Saint Michaels Byzantine Catholic Church FAQs (frequently-asked questions)
- What is all this about Byzantine Catholics?
- What is a Byzantine Catholic?
- Are Roman/Latin Catholics of the Byzantine Rite?
- Can Roman Catholics attend a Byzantine Church to fulfill their Sunday obligation?
- Can Roman Catholics receive communion in a Byzantine Church?
- How is communion given in a Byzantine Church?
- Should we genuflect on entering a Byzantine Church?
- Why is everyone making the Sing of the Cross opposite then me? How should the sign of the cross be made in a Byzantine Catholic Church?
- Why is the Virgin Mary called "Theotokos"?
- I've heard the term Greek Catholic. What is that?
- What are some differences between Byzantines and Roman Catholics?
- Do you celebrate mass the way it was celebrated before Vatican II? (Tridentine)
- I've heard the terms Melkite Byzantine, Ruthenian Byzantine, and Ukrainian Byzantine uses. What's the difference between them?
- I'd like to become a Byzantine Catholic. I'm currently a Roman Catholic. How do I do it?
First and foremost, Yes: we are Catholics in union with the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) whom we recognize as the visible Head of the Catholic Church. We are recognized as being "Catholic" by the local Roman Catholic Bishops and the Bishops of the United States of America and the whole world. Having said that we are "Catholics", we must now state that we are NOT Roman Catholics, but Catholics who are identified as being Eastern Catholics. AS Catholics, we Eastern and Roman Catholics share the same faith and have the same seven sacraments. The difference is that we Eastern Catholics have a distinctive way or rite of expressing our faith in regards to Liturgy and customs.
At the Last Supper, after Jesus changed bread and wine into His own Body and Blood, He told His disciples to "Do this in Memory of me." This they did. As the disciples brought the Gospel to different parts of the world, they adapted ceremonies of the Liturgy to the customs and music of that people. In the end, four great centers of Christianity emerged with distinctive Christian customs, but the same faith. These centers were located in the great cities of Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome and Alexandria. A couple of centuries later when the capital of the Roman empire was moved to the Eastern city of Byzantium and renamed Constantinople, an adaptation of the Antioch way of celebrating Liturgy was made. Thus a new center of Christianity arose in Constantinople and her ritual became known as the Byzantine Rite. From Constantinople the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe were converted by Sts. Cyril and Methodius and naturally followed the Byzantine Rite.