must
likewise recover our true iconography rather than utilizing Western art.
In the landmark document: Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions
of the Eastern Code of Canons, Elder Rome called upon the Eastern Catholic
Churches to restore all of this without delay, stating: "In every effort of liturgical
renewal, therefore, the practice of the Orthodox brethren should be taken into
account, knowing it, respecting it and distancing from it as little as possible so as not
to increase the existing separation..." (26).
It has become apparent that the Latin Church, with over a billion members, does not
need the help of Eastern Catholics to keep the Latin Church's tradition. Instead,
what the Church greatly needs is for us to discard latinizations & live in accord with
our own liturgical, canonical and theological tradition to show that these are indeed
compatible within the one Catholic communion. This is the call of Vatican Council II
in its document on the Eastern Catholic Churches: Orientalium Ecclesiarum.
|The recovery of our Church Traditions
|His Beatitude Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch
...of the Melkite Catholic Church, summarized the call of the
Eastern Catholics succinctly in his speech to a special Assembly
for the Middle East when he stated boldly:
"We wish to be taken seriously when we tell you that
our tradition, in its fullness, is Eastern and Orthodox,
not Latin and Western. In the measure that you take us
seriously as authentically Eastern Churches, to that same degree
the Orthodox world will believe in the veracity of the ecumenical
activity and dialogues of the Roman Church... There must be
created an atmosphere of complete trust, real collaboration and
co-ordination, and effectual communion between Rome and the
Eastern sui iuris Churches...
"We ask to be treated as real Easterners and even,
to speak plainly, as Orthodox in communion with Rome
and so Catholic... We are an Eastern Church in communion with
Rome and faithfully so, yet which wants to remain faithful to the
pure, Orthodox spiritual tradition. I make bold to say that we
are an Orthodox Church with the little or big bonus of
communion with Rome, with the Pope and our Holy Father
Benedict XVI who presides in primacy and charity...
"Treat us as a real Eastern Church,
just as you would the Orthodox on the day
when the much longed for union takes place!"
|St. Ignatius the God-bearer
(Theophoros) of Antioch
|*Note: The word autonomous is a literal rendering of the Latin sui iuris. The Eastern Code of Canons defines sui iuris in
the following way: "Of its own right (c. 27); an acknowledged autonomy with regard to government and discipline."
Autonomy refers to a Church's right to self-rule under its own law and the ultimate authority of an Ecumenical Council and
the Pope of Rome. Autocephaly refers rather to the independence of a Church with its own independent head. In this
sense, the Eastern Catholic Churches are autonomous but not autocephalous.