Is this where I would post questions about the Byzantine rite?


#1

I’ve been attending a Byzantine rite at a local church. I dont know any of the people there very well, but I’d like to see how I could learn more.

Is this the place in CAF where would I post questions on the Byzantine Rite?

Thanks and Blessings!

wm


#2

Broadly speaking, yes. This is the place wherein questions concerning Catholic Churches that use other rites, Eastern or otherwise, are asked. Welcome! :slight_smile:


#3

Thank you… I’ll just put all my questions out there… People can answer as they see fit…

1.) I guess my first question is - is the Byzantine Rite an Eastern Rite? I don’t think it is, but…? :confused:

2.) Next, I’ve been attending this service for about a year now, and I can sing all the parts pretty well, but I’m still trying to figure out what they are doing at each part. As pertains the structure of the mass, terms like the following keep recurring:

Troparion
Kontakion
Prokeimenon

and others…

What are those songs?

3.) Next, their Liturgical Calendar differs from the Roman Rite; is there a place I could find out how to read the Byzantine Liturgical Calendar? So I can know what they’re doing better…

4.) Next, a portion of their service seems based around the icons - at least the one before the altar changes each week, so I am wondering why this is? And, if there is a way I can know what these icons are going to be, and what they are about? I like icons a lot, so I would like to know as much as possible.

5.) The folks at the mass I attend sing pretty much the whole mass. But - well, I dont know that they are the best singers… It’s not that they dont do what they are supposed to be doing, but - I’m a musician, and sometimes I get frustrated when they dont keep good time or they dont hit the notes right… On the other hand, I have heard that - if done right - the Byzantine Rite can be one of the most beautiful masses of all, so I am wondering if there is like a musical resource I could turn to, so I can hear what this stuff is really supposed to sound like.

6.) Lastly, I like a lot of what they do, but some things leave me wondering. They admit they are not orthodox, but they say they have the Blessings of the Vatican in their practice, so I go. Yet they have babies attending communion. I’m not judging them here, but it leaves me wondering about what to do when unorthodox practices begin to depart from traditional Roman teachings. I mean, I am a Roman Catholic, so I dont know how I am supposed to respond to some of those differences that seem foreign to me.

I hope people can understand and appreciate my questions, and I hope they havent offended anyone. I try to respect people’s religious sensibilities, and I really do enjoy learning about new cultures, especially within our Catholic faith. It’s just I’ve been going to this mass for a year or so now, and I still dont know what I am doing (as compared to the ordinary Roman Catholic mass I grew up with).

Okay, I’ll hush up now.

Thank you for listening to me.
God Bless,

wm


#4

[quote="William777, post:3, topic:299687"]
Thank you... I'll just put all my questions out there... People can answer as they see fit...

1.) I guess my first question is - is the Byzantine Rite an Eastern Rite? I don't think it is, but...? :confused:

2.) Next, I've been attending this service for about a year now, and I can sing all the parts pretty well, but I'm still trying to figure out what they are doing at each part. As pertains the structure of the mass, terms like the following keep recurring:

Troparion
Kontakion
Prokeimenon

and others...

What are those songs?

3.) Next, their Liturgical Calendar differs from the Roman Rite; is there a place I could find out how to read the Byzantine Liturgical Calendar? So I can know what they're doing better...

4.) Next, a portion of their service seems based around the icons - at least the one before the altar changes each week, so I am wondering why this is? And, if there is a way I can know what these icons are going to be, and what they are about? I like icons a lot, so I would like to know as much as possible.

5.) The folks at the mass I attend sing pretty much the whole mass. But - well, I dont know that they are the best singers... It's not that they dont do what they are supposed to be doing, but - I'm a musician, and sometimes I get frustrated when they dont keep good time or they dont hit the notes right... On the other hand, I have heard that - if done right - the Byzantine Rite can be one of the most beautiful masses of all, so I am wondering if there is like a musical resource I could turn to, so I can hear what this stuff is really supposed to sound like.

6.) Lastly, I like a lot of what they do, but some things leave me wondering. They admit they are not orthodox, but they say they have the Blessings of the Vatican in their practice, so I go. Yet they have babies attending communion. I'm not judging them here, but it leaves me wondering about what to do when unorthodox practices begin to depart from traditional Roman teachings. I mean, I am a Roman Catholic, so I dont know how I am supposed to respond to some of those differences that seem foreign to me.

