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Who Are Byzantine Catholics?

8/26/2004 - 6:00 AM PST

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By Byzantine Catholic Church

The Catholic Church Embraces the Whole World With Both Diversity and Unity.

Byzantine Catholics are followers of Jesus Christ

Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “And you,” he said to them, “who do you say that I am?” “You are the Messiah,” Simon Peter answered, “the Son of the living God!” (Mathew 16:13-16)

Byzantine Catholics are followers of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the Living God, who in His great mercy came into the world and assumed our human nature by becoming a man so that He could save us from our sins by His passion, death, resurrection and glorious ascension to Heaven. We are the witnesses to God’s saving action in human history, and the bearers of the Good News of Christ to the ends of the earth.

The Byzantine Catholic Church is the New Testament Church led by the Holy Spirit.

The Byzantine Catholic Church traces its foundation to the 12 Apostles of Christ who were the companions of Jesus as he walked on this earth some 2000 years ago. After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the Apostles began to proclaim the Gospel, first to Jerusalem, then to the Gentiles.

The first mission of the New Testament Church to the Greek-speaking Gentiles of the Levant was to Antioch, in the Roman province of Syria, where “the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26).

Antioch became the staging area for the great missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, which resulted in the foundation of a string of Greek-speaking Christian communities in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) and Greece. Similar missionary journeys were undertaken by other Apostles throughout the Hellenized Eastern Mediterranean, as well as deep into the heart of the Latin West, to Rome itself, the capital of the Empire.

As the Christian Church grew, each nation and culture who received the Gospel in turn influenced the growth of the Church. Even at a relatively early stage in the history of the Church, two major heritages developed and remain with us today: the Eastern or “Greek” tradition, and the Western or “Latin” tradition.

The Church in the West had its principal center at the Imperial capital of Rome, and is known in our present-day as the Roman Catholic Church. The Church in the East grew and developed from the Churches in Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. These three Eastern centers shared a common language, Greek, and similar mode of discourse which formed the basis for the subsequent development of the Eastern Christian tradition.

The Byzantine Catholic Church shares in the inheritance of the first Greek-speaking Christian communities of the Eastern Mediterranean world, founded by the Apostles of Jesus Christ.

The Byzantine Catholic Church shares in the inheritance of the Byzantine Religious Culture of the Christian East.

A landmark event in the history of the Church, and particularly the Eastern Church, was the decision in 325 by the Roman Emperor Constantine to move the Imperial capital from Rome to Byzantion, a small town on the Bosphorus strait which he renamed Constantinople (and which is presently Istanbul, Turkey).

This shift in the secular political balance had a dramatic impact on the Eastern Church, for a new secular and religious center – Constantinople – was created in the heart of the Christian East.

The Eastern Roman, or “Byzantine”, Empire centered on Constantinople was a Christian Empire that flourished for over 1,000 years, and which engendered a new and unique culture infused with Christianity.

Naturally, the Church based in the capital city of Constantinople gradually came to have a pre-eminent influence in the Christian East, spreading a religious culture that was both a synthesis and dynamic restatement of the existing strands of Eastern Christian culture that had been cultivated in the Greek-speaking world – the “Byzantine” religious culture.

Byzantine Catholics in America are the spiritual descendants of Christians in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East who are the heirs of this Byzantine religious culture, and who therefore trace their spiritual heritage to the Great Church of Constantinople, known as Hagia Sophia (The Church of Holy Wisdom).

The spiritual heritage of the Byzantine Catholic Church is the same given to us by the Apostles and which matured in the Christian East, during the period of the Byzantine Empire.

This heritage includes the doctrines, liturgical practices and underlying theology and spirituality which came from the Christian Church of the Byzantine Empire. This heritage is shared among all of the Christian peoples, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, who trace their spiritual roots to the Great Church of Constantinople, and the Byzantine religious culture which grew from that Church.

From the First Millennium, Christians of the Byzantine tradition have referred to themselves as “Orthodox Christians”. Byzantine Catholics are Orthodox Christians who embrace full communion with the Church of Rome and its primate, Pope John Paul II, the successor of St. Peter, the first among the Apostles.

Contact

Byzantine Catholic Church
http://www.byzcath.org  CA, US
Byzantine Catholic Church - Author, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Byzantine, Catholic, Eastern

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1 - 1 of 1 Comments

  1. ANNA
    6 months ago

    Very informative site and written in understandable language. Very happy to have come across this site. Thank you

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