Monday, July 26, 2010

Eastern Rites

Sorry about the absence...again!

I have been studying quite a bit lately. I'm taking a class on Russian culture next semester (as I've always had this insane obsession with the Romanovs as a child) to get rid of a general ed. requirement and I cannot help but be super excited. So excited, that I went straight to the bookstore & picked up some Tolstoy to read in the meantime.

In doing so, I discovered Tolstoy was actually a very radical Christian believer. He was very determined to separate himself from the teachings & traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church, as he had his own interpretation of Jesus' sermons & parables.

So as I read Anna Karenina I am excited to see this man's interpretation of Christianity, as this novel is semi-autobiographical (says the back of my book haha) since Tolstoy infuses his characters with his own qualities, struggles, behaviors, and spiritual questions. I am also intrigued by the influence of the orthodox church. I follow an Orthodox blogger or two on here and, during Lent especially, I saw how different our traditions & worship can be. I am very drawn to their sacrifices during Lent (no meats/cheese etc I believe...they even have special cookbooks for fasting families because of the intense restrictions!) and wish I had the will power to give up such luxuries...and God willing I will be able to someday.

This then got me curious about the Eastern Catholic Rites. I believe John Paul II said that the RCC breathes with 2 lungs: The West & the East. Such a cool visual. Just thinking about the immense diversity and powerful tradition that lies within the single body of the Catholic Church thrills me! I am so big into different cultures, languages, traditions-and most importantly, religion. This just combines all my interests into one! I know there is an eastern rite catholic church near me, I'm just too nervous to go.

I hear that ER services are much like the Orthodox services? In which case I would have no idea what to do...on top of that this one is in a different language I'm pretty sure! I don't want to interrupt or ruin the mass by being uneducated as to how they conduct things.

Has anyone here ever been to an Eastern Rite service? Or an Orthodox service for that matter (if they're similar in any way??)? Was it nerve racking, did you know anyone there? How did the mass go? Can I even attend a mass if I am not from that rite? What rite am I...Roman rite, right? haha ahh this is so confusing, but it's a whole new world I never really realized was here!

Exciting! So just beware I may be lurking around more
or simply posting about my findings instead. Woooooo!

Please send any info you have/know because I am a novice :P
Love & Peace/Pax/Salaam always


caraboska said...

I would imagine that if they are affiliated with Rome, there wouldn't be any problem in your full participation in the service. I think most of the Eastern Rite churches are affiliated with Slavic communities, which means that the service is likely to be in Old Church Slavonic. Most probably there will be a bilingual booklet with the liturgy in it. Amber from Little Steps Home has been attending Greek Orthodox services lately and likes it. She's of Roman origin, so she can probably clue you in better on the differences. I'm told the atmosphere at the service is in some ways more laid back, the services are long and people come and go, in other ways people are so focused on what is going on at the service that they are too busy to be thinking about whether you are getting it right or not. At least this is the impression I have.

~Joseph the Worker said...

You can attend an Eastern Rite parish no problems. The liturgy isn't radically different except a little with when there is standing and kneeling. The sign of the cross is done backwards, and there is no Eucharist present in the tabernacle. Finally, the host is spooned into your mouth after being intinctured in the blood of Christ.

Its very beautiful, and can be in different languages depending on what rite it is (byzantine, marionite, etc.)

As for you, you are Latin Rite (we are all Roman). The Holy Father is the spiritual leader on faith and morals for all rites, but he only sets discipline for the Latin rite (including whether or not priests are celibate, head coverings for women, etc.) Eastern Rites have their own disciplines set by the metropolitan or patriarch (not sure what their proper term is).

Just for your info, it is generally discouraged to actually change rites. People who are of an Eastern Rite generally come from that background and have cultural and ethnic ties to that rite, and it is quite a serious matter to just leave behind your own tradition.

~Joseph the Worker said...

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