Thursday, April 25, 2013


Pope John Paul II celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the papal altar of St. Peter's in 1996. A Latin Rite priest must use Latin Rite vestments when concelebrating a Divine Liturgy and evidently when the main celebrant:

Pope John XXIII celebrates the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:

Pope Benedict in 2006 attending Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Bartholomew as celebrant

Patriarch Bartholomew attends Pope Francis Installation Mass, the first time since the Great Schism! This is due in large part to Pope Benedict's efforts!

At Divine Liturgy, pope, patriarch affirm commitment to unity in 2006

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNS) -- Claiming the brotherhood of their respective patron saints -- the apostles Andrew and Peter -- the spiritual leaders of the world's Orthodox and the world's Catholics joined together in prayer and solemnly affirmed their commitment to the full unity of their churches.

Incense and ancient hymns chanted in Greek set the atmosphere as Pope Benedict XVI paid homage to the Orthodox church by attending a Nov. 30 Divine Liturgy celebrated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The liturgy at the Orthodox Church of St. George in Istanbul marked the feast of St. Andrew, patron of the patriarchate.

The pope and patriarch greeted each other with kisses on the cheek, but then the pope moved to a raised wooden throne at the side of the church while the patriarch celebrated the solemn liturgy.

After the almost three-hour liturgy, Patriarch Bartholomew led Pope Benedict to a balcony overlooking a courtyard. They both blessed the crowd, then the patriarch took the pope's hand and held it aloft as they waved and smiled at the applauding crowd below.

"In the liturgy, we are reminded of the need to reach unity in faith as well as in prayer," the patriarch said in his homily.

"Therefore, we kneel in humility and repentance before the living God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious name we bear and yet at the same time whose seamless garment we have divided," the patriarch told the pope and other members of the congregation.

"We confess in sorrow that we are not yet able to celebrate the holy sacraments in unity," Patriarch Bartholomew said. "And we pray that the day may come when this sacramental unity will be realized in its fullness."

As the Orthodox faithful processed up for Communion, they bowed to the pope before receiving the consecrated bread and wine.

But one little boy, dressed in a dark suit and tie, stepped out of the line to kiss the pope's ring.

Although the Orthodox church in Turkey has fewer than 5,000 members, Pope Benedict told reporters that the patriarchate's standing in the Orthodox world as the "first among equals" made a visit almost obligatory.

"Numbers, quantity, do not count," the pope told reporters Nov. 28 on the way to Turkey. "It is the symbolic, historical and spiritual weight that counts" and the fact that the patriarchate "remains a point of reference for the whole Orthodox world and, therefore, for all of Christianity."

Addressing the congregation at the end of the liturgy, Pope Benedict said the service was an opportunity "to experience once again the communion and call of the two brothers," Peter and Andrew, chosen by Jesus to be his apostles and sent to different cities to preach the same Gospel.

The fact that the brothers also had different roles within the Christian community, with Peter and his successors in Rome having a "universal responsibility," has "unfortunately given rise to our differences of opinion, which we hope to overcome, thanks also to the theological dialogue which has been recently resumed," Pope Benedict said.

While Orthodox generally recognize the importance of the church of Rome, they object to the way in which popes have tried to exercise direct jurisdiction over all Christian communities.

Pope Benedict said he wanted to "recall and renew" the invitation issued by Pope John Paul II for a discussion among Christians on possible ways for exercising the papal ministry to serve the unity of all Christians.

"It is only through brotherly communion between Christians and through their mutual love that the message of God's love for each and every man and woman will become credible," the pope said.

Like the patriarch, he expressed his sadness at the fact that although they share the same faith and recognize the validity of each other's sacraments, Catholics and Orthodox cannot regularly share each other's Eucharist.

"May our daily prayer and activity be inspired by a fervent desire not only to be present at the Divine Liturgy, but to be able to celebrate it together, to take part in the one table of the Lord, sharing the same bread and the same chalice," the pope said.

At the end of the liturgy, he gave Patriarch Bartholomew a chalice as a gift.

The patriarch, in turn, gave the pope a Book of the Gospels, expressing his hope that Catholics and Orthodox would be imitators of Christ and would allow love, unity and peace to prevail.

After the liturgy, the pope and patriarch signed a joint declaration committing their churches to continuing theological dialogue and greater practical cooperation, especially in promoting Christian values in increasingly secularized societies.

They also expressed their concern for the poor and for victims of violence -- especially in the Middle East -- and terrorism and those whose religious freedom is not recognized fully.

In the afternoon, the pope continued his ecumenical visits, meeting Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Mesrob II and Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Filuksinos Yusuf Cetin.


Marc said...

As you can imagine, this is all very controversial amongst the Orthodox, who still maintain disciplines preventing prayer with the "heterodox". Some would claim the Ecumenical Patriarch is a heretic for engaging in this level of ecumenical dialogue.

At any rate, if Rome wants ecumenism with the Orthodox to flourish, the first step is to do away with the uniate groups, which are the greatest stumbling block to discussion from the Orthodox perspective.

And that is why, in the previous post, I maintained it would be a disaster for Orthodox-Catholic dialogue for the Pope to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

Pater Ignotus said...

Why do you think that the existence of the Eastern Rite Churches is a stumbling block to reunification with the Orthodox Churches?

Marc said...

Because I am friends with an Orthodox priest and have spent time talking to Orthodox people both in person and on the internet. I've discussed this subject at length.

Also, common sense tells me that we would be mightily upset if the Orthodox installed a bishop in Rome and called him the Patriarch of Rome. Well, that's exactly what the Catholic Church did in Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Alexandria. Of course, the Church relinquished the see of Constantinople after Vatican II.

