Click here to learn more about how the Byzantine Catholic Church is different from the Roman Catholic Church
Click here to learn more about how the Byzantine Catholic Church is different from the Roman Catholic Church

The Byzantine Catholic Church is a fascinating Church. As part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church headed by the pope, members of the Church are brothers and sisters to Latin Rite (or Roman) Catholics, but have different traditions and practices which Latin Rite Catholics may find unusual or interesting. We hope that these pages can help all Catholics understand the beauty of “the two lungs of the Church”, East and West.

As well as information about the Byzantine Catholic Church, these pages contain information about Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church in Livonia.

Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Church

Who are we, Ruthenian Byzantine Catholics?

The Ruthenian faith-journey begins in the homeland of our ancestors, “the old country,” central Europe.

Envision a map of the European continent. Our ancestral homeland known variously as Carpathian Rus’, Transcarpathia, Carpatho-Ruthenia, Carpatho-Russia, and Carpatho-Ukraine is the very heart of the picture, presently eastern Slovakia, southwest Ukraine, northeast Hungary and northwest Romania.

The religious life of these people came from the East. Like the other East Slavs, the Carpatho-Rusins received Christianity from the Byzantine Empire.

In the year 863, two Byzantine Greek missionaries, the brothers Cyril and Methodius – “The Apostles to the Slavs” – introduced Christianity and the new Slavonic alphabet to Greater Moravia, the present Czech Republic and Western Slovakia.

Thereafter, the followers of these Byzantine missionaries moved eastward, eventually converting the Ruthenian people.

What is an Eastern Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church is a communion of churches. It is made up of churches from the Eastern Tradition and the Western Tradition.

Eastern Catholics are in union with Rome and Pope Francis. We share the same basic faith and the same mysteries (sacraments), however, our way of expressing them follows the same tradition as the Orthodox churches. In reality, there are many Eastern churches, each with its own heritage and theology, liturgy and discipline.

Jesus sent his disciples to the four corners of the world to spread the Gospel. Eventually, four great centers of Christianity emerged with distinctive Christian customs, but the same faith. These centers were Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome and Alexandria. A few centuries later when the capital of the Roman Empire was moved to the Eastern city of Byzantium, later renamed Constantinople, an adaptation of the Antioch celebration of the liturgy was made.

From this powerful cultural center the Byzantine church emerged.

(Radvansky, Joseph. A Brief Explanation of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Introduction).