Trying to learn about the east...some questions!


Hi everyone I’m an adult convert to RC and love my faith…however I really feel like I have a lot of the “east” in me…I love the mysticism, the lack of focus on “legalism”, and the appeal to mystery in the east…a few questions…

1)whats the best book and/or links I can read to understand eastern theology?
2)Im reading Wares book on the Orthodox Faith…would you say this will give me a good understanding of eastern catholic theology (even though its written from an orthodox as opposed to eastern catholic, perspective…)
3) Am I free to remain RC and explore the eastern rite as much as I want…
4) Do eastern rite catholics hold the same understanding of icons as the orthodox…

I have been to one eastern rite service and loved it - its a good hour plus away from me, so will probably not be a weekly event, but would like to go more more -

Many blessings -



Yes, as far as I know. It fulfills your mass obligations, you can confess and receive other sacraments there etc. However even if you never attend another Latin Rite mass, as a Latin Catholic you are bound to it’s canon law, not that of the rite you attend.

I can’t really help you answer your other questions.


Thanks Chessnerd…I wonder what the canon law differences are? Anywhere they are outlined?

Many blessings -



You will learn more about them by attending an Eastern catholic Church and talking to the people there.


Off the top of my head… Different holy days of obligation; different fasting and abstinence laws, including what constitutes fasting and abstinence, as well as when and by whom it is required; Eastern Catholics are required to be married by a priest; Vespers “counts” for Sunday/Holy Day obligation… There are more, but these are the ones that come immediately to mind that might affect one’s everyday life if you are a member of one particular Church who is regularly attending a different rite.

@Vico? Maybe you know of a place where all the major differences are laid out?


The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way

Yes. Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic share the same theology, liturgy, etc. Only difference is that we are in communion with Rome.

Yes of course. As a RC you are free to participate in the liturgy and receive the sacraments at any of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. When you attend Divine Liturgy don’t bother following along with the “book.” The responses are easy enough to follow.




There is a book that makes a detailed comparison of sacramental discipline.

Comparative Sacramental Discipline in the CCEO and CIC: A Handbook for the Patoral Care of Members of Other Catholic Churches Sui Iuris Hardcover – by Francis J. Marini (Editor), First Edition, 2003 Canon Law Society of America.

Not mentioned in the list you gave are that there are different impediments to marriage and that some sins are reserved to the eparch for absolution in the eastern canon law, the way the old Latin canon used to work. The Latin canon no longer reserves absolution but instead penalties.




I came into the Catholic Church (Roman) in 2002, but have been at a Ukrainian Catholic Church for the past three years for the reasons you describe, plus some others as well. I’ll do my best to help you here.

There is no best book, that’s for sure. Ware’s book is a good intro. A lot of Orthodox authors will have a bit of a nasty attitude toward Catholics, so be on the lookout for that and just dismiss those attitudes. Ware is not one of those, by the way. I favor books over web sites, as Orthodox web sites tend to have that attitude even more.

Yes, you can remain Roman Catholic and just attend whatever rite suits you. I haven’t formally switched yet, but will if my wife ever becomes willing.

Eastern Catholics view icons and most everything else just like the Orthodox do. They simply have a different view of papal primacy. The East just has a different emphasis than the West. Not better, just different. One good resource is the Ukrainian Catholic Catechism, Christ Our Pascha.

Regarding canon law, the Eastern churches are bound by the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

Best of luck to you.


I’ve heard has good info.

In terms of books, I haven’t read it, but 101 Questions and Answers on Eastern Catholic Churches by Edward P. Faulk is a book that assumes the reader is Latin and was written by a hi-ritual deacon.


Thank you SO MUCH for all of the suggestions! Im ordering some of the books now


There are 22 eastern churches, with five different rites among them. They have different theological approaches. The Byzantine churches and the Melkite tend to be like the Eastern Orthodox churches. Their theology of icons is the same. The Syriac churches and the Coptic Church have their own approach to theology. They tend to have less of an influence from Greco-Roman philosophy.

If you want to understand the Byzantine theology, it would be good to checkout Greek and Russian Orthodox authors like bishop Ware. Alexander Schmemann has always been one of my favorites.

There isn’t a whole lot for the Syriac churches. Sebastian Brock is good though. Most of his books are collections of writings of early Syriac saints.


I just wanted to say I appreciate all the book recommendations on this site. I too am Latin Rite and not looking to ever change, but interested in learning more about Eastern rite churches and spirituality.


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