Just Attended My First Eastern Liturgy

Dear Eastern Catholicism Forums,
I just attended my first Eastern Liturgy today and I am amazed how much it’s fed me spiritually. It’s a never-ending grace and it felt like the prayer I’ve been needing since I last attended a Latin Mass a few months ago.

Would like to learn more about the Eastern liturgy!

I spoke to a good friend of mine, a youth minister at my parish, about the history of the Catholic Church and the Eastern division. Essentially it’s an orthodox church that manages itself without allegiance to the pope.

Can someone give me more information on the following statements? Perhaps some doctrines, articles or history to support or disprove it.

The Catholic Church did not forbid marriage until 200 years when Jesus Christ instituted the celebration of the Mass.

Peter, the first pope, was married.

The Catholic Church, as founded by Jesus Christ of Nazareth, bore the sign of the cross originally as from the top, bottom, right to left. The congregation did in fact perceive this blessing as from top, bottom, left to right.

The Eastern Church brought the sung Mass into the western liturgy. Prior to that, the Latin Rite did not have any “songs” that we now hear.

What are the origins of “Kyrie Eleison” “Christe Eleison” ?

Did the Eastern church have any say in the Council of Trent?

Does the Eastern Church disbelieve in the immaculate conception?

Explain the belief of the “risen Christ” and the “crucified Christ” that the west believes.

Does the eastern Church believe that we are in our glorified body? Will Christ return for them? How exactly does that work and differ from the protestants? From my understanding, the Eastern Church is essentially stuck at the 1050s (correct me if I’m wrong).

It sounds like your friend mistook Eastern Catholicism for Eastern Orthodoxy. This is not an accurate description of Eastern Catholicism.

Eastern Catholic Churches are in full communion with the Pope, unlike the Orthodox.

Do you mean the Latin Church’s restriction of priests to celibacy? That’s a discipline that developed in the West, but it isn’t required even for them.

Yes, he was. Everyone agrees on that. What’s there to discuss?

Yes, it was. There’s been a lot of controversy on how to make the Sign of the Cross through the centuries. The west’s development of going right then left is guessed to be the laity mirroring the priest when he blessed them.

The Eastern Catholic Churches ascribe to the Immaculate Conception. The theological understanding and explanation is different, but the core dogma as the west would say is agreed on.

Thank you for your reply, CDB1718! It looks like I had a typo there! But yes I agree and I’d hate to give my friend a bad name. He had also stated the same as you.

Ah! The internet.

Could you give me more information about this discipline in response to clause #1?

About clerical celibacy being a discipline of the west?



The Eastern Church brought the sung Mass into the western liturgy. Prior to that, the Latin Rite did not have any “songs” that we now hear.

What are the origins of “Kyrie Eleison” “Christe Eleison” ?

Did the Eastern church have any say in the Council of Trent?

Clause 4:
Wrong. Roman Chant has existed as far back as the Roman Church has. It evolved into Gregorian chant, but has its roots in the same Hebraic Liturgical Chants as the Byzantines, Syrians, Chaldeans, Armenians, and Alexandrians. And from the same sources - Hebrews amongst the faithful.

Rome has opted, for most of the second millenium and all we have seen of the third, to allow non-chanted liturgies.

We know that the “modern” Roman Divine Worship Service (Mass) form in general was in existence by about 800, tho’ some specifics changed with Vatican II, and there was evolution since; we know also that the form in the 400’s was closer to but not identical to the Byzantine. We know it was chanted. We know it was different from the 800’s mass. We don’t know the full text… because the surviving texts are incomplete. It also was still mixed greek and latin. Further, we know that the 6th Century pope, St. Gregory, revised the missal.

Clause 5:
They’re greek for “Lord, have mercy” and “Christ, Have Mercy”
In the same way, “Amen” (אָמֵן) is hebrew and aramic for “so be it” or “It is truth”.
Alleluia (הללו יה) is Hebrew slang for “Praise Jahweh”…

Clause 6:
The only Eastern Rite Churches in union at the time were the Italo-Albanians and the Maronites. (The Ukrainians came into union just a bit later.) I don’t know if they were actively involved.

Don’t say with such trolling words.
These are the facts:
Up to the reign of Charlemagne(8th century), church of Rome used Antiochian liturgy. That is exactly the same liturgy used by syriac orthodox church of Antioch now. Charlemagne reformed everything such as liturgy, created the document ‘donation of constantine’, started ‘Peter’s pence’. There are different reasons for this. Arabs have started conquering the lands with the support of syriac churches. Syriac churches of Antioch (non-chalcedonians) were flourishing with the help of the caliphate.

Note fhat the Nestorian, Byzantine and Armenian Liturgies are derived from that of Antioch.


The liturgical rite of the Jerusalem Church (liturgy of st james) became the foundation of the worship form and practice of these new churches from Antioch to Rome and beyond. Upon this foundation developed the forms, practices and music that became recognizable as the Western rites.