I hope people can understand and appreciate my questions, and I hope they havent offended anyone. I try to respect people's religious sensibilities, and I really do enjoy learning about new cultures, especially within our Catholic faith. It's just I've been going to this mass for a year or so now, and I still dont know what I am doing (as compared to the ordinary Roman Catholic mass I grew up with).

Okay, I'll hush up now.

Thank you for listening to me.
God Bless,

wm

[/quote]

Yes, Byzantine is eastern.

The Byzantine Calendar is here:

byzcath.org/index.php/resources-mainmenu-63/2012-liturgical-calendar

And here:

metropolitancantorinstitute.org/LiturgicalCalendar.html

The feasts have associated icons, so they are placed out on those times.

Look at this site CNEWA which describes the eastern Catholic ritual churches:

cnewa.org/default.aspx?ID=123&pagetypeID=9&sitecode=HQ&pageno=1


#5

That is the ancient practice of the Church and Rome allows them to continue this ancient practice. First Communion (of older children) is relatively new in comparison to allowing baptized infants to commune. Infants are baptized and Chrismated (Confirmed) on the same day by the priest. After which, they began partaking of the Eucharist during the Divine Liturgy (the Mass). St Augustine attests to this fact:

They are infants, but they are made members of Him. They are infants, but they receive His sacraments. They are infants, but they become partakers of His table, so that they may have life. - St Augustine of Hippo, Works, Vol. 5, Sermon 174:7

And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper life, than that which is written: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven;” and “The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world;” and “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye shall have no life in you?” If, therefore, as so many and such divine witnesses agree, neither salvation nor eternal life can be hoped for by any man without baptism and the Lord’s body and blood, it is vain to promise these blessings to infants without them. Moreover, if it be only sins that separate man from salvation and eternal life, there is nothing else in infants which these sacraments can be the means of removing, but the guilt of sin… - St Augustine of Hippo, On the Forgiveness of Sins and the Baptism of Infants, Bk. I, ch. 33


#6

Without seeing the church itself I can only guess. I would guess you are referring to the festal icon on the analogia. There are normally two additional holy icons on additional analogia. On the south (right side facing the holy place/altar) is Christ, and on the north (left) is the Mother of God and Christ. We venerate these when we enter the church and again when we leave.

5.) The folks at the mass I attend sing pretty much the whole mass. But - well, I dont know that they are the best singers… It’s not that they dont do what they are supposed to be doing, but - I’m a musician, and sometimes I get frustrated when they dont keep good time or they dont hit the notes right… On the other hand, I have heard that - if done right - the Byzantine Rite can be one of the most beautiful masses of all, so I am wondering if there is like a musical resource I could turn to, so I can hear what this stuff is really supposed to sound like.

Fr Loya’s parish is a Ruthenian/Byzantine parish. Here is their Theosis CD

Here is he Trisagion as it would be sung in my parish, although we usually sing two or more repetitions in Church Slavonic. This is an Orthodox choir but we sing the same music.

The Orientale Lumen Conference this summer was on the theme “Theology of the Laity.” I highly recommend Sr Vassa Larin’s presentation on the topic of active participation of the laity in the Byzantine Liturgical rite.

6.) Lastly, I like a lot of what they do, but some things leave me wondering. They admit they are not orthodox, but they say they have the Blessings of the Vatican in their practice, so I go. Yet they have babies attending communion. I’m not judging them here, but it leaves me wondering about what to do when unorthodox practices begin to depart from traditional Roman teachings. I mean, I am a Roman Catholic, so I dont know how I am supposed to respond to some of those differences that seem foreign to me.

Zekariya has responded to this issue of infant communion.
These difference are foreign to you because you are used to an entirely separate and distinct Church, the Latin Church. We grew from entirely different cultures in separated empires. You seem to be drawn to this Liturgy. So attend and give Glory to God and receive His grace. :slight_smile:

I hope people can understand and appreciate my questions, and** I hope they havent offended anyone.** I try to respect people’s religious sensibilities, and I really do enjoy learning about new cultures, especially within our Catholic faith. It’s just I’ve been going to this mass for a year or so now, and I still dont know what I am doing (as compared to the ordinary Roman Catholic mass I grew up with).

Okay, I’ll hush up now.

