Our lady of fatima byzantine greek catholic church

i was looking up byzantine catholic churches on the west coast and i found Our Lady of Fatima in San Fransisco. I was so happy to see the eastern church and liturgy incorporate Our Lady of Fatima, a message that pretains to Russia (orthodox nation) specifically. I was very pleasantly suprised because from what I heard most eastern catholics don’t attach much weight to Fatima. Has anyone been there?

I’m a parishioner there.
Fr. Karl in his history of the parish mentions that the San Francisco Catholic Russian Center established to care for the Russian exiles who fled China having largely already fled there from Russian, was later “blessed by Bishop Donahue in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.”

When I began worshiping there a few years ago I inquired about the name which seems odd for an Eastern Catholic church. We Russians are sadly without our own Russian patriarch so we are formally under the care of the** Latin **Bishop, of which Bishop Donahue was the bishop at that time. I was told that it was his choice that the parish be named Our Lady of Fatima.

Fr. Steven in his history of the parish notes:

With the advent of Vatican II, many things changed for Byzantine Catholics. They were called to return to their pristine Tradition, removing any accretions which had crept in since reunion with Rome. They were to demonstrate that it is possible to live an orthodox life in communion with Rome without having to be Roman to be Catholic.

I cannot speak for the parish but I can say in my observation the parish predominately reflects this closeness with the Eastern rather than the Latin tradition. Other than praying for the Pope I find our liturgies indistinguishable from those at the Orthodox Cathedral. Many of us have close affinity to the Russian Orthodox in the area, attending vigils and vespers in Orthodox parishes. We are very tiny so our parish only occasionally will have a vigil service or vespers. We don’t have any of the “Latinizations” which may have once been present, clearly once were. In the old photos of The Miracle-Working Icon of Our Lady of Kazan there is a statue of Our Lady in the temple near the Holy Icon. I cannot conceive of a statue in the present temple.

The parish has a very strong devotion to Our Lady the Theotokos. We do have a Holy Icon of Our Lady of Fatima in our temple and also another in our shrine in the garden. All of our other Icons to Our Lady are traditional orthodox icons one would typically find in a Russian Orthodox church. I myself feel the use of a this title of Our Lady is very unfortunate for an ECC. I have never found any noticeable devotion among parishioners or clergy to Our Lady of Fatima. We simply call upon Our All-holy, immaculate, most blessed and glorified Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, whose patronage we are under.

Again, I in no way speak for the parish, this is merely my observation from my years in the community there.

Dear brother 5loaves,

When I was not yet Catholic, my understanding of the message of the Lady of Fatima was the conversion of the Russian people from communism. It just seemed to make sense from the accounts - St. Mary warns that Russia will spread her errors (communism), and accordingly prays for the conversion of Russia.

It was only after I became Catholic that I became aware that there was even any conflict between East and West over the matter. I mean, who in the world would feel the need to debate about whether it is right to be converted from atheistic communism?:shrug:

I have yet to see anything from the messages of Our Lady of Fatima that can be construed in such a way as to be a source of tension between East and West. The main source of tension I have seen are the interpretations foisted on the messages that the conversion Our Lady speaks of is a conversion from Orthodoxy to Catholicism. Personally, I don’t see how that can be since her messages are often filled with reference to the “evil of Russia,” and that could in no way refer to Orthodoxy.

I can imagine that the original congregation of Our Lady of Fatima Church were very proud to have the title “Our Lady of Fatima” on their Church, having fled from communism. You mentioned, however, that this is unfortunate. Whereas I would not have understood your perspective before I became Catholic, I do understand it now.

But I have to wonder how long this tension between East and West about our Lady of Fatima has been around? Has it always been around or something cooked up by polemicists on both sides much later? And what is the real impetus behind the tension? Is it just because Our Lady gave her message through the Catholic Church? Is it because some have interpreted it to mean a conversion from Orthodoxy, instead of a conversion from atheistic communism?


How do you know for sure that the message doesn’t mean a conversion from Orthodoxy? There can only be one church- and that includes papal infalliability

As mentioned, the messages are riddled with references to the evils of Russia. Unless you consider Orthdoxy evil, then I’m positive it does not refer to conversion from Orthodoxy.

I was a personal believer in the Fatima appearances waaay before I even considered becoming Catholic.


You are right the evils Our Lady mentions are communism and not Orthodoxy.

No I dont believe Orthodoxy evil, but it still in schism. With that said it deserves the most respect from an ecumenist point of view. In fact, I think I’ll take an orthodox liturgy over a novus ordo liturgy any day if I absolutely had to- the vatican has said thats ok in some extreme circumstances.

By mosty accounts Russians are returning to Orthodoxy but NOT Catholicism. In fact I have heard even muslims and jews receive more religious freedom in Russia than Roman Catholics do. Do you think Our Lady truly intended those people to return to their schism?

Part of the message of Fatima involves prophecy regarding Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius XII invoked PAPAL INFALLIBILITY to define AN ARTICLE OF FAITH for Roman Catholics (latin, byzantine, etc.) - the assumption of Mary. This is a belief that the Orthodox churches have not defined as mandatory. This is just one example explaining our differences.

