Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, we are Catholics in unison 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 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 different way or rite of expressing our faith in regards to Liturgy and customs.

What is Byzantine Catholic?

  • The Byzantine Catholic Church is a branch of the Catholic Church.
  • The Byzantine Catholic Church is in full communion with the Pope or Rome.
  • Byzantine Catholics hold the same beliefs as Roman Catholics, but often have a different emphasis.
  • Byzantine Catholics have different customs and traditions that date back to the early centuries of the church.

What is the difference between the Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics?

  • Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics are virtually identical.  The biggest difference is that Byzantine Catholics are in communion with the Pope of Rome, while Orthodox are not.  There are also some differences in belief.

Can Roman Catholics attend a Byzantine Church and fulfill their Sunday obligation?

  • Yes! Any Catholic can attend any other Catholic church to fulfill their obligation.

What are some of the differences between Byzantines and Roman Catholics?

  • The Liturgy (Mass) is almost completely chanted and is different that the Roman Mass.
  • Communion is given out to standing communicants, who receive both the precious Body and Blood.
  • Icons are used instead of statues.
  • Incense is used throughout the Liturgy.
  • Byzantine Churches have a large icon screen, called the Iconostas, which separates the Altar area from the rest of the church.
  • Byzantine priests can be married in Europe, but currently not in the USA or Canada.  (In individual cases candidates for the priesthood in the USA can petition Rome for permission to marry)

Do you celebrate mass the way it was celebrated before Vatican II?  (Tridentine)

  • No, we use the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which dates back to the 300’s.

How is communion given in a Byzantine Catholic Church?

  • During Communion, both the Body and Blood of Christ are given to the person.
  • Rather than wafers, the Byzantine Catholics use little chunks of bread cut from a loaf.
  • The bread is put in the chalice with the wine and gently placed into the person’s mouth with a gold spoon.

Can Roman Catholics receive communion in a Byzantine church?

  • Yes, any Catholic can receive communion in any Catholic Church, whether it is Eastern or Western.

I’ve seen infants receive communion in a Byzantine Church? Why is that?

  • It has been the tradition of the Byzantine Church to always give communion to infants.  The reasoning behind this is that the children are innocent and therefore should be able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.  It is a practice that goes back to the early church.

I’d like to become a Byzantine Catholic.  I’m currently a Roman Catholic.  How do I do it?

  • To attend a Byzantine Catholic Church on a regular basis, you don’t have to do anything special if you are already a Catholic.  Simply go.
  • Some people find that they are spiritually fulfilled at a Byzantine Church and in order to bring closure to their spiritual journey they would like to be officially recognized as a Byzantine Catholic.  The process is known as changing rites.
  • After discussing this with your priest, you write a letter to your Roman Catholic Bishop and the Byzantine Catholic Bishop.  In the letter you state your spiritual reasons why you want to change rites.  At that point they will begin to process the paperwork.
  • You are not converting.  You are simply changing rites.
  • If you are not currently Roman Catholic, you can become a Byzantine Catholic.  Please contact the priest and he will help you through the process.

Comments are closed.