Thank you for listening to me.
God Bless,

wm

Genuine questions could never be offensive. :slight_smile: Many of us have come into this section with little background in the Eastern Catholic Churches and been assisted in learning more. Looking at the EC Section Guidelines which are posted at the topic of this Section of the Forum can help you know how to respectfully explore here.

You have been going a long time to have not asked these questions of the priest or deacon or parishioners. I encourage you to ask them your questions. Try not to figure out how this would fit into the Catholic world view you have grown up with. Just try to take in what you experience there.

Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Divine Liturgy (what you are calling Mass). The article had dozens of links to details. St. Elias Ukrainian Church parish has much helpful information in their Church Etiquette.


#7

Welcome to the Eastern Catholicism Section. :slight_smile:

The Byzantine liturgical rite is one of the liturgical rites of some Orthodox, and of some Eastern Catholic Churches. Vico may chime in with the other four rites of the 22 Eastern and Oriental Catholic Churches. :slight_smile: (The Roman Rite Mass you say you grew up with is one of the liturgical rites of the Latin Church. The Ambrosian Rite is another liturgical rite of the Latin Church.)

2.) Next, I’ve been attending this service for about a year now, and I can sing all the parts pretty well, but I’m still trying to figure out what they are doing at each part. As pertains the structure of the mass, terms like the following keep recurring:

Troparion
Kontakion
Prokeimenon

and others…

What are those songs?

While most of the Divine Liturgy is the same day to day, the Troparion and Kontakion are hymns that are specific to the saint or saints commemorated that day, or in the case of a Feast day then to the Feast day. The Prokeimenon is a section of a psalm, or a canticle which the reader and the people chant antiphonally introducing the Epistle reading. It follows the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy Mighty…)

The text and tones are specified in liturgical books. The choir director doesn’t decide what will be the Prokeimenon today.

3.) Next, their Liturgical Calendar differs from the Roman Rite; is there a place I could find out how to read the Byzantine Liturgical Calendar? So I can know what they’re doing better…

In this case are you now referring to the “Byzantine Catholic Church in America”, which is the Ruthenian Church in America? Vico and ByzCathCantor are I believe both members of the Byzantine Church and can better answer that for you.

Most Eastern Catholic, and Orthodox, parishes will provide a 12 month wall calendar to parishoners at the end of the calendar year. This is usual in the Latin Church as well. On the calendar for our Church we can find the specifics about fasting for the day, what saints our Church is commemorating that day, the Twelve Great Feasts of our Liturgical year, and the scripture readings for Divine Liturgy that day. These are very useful for us. You can ask at the parish you are attending if they happen to still have any of these calendars, and if so ask can you have one.


#8

[quote="William777, post:3, topic:299687"]
4.) Next, a portion of their service seems based around the icons - at least the one before the altar changes each week, so I am wondering why this is? And, if there is a way I can know what these icons are going to be, and what they are about? I like icons a lot, so I would like to know as much as possible.

[/quote]

Without seeing the church itself I can only guess. I would guess you are referring to the festal icon on the analogia in the center of the church. There are normally two additional holy icons on additional analogia, closer to the iconostasis. On the south (right side facing the holy place/altar) is Christ, and on the north (left) is the Mother of God and Christ. We venerate these when we enter the church and again when we leave.

5.) The folks at the mass I attend sing pretty much the whole mass. But - well, I dont know that they are the best singers... It's not that they dont do what they are supposed to be doing, but - I'm a musician, and sometimes I get frustrated when they dont keep good time or they dont hit the notes right... On the other hand, I have heard that - if done right - the Byzantine Rite can be one of the most beautiful masses of all, so I am wondering if there is like a musical resource I could turn to, so I can hear what this stuff is really supposed to sound like.

Fr Loya's parish is a Ruthenian/Byzantine parish. Here is their Theosis CD

Here is the Trisagion as it would be sung in my parish, although we usually sing two or more repetitions in Church Slavonic. This is an Orthodox choir but we sing the same music.

The Orientale Lumen Conference this summer was on the theme “Theology of the Laity.” I highly recommend Sr Vassa Larin's presentation on the topic of active participation of the laity in the Byzantine Liturgical rite.

6.) Lastly, I like a lot of what they do, but some things leave me wondering. They admit they are not orthodox, but they say they have the Blessings of the Vatican in their practice, so I go. Yet they have babies attending communion. I'm not judging them here, but it leaves me wondering about what to do when unorthodox practices begin to depart from traditional Roman teachings. I mean, I am a Roman Catholic, so I dont know how I am supposed to respond to some of those differences that seem foreign to me.

