When are the Byzantine Catholics going to De-Latinize?

I am Catholic but one set of my grandparents are Russian Orthodox so I’ve visited their church a number of times when I was growing up so I know the Orthodox Church pretty well. A few weeks ago we were on vacation and decided to go to Saturday anticipated divine liturgy at the nearby Byzantine Catholic parish before going out to dinner. I had expected it to be just like the Russian Orthodox divine liturgy. But it was more like the Roman Catholic Mass. There were some similarities but they were very different. Is this a leftover from the latinized days? Has there been any real effort to de-latinize the Byzantine Catholic liturgy and make it more like the Orthodox liturgy like the Vatican ordered? Or are the Byzantine rite Catholics keeping it more like the Roman Catholic Mass on purpose because it makes them more Catholic?

Some have been more successful at this than others. Nothing happens too quickly in the Catholic Church.

Without your giving some details about what you are talking about it is very hard to know what you are talking about. However, you should not have an expectation that this would be “just like” the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy. In any case we are fully Catholic, so I am not sure what you mean to imply with the last question.


I have always been told that Byzantine Catholics were just like the Orthodox, only that they were under Rome. I did have an expectation that the Byzantine Divine Liturgy was supposed to be the same as the Orthodox Liturgy. I know that at one time they were the same. So I guess the changes to the Liturgy are intentional, to make them appear more Catholic? Except for the lack of musical instruments the Liturgy I attended seemed more like the Mass. I guess that makes sense since they are Catholics.


Still no details…


I’m also a “cradle” Byzantine Catholic, and I’ve been to plenty of Russian Orthodox churches. We use the same DL, perhaps different translations, and sometimes exhibit some difference in practice (e.g. taking the Third Antiphon on Sunday vs. the Beatitudes; omitting certain minor litanies).

As dvdjs has expressed, without specifics, its difficult to comment (I threw out a few possibilities).

While we have had some lively exchanges even recently here about Latinizations (and the definition thereof), I don’t think practicing Eastern Catholics would agree that we use a highly Latinized form of the Divine Liturgy, per se.

I assume you went to a church labeled as Byzantine Catholic, i.e. a Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church (Metropolia of Pittsburgh). If so, you would have noted that we have a distinct form of chant (Prostopinije), but do borrow and share from related chant traditions on occasions, including Russian Orthodox (the Beatitudes set to Obikhod Tone 1 comes to mind). That, however, should not be construed as a fundamentally different praxis. Indeed, if you were to attend a Divine Liturgy at a parish church of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese (ACROD), who also chant Prostopinije, you likely experience a very similar DL to that which you attended in this Byzantine Catholic Church.

Would you mind sharing the specific church you attended?

It is impossible to de-Latinize. We are joined at the hip with the Latin Church. If we don’t do “anticipated Divine Liturgies” then people will just disappear from our parishes and just go to the RC parish down the street with anticipated Mass. If we tell women that the priest walks them down the aisle instead of their dads, they’ll just go and get married in that RC parish down the road where their dad walks them down the aisle.

Well, it won’t happen overnight. And as I say too often, it does require some serious thought about what it is that we should be doing. But our parish in Tuscon recently eliminated Saturday night liturgy and now has vespers only. Overall, attendance is up about 15% since the change.

I’d also be interested in details. We have a parishioner who grew up Romanian Orthodox. When she arrived at our parish, she joyfully told us that it was just like when she was a child. We regularly have visitors leave in the middle of the liturgy or decline to receive Communion because it didn’t seem Catholic and they weren’t sure if it was ok, in spite of our reassurances. I can’t speak to the situation with all other Byzantine Catholic churches, but our Divine Liturgies, and those of others that I have visited, are certainly closer to the Orthodox than they are to the Roman Mass.

Depends on the Rite. The Maronite Church Liturgy is much like the Roman. Melkites celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St. John, just as the Orthodox.

Which Church Sui Juris was it. Was it Maronite, Ruthenian, Melkite, Syro-Malabar? Makes all the difference in the world.

