Are Catholics allowed to go to an Eastern Orthodox Church for mass?

Are we allowed to go and attend mass to at an Eastern Orthodox Church?

Yes, but it doesn’t fulfill your obligation to attend Mass if it’s a Sunday or a Holy Day.

Also, do not present yourself for Communion. They do not give Communion to Catholics, generally.

Lastly, they generally don’t call it Mass. They call it the Divine Liturgy. And the Sacraments are called Holy Mysteries.


Have you considered going to an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy? They are in full communion with the Catholic Church and practice all of the elements of Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters do. There you may receive the Eucharist.


And, even more significant, your participation in their Divine Liturgy does fulfill a Catholic’s obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days!


Yes, what @JohnnySav said.

Attending an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy is much preferable over an EO one.

Then it will both fulfill your obligation if it’s a Holy Day or Sunday, plus you can receive the Holy Mysteries.


I have yet to attend a DL myself, but very seriously want to attend, as their Liturgy hasn’t changed much over the centuries. Any way I feel that can bring me closer to God within the boundaries of my Catholic faith is something that I take to heart. It’s apparently a beautiful, spiritual, mystical Liturgy, and I yearn to experience it myself.

Depends on what you mean by “allowed”.

“Can” we go to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy? Of course we can. Catholics are not prohibited from visiting other Churches or ecclesial communities. If you do go, refrain from communion as Orthodox generally have closed communion. If you speak to the Orthodox priest and he agrees to give you communion, you may receive it if you meet the conditions of canon 844.2–it is a valid Eucharist.

Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and ⇒ can. 861, §2.

§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

However as has been noted, it does not substitute for nor fulfill our Sunday or Holy Day obligation. If there is no Catholic Church available (such as travel to certain countries) then you do not have an obligation.

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Where did you get this idea?

Haven’t the eastern liturgies changed just as much as those in the west?

@Augustinian From what I understand the Liturgy is the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom which hasn’t had major changes for centuries minus modern technology improvements. For our Latin Rite (Western), since Vatican II the Mass changed entirely.

Our liturgies are beautiful, reverent. and uplifting as well as ancient. Please don’t believe that they have come to us unchanged from the Church Fathers. Although the essentials remain the same, prayers, hymns and rituals have been added or deleted over the centuries. There have even been schisms over liturgical reforms that we would consider absolutely trivial today.

In 1652, Patriarch Nikon (1605–81; Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church from 1652 to 1658) introduced a number of ritual and textual revisions with the aim of achieving uniformity between the practices of the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches. Nikon, having noticed discrepancies between Russian and Greek rites and texts, ordered an adjustment of the Russian rites to align with the Greek ones of his time. In doing so, according to the Old Believers, Nikon acted without adequate consultation with the clergy and without gathering a council.[1] After the implementation of these revisions, the Church anathematized and suppressed—with the support of Muscovite state power—the prior liturgical rite itself, as well as those who were reluctant to pass to the revised rite.

Those who maintained fidelity to the existing rite endured severe persecutions from the end of the 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century as “Schismatics” (Russian: раскольники raskol’niki). They became known as “Old Ritualists”, a name introduced during the reign of Catherine the Great.[citation needed] They continued to call themselves simply “Orthodox Christians”.

@babochka thank you for this reply. It was very educating.

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Thank you for pointing this out. Every once in a while we get an Orthodox poster who insists Orthodoxy has remained “unchanged” since the earliest centuries while Catholicism has introduced endless novelties. The reality is much more complex. There has been considerable liturgical and theological development in both the West and East.

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I wouold not agree that the Mass changed “entirely”, As the bishops of the world noted, in Sacrosanctum Concillium: “21. In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change.” And further they stated: "50. “The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.
For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.”

So to say it was changed entirely is a tad bit of an overstatement. Having been raised in what is now the EF, and having seen the changes made, I have no problem seeing the same pattern. Removing things such as the paryers at the foot of the altar and the Last Gospel do not make for an entire change.

Sure we can :+1:

As far as receiving Communion that would depend on the Orthodox Church you are attending. Most would probably refuse to offer the Chalice but there might be some Orthodox Churches, especially with those that have a “sister” Church that is in communion with Rome, you might see some intercommunion. For example, the Antiochian Orthodox Church and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. I visited an Antiochian Orthodox Church and spoke with the priest before the Liturgy and he had no problem with it. Attended Liturgy at a GOA parish when I was out of town and the priest told me “no way José!” He said it with a smile and it was all in fun but I got the point.


The head-splitting irony of the Nikonian reforms, which sought to correct Russian innovations by bringing practice closer to the Greeks, is that we now know that, at the time, the pre-Nikonian practice was closer to the older Greek practice than that of the Greeks of the period!

(once again, we need a :headbang: emoticon . . .)


Anyway, it is an Orthodox conceit that their liturgy hasn’t change. Not as rapidly as the West, to be sure, but there has been definite evolution over the centuries.

Obligatory but topical joke:
Q: How many Orthodox does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: * snort * The Orthodox do not change!



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