Zekariya has responded to this issue of infant communion.
These differences naturally are foreign to you because you are used to an entirely separate and distinct Church, the Latin Church. We grew from entirely different cultures in separated empires. You seem to be drawn to this Liturgy. So attend and give Glory to God and receive His grace. :)

I hope people can understand and appreciate my questions, and** I hope they havent offended anyone.** I try to respect people's religious sensibilities, and I really do enjoy learning about new cultures, especially within our Catholic faith. It's just I've been going to this mass for a year or so now, and I still dont know what I am doing (as compared to the ordinary Roman Catholic mass I grew up with).

Okay, I'll hush up now.

Thank you for listening to me.
God Bless,

wm

Genuine questions could never be offensive. :) Many of us have come into this section with little background in the Eastern Catholic Churches and been assisted in learning more. Looking at the EC Section Guidelines which are posted at the top of this Section of the Forum can help you know how to respectfully explore here.

You have been going a long time to that parish to have not asked these questions of the priest or deacon or parishioners. :) I encourage you to ask them your questions. Try not to figure out how this would fit into the Catholic world view you have grown up with. Just try to take in what you experience there.

Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Divine Liturgy (what you are calling Mass). The article had dozens of links to details. St. Elias Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church parish has much helpful information in their Church Etiquette and other sections.


#9

Hi William.

They meant that they’re not Orthodox. In other words, they belong to the Catholic Church, not the Orthodox Church.


#10

As someone else said genuine questions asked in the fashion the OP did could never been as offensive because they are asked with a real spirit of wishing to learn and admitting one’s own knowledge is incomplete. This is true for all of us with regards to so many things that questions phrased in the way the OP has done show a spirit of humility and many people have provided good and informative answers. I do not have much to add but I might point out that members of Eastern Churches have a canonical right in regards to their children receiving the Eucharist in Roman Catholic Churches.

As pointed out when they say not Orthodox they meant they are not Eastern Orthodox, however they follow many traditions that are similar (as did we in the west as well for many centuries - some of these were changed for particular reasons in the west that did not apply in the east) and in many of the Eastern Catholic Churches baptism, chrismation (confimation) and the eucharist are given as sacraments to infants at one point. For Roman Catholics this can come as a bit of a shock and I have seen several colleagues and friends do a double take when they are made aware of it. My father was not aware of it until well into his 60’s and he couldn’t handle it at first till I managed to find him some resources explaining the history behind it and showing how the eucharist was given to infants for many centuries in the west as well. Really it was more Mrs. Carnelian who is a member of an Orthodox Church who managed to explain it as she is more pragmatic than I and if she says something he tends to resonate more on her wavelength as I am more of a person who is inclined to debate endlessly than either - sometimes just for the sake of it, which is a major weakness of mine.

As I have commented repeatedly knowledge about the other Churches in communion with Rome is sadly lacking at times among we Roman Catholics. This is a shame and yet when people ask honest questions based wishing to learn more like the OP it is our duty where we know that little more (and MUCH more in the case of many posters here) to try and help people along.


#11

First I commend you for finding and falling in love with the rites of the East. I attend when I am able, even though I usually go to the EF at one of the local parishes near me.

Just a couple of comments regarding your posting.

As a musician you know that the metre of music was not always as rigid as it is with modern musical notation. The hymns of the Liturgy are far older than modern notation, and have always been subject to local interpretation. The same is true with Gregorian Chant,

Communion of infants and children is not just an Eastern Rite phenomina. While it probably occured in the Early Church it was also common in Latino/Hispanic communities until recently. Many places in the Hispanic world had an indult which allowed the priest to baptize confirm and give first holy communion to infants all at once. In most cases it was due to the large territories of these priests, who sometimes could not get to their faithful in a reasonable time. With high infant mortality the Holy See felt it was good for the soul to provide these sacraments to the infant, should he or she not survive until the next visit by the priest. Often if a child was in danger of death, even an infant, priests in Hispanic communities would also give the viaticum, even when a child had not recieved first holy communion. Remember that the problems that existed in the West, including the Protestant denial of the nature of the Eucharist did not exist in the East, so the practices sometimes differ. The East did not have to protect the Eucharist from the same insults as the West, and they kept the older practices of infant and children receiving.


