I'm confused...


Please, to my Eastern Catholic brothers and sister, pardon my complete ignorance. As a Roman Rite Catholic, which is what I strictly practice and always have, I find myself becoming very confused when reading up on, and trying to learn, the different Eastern Rites. I.e. the Byzantine Rite, Coptic Rite, Russian Rite, Armenian Rite. I know there are countless different rites. But which “category” those particular churches fall under is where I get extremely confused. For example, I know the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church is a Byzantine rite church. Does that mean it’s Divine Liturgy is the exact same as the Greek and Russian Orthodox church? How many Byzantine rite churches are in Full Communion with Rome? Also, are there many Oriental rites in the Eastern Catholic Communion?

The main liturgies used are listed and most are different translations and in various languages, even when the same one.


So under the banner of the Byzantine Rite, all those particular Churches celebrate the same rite, just in different languages? Like the Ruthenian, Russian, etc? Same rite, different language? Like attending a Roman Rite Mass in Spanish as opposed to English, same Mass just different language.

Generally the churches sui iuris are using the same* basic* liturgies, with various additions and subtractions, and some change of rubrics. These are closest within a particular tradition:


Wow! Interesting!

I would not say. Within Byzantine rite there are Byzantine-Slavic, Byzantine-Greek, and Byzantine-Melkite traditions. Within these traditins there are “redactions” and some redactions have finer structure. Basic liturgies are the same but they differ in some points. It is more about different points than language. Many Slavic Greek-Catholics and also Hungarians use Church Slavonic, often combined with their own language what need not to be language from church’s name (in Slovak GCC are many Ruthenians, some Hungarians etc., Hungarian GCC has many Slavic members and so on). Ruthenian GCC has eparchy in the Ukraine, then Exarchate in Czech republic which is composed of many groups and languages, and there is also the whole Ruthenian metropolia in the USA but in fact this has only Ruthenian roots and is quite English (or sometimes Spanish) speaking. In USA can e. g. Ukrainians, Ruthenians, and others use English so the language is not the mean to distinguish among different sui iuris churches. So it is a little bit complicated. :slight_smile:

But all of this is still one Byzantine rite. When you look to West Syrian family of rites they are really distinct rites like Maronites, Syriacs and Malankarans. These rite are really different, however originating in Antioch (well, Orthodox Syriac and Syro-Malankara are similar but Maronites and Syriacs are not so much). Difference between Chaldeans and Malabarians or Copts and Ethiopians are differences between rites. Differences amongst Greek-Catholic are variations within one Byzantine rite.

By the way, in Latin Church there is not only Roman rite but also Ambrosian, Mosarabic, Bragan… different religious orders’ rites… Anglican Use. And some have more forms, e. g. Roman rite with its ordinary and extraordinary forms. But these are only called rites, now they are similar on level that in fact they are more to be considered variations of one rite (they were romanised).

And one more point: in Roman rite there is in fact just one mass but in Byzantine rite there is Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos, St. Basil the Great, and Presanctified Gifts.

Some of the eastern Catholic churches have a* large *number of eucharistic prayers (called anaphora) that can be used, and which give a name to the liturgy.

To Clarify: The Rite is how the Church aka the People celebrate the Mass, the Heaven on Earth. For example if i go to an Eastern-Orthodox Church because I cant find a Roman Church ill still be celebrating the Mass. This is only the case though if that other Church is considered as Legitimate under the Vatican/Diocese Chancellery.

Not necessarily true; perhaps that is how it works in the Byzantine liturgy, but not in the Syriac Churches. For instance, we use the liturgy of St. James, but we have a choice of the anaphorae of Sts. James, Jacob, Mark, Peter, both Cyrils, and ~67 other anaphorae. If you use the anaphora of St. Sixtus, you’re still using the St. James liturgy.

So Orthodox Jesus becomes Catholic Jesus only when I can’t find other Catholic Jesus? :confused:

Here’s a good (but long) article I found: Some differences between Greek and Russian divine services and their significance. The texts of the services are probably 95% the same but there are some differences between the practices of the national churches due to the particulars of history. Beyond the text, there are different styles of music. For example, here are 2 English recordings of “Lord I call” or “Lord I have cried” (psalm 140) which is sung at Vespers.

