What is an Eastern Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church is a communion of churches made up from both the Eastern and Western Traditions.
Eastern Catholics are in union with Rome and the Pope. We share the same basic faith and Mysteries (Sacraments), however our way of expressing them is more in line with the Orthodox tradition.
We belong to Churches rather than to 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
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
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 were: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome and Alexandria.
In 324 AD the capital of the Roman Empire was moved to Byzantium and renamed Constantinople in honor of the Emperor Constantine who had converted to Christianity some time earlier.
From here in this powerful cultural center an Antioch celebration of the liturgy was made and the Byzantine Church emerged.
Who are Ruthenian Byzantine Catholics?
The Ruthenian faith journey begins in the homeland of our ancestors in the "Old Country" of central europe.
Like the other Eastern Slavs the Carpatho-Rusins received Christianity from the Byzantine Empire.
In 863 AD , two Byzantine Greek missionary brothers,SS Cyril & Methodius introduced Christianity and the new Slavonic alphabet first to Moravia , Bohemia and western Slovakia. In time there missionary work moved eastward eventually converting the Rutheinain people.
The modern Church is multi-ethnic, with the Metropolia of Pittsburgh being predominately English-speaking and mostly descendants of Rusyns with also Slovaks, Hungarians, Croatians and many Americans of non-Slavic or non-Eastern European ancestry. The modern Eparchy of Mukacheve in Ukraine remains officially part of the greater Ruthenian Church.
Today our Church in America consists of believers of various ethnicities who wish to follow the historic Byzantine Tradition in communion with the Catholic Church. All are welcome to join us in our Spiritual Journey from the beautiful and distinctive Eastern Catholic perspective.