#12

Exactly and this provides good historical background. I actually would love one day to see infant communion restored throughout the Church but I understand right now this would be very difficult and those of in the west must obey the specific disciplines we should adhere to. Although as the last poster’s examples show even there in certain situations and with permission infant reception of the Eucharist is possible.


#13

Greek chant is actually metered in general. The texts are all metered, and the neumes have a base time value, which can be altered to make half value, third value, quarter value, double value, triple value, and quadruple value notes.


#14

Thank you for all the responses. :slight_smile:

This is a lot to digest, so please forgive me if I don’t respond to everything appropriately right away.

My Grandmother was Slovakian, and my Mom used to go to the Byzantine mass with her when she was young. My Mom had a bad accident about two years ago, which is when I had occasion to start frequenting this mass, so I think maybe my Grandmother is watching out for me.

I think what I might do is share this post and these comments with the Deacon at the church. He’s a pretty nice guy, and - along with the Priests - he’s been one of the more responsive people to my presence there. I think he will be able to fill me in on some of these details we have covered.

I do have one more question though. I’ve been trying to find a “novena” to say to my guardian angel - specifically a hymn to listen to for nine days… I found this on YouTube…

youtube.com/embed/4gkHkXm6_WA

This doesn’t sound like what they sing in church at all. It sounds a lot older. But, anyway, I just wondered if it is a good song to listen to in honor of our Guardian Angels? Trying to understand it in honor of my Guardian Angel is what I am calling the prayer’s intention.

Thanks for all the wonderful replies! You have given me lots to think about.
:slight_smile:

wm


#15

Now… you see… it’s stuff like that which is why I asked…

So I should be venerating those icons when I arrive and leave…Okay… I can do that… :slight_smile:

Additionally, the church itself is actually a regular old Roman Catholic church. It’s a small, semi-stark chapel, as they don’t have a very big following. The Byzantine group is a “mission church” - they are a sort of traveling group that uses other people’s facilities. They bring in a whole bunch of stuff to redecorate the place - lots of icons and what not, and this is how they make the chapel (at least temporarily) into a Byzantine church.

The analogia sounds like the right description for the icon at the center. Its good to know how the changing of this icon parallels the changing of the Troparion and Kontakion… which can also be traced to the liturgical calendar.

That should help immensely.

Thank you again!
:wink:

wm


#16

FYI - the analogia can take a few different forms, but in the churches self-styled as “Byzantine Catholic”, the festal icon is normally placed on a table called a tetrapod (as it is customarily four-legged). It sounds like this is what you have described.

Mission parishes can provide very rewarding experiences. I grew up in a mission parish, and look back quite fondly on those days.

Welcome to the EC sub-forum!


#17

How come the Latin rite of the Catholic church and the Western Orthodox Anthiocan rite uses unleavened wafer bread during Holy Communion? Why does the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic church use leavened bread during communion?


#18

We’ve always used leavened bread as far as anyone can remember. The guess here is that during the Apostolic time they didn’t care which type of bread they used, whether it was leavened or not. Some traditions eventually formalized which type to use at some point. The Latin Rite actually was using leavened before switching exclusively to unleavened.


#19

[quote="Godknowswhy, post:17, topic:299687"]
How come the Latin rite of the Catholic church and the Western Orthodox Anthiocan rite uses unleavened wafer bread during Holy Communion? Why does the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic church use leavened bread during communion?

[/quote]

Leavened bread is the long standing tradition from ancient times in the eastern Apostolic churches. The belief, based upon scriptures, is that Our Lord used leavened bread at Passover while instituting the Eucharist, but the priests celebrated the Passover a day later to crucify Christ not on the Passover. There is some leeway in declaring which day to use for Passover where is is based upon observation of the crescent Moon, which is how it was done then.

Also, the Leavened bread represents the gift of thanksgiving to God:
Moreover leaves of leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanks, which is offered for peace offerings: Of which one shall be offered to the Lord for firstfruits, and shall be the priest's that shall pour out the blood of the victim.
Leviticus 7:13-14


#20

Your parish must not use Byzantine Chant. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the Eastern Catholic Church in America commonly known as the Byzantine Catholic Church (that would be the Ruthenian Catholic Church), doesn’t use Byzantine Chant, which is a chanting tradition foreign to the peoples descended from the Rus’.


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