Lord I call - tone 1 - Russian/OCA - 4-part harmony
Lord I call - tone 1 - Byzantine - Byzantine chant with ison

I don’t think that’s what they meant. I think they just meant attending the service, not receiving Communion.

that’s actually not quite true. Re Byzantine, you left out the Melkite’s use of the Liturgy of St. James. And you also left out mention of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, which is as different from the normal St John’s as St. John’s is from St. Basil’s.

For the Roman… There is the pontifical mass (hierarchical DL equivalent), then the normal mass, and there are some subtle differences, plus there are 12 approved anaphorae for the Roman Ordinary Form; all of which can be used in either the pontifical or ordinary masses.

Plus, there is the Anglican Use, and the Extraordinary Form (with 4 distinct uses: Low, Sung, Solemn High, Pontifical High), all of which are considered to be part of the Roman Rite.

And then there are the other Western Rites - most visibly, the Mozarabic, Ambrosian, Bragan, and Dominican, but also the various monastic rites which few ever see, each with distinct liturgies, and in the case of at least the Dominican, multiple uses within paralleling the Roman - Low, Sung, and High masses, each with distinct rubrics.

And then, there are some interesting western wierdnesses:
the Dominican Use of the Roman OF Mass is Dominican rite propers used with the Roman Ordinary Form.
The African Use has different rubrics on posture.
The Yupiq use has a couple unique prayers, because certain prayers cannot translate into Yupiq.
The Dalmatian Rite was a spur off the Roman, but using Old Church Slavonic instead of Latin, and dating to the 9th C. It was resynched to the Roman in the 17th C…

I forget St. James’ liturgy but it is used only onca a year (and I think by all Greek-Catholics, not only Melkites). In Roman rite I don’t feel big enough difference between pontifical and “usual” form a probably that’s why I omited it here. In Byzantine liturgies this difference is more marcant but still it seems to be as a “variation” within one type of liturgy.

Pontifical mass seems to be quite similar when it is in OF of Roman rite. And anaphoras are (at least in West) just a few words which do not change type of mass, at least as I feel it.

Well, I should have written “Roman rite as it is now and this pure rite and not its uses.”

I reall meant only Roman rite, not other rites in Latin family of rites (or how to tell it).

Some of these rite were different but now they are quite romanized. Most of monastic rites are according to my opinion in fact just “uses” with too “glorious” name of rite, but Dominicans are exception from this. On the other hand I don’t think that changing a few rubrics make another “type of mass”. When I see St. Basil’s and St. James’ (but real St. James’) liturgy, I can see they are different liturgies and I don’t need to understand or compare anything becuase it is to be seen.

Maybe I should make my “vocabulary” more clear:

  • different masses / liturgies: like St. James’ and St. Basil’s - I can see the difference with no knowledge of language, rubrics… it is clear;
  • variations within one tipe of mass: a) sung or low mass, b) “ordinary” and pontifical liturgy (if not different too much).

Sorry, I got lost…

Interesting, could you state more?

I have also read that Latin mass in Greek language does not have “Filoque” because in Greek it’s impossible to tell it in a way which would not be heresy even for Catholics (and adding the whole sentence to explain it would be strange and to large addition).

Once I was told that Basks are quite matriarchal and so some prayers which focus on God to much as on the father are artificial in Bask language and it is better if they are rewritten in “parent” mode instead of “father” mode and in fact “mother” mode would be the most confottable for their language. But I don’t know if this is really true, I don’t speak Bask, just a little Catalan what is enormously huge difference.
Is someone here aware of language where “father” in prayers is strange and “mother” would be working much better? And how is it handled?

Was it different like Roman-Byzantine or like Roman-Ambrosian or like Roman-OPraem (which are in fact nearly the same)?

The Dominican Use of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Missal is, aside from the calendar and propers, the Roman OF mass. It uses translations of the Domiican prefaces and changeable prayers (Opening prayer, closing prayer), as well as the Dominican festal calendar (which is very slightly different from the Roman EF calendar). And a few minor rubrical changes.

