In a conversation over dinner with someone earlier in the week they asked what was the attraction of the Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox churches.
It was a good question but not one I could have answered without my soup going cold so I had to be quick and say what came to mind.
I said what attracted me was the balanced masculinity and femininity of the services. The reverence was also on top of the agenda. It just suits my personality and I’ve a very masculine kind of persona where the Roman Church just can’t satisfy that and its more a church that used to have this but no longer has mans attention.
The Roman Mass today with its few faults is still a nice one when done appropriately (which I’ve never seen happen except on EWTN) but even so my heart really is in the eastern churches.
Then tonight I read something in my Ukrainian Greek Catholic Catechism which really brings it home. In it, the Envoy of prince Vladimir is sent to find a religion suitable for Ukraine and lo and behold they stumble into the Hagia Sophia. They wrote back saying:
‘‘“And we went into the Greek lands, and we were led into a place where they serve their God, and we did not know where we were, on heaven or on earth; and do not know how to tell about this. All we know is that God lives there with people and their service is better than in any other country. We cannot forget that beauty since each person, if he eats something sweet, will not take something bitter afterwards; so we cannot remain any more in paganism.”
It sounds almost cruel and I don’t want it to sound cruel out of respect for the mass but to me all I taste when I’m at a Roman Liturgy is bitterness now that I’ve tasted the sweetness of both Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches.
When I came back to the Church there was only one Church which was your local roman church. I even got involved with my guitars and thought this is great this will do.
Then one day I stumble across a you tube video of Orthodox chanting and choral singing both in Russian and Greek. I then experienced via you tube an Orthodox service and I was totally lifted off the ground by the reverence and presence, beauty and majesty of God I felt there.
Things go even worse when I went to Greece and visited just your average Orthodox parish. I was thrown back by the intensity of all I’d seen, heard and smelled. It woke me up to realize that they may be the truth.
However I have decided to remain in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for now because I can’t bring myself to the Orthodox churches just yet. But to say I’m obsessed would be an understatement.
I still go to adoration here and confession in the roman churches but once a week I’m determined to make it to Dublin for Divine Liturgy. It’s the only thing keeping me alive in the Catholic Church and if it wasn’t for it I’d crumble under pressure and become Orthodox.
After so many falls in the Roman Catholic church and clashes with the faithless clergy there and having to forfeit so many theological classes because they’re full of twisted theology, I decided I’d had enough. Got my boys baptised into the UGCC and never looked back.
The only sad thing is that my wife doesn’t share the same enthusiasm and wants to remain going to her local RC church. So we are split. I take Christian to the UGCC and she takes Joseph to her church on Sunday.
I used to go with my wife every sunday to the roman church because I felt pressure that we should be together as a family which we definitely should be but recently I’ve had enough. I need to take care of my mental and spiritual health and if that means a sort of mini schism occurring in my own household then so be it.
This is it, once you’ve tasted the sweetness of Orthodoxy it’s very difficult to make a return to the bitter.