Would a visitor to a Russian-Catholic Church be welcome?

I’m considering attending St. Andrew’s Russian Church in El Segundo this morning; do you think I’d stick out? What would be suitable attire? Any tips would be helpful

Wear a suit to church and you can’t go wrong.

With a few exceptions out there, all legitimate religious organizations welcome visitors to their prayer services and masses. I’m sure you’ll be welcome.

If it is Eastern Catholic, than it is 100% Catholic, I’m sure they would love to have you and would probably answer any questions you may have. That was my experience when I visited a Coptic Catholic Church anyway…

Hi Juan Carlos,
I’ve always been welcomed in eastern churches in communion with Rome better than those that aren’t but, you should do ok just do as they do as much as you can figure out. Remember when crossing yourself go right to left not left to right. If you bring a wife or other female with you make sure their head is covered. If the church is one not in communion with Rome (orthodox) don’t recieve communion also confession is required before reception in eastern churches. Communion will be by intiction. The priest will place bread soaked in wine into your mouth open wide! You may recieve the afirkomen that is the unblessed bread not used for communion even in an Orthodox church. I’d also recommend having an usher or someone show you where the liturgical books are kept since it will be liturgy of St John Chrysostem most likely. Most eastern rite liturgies are in English so you should be ok. Most normal street clothes are generally fine just avoid shorts and tank tops stuff like that. Also expect the service to longer than your regular Sunday Mass and expect to stand unless you’re infirm. The service is mostly chanted and there’ll be lots of incense. Enjoy!:slight_smile:

Hope all went well :extrahappy: A wise priest told us many years ago, that you must come for at least three visits to begin to figure it out. Don’t be concerned just go and watch, there is so much movement it just takes watching to get pass the beauty and realize all that has taken place. God bless you!

St. Andrews is very welcoming. Many Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, have a core group of Latin Rite Catholics who go to escape the liturgical chaos in their own parishes, so you will not be the only Latin Rite Catholic there.

I just got back and boy, it was amazing! I was so impressed! And the people could not have been more welcoming.

The part I was nervous about was Communion; I went up, Father asked my name and I gave my confirmation name, and then he said the blessing over me and gave me Communion. It was administered by spoon.

Thanks for all your help :smiley:

Missed you by a week. My wife and I stopped at St Andrew’s for Divine Liturgy last Sunday. It is a very welcoming parish. We visit there several times a year and always enjoy the liturgy and people.

Fr. Alexei is awonderful priest who is familiar with both the Eastern and Western Churches. He works with the Los Angeles Archdiocese Ecumenical and Inter-Religious affairs office. Link.

The very few Russian Catholic parishes in the USA are under the jurisdiction of the local Latin ordinary.

The word you’re looking for is “antidoron”, not “afikomen,” which is a bit of matzoh hidden under the napkin at the Seder.

Is it normal for the priest to know your name before receiving Communion in an Eastern Rite Church?

Yes, from what I gathered. Instead of saying “Body of Christ”, the priest says something like “May the servant of God ______ be…”

For the longest time the Russian Rite Catholics had the CSSR, and SJ (Redemptorist and Jesuits) who had faculties to celebrate in the rite as the shortage of priests after Russia fell to Communism was so grave.

I had the wonderful luck to assist at the Divine Liturgy at the Russicum, the Russian Seminary in Rome. I was visiting for a week in1999, and went there just to check out the books and icons in the little gift shop. The seminarian manning the store was from Columbia, and asked me in Spanish if I wanted to assist in the liturgy which was going to start in about ten minutes. I was in the chapel in a flash.

In some Byzantine Churches Holy Communion is distributed with the words, "The servant of God _____ receives the precious body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ unto the salvation of his/her body and soul, Amen.

At that link is that Fr. Alexei second from the left in Eastern clerical robes? That and Meet Our Clergy I recognize him from the 2008 Orientale Lumen Conference in San Diego. I remember a number of great chats with him at the conference.

Christ is risen!