The irony of your comments about the Mozarabic Rite is that the Dominican Rite is literally just the Roman Missal of 1200 with a slightly different calendar, while the Mozarabic has considerable small structural differences. (The Dominicans are forbidden to change the rubrics of the missal - they are allowed to add propers, but cannot alter the ordinary nor rubrics of the missal.)

As for the Yupik, ISTR that the Our Father is poetically translated due to an inability to be literally translated, and the Creed has similar issues. I don’t speak/read/write Yupik, so it’s not first-hand knowledge. That said, there are other rubrical differences (such as the permission for use of biblical themed Yupik dance during/as the offeratory and the post-communion hymn).

As for St James, I’ve not seen evidence of it being used by the Ruthenians.

As for uses in general, the Pontifical OF mass is much closer to the normal use than in the Byzantine rite. The Roman anaphorae differ more than the anaphorae in the Byzantine rite, and unlike the Byzantine, which one is used is a decision of the celebrant.

Now, the Maronites and Chaldeans have a large number of Anaphorae as well… but which is used is much more regulated than the Roman.

So I would imagine for Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox parishioners, it would be hard to “memorize” the responses during Divine Liturgy. Most of us Roman Rite Catholics pretty much have all the responses of the Mass memorized. If they use different Liturgical Rites within each particular church, I would imagine it would be hard.

Again, my dear Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters, please excuse my ignorance. I know almost nothing about the Eastern Rites. I’m really interested in learning more about them. Where I’m at, we only have one Catholic parish, and it’s a Latin Rite church. Nothing wrong with that, I am a Latin Rite Catholic through and through, but I also have much interest in the Eastern Catholic Rites.

The Ordinary of the two main Byzantine liturgies are in fact so much alike that the same pewbook can be used.

Now, if you go to the DL of St. John at a Ruthenian parish, and then at a Melkite, the translations into English are different, and the Melkites have trimmed far less from St. John’s full version; also, one set of responses by the people in the Melkite are done only by the deacons in the Ruthenian. But the people’s responses are easily memorized, and almost identical. Close enough that a Melkite at a Ruthenian parish can easily participate, and vice versa. And the Russian Recensions (Pre-Nikonian, and Nikonian) are close enough that many Russian Orthodox don’t notice that the parish is Ruthenian and Catholic… except for the papal commemorations, and sometimes, not even then.

The differences between St John and St Basil, in current use, are in the magnification and irmos hymns (St John replaces them much of the time with a singular theotokion), and the priest’s texts of the anaphora (St. John trimmed them considerably), and one or two other responses being repeated. Really, they aren’t that different. They are about as different as the Extraordinary Form Sung mass versus High Mass.

I can’t speak to the DL of St James, since I’ve never experienced it.

Forgive us if we lose you in technical issues…

From the outside, you’d have a hard time telling the Melkite St. Basil from the Ruthenian St. John, except by looking at your watch (and noticing the hour difference in length), or comparing the two side by side.

By the same token, many Orthodox and cradle Byzantine Catholics have trouble telling the difference between the various Roman uses - the Anglican mass (Catholic, Episcopal, or CoE) is quite close to its Roman parent rite. The Lutheran Mass is likewise close enough that those not familiar with the Roman will see it as Roman - and most romans know the responses by heart.

The Chaldeans have three Anaphorae, but yes, their use is regulated by the calendar. The Maronites have quite few Anahporae printed for use, but they’re rather fluid, mainly depending on the celebrant’s choice. The Syriacs also have a number of Anaphorae, but aside from certain days when St James is mandated, their use is also rather fluid.

Keep in mind that most people go to one parish for the vast majority of their church attendance. Whatever variation used at one’s home parish would be the one they end up memorizing.

So true. Plus, to be quite frank, Eastern Christians generally spend a lot more time being catechized in proper liturgy. I’m not a particularly soft individual but my heart melts when I hear the four year olds who know all the liturgy responses and hear of children being excited for vespers.

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