This might be getting off topic, but what do make of Our Lady’s appearances and miracles in the Orthodox Church or to the Orthodox Faithful? Yes, there is a state of schism-but does that preclude the action of the Holy Spirit. I think it’s a good thing if the Russians are returning to their Church, which by the way, has all the Sacraments and Apostolic Succession. And all the Orthodox believe in the Assumption (Dormition)-even if it’s not dogmatically defined

I, personally, find it odd that any Catholic church should be named after a private revelation to begin with, and that an Eastern Catholic parish should be called “Our Lady of Fatima” is beyond bizarre. It would be like naming a Roman Catholic Parish “First Westminster Catholic Church”; it would be so contary to our tradition, that it would seem ludicrous.

I have never found any noticeable devotion among parishioners or clergy to Our Lady of Fatima. We simply call upon Our All-holy, immaculate, most blessed and glorified Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, whose patronage we are under.

As one would expect.

I would tend to agree with Pregustator. Even the Ukrainian Greek Catholic chapel at Fatima is dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God and not the apparition.

How is dedicating a church to Our Lady of Fatima any different then dedicating one to Our Lady of Kazan ?

Since there is no Latin church dedicated to the wonder-working icon of Kazan, that is not a valid comparison. There was one Russian Greek Catholic parish dedicated to the Kazanskaya icon in Boston, but it was never Latin.

Is Our Lady the Theotokos and our lady of fatima are the same

Is Our Lady the Theotokos and our lady of fatima are the same

Not really, no. “Theotokos” is a specific title of the Virgin, as is “Lady of Fatima”. They may be the same woman, but the two titles are neither related nor synonymous.

By way of an illustration, consider the British monarch’s many titles. She is “Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. She is also “Queen of Australia”. Now, although we’re talking about one and the same individual, we are talking about two different titles that are unrelated and quite different. They don’t mean the same thing. They are not interchangeable.

Getting back to the two titles of the Virgin in question, however, “Theotokos” is obviously the more ancient, profound, and august of the two. It is a more of an idea or confession than it is a mere title. It is a Greek word meaning “God-bearer”.

The title “Lady of Fatima” simply refers to the fact that some people believe that the Virgin Mary appeared in the locale of Fatima in Portugal; it bespeaks of nothing theological or doctrinal or even Mariological. It merely refers to the site of the apparition.

If the apparitions at Fatima were, in fact, authentic, then the Theotokos and the Lady of Fatima are one and the same person. But the two titles are not the same, they are not interchangeable, they do not hold the same meaning.

The Holy Spirit is alive and well in both Churchs. The problem is the ever growing existence of evil and the inability to combine the two churchs.

I’m convinced the seperation is supernatural. And I am also convinced that the message from Our Lady of Fatima is Her will to interceed in this supernatural problem.

Its not difficult to see the ever growing evil in the world. Its continued to grow and expand since fatima. When and I do say “when” these two churchs of GOD combine, all other denominations will either fall in line or cease to exist. Then, and only then will the power of Good become so strong and apparent. That the will of God will be completed as instructed by Heaven. And I believe we will be granrted a period of peace just as Our Lady promised.

We are left with one path to take. And thats the constant prayer to Our Lady and God that this desire be completed.

The parish is resuming celebrating Divine Liturgies on the First Saturday of the month. (The next one is scheduled for Nov 6th.)
The First Saturdays devotions originated from the apparitions of the Theotokos at Fatima.

Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima among the Eastern Catholics would depend on the parish. It would be popular among Russian Catholics (“Russia will be converted”). But it is also popular in Ukrainian Catholic parishes where Latin paraliturgical devotions exist.

One parish here in Toronto holds First Saturday and First Friday devotions regularly.

I certainly grew up as a member of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima (which is now the World Fatima Apostolate).

Our Patriarch Hieroconfessor Josef Cardinal Slipyj was devoted to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as was his predecessor, Met. Andrew Sheptytsky (prayers to the Sacred Hearts are in Patriarch Josef’s prayerbook).

Patriarch Josef also did a daily Holy Hour of Adoration of the Holy Eucharist at St Neilos’ church in Rome etc.

Devotion to Our Lady of Fatima is wildly popular in many parishes of the UGCC in Ukraine. I’ve met priests from there whose village churches have 24-7 Eucharstic Adoration with icons and even statues of Our Lady of Fatima.

These are Latin devotions, yes, but they are popular and make people want to go to church frequently.

Blessed Bishop Basil Velychkovsky (whose picture is on the emails of our Father in Christ, Fr. Diakon Randolph above, wrote about Orthodox parishes coming into the UGCC in Volyn, Ukraine. He told them to continue to maintain their Orthodox traditions such as standing on Sundays etc. However, his converts began kneeling “all over the place” and nothing he could say would dissuade them.

Also, Our Lady of Fatima’s Immaculate Heart devotion is also popular in Orthodox parishes in western Ukraine where devotion to the Sacred Hearts has become a “touchstone” of one’s Christian commitment. The Orthodox Church seems to have acquiesced to this! :slight_smile:



Just to clarify for anyone who might plan to attend, at this parish these are not a First Saturdays devotion. As Father said regarding the scheduling on the first Saturday of the month: “I was thinking in terms of easy to remember, and also it fit into my schedule very well :)”

The feast day Nov. 6th is that of St. Paul the Confessor so that would be who would be commemorated on that day, etc. (St. Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople, was murdered while celebrating the Divine Liturgy.)

As Alex said

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