Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Parish

I am proud to be a member of Holy Angels Ruthenian Greek Catholic parish in San Diego, Ca. We are a parish in the Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Eparchy of Phoenix .Our God living Bishop is His Grace Gerald. Our parish priest is Fr. Robert Pitpa. We are a growing parish with an active Byzanteens and Young Adults Group.  Sunday Divine Liturgy is at 9am and all are welcome to join us in worshiping the Triune God in the Divine Liturgy.

The Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Church in America has received a lot of negativity for the use of the Revised Divine Liturgy (the RDL). As I mentioned in an earlier post the RDL has been a dividing point in our Church. I am for one am neutral in this discussion and I trust myself to God’s providence, and the direction of my Fathers in Christ, that a solution will come that witnesses to unity and the Ruthenian Recession.

Yet, I find my parish to be restoring many of our authentic Orthodox Traditions. Our parish has restored Vespers instead of vigil Divine Liturgy (which was a copy of the modern day Latin practice). Matins is prayed during the week and on most Sundays. The full Orthodox fast is encouraged by our priest, All-night Vigils have been introduced, we pray Compline during fasting seasons, we are reading and studying Orthodox Saints and Theologians (pre and post schism). Our parish is one of the only Ruthenian parishes to not use pre-cut particles for the Divine Liturgy. We have worked with Project Mexico, an Orthodox outreach in Mexico and we hope to continue to work with them.

Why am I saying this about my spiritual home. As I read more and more negativity about our Ruthenian Church over the RDL, I wanted to share some positives things happening in the life of our Church. A good friend of mine and fellow parish member has posted some videos from our Church and I present the singing of the prayer of Litija for Vespers of the Transfiguration.

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4 thoughts on “Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Parish

  1. I know your posts touch on this from time to time, but I am still not convinced that calling them “Orthodox” traditions is helpful or accurate. The traditions may be “orthodox,” but you are really referring, in this case, to “Byzantine” traditions.

    1. Glory to Jesus Christ!
      Thanks for the comment and for reading me blog!

      In answer to your comment- They are accurate and helpful, in my humble opinion. Historically our Ruthenian Church is/was an Orthodox Church in the fullest since of the word who for various reasons entered into communion with the Church of Rome. This is historically true for all the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, except for the Maronite Church of Antioch. The Byzantine Church has used the term Orthodox to refer to itself historically just as Rome used Catholic to herself. These two terms before the Great Schicm were interchangeable. In fact the original name for our Churches was “United Orthodox” before the Empress Maria Theresa coined the term “Greek Catholic.” So it is historically acurrate for the Ruthenian Church (and all Greek Catholic Churches) to use the term Orthodox because that is what we are historically.

      While you may disagree with me, the Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory III, agrees with me. To quote him from a paper on Ecclesiology and Ecumenism:

      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 plus 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!

      For me if the Catholic Patriarch of Antioch considers himself to be Orthodox in Communion with Rome then so can I. So, I will continue to witness to returning our Church to our Orthodox Traditions. I mean it not to offend Orthodox Christians who may disagree with the term, Orthodox in Communion with Rome, but I feel that we Eastern Catholics must be so. For we Eastern Catholics must be Orthodox so the Orthodox Churches not in communion with Rome can see that yes you can be Orthodox and yes be in communion with Rome. And Rome needs us to be so Latin Catholics can see that one can be Catholic and not Roman.

  2. The problem, as I see it, is that in American English, “Orthodox” as a capitalized proper noun refers only to Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox churches and their members (plus the Orthodox branch of Judaism.) Indeed, the Catholic New Services Style Manual states that these are the only proper uses of capitalized “Orthodox.” When referring to a practice or right belief, it should be lowercase.

    So far as I can tell, the use of “Orthodox” as a capitalized proper noun did not arise until the Schism. Before then, the churches were “catholic and orthodox.” Later, the capitalized proper noun “Catholic” became associated with those in union with Rome and the the capitalized proper noun “Orthodox” became associated with those “catholic and orthodox” churches not in union with Rome.

    When you speak of restoring certain ancient traditions practiced by the Orthodox, they are embraced because they are part of the “orthodox” tradition, rather than the “Orthodox” tradition, which would imply that they are embraced solely because their character arises from not being in union with Rome.

    While I agree with the spirit of the quote from Patriarch Gregory, it is confusing and even contradictory. Was it originally in English? The contradictory nature the use of “Orthodox” is revealed by the last sentence: “Treat us as a real Eastern Church, just as you would the Orthodox on the day when the much longed for union takes place!”

    To me, the quote should read, without losing any of its meaning:

    “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 plus 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!”

    I think this is important because, as I mentioned, when using a capitalized proper noun “Orthodox” it appears that you are talking about a belief or practice that is defined, in part, by its non-union with Rome. In reality, I think what you are talking about is practices and beliefs that are “catholic and orthodox.”

    1. Again, I disagree with you partly. Your assessment of the historical reality of Eastern Orthodoxy being defined by not being in communion with Rome is accurate but this reality is much more complex than that statement. The year 1054 is just a number we like to use but the reality is that it it took centuries for the Orthodox and Catholic Churches to server communion completely. Today there is even inter-communion, not on an official level, in the Middle East between the Melkite, Antiochan Orthodox, and Syrian Orthodox. There are also examples of inter-communion between the UGCC and UOC in Ukraine and the USA. I know people who have seen and experienced this before.

      On our Ruthenian Church using the term Orthodox. We are a historicl Churche that was Eastern Orthodox and came into Communion with Rome. This was well after the split. We didn’t stop being Orthodox when we entered into communion. In fact it was to preserve our autonomy and Orthodoxy in face of protestant agression that helped create our Union. The original name given to us, like I pointed out, was not Greek Catholic but United Orthodox. It wasn’t United orthodox.

      The Patriarch meant exactly what he said that we are an Eastern Orthodox Church in Communion with Rome (With a big or little plus of being in communion with Rome). The Patriarchs words were originally a speech given in French at Rome so this could be why the last sentence may be confusing to some- much is lost in translation. Many other Patriarchs of the Greek Catholics consider themselves Orthodox with a big O. The Ukrainian Catholic Patriarch (both the current and the recently retired one) are vocal about this. I have heard Bishop John of the Romanian Eparchy in America also refer to this. There are numerous priests, deacons, and lay faithful who also agree. I remember reading one that said, “we are Orthodox in faith and Catholic in Communion.”

      Now because of the historical memory associated with the union movements I can understand why many of the Eastern Orthodox Churches not in Communion with Rome would object to us using the term Orthodox to describe ourselves. But if reunion is really going to ever happen this is exactly what we need to be! If Rome doesn’t treat us a Full Orthodox Churches then how can the other Eastern Churches ever enter into communion with Rome?

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