So how is the Byzantine Church different from the Roman Church?
The Byzantine Church is theologically aligned with the Roman Church and both are under the authority of the Catholic Church. However, the Byzantine Catholic Church has its own rite, that is, distinctive spirituality, liturgies, services, hymns, and prayers. There are also differences in traditions such vestments, church architecture, and Holy Days of Obligation.
Why is the Fish used as a symbol of Christianity?
The early Christians used the Fish as a symbol of Christ. The Greek word for fish is “icthus” which was an abbreviation (acronym) for “Iesus Christos THeou Uios Soter” (Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior).
What does the word “Amen” mean?
Amen is a Hebrew word which means “So May It Be”. Amen is used to confirm (or affirm) a promise or truth of God. Typically, it ends most prayers.
What does the word “Catholic” mean?
The word “Catholic” means “universal” (i.e., “in keeping with the whole”).
On some icons there are the letters IC XC NI KA. What do they stand for?
The letters “IC XC NI KA” are Greek letters that are abbreviations for “Jesus Christ Conquers”.
What is the reason that we make the Sign of the Cross?
Catholics make the Sign of the Cross as a sign of respect to God and also as a means of requesting God’s blessings on themselves. The origin of the making the Sign of the Cross dates back to the 2nd century when it was common for individuals to pay respect to a ruler by gesturing. Thus, Christians used the Sign of the Cross to honor the Holy Trinity. Additionally, the Sign of the Cross served as a form of recognition since early Christians were forced to worship in secret.
By tradition, Latin Catholics finish the cross left-to-right and use an open hand, while Eastern Catholics finish right-to-left and hold three fingers together to symbolize the Trinity.
Rather than using the word Mass, the Byzantine Church uses the term Divine Liturgy for the Eucharistic service. Why is this?
Arguably, Divine Liturgy is a more descriptive term for a Catholic Eucharistic Service. We believe that the Eucharistic service is a Liturgy (worship service) that is truly Divine (from God). Roman rite churches are increasingly using the term liturgy. Interestingly, the Roman Catholic term for the Eucharistic Service, Mass, developed incidentally. Mass is derived from the Latin word missa (dismissal), a word used in the concluding part of the Latin Eucharistic Service: “Ite, missa est,” usually translated as “Go; it is the dismissal” or “Go, the dismissal is made.”
What language are your services in?
Most of our services are bilingual, being in both English and Ukrainian. Our Sunday readings and homily are in Ukrainian and English. The Ukrainian and combined Ukrainian/English liturgy lasts about an hour and twenty minutes. The English liturgy lasts about an hour.
Do I have to be Ukrainian to attend?
Not any more than you have to be Roman to attend a Roman Catholic church! Our parishioners include every race and a multitude of cultures. The Church is universal and the Good News is for everyone.
I’m Roman Catholic. What do I need to know?
Welcome! We always love to see part of the family! What you need to know is that we’re Catholic. What you might want to know depends on your interests. If your questions aren’t answered here, then phone, fax, email, or come and visit so we can answer them for you!
I’m not Catholic. What do I need to know?
Welcome! You might be visiting for understanding with no intention of conversion, or maybe you’re visiting family and attending with them, or perhaps you’re wondering if Christianity has something to offer you… Whatever the reason, we welcome you to our parish.
Why Are Vigil Lamps Lit Before Icons?
First – because our faith is light. Christ said: I am the light of the world (John 8,12). The light of the vigil lamp reminds us of that light by which Christ illumines our souls.
Second – in order to remind us of the radiant character of the saint before whose icon we light the vigil lamp, for saints are called sons of light (John 12,36; Luke 16,8).
Third – in order to serve as a reproach to us for our dark deeds, for our evil thoughts and desires, and in order to call us to the path of evangelical light; and so that we would more zealously try to fulfill the commandments of the Saviour: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works” (Matthew 5,16).
Fourth – so that the vigil lamp would be our small sacrifice to God, Who gave Himself completely as a sacrifice for us, and as a small sign of our great gratitude and radiant love for Him from Whom we ask in prayer for life, and health, and salvation and everything that only boundless heavenly love can bestow.
Fifth – so that terror would strike the evil powers who sometimes assail us even at the time of prayer and lead away our thoughts from the Creator. The evil powers love the darkness and tremble at every light, especially at that which belongs to God and to those who please Him.
Sixth – so that this light would rouse us to selflessness. Just as the oil and wick burn in the vigil lamp, submissive to our will, so let our souls also burn with the flame of love in all our sufferings, always being submissive to God’s will.
Seventh – in order to teach us that just as a vigil lamp cannot be lit without our hand, so too, our heart, our inward vigil lamp, cannot be lit without the holy fire of God’s grace, even if it were to be filled with all the virtues. All these virtues of ours, after all, like combustible material, but the fire which ignites them proceeds from God.
Eighth – in order to remind us that before anything else the Creator of the world created light, and after that everything else in order: And God said, let there be light: and there was light (Genesis 1,3). And it must be so also at the beginning of our spiritual life, so that before anything else the light of Christ’s truth would shine within us. From this light of Christ’s truth subsequently every good deed is created, springs up and grows in us.
May the Light of Christ illumine you as well!