Eastern Catholic in a Latin Religious Order

One issue I think some people might have with an Easterner being in a Latin Order is that, for quite some time (and still now in some places), Eastern Catholics were viewed as ‘second-rate’ to Latin’s, and as such the Eastern Catholics would impose Latinizations to better ‘fit-in’ with the Latin Church and stop some of the persecution. The Eastern Catholics just now seem to be getting their Eastern heritage and traditions back (thanks to The Second Vatican Council). So some might say that you are ‘turning your back’ on your Eastern roots and ‘latinizing’, which is something that some Eastern Catholics have worked so hard to get rid of.
That’s just my two cents, I am not an Eastern Rite Catholic, and I have never been, so my perspective is that of a Roman Catholic with some basic knowledge of Eastern Catholic practice and history; I could be totally off base.

Brother David,

My parish has a Dominican Priest who has been given bi-ritual faculties. He resides in the city but is more or less attached to our parish. I think he lives with other Domincans though. He has been given a kamilavka to wear with the lambskin dress as he is a monastic. He’s pretty cool and an iconographer. Outside of liturgies and luncheons, I don’t know how much he is involved in parish events though.

Why are some of your fellow Carmelites not down? Do they think you are just taking what you can and then high tailing it out east with the education they have given you? Or do they think you can’t be a proper a carmelite without being a latin catholic?

Ultimately, there should be no problem. Mt Carmel began in the East and wound up in the West. It is a bi-ritual spirituality or, better, a spirituality that drinks deeply from both Eastern and Western well-springs.

You will enrich your Western Rite Carmelite Brothers with aspects of Eastern spirituality that properly belong to Carmel but which have been either forgotten or neglected for too long. The Jesus Prayer is something Westerners are particularly interested in as is the Mantle of Protection of the Mother of Jesus - both Eastern emphases for Carmel.

And the Daily Office of the Latin Church is based on the Psalms - can’t get any more Eastern than that.

I don’t know who is upsetting you or what their agenda is (I take it they are Easterners? None of my business, after all . . .).

Leave them be, in any event . . . I was once virulently attacked for promoting the Rosary by both RC’s and EO’s (even lately by Hetman Vigovsky here!). That kind of persecution just makes us stronger - but we really don’t need to have it . . .


A very real threat, and one I agree is an issue.

Also, canonically, a cleric is supposed to pray the hours in his own rite (CCEO 377 and 346 §2 (3)). A seminarian is required to learn them in his own rite (CCEO 346 §2 (3))
A religious is obligated the same as a cleric is (CCEO 427)

A man is not supposed to be enrolled in an order’s house of a different rite, as well, because of CCEO 427, 346 and 377.

If any, the Carmelites and Dominicans are both orders whose praxis and spirituality is not incongruent with the Byzantine Rite, but ideally, a stable core of byzantines forming a separate monastery is the ideal for such; also, such a monastery, ideally, would become autonomous, but not of need such. Further, such a monastery would have to have its own typicon, as Eastern monasteries are required to have their own typicon. (That typicon covers more than a diocesan one, basically becoming also the Rule of that monastery…)

Canon 517 2 applies in my case.

Canon 517

  1. One is admitted validly to the novitiate of an order or congregation who has completed the seventeenth year of age. In respect to other requirements for admission to the novitiate cann. 448, 450, 452, and 454 shall be observed. 2. No one is admitted lawfully to the novitiate of a religious institute of another Church sui iuris without the permission of the Apostolic See, unless it is a candidate who is destined for a province or house, mentioned in can. 432, of the same Church.
    As we do not have a Byzantine province or house.

I received the permission of the Oriental Congregation during my novitiate.

My Vow of Obedience is to my superiors, rule, and constitutions. My constitutions bind me to the Liturgy of the Hours of the Latin Church.

Any time someone brings up the ridiculous notion that the East is more “mystical” and the West is more “rational/juridical” in their theological and spiritual approaches I always point them to St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, but especially St. John of the Cross. St. John is especially good as a “bridge” between East and West because his spirituality and theological approach were both heavily influenced by the Desert Fathers.

Brother David, more power to you if you can remain thoroughly Byzantine and thoroughly Carmelite. Would that there were more Byzantine Carmelite monasteries here in the U.S. as there are in the Middle East (I know of one, but it’s for women).

