I have several questions about Eastern Catholicism

No need to answer all of these if you don’t want to

  1. Do Eastern Catholics pray the rosary? Or mainly The Jesus Prayer?
  2. Are there Eastern Catholic saints, and do Eastern Catholics venerate Orthodox saints?
  3. Is the theology influence by Orthodoxy? Can you read the Philokalia?
  4. Do icons truly carry the presence of the figure portrayed, as my priest told me and I’ve read elsewhere?
  5. Are there statues?
  6. Is Mary as central as she is in Latin Catholicism?
  7. Is Thomas Aquinas read?
  8. How much is it influenced by Latin Catholicism, and how much by Eastern Orthodoxy?
  9. Are Americans the awkward minority at Maronite or Ukrainian parishes?
  10. Is there Eucharistic adoration? And chapels for that?
  11. Why should one be an Eastern Catholic in your opinion?
  12. Can one still have statues in addition to icons if they are trying to be loyally Eastern Catholic?
  13. Are there different emphases in spirituality than Latin Catholicism?
  14. Do you find the liturgy more beautiful?

It’s not rare, but the rosary is a Western devotion. When used in the East, it almost always ends up displacing an Eastern devotion

yes and yes

It isn’t “influenced” by Orthodoxy, but is the same.

icons are not paintings, but prayers in their own right, and windows between Heaven and Earth. When we reverence them, we seek to join that prayer. They follow rather strict rules, and also contains instructions.

no, but there’s no problem with an EC liking them.

They just don’t have a place in the church.

probably more so!

not particularly, although he is respected.

too much!

not enough.

not in the parishes I’ve seen

it’s not separate like in the latin rite; it’s an integral part of every Divine Liturgy (“Behold! . . .”)

because the spirituality and liturgy call to your soul.

there jut aren’t statutes. This wouldn’t prevent their personal use

In relative terms, and on the spectrum, the West is more focused on the Paschal Sacrifice (Good Friday), while the East spends more focus on the Resurrection (Pascha)

It all but knocked me off my feet the first time, and echoes in my mind through the week in a way the Mass never did (and I always loved the Mass)


Best response possible!


I agree, thank you @dochawk
May have more questions in the morning. God bless.

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The OF or EF ?

Do Eastern-rite Catholics officially venerate post-schism saints such as Gregory Palamas and Mark of Ephesus?

Yes, we do. The second Sunday of Lent is the feast of Saint Gregory Palamas.

Gregory Palamas is on the calendar but I admit that I’m not particularly fond of him. AFAIK, his theology is not compatible with RC theology.

AFAIK, his theology is not compatible with RC theology

First I would ask: Which strand of Roman Catholic theology? There are several. If you’re thinking primarily in terms of Thomistic, neo-Thomistic, Scholastic, and neo-Scholastic theology, scholars have debated this and come to different opinions. Suffice it to say that I’ve seen both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox scholars in years past who have said that Thomism and Palamism can’t be reconciled; and I’ve seen others who have very much disagreed. :man_shrugging:

Personally I’ll paraphrase Thomas and agree with him: When faced with infinite and eternal mystery, “All that is written is so much straw.”

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Why does it need to be one or the other?


Some do, all should. From the Melkite Horologion:



Does it have to be?



I hesitate to post direct replies after Dochawks excellent post. Nevertheless…

It depends. Many Eastern Catholics pray the rosary, especially in the Syriac traditions (I’m given to understand this is also true among the Syriac Orthodox). The Jesus Prayer is a Byzantine tradition, and not an Eastern tradition per se; although like the rosary it is also prayed in the various other Oriental traditions.

Both. Eastern Catholics have their own saints (St. Charbel and St. Jehosephat come immediately to mind), and we also venerate some Eastern/Oriental saints.

Technically these are two separate questions. As Fr. Taft would point out, our theology is uniquely our own since it is a theology in communion. We are influenced both by our Eastner/Oriental Orthodox roots as well as our communion with Rome.

We can read the Philokalia, yes. But again, this is primarily a Byzantine compilation that has little to no influence on the Oriental traditions. My personal favorite compilation in the Syriac tradition is The Paradise of the Holy Fathers.

It depends. Icons are symbols of the person they represent… but you have to have an Eastern understanding of “symbol”. In an imperfect (or better incomplete) way they do carry the presence of the figure portrayed, but not in the same way as the Eucharist is the presence of Christ.


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There shouldn’t be… but sometimes there are.

Yes. Sometimes even more so. This is especially true in the Maronite tradition, and, I suspect, the other Syriac traditions.

Yes. And to a great extent many Eastern Catholics rely more on his theology than on the theology of their own tradition. This is a prime example of Latinization of the mind. Much better it would be if we studied the writings of Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzus, and the other Eastern Fathers as much as we study Aquinas (brilliant as he is).

Too much by Latin Catholicism. Not enough by our Eastern/Oriental Orthodox counterparts (where there are such counterparts).

Not really… although you will have to be prepared for some cultural differences.

No. We have a different approach to the Eucharist that hasn’t been as influenced by the doubts sowed by Protestant “reformers”.

Because one is called in that direction. Eastern Catholicism presents the Faith in a very different way than Roman Catholicism. If you like a systematic approach to evangelization-one the emphasizes syllogistic truth-then you’ll find a home in Roman Catholicism. If you prefer a more poetic approach to evangelization, then you’ll find a home Eastern Catholicism. Any of our Catholic traditions will draw you to the heights of relationship with God, where ultimately the syllogism, poetry, and art fail and fall silent.


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Sure. Why not? They just don’t have any place in the public worship of the Eastern Churches

Yes. But ultimately these emphases must fall silent before the reality of the Divine presence toward which we strive.

Personally, no. I know that’s a shocker coming from someone who has made the move from West to East, but I think when you examine any liturgical tradition on its own terms you’ll find beauty in all of them. What draws one East instead of West? The same thing that makes some of us like vanilla ice cream better than chocolate: personal preference.

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I’ve attended a single EF.

It was pretty and , but didn’t particularly move me.

Whereas my first Divine Liturgy nearly knocked me off by feed (literally).


Well, one certainly should choose the Liturgy that best meets/nourishes their needs. I totally get that.

When I started going to Mass again after nearly 3 decades, I was fortunate to choose a local Dominican parish that I felt very comfortable with. After a few months I learned of a diocesan EF and the first time I went I felt much the same as you describe your first DL. I was nearly in tears hearing the Polyphony and Chant.

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Doesn’t have to be. I was just curious which form.

Why is that?

Because iconography is deeply embedded into our Eastern mindset and isn’t merely “religious art.” Each icon is a complete theology lesson in itself when one understands how to look at them. To replace our icons with statues would be like cutting the strings off a violin and replacing them with guitar strings. Sure the violin may look fine, and it might still make some sort of music, but it wouldn’t play as beautifully as if it had its own strings.

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