May I go to a Greek Orthodox Mass?

I am completely able to go to a Catholic Mass however may I go to a Greek Orthodox Mass to experience the Divine Liturgy? Will it fufill my Sunday Obligation? I understand I will not be able to recieve the Eucharist.

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You can certainly attend a GO Divine Liturgy (they do not call it Mass) to see what it is like.

You might consider the Greek Catholic Divine Liturgy instead. They are in union with Rome and you can fully participate.


An Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy would, but not Orthodox liturgies.

Correct. The GO do not allow it.


It will not fulfill your Sunday obligation, the only time it might is if you were in an area where no Catholic Church could be reached and for many here that’s an unlikely possibility.

And rightly so from their perspective, I remember being at a Divine Liturgy where I was mortified when one young woman started a big scene about this and caused much annoyance all around. She started arguing that as a Catholic she had a ‘right’ to receive in that Church. It got very ugly and a security officer had to escort her out.


Quick clarification. It does not fulfill the obligation in any situation.

In the situation where no Catholic Church is available, there is no obligation.


The last time I attended a Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy (and Orthos) I was aggressively recruited as a convert. I was handed a sheaf of polemics against the “Heresies of the Catholic Church” and the Reader critiqued my Greek usage. The priest was very friendly until I suggested I was happy being Catholic and would not be visiting again or converting very soon.

All in all, it was a very uncomfortable experience, and it was my last in an Eastern Orthodox parish, despite my love for them, I really hate being recruited out of the Catholic Church.

In fact, I attended a festival at the Byzantine Cathedral and I was again recruited for my volunteerism. This is, of course, the main purpose of parish festivals, to recruit new faithful, and so now that I am clear on that, I do not blithely go visit just for the food and music without being prepared for recruitment efforts.

I am perfectly happy at my own parish and I have gradually quelled the urge to be a “Liturgical Tourist” and see every possible liturgy and culture that I can experience. I like it at home.


How did they know, was the church that small?

The Greek parish I attended was chock full of Catholics and a few ethnic Greeks. There were kneelers installed, and when the liturgy hit the “Sanctus” (sung in Greek) everyone hit the deck, except for me and my Byzantine companion.

Then some devout old ladies tried to wave me into the Communion line and I had to insist I was not eligible. They were disappointed. I did approach for antidoron, later.

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Just out of curiosity, why does an Orthodox Divine Liturgy not satisfy the Sunday obligation? It is a valid Eucharistic liturgy.

I understand the canon law about “Mass in a Catholic rite”, I just have a hard time understanding why liturgies in true particular Churches (capital C), even though technically schismatic, are not considered as legitimate ways of satisfying the Sunday obligation.

There is no question of receiving communion.

Because as you said, canon law requires that the obligation be satisfied by attending a “Catholic rite” liturgy. Orthodox isn’t Catholic.
The Church obviously isn’t going to encourage its members to go wandering off to a technically schismatic church to fulfill obligations to their own church.

Can. 1248 §1. A person who assists at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the feast day itself or in the evening of the preceding day satisfies the obligation of participating in the Mass.


I get that, and I am not saying that Canon 1248 is a bad thing — in the pre-Vatican II scenario, it would have been regarded as sinful communicatio in sacris with schismatics — it’s just not readily apparent to me why, if we regard canonical Orthodox as “true particular Churches”, materially schismatic but not heretical (I’m a little shaky on how you can deny purgatory and the indissolubility of sacramental marriages, and not be a heretic, but anyway…), their Eucharistic liturgies cannot fulfill the obligation for worship.

Nonetheless, even though it’s not strictly a doctrinal issue, only a disciplinary one, to borrow from Loyola, I surrender my “white” to the Church’s “black”. Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last.


The Church says if there’s no Catholic liturgy available, you can go to the Orthodox one to “sanctify the day” but they clearly don’t want you to see it as obligatory or as fulfilling an obligation.

And that is what I would do.

I always find it a little embarrassing — and I am not one to embarrass easily, when you do that, you’ve given the other guy a certain power over you, and I don’t wish to do that to myself (kind of makes me his you-know-what) — to refer to the “Sunday obligation” when speaking with non-Catholics. It comes across as implying “Catholics wouldn’t go to Mass at all, unless the Church stood over them with the cudgel of eternal damnation, and made them go”. Not the best optics. Makes Catholics look like naughty little urchins who have to be forced to render divine worship, instead of freely assisting at the Holy Sacrifice for the sheer love of God. That may be a little malignant, but that’s the way it comes across. Just saying.

Well, it’s true!
How many Protestants do you know who go to church every week, unless their church pretty much expects to see them there or they’re voted off the island? I’ve had Protestant relatives who I think went to church once a year.

Humans are weak. We need some rules and disciplines or we wouldn’t do anything.

Some people do get to the point where they go to Mass willingly on their own even on days when they don’t have to, but they generally start with meeting their Sunday obligation and they level up.

Back when I was a Protestant I, as well as most of the parishioners at my church, attended weekly quite willingly despite there being no mandate to attend.

For those Protestants (or Catholics or Orthodox for that matter) who attend irregularly, if at all, is their Christianity a cultural affiliation or a matter of religious conviction? Obviously we can’t judge heart, but nevertheless the question stands.


I have had Protestants from about six different denominations in my family and most of them, while continuing to identify as Protestant, saw church as an occasional or optional activity. YMMV, my father-in-law was the exception for instance and would go every Sunday but most did not, including my mother in law.

My two childhood best friends are Catholic, they also went to church about once a year (on Easter - where they received communion and then promptly bolted to the door). So I think it’s a cross-denomination thing.

For the record we don’t have a Sunday obligation and nobody will vote us off the Orthodox island if we’re not there, but I go weekly because I love being there.


My point is not that Catholics are such great churchgoers, but that people generally need some pressure to go to places that are not a fun activity.

I see that everyone has missed my point so I’m done here. I didn’t intend this to be a competition for who’s the holiest, nor some excuse for non-Catholics to bash Catholics.

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Im sorry if my post came off in a way that offended you. I’m certainly not going to make the claim that any group is holier than another.

Many of my African work mates, often for three or four hours, but they are Nigerian and Ghanian and going to Church services is a huge part of their culture, often though I’m not sure how much of it is a social exercise as they spend hours their and have meals after services and so forth on Sunday so it is not comparable to Mass as you or I would understand it.

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It’s really to raise funds for the parish. If it also brings in new members, that’s a bonus.

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