To answer the OP, I’ve often felt a draw to the priesthood. At one point I nearly broke things off with my fiance (now wife) in order to pursue the priesthood. I’m glad I didn’t. Truth be told, I’ve never felt more called in one direction or the other. I always felt equally called to the married life and to the priesthood. When I brought this up with one of my former spiritual fathers he asked me what I thought was entailed in each vocation. After I gave my answer his only response was, “Well, it sounds like you have a good handle on things.” :rotfl:

While I am perfectly satisfied with my chosen path, and wouldn’t change it for the world, I do at times wonder about the priesthood or monastic life. I wish I had more time for prayer, reading the Scriptures and Fathers, attending the Liturgical and para-Liturgical services, etc. But as St. Therese of Lisieux said, “My vocation is to love,” and if I can’t love God 100% by giving myself up for my bride as Christ does for his Church, then I have no business in a seminary/parish or a monastery.

Besides the Discalced Carmelite Nuns, I immediately think of the Russicum which was built with funds raised by Carmelite friars. Although raised for a different purpose, the excess funds were allowed to be used for the building of the Russicum which educated priests for mission work with Russian Greek Catholics. Also, before my time there were Carmelite sisters who sang, from behind a grill, the Divine Liturgy at Our Lady of Fatima Byzantine Catholic Church in SF. They were invited to SF by the Latin Ordinary to pursue their interest in service to the long suffering Russian people.

So as a Russian Byzantine Catholic in SF I’d say we have certainly been served by the Carmelites, tho not by their clergy. :slight_smile:

We had a Dominican serving as a deacon with us up until his ordination to the priesthood, but he was canonically Ukrainian with permission to be a Dominican, bi-ritual to the Latin Rite. There are two young men I know of who are Latin Church Catholics discerning a vocation to the Dominicans who both have some interest, one absolutely has hopes, in becoming bi-ritual priests.

I know Fr. Brendan, Dominican, Little Boy Lost referred to, from three classes on Holy Icons I’ve had with him. He seems to have deeply embraced the Eastern spiritual liturgical mindset.

Our pastor is an OFM Cap. monk. I don’t think he’s been celebrant of the Roman Rite in decades. When not offering liturgy for us he is a professor at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology.

I hope you are in spiritual direction with a priest at the local Byzantine Ruthenian parish you worship with on Sundays. I live in “both worlds” as a catechist in a Latin parish, and frequent daily Mass attender at that parish, or the local Latin Cathedral or the Dominican Priory (that being my personal preferred place to be). It’s a challenge in many ways, including for example being on two different liturgical calendars and two very different praxis. Daily Eucharist for example is antithetical to the Great Fast we are in as Eastern Catholics/Orthodox.

I’m very grateful to the local Latin Diocese which gave me the opportunity to study in a three year non-degree program for preparing master catechists. (They now have their Sacraments/Holy Mysteries class taught by an Eastern Catholic priest who is a wonderful teacher.) If my EC parish closed tomorrow I would still be attending the Russian and Greek Orthodox parishes I go to for services. I could not imagine the grief I would feel if I could not pray as an Eastern Christian.

Here’s the blog of a Coptic Catholic whose family joined the Catholic communion from Coptic Orthodoxy who is in a Fransciscan Order.



Hello brother David,

I think that you focus too much on this. :slight_smile:

It’s your life and your soul - you made a kind of commitment most men will not, probably because they lack the conviction.

I’d say forget about what anyone else may think.

I think perhaps they see the sorry state of monasticism in the eastern Catholic churches (and all churches, Catholic and Orthodox) and lament the loss.

However if they felt so strongly about it they could have made such a commitment themselves. Since they mostly have not, those people have no grounds to judge.

I suppose you mean the forum where we first met.

I, for one, am here at CAF specifically because you made a general invitation. I can still remember your post. Seven years later I am still here, I am grateful for that. :wink:

Pax et Bonum,

Byzcath, I’m not familiar with your situation, but I have a strong hunch I know what forum you were given a very hard time at, and if it’s the one I think it is, keep in mind that many of the posters there are so over the top, that late last year, a thread had to be pulled because posters were making fun of the Sacred Heart.

                             After 15 years of occasional visits to EC Churches and about 11 years spent online, I'd say the answer is a very easy one. The online OICWR crowd will have a big problem with your being in a Latin Order, the cradle EC's in the churches who constitute a very clear majority will not have a problem.