It is an anachronism to assume that the Ukrainian Church was out of communion with Rome before the treaty of union. We maintained unity with both East and West who were in the process of schisming from each other while we were in the process of being converted to Christianity. The Ukrainian Church was instrumental in the Council of Florence, putting forward a dual unity which we lived until it became obvious that we had to choose a side. Some of the Ukrainians chose Rome while others chose Moscow. Those who chose Rome continued to affirm the unity that they had from the time of the Baptism of Rus’ by signing the Union of Brest.

Did the Eastern church have any say in the Council of Trent?

Like the other Eastern Catholic Churches, we did not have a presence at the Council of Trent. I haven’t studied it well enough to know if any Eastern Church had a presence, but if there was one, it was not influential. The council’s main topics were limited to western world issues like reform of the Mass, western theology, and dealing with Protestantism. Whether or not the council was ecumenical or local has long been disputed. Pope Paul III went on to affirm that the decrees, like those regarding infant communion and clerical celibacy, did not apply to the Eastern Catholics.

A few years later, the implementation of these ideals was not so cut and dry with many treating the East like a less-than-perfect stepping stone to being Latin Catholics, so the Ukrainians had them put it in writing before affirming continued unity.

9.—That the marriages of priests remain intact, except for bigamists.

This assurance was sadly disregarded in the United States where we were told we were not allowed to have married men ordained to the priesthood or married priests serving the faithful or even widowed priests pastoring parishes. It’s a pattern that was duplicated in the last couple years in Italy’s relationship with the Romanian Catholic Church. :frowning:

Documents only tell a small part of the story.

The Ukrainian Church was not formally in union until the 1590’s… and the documentary evidence is pretty clear that the stated praxis of the time was officially non-communion, much as the case is now for the Antiochians and the Melkites…

But, without full visible communion, no participation in council would have been allowed. And saying that the Ukrainians were in communion with Rome at the time of trent is as much or more of an anachronism.

The Maronites and Italo-Albainians were, at the time of Trent, in full visible communion.

1: The Catholic Church never forbade marriage! Clerical celibacy is part of both the Western and Eastern traditions in different ways. Neither tradition is wrong.

2: The New Testament mentions Peter’s mother-in-law. Therefore logically he was married at some point in his life. In principle he could have been a widower by the time he became an Apostle, but in any case the tradition of episcopal celibacy did not take shape right away. Celibacy is an evangelical council, quite appropriate for bishops and indeed for priests and deacons also, but it is not inherently necessary for those ministries. The different parts of the Catholic Church have developed their own policies on the matter over time, balancing Christ’s (and St. Paul’s) recommendation of celibacy with other concerns.

3: The original sign of the cross was probably a small sign made on the forehead, as is retained in anointings and so forth. It has evolved from there. First it was extended to the shoulders and body in both East and West. Then both East and West evolved separately from there. In the West the order in which the shoulders were touched reversed, probably originally from laypeople mirror-imaging the priest at mass. In the East they changed from using two fingers to three, and suffered a heck of a controversy in the process at least in Russia.

4: I’ve never heard anything like this before.

5: The Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy) was originally used as a Greek-language litany in both East and West. I don’t know where it first originated, but I believe it was in the West that the variation “Christe eleison” (“Christ have mercy”) was added and the litany was eventually shortened to the prayer we know today. I often think that when the Roman liturgy was translated from Latin to English the Greek of the Kyrie should have been retained, but of course it’s not up to me.

6: There were Eastern Catholic bishops at that time, but I’ve never heard if any of them were actually present at the council. Even if they were not it does not change the fact that Trent was an ecumenical council.

7: Eastern Christians generally avoid that term, though an Eastern Catholic like any Catholic could not, in principle, reject the underlying dogma without heresy.

8: I don’t understand this “clause”. Both West and East believe in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

9: I don’t understand this one either. Eastern Christians often put great emphasis on sanctification in this life, but that does not negate belief in the Second Coming or the general resurrection.

A hard and fast date of when the Churches were in and out of communion cannot be established. The only thing that can be established is a point from which the Churches were clearly in continuing communion or, sadly, out of it.

The Ukrainians participated in the Western Councils of Lyon (1245) and Constance (1418) and the Union of Florence (1439). It is not inconceivable that they would participate in Trent, but there was a lot of internal chaos in Ukraine at the time. The lack of other Eastern representation at Trent is obvious, but the Ukrainians were also addressing Protestantism at the time and would have been an asset to the ecumenical nature and approach of the Church’s response.

You can find examples of old roman chant on YouTube. It sounds very byzantine :slight_smile:

I have such an issue with the explanation of the Roman Church originally signing right to left but then, due to a silly misunderstanding, signing was reversed to left to right. It seems an anecdotal and mythological explanation at best; the Syriac Orthodox also signs left to right. Did they just make the same silly mistake? I think it would make more sense if a hierarch in one of the churches wanted to distinguish themselves from the Greeks or they applied a different theological formula from signing left to right and thus advocated the populace change. Anyway, my point is other speculation can be made that makes more sense; where is the historic proof that it changed because of this mirroring of the priest?

I’m sure, as you are, that during the controversies of the day, these subtle differences allowed one to distinguish themselves from those who were of another group. Today, they evolved to variations on Tradition.

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