The Eastern Catholic Churches
~Called to be Orthodox Churches in Communion with Rome~
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Our Mission:  To manifest the
spiritual riches of Eastern Orthodoxy within
the Communion of the Catholic Church...
to show forth her Catholicity
The diffusion of the liturgical rites of the Catholic Church
and the various autonomous
Churches which practice them:
We belong to Churches rather than Rites:

Many Roman Catholics are unaware that there are also Eastern Catholics.  In fact there are roughly 21 autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches in full
communion with Elder Rome (see chart below).  The U.S. Catholic Bishops explain that these Eastern Catholics belong to Churches rather than Rites:

"We have been accustomed to speaking of the Latin (Roman or Western) Rite or the Eastern Rites to designate these different Churches.  However, the
Church's contemporary legislation as contained in the
Code of Canon Law and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches makes it clear that we
ought to speak not of rites, but of Churches.  Canon 112 of the Code of Canon Law uses the phrase 'autonomous ritual Churches' to designate the
various Churches." -Taken from the document by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops:  
Eastern Catholics in the United States


We are called to recover our Church Traditions:

Elder Rome has called upon the Eastern Catholic Churches to return to our true and historic Orthodox traditions:  liturgical, canonical and
theological.  We have thus been called to recover our full, historic Divine Liturgies.  Our Canonical Services are once again to be offered in our
parishes.  Our infants are to be fully initiated into the Holy Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion.  Clergy of various ranks are
to return to our historic clerical attire.  Our Holy Temples are to once again reflect our traditional architecture (rather than that of the Latin
Church).  We must likewise recover our true iconography rather than utilizing Western art.  

In the landmark document:  Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Eastern Code of Canons, Elder Rome called
upon the Eastern Catholic Churches to restore all of this without delay, stating:  "In every effort of liturgical renewal, therefore, the practice of the
Orthodox brethren should be taken into account, knowing it, respecting it and distancing from it as little as possible so as not to increase the
existing separation..." (26).   

It has become apparent that the Latin Church, with over a billion members, does not need the help of  Eastern Catholics to keep the Latin
Church's tradition.  Instead, what the Church greatly needs is for us to discard latinizations & live in accord with our own liturgical, canonical and
theological tradition to show that these are indeed compatible within the one Catholic communion.  This is the call of Vatican Council II in its
document on the Eastern Catholic Churches:  
Orientalium Ecclesiarum.

His Holiness John Paul II, Pope of Rome, in his encyclical Orientale Lumen, (Light of the East) stated:

"Since, in fact, we believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ's Church, the first
need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition, so as to be nourished by it and to encourage the process of unity in the best way possible for
each.  Our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters are very conscious of being the living bearers of this tradition, together with our Orthodox brothers and
sisters.  The members of the Catholic Church of the Latin tradition must also be fully acquainted with this treasure and thus feel, with the pope, a
passionate longing that the full manifestation of the Church's catholicity be restored to the Church and to the world, expressed not by a single tradition
and still less by one community in opposition to the other; and that we too may all be granted a full taste of the divinely revealed
and undivided heritage of the Church, which is preserved and grows in the life of the Churches of the East as in those of the West."

The Message of His Beatitude Gregorios III Patriarch of Antioch:

...of the Melkite Catholic Church, summarized the call of the Eastern Catholics succinctly in his speech to a special Assembly for the Middle East
when he stated boldly:  
"We wish to be taken seriously when we tell you that our tradition, in its fullness, is Eastern and Orthodox, not Latin and
Western.  In the measure that you take us seriously as authentically Eastern Churches, to that same degree the Orthodox world will believe in the
veracity of the ecumenical activity and dialogues of the Roman Church...  There must be created an atmosphere of complete trust, real
collaboration and co-ordination, and effectual communion between Rome and the Eastern
sui iuris Churches...  

"We ask to be treated as real Easterners and even, to speak plainly, as Orthodox in communion with Rome and so Catholic... We are an
Eastern Church in communion with Rome and faithfully so, yet which wants to remain faithful to the pure, Orthodox spiritual tradition.  I make
bold to say that we are an Orthodox Church with the little or big bonus of communion with Rome, with the Pope and our Holy Father Benedict
XVI who presides in primacy and charity...
"Treat us as a real Eastern Church,just as you would the Orthodox on the day when the
much longed for union takes place
!"

Eastern Catholic Essays & Info.

The Other Catholics:  A Brief Guide to the Eastern Catholic Churches
The Courage to be Ourselves:  by Most Rev. Abp. Joseph Tawil
A Diagram of the various Catholic Churches
The Eastern Catholic Churches:  From Wikipedia
The Eastern Catholic Churches:  From CNEWA
Catholic Rites and Churches:  by Colin B. Donovan, STL
The Difference between Church and Rite:  by Dr. Anthony Dragani
Catholics belong to Churches not Rites:  by Sub-Dn. Der-Ghazarian
The Rights and Obligations of the Laity:  The Eastern Code of Canons
Transferring to Another Catholic Church:  Sub-Dn. Der-Ghazarian
The Call of Eastern Catholicism by JP II:  Sub-Dn. Der-Ghazarian
The Union of Brest:   A prototype for reunion of East and West

Eastern Catholic Links

St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church   
The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma   
The Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh        
Christ the Bridegroom Byzantine Catholic Monastery    
The Byzantine Catholic Cultural Center :  A video on the BCCC
The Armenian Catholic Eparchy of USA & Canada  
Melkite Greek Catholic Eparchy of Newton      
The Byzantine Forum:  For discussions on Eastern Christianity
The Catholic Churches:  A video on East & West by Fr. Thomas J. Loya
*Note:  The word autonomous is a literal rendering of the Latin sui iuris.  The Eastern Code of Canons defines sui iuris in the following way:  "Of its
own right (c. 27); an acknowledged autonomy with regard to government and discipline."
  Autonomy refers to a Church's right to self-rule under its
own law and the ultimate authority of an Ecumenical Council and the Pope of Rome.  Autocephaly refers rather to the independence of a Church with
its own independent head.  In this sense, the Eastern Catholic Churches are autonomous but not autocephalous.
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