I notice St. Andrew’s is under the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts. I was just looking at the Eparchy web site yesterday for the first time. It has some interesting things on it, including in the Videos - Inspiration & News" section I see in “News, Messages, Talks” they have links to Catherine Alexander’s “Word from the Wise” interviews on YouTube with the monks from Holy Resurrection Monastery which I really like and highly recommend. I’m thinking St. Andrew’s has a close relationship with HRM.

A new site, Eastern Christian Media, has some excellent material from the Byzantine perspective: www.easternchristianmedia.com

It sounds like you’ll go back. You might want to email or call the deacon and introduce yourself. He can answer any of your questions, too.

I don’t see a calendar on their web site. Mid-Pentecost is coming up this week or next depending on the calendar they use and they might have something that night, and then Ascension a couple weeks later They likely will have a Vigil the night before Ascension and something likely on All Souls Saturday. Just suggesting some other opportunities to participate in worship apart from/in addition to a Sunday Divine Liturgy.

There are a number of similar threads on here asking about going to Divine Liturgy you might look through, also, for other experiences and comments/suggestions/answers.


I’ve been to my boyfriend’s Eastern Rite (Byzantine Catholic) church more than 3 times and I have yet to figure it out. Just sayin’! :thumbsup:

Divine liturgy is beautiful. We trade off between Eastern and Latin Rites.

Or: The servant of God N . . ., partakes of the precious, most holy and most pure Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ for the remission of his (her) sins and for life everlasting. Amen.

In the parish I attend the deacon voices “for the remission of his (her) sins and for life everlasting.”

It would be translated from the Koine Greek, right? So there will be some variations.

This is a holdover from Russian Orthodox practice, in which neither confession nor communion is anonymous.

In other words, in an ideal world the priest would have seen you for confession at vespers on a recent Saturday night and you would have done a “face-to-face” with him (or shoulder-to-shoulder :slight_smile: ). If he had not seen you in a while, there is no way you would be receiving without speaking to him before Divine Liturgy and explaining where and when you went to confession last. So the actual tradition is a bit more than just reciting the communicant’s name and it is tied in with the concept of one’s pastor as ‘Spiritual Director’.

In Byzantine Catholic churches that has pretty much receded into the background for the time being. In addition to a significant portion of priests coming from the Latin rite (for a long stretch of the 20th century), many parishes had introduced confessional boxes at one point which introduced the concept of anonymous confession to a lot of Eastern Christians (I don’t know if St Andrews ever had the boxes, but it was common for a while), also most parishioners have the option of going to nearby Latin parishes for that sacrament, all of which has interfered with the concept of one’s confessor being one’s spiritual director. Then also there are the many Latin visitors, who are really under the normal care of other priests. Byzantine Catholic priests, even those of the Byzantine Russian Catholic tradition, seem to have largely adopted the assumption that anyone who shows up in front of the chalice must be prepared according to their own understanding.

This does also happen in big Orthodox parishes with multiple priests, like cathedrals, but is not supposed to be the norm.

In any case, if father is in a hurry and you forget to whisper your name he will utter something generic over you.

Don’t forget to cock your head back, and upon your mouth like a baby bird! Don’t stick your tongue out… :slight_smile:

It’s not only typical, it’s normative for the pastor to know every name in the parish.

In some parishes*, if they haven’t met you prior to liturgy, they won’t commune you. Not so common in ECC’s, but VERY common in Orthodox parishes, tho it happens in old country parishes more from what I’ve read.

I have to remember this the next time I describe receiving Eucharist in an ECC!

After all we sing like birds the whole time, why shouldn’t we be fed like them? :smiley:

Oh Yes you would,

    The  Eastern Rite Churches and the Orthodox Churches  are very friendly.  What is surprizing is how similar the  Divne Liturgy is being preserved  for so long. It can only be through God that this is so.   

      I  am a lumper rather than a splitter when it comes  to  the Church. However it has been my experience that all Catholic Churches  are very friendly and inspiring.
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