I don’t think deLatinization will happen fully. Until there is enough people who are willing to pursue a spirituality which reflect traditions that are fully foreign to the local culture here in the West. DeLatinization may happen in the old country, but I don’t think it will ever happen 100% in North America. For the simple fact that people are incultured here to view certain aspects of the faith as what is practiced by Western traditions. Could you really form a big congregation that would do something that is contrary to culture? Especially those who would belong to a Catholic parish where the practices of a bigger, more visible Roman Catholic Church loom over everyone?


I am a Latin Catholic and my wife and I attend the Divine Liturgy at our local Ruthenian Catholic Church because we enjoying experiencing the diversity and richness of our Catholic faith. The Ruthenian Church has a Saturday vigil. I assumed this was a normal practice but is this a latinization?

Thanks and God bless,

I think Vespers is pretty universal, East and West.

Okay, thanks! A few Roman Catholic parishes in town have vespers on weekday evenings as well as the Ruthenian Catholic church.

You know how Latin Catholic Churches have a vigil Mass on Saturday night which fulfills the Sunday obligations. Do Eastern Catholic churches or Orthodox churches for that matter have a vigil Divine Liturgy on Saturday nights?


Vespers is the Saturday service, preparation for the Sunday feast.
There are for reasons of oeconomy times when Saturday evening Divine Liturgy is offered in some places. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is the other Evening Service in the Orthodox and Eastern Churches.

I went to my first “vigil” Divine Liturgy this past Saturday. The local Ruthenian priest is beginning to offer the “vigil” DL once a month in a location approximately an hour and a half from his church, in order to accommodate a number of parishioners who live in this location. Twice a month he also goes to another location about 90 miles from his church location for a Sunday afternoon DL. Any Sunday “Obligation” for an Eastern Catholic is satisfied by Sat. night Vespers, if one does not have access to a Sunday DL.

My Russian Greek Catholic parish for reasons of oeconomy for both clergy and laity (we are all commuters, most, including our priests, from some distance) has most of our DL for Feast Days in the evening, weekdays not Saturdays. These are on the feastday, not the evening prior, which would have Vespers.

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Welcome to CAF EC Section, Jaime! :slight_smile:

How Latinized a parish is depends in part on the Church sui iuris but also varies by parish within a Church.

My parish uses the OCA service books and their Liturgical Music and Texts. Today we had a mixture of English and Church Slavonic. The homily today as is often the case was based on Russian spirituality. We follow the old calendar for Pascha and commemorate the Eastern Saints. We get our yearly wall calendar from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary Press, which every one in the parish receives to use and follow at home. We’re getting ready to have a Crowning next month. Our reader and I walked over to the ROCOR Cathedral bookstore yesterday to pick up the service books for that. We recently moved and are still unpacking and these books are among those which haven’t yet appeared in the moved boxes.

Our two wonderful priests are Latin Church with faculties to celebrate the Byzantine rite. Both do wear a “Roman collar” under their cassock, not visible when they have their cassock on. :smiley:

Constantine, by this logic, any Orthodox church that has been in the West more than a generation or two would also experience Latinization,perhaps to a somewhat lesser extent. And that does happen, of course. Our local Greek Orthodox church has pews, a pipe organ, and a Communion rail! As far as delatinization happening faster or more completely in the old country, I don’t know if that is true. I can only give you the case in my own parish: Our priest arrived here from the old country 3 years ago. His young daughters did not receive Communion, as infant Communion had not yet been restored in his part of the country. In my parish, we have given Communion to infants since the parish was founded in 1968. (I was one of the infants then.) In the old country, kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer was still the norm. He attended a Greek Catholic seminary, but they were required to memorize the Roman Canon. The church in the Old Countries is still recovering from Communism, which forced so many into Orthodoxy or Roman churches.

Well, from a conversation with our priest, he said that back in the homeland it wouldn’t be a problem telling a bride “NO” to her dad walking her down the isle. It won’t be a problem telling people “NO” to playing “Amazing Grace” during a funeral. Etc. It’s easier to de-Latinize because the culture revolves around the Eastern faith, especially that the practice is dominated by the Orthodox. Of course there would still be varying degrees of Latinization, and some have been embraced as THE tradition. But still, competing with a bigger Westernized culture is a steeper hill to climb here in North America, IMHO.

and why is that?

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