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Thursday, February 13, 2003

Eastern Catholic Corner.

Handy links about an enduring interest of mine--one that is growing much stronger of late. is something of a clearinghouse on the subject, including a fine transcript of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Also, do not miss the Akathist hymns.

Here's the Melkite Catholic website. The Melkites are Arab Catholics (mainly Syrian), and there are many here in Metro Detroit. A congregation in Warren, Michigan, is building a magnificent new church, complete with a golden dome. Our Lady of Redemption promises to be spectacular once finished.

This is a good Melkite resource page. The Melkite Divine Liturgy can be found here.

The site also includes a brief but interesting discussion of differences in Eastern iconography, comparing Greek, Russian, and Arabic styles.

For information about Ukrainian Catholics, go here.

Finally, for one of the best essays about the complex and often bloody relationship between Western Catholics, Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox, read Anamnesis, Not Amnesia, by Robert Taft, S.J. [Presumably no relation to the late Ohio Senator.]

The story of the Communist-ordered "Synods," which forcibly integrated Ukrainian Catholics into the Russian Orthodox Church, deserves to be better-known:

On March 8-10, 1946, a "synod" of 216 terrorized priests and nineteen laypersons, orchestrated in Lviv under the leadership of this group, abolished the Union of Brest (1596). This purported to be a synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and to this day the Russian Orthodox Church has claimed it to be such and has steadfastly refused to repudiate either the synod or its own role in the charade. But as the Russian Orthodox Church authorities are well aware, the entire Ukrainian Catholic hierarchy was in prison, and the entire presidium of the synod had in fact already become Orthodox, though this was kept secret until the farce was a fait accompli. The action was followed by massive arrests, interrogations, abuse, trials, banishment and deportations, causing incalculable suffering and death.

Russian Orthodox authorities ever since have defended what was done as a canonically legitimate synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church that freely and legitimately abolished of the "forced" Union of Brest, and to this day they have refused to disclaim or condemn it. The Acts of the synod were published in Ukrainian in Lviv in 1946, and in 1982 the Moscow Patriarchate issued bowdlerized (i.e., deliberately doctored) versions in Russian and English for the 45th anniversary of the shameful charade.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was not destroyed but driven undergound, to re-emerge maimed but still vigorously alive when finally granted freedom in 1989, at which time almost the entire Russian Orthodox Church in Western Ukraine, clergy, parishes, and faithful, re-entered the Catholic Church en masse.

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