I am one of those online OICWRers and I have NO problem with Br. David’s decision to join the Carmelites. :smiley: I did follow the “attacks” over on byzcath a few years back, and some of the guys just got plain old nasty. :mad: I think the problem most folks had at the time was why not try your vocation with one of the struggling Byzantine monasteries before joining a Latin Order. I totally understand where Br. David is coming from and why he did what he did. :thumbsup:

Three Cheers for Brother David!!!


I have no problem with it at all many priests or biordained in the both the eastern and latin rite churches and as i have said before no rite is better or more important that the other they are as good and as important as each other and they are both in union with rome and part of the Church established by Christ and the apostles

This is part of the problem (maybe it is just with me though). I do not feel called to the strict monastic life. I feel called to be in community but also to an active life.

Instead of having the people come to me in a monastery I feel called to go out to them.

Is there any tradition (maybe lost) of such a sort of community in the East?

Dear Brother David,

Eastern monastics kept to their deserts, but certainly people who needed their way of life and their counsel came to seek them out. And, as you know, many of them stayed with those hermits until gigantic monastic communities were founded around them.

The only such community that didn’t appreciate their abbot was the early Benedictine one that tried to poison St Benedict . . .

You can never tell your real friends though . . .


I feel called to be active in ministry so I do not think I would do well in a monastery setting. That and the beards get to me. If I ever do grow a beard it will have to be neatly trimed.

Brother David, Go with the blessings of the Lord and all the saints. May your ministry bear much fruit.

Peace be with you

I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want you in their order no matter what “Rite” of the Church you are from. It takes two lungs to breath and the Church has both the Eastern Rite and the Western (Roman) Rite.

I haven’t read through all the threads yet so I am just responding to this first post but what immediately comes to my own mind is the many priests who are both bi-ritual. How cool is that!!! They get to say Mass/Divine Liturgy in both Rites. I think that is amazing.

I myself, as a Roman Catholic, used to attend a Byzantine Liturgy. I am very drawn to Carmelite spirituality and have been told by many Eastern Catholics that Eastern Catholics are drawn to Carmelite Spirituality because of Eastern Asthetism (spelling?)

We, as Catholics, have access to both Rites that are so beautiful and I think we take for granted all that we have access to. It’s time to share all that both Rites of the Church have to offer.


Sounds like you’ve found your home.

FYI Fr. Vito who celebrates our first Saturday Byzantine Divine Liturgy, and concelebrates with our pastor Fr Eugene on many other occasions is featured in the recent SF Archdiocesan paper.

New order of monks modeled on St. Joseph founded in archdiocese” …His new order will “breathe with both lungs of the church,” East and West, taking its guidance from Pope John Paul II’s pastoral letter “Light from the East,” Father Perrone said. Priests will embrace the Latin and Eastern rites of the church and study the early Desert Fathers and Orthodox spirituality.

“By living fully within the Catholic contemplative tradition at this time in church history, as expressed by both the Eastern and Western Church, the priests and brothers’ way of life will slowly but surely help the Archdiocese of San Francisco to grow in contemplative spirituality,” the 53-year-old founder said…

They live a contemplative life Mon-Fri in an urban monastery and then do “Active Ministry” during the weekend.

Chris Lyford host of Bay Area Catholic interviewed Fr. Vito about the Contemplatives of St. Joseph over the course a week on Immaculate Heart Radio.
The series began 1/30
on 1/30 the interview begins at about minute 11 and resumes again at about min 34. (I listened on Windows Media Player which counts backwards. It’s easier to fast forward there on my computer. On WMP the interview begins at minute 46 and resumes at minute 23.)
1/30 ihrarchive.org/archive/bac-20110130.mp3

2/1 the times are similar

2/2 the start is at min 11 and has only a short interruption resuming at minute 17.

2/3 the times are the same as 2/2 Father Vito and host Chris Lyford speak about Our Lady of Fatima Byz Cath parish, ECCs and “breathing with both lungs” in this segment.

2/7 and 2/8 and 2/9 begin at minute 9 and run straight through for 8 minutes.

I thought I had posted this back when the interview ran but I see I posted it in another forum. Seems like you’re settled with the Carmelites. If not you might consider connecting with Fr. Vito.

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