It might seem odd to us, but the old wounds from the mistreatment of eaten Christians during the Crusades are still very real and remembered. One of those wounds involved a imitate movement that basically set up parallel Latin bishoprics in the old Orthodox sees.

Fr. Bryan said...

Christ is among us!
Your very use of the pergorative term "Uniate" to describe Eastern Catholics is a sign of the great prejudice shown by some Eastern Orthodox Christians towards Eastern Catholic Churches. Do you use such insulting words towards those of different ethnicity or race than yourself? If not, why be such a buffoon in using such terminology towards fellow Eastern Christians. Educated people understand that the various Eastern Catholic Churches came into existence for various historical reasons and in various historical circumstances. In many cases it was to protect the Orthodox Faith from the inroads of heresies, such as Protestantism, in nations where the only protection could be given by a Roman Catholic sovereign. The situation is not the same today, but the insistence of some myopic Eastern Orthodox that the Eastern Catholic Churches self-immolate is what is the real reason for the interruption of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. Many of the hierarchy and clergy have stated numerous times that we would willing blend with our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters once communion is re-established. So stop promoting a "red herring" and instead truly work for the "Union of the Holy Churches of God." Very Rev. Dr. Bryan R. Eyman

J said...

It is not a stumbling block. If reunion occurs, the Eastern Catholic Churches would come under the jurisdiction of their appropriate Orthodox Churches, and the so-called uniate groups would cease to exist.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

For those in the know, the Eastern Rite and Orthodox bishops wear a crown at Liturgy rather than a miter. Pope John XXIII wears the tiara at the Byzantine Liturgy he celebrates rather than a miter, while Pope John Paul II wears the miter since he chose not to be crowned at his coronation.

Is that something that the Orthodox would find problematic that the pope today eschews the "crown" or the "tiara?" Just wondering?

John Nolan said...

Eastern bishops (and other ranks of clergy also) wear a mitre, usually of the closed crown pattern, although it didn't appear until the fifteenth century. Some of the Eastern churches wear Roman-style mitres. The familiar two-horned mitre appeared in the Western Church at the beginning of the second millennium. Prior to this it resembled a conical cap, the shape of which was maintained in the papal tiara. Innocent III (early 13th century) is pictured wearing one, minus the three crowns which were added later.

The practice, widespread in Anglican and Episcopalian circles, of having mitres in the liturgical colours is a modern fad which has nothing to commend it.

Fr. G said...

Fr. Allan,
Here is an 80 minute video of Blessed John Paul II celebrating Divine Liturgy at Saint Peter Basilica on July 7, 1996 for the 400th Anniversary of the Union of Brest:

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fr. G when I click on the link, it comes up saying the video doesn't exist. Is there another link?

Fr. G said...

Oh, I see what happened. The URL address was shortened.

Here is the full URL address:

Sorry about that.

Marc said...

Fr. Bryan, I am sorry you misunderstood my intention in my posts. I don't use the term "uniate" in a derogatory way, but as a term of art as it is a proper term to describe those Churches. See Benedict XIV, for an example. (I concede that it has developed a derogatory usage over time, when used by the Orthodox to describe Eastern Catholics. I, though, am not Orthodox).

At any rate, the phenomenon of the Eastern Catholic Churches is a stumbling block to reunion. To argue otherwise is to be willfully blind. The fact that there is a varied history leading to the creation of the particular Churches doesn't change that fact. In many cases, the history is quite sad and has had a "civil war" like effect, as you know.

I don't have a dog in this fight, as they say, and I'm sure you have vastly more knowledge about the realities than I do. I happen to find the topic interesting. I'm sorry if I appeared to be supporting a "red herring." That was certainly not my intent.

John Albanese said...

Reactions to eschewing of the papal tiara are actually mixed. Some Orthodox think it's just wonderful because it shows that the pope is "repenting from his heresy" and "becoming 'just a bishop.'" while others are kind of concerned because it shows that the Western Church is taking a step away from her own developed traditions (similar to the way they dislike the Novus Ordo when done in an innovative manner, facing the people, with Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion [that aren't so extraordinary it seems!], and altar girls).

If you look at the Patriarch of the Russian Church he wears some imperial looking headgear. I personally wish the papal tiara would make a comeback!

Anonymous said...

The term Uniat or Uniate is applied to those Eastern Catholic churches which were previously Eastern Orthodox churches, primarily by Eastern Orthodox. The term is considered to have a derogatory connotation, though it was occasionally used by Latin and Eastern Catholics, prior to the Second Vatican Council. Official Catholic documents no longer use the term, due to its perceived negative overtones.[18] According to Professor John Erickson of Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, "The term 'uniate' itself, once used with pride in the Roman communion, had long since come to be considered as pejorative. 'Eastern Rite Catholic' also was no longer in vogue because it might suggest that the Catholics in question differed from Latins only in the externals of worship. The Second Vatican Council affirmed rather that Eastern Catholics constituted churches, whose vocation was to provide a bridge to the separated churches of the East.

Anonymous said...

The term Uniate commonly refers to those Orthodox Christians who left Orthodoxy and acknowledged the jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome while retaining the rites and practices observed by Orthodoxy. There have been several movements of this type throughout Church history.

The term “uniate” is seen as negative by such individuals, who are more commonly referred to as Catholics of the Byzantine Rite, Greek Catholics, Eastern Rite Catholics, Melkite Catholics, or any number of other titles.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Fr. Peter-Michael Preble writes,
"I would caution you on the use of the word Uniate. Most Eastern Catholics look upon this word as a slam by their Orthodox brothers and sisters. The term should be 'Eastern Catholics.'"