Every second Saturday of the month, Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ.
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Every Sunday - 9am Divine Liturgy in English (fully or mostly) at the Holy Family Cathedral

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Monday, 1 November 2010

Anglican Uniates? Orthodox Uniates?

Fr John Salter, Chairman, in Chrysostom November All Saints 2010, writes:

The Church of Jesus Christ is neither Latin, nor Greek, nor Slav, but Catholic; accordingly she makes no difference between her children, and Greeks, Latins, Slavs and members of all other nations are equal in the eyes of the Apostolic See.
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

Cardinal Walter Kasper made what some considered a rather undiplomatic statement about Heathrow Airport`s being like a Third World establishment. Not because of the building, but rather the clientele. Trying to be more “diplomatic”, His Eminence, when addressing a group of Greek Orthodox clergy, seems to have assured them that the proposed Ordinariate for Anglicans was not to be seen by the Orthodox as another expression of Uniatism. Uniatism has always been disapproved of vigorously by the Orthodox and also by many Anglicans. But the Orthodox have Christians who are, so to speak, “Uniate” with them:

  • the Western Rite Orthodox largely from the Anglican Communion
  • the Assyrians on the old Persian border, who united with the Russian Church
  • some Old Believers - the so-called Edinoverz (United Believers), who united with the Moscow Patriarchate;
  • and in the Americas the Russian Church Outside Russia, whilst keeping their ancient traditions and the liturgical books which pre-date the 17th century reforms of Patriarch Nikon.
The Anglicans also have their Uniates:

  • the Mar Thoma Church is a detachment from the Syrian-Indian Orthodox of Kerala, which is in full communion with Canterbury
  • as are the Lusitanian Church of Portugal
  • and the Spanish Reformed Church, the latter being largely created as an Episcopal Church by Baron Plunket, the Primate of All Ireland of the Church of Ireland.
These are parts of the Anglican Communion. What is sauce for the Roman goose is surely sauce for the Orthodox and Anglican ganders!

The word “Uniate” was used by the Reverend Dr Adrian Fortescue, without any apology, in his book on the Eastern Catholic Churches, entitled "The Uniate Eastern Churches". The origin of the word "Uniate" comes from the Latin "unio", via the Polish "unia" and the Russian "unya" and the Greek "ounia". It is a word of abuse, insofar as the usual word for union in Polish, Russian and Greek is rendered "jednosc", "soedenie" and "enosis" respectively. Those members of the Russian Orthodox Church, and Ukrainians and Ruthenians who were opposed to the 1596 Union of Brest-Litovsk, seemed to have coined the word as an insult. It is as impolite as calling Roman Catholics “Papists” or “Romanists” or, as in the Army, “Left Footers”! Hence "Uniate" is not used in the documents of the Holy See, or the Annuario Pontificio, which includes the Patriarchs and Major-Archbishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches - but it is a useful shorthand!

These so-called Uniates have been coming into union with Rome over many centuries. Despite the despicable atrocities perpetrated by the Crusaders, particularly the during the fourth Crusade, the Crusades brought in many Armenians, who adopted the Latin mitre, the Roman crozier and other Latinizations in their liturgy, as well as in their dress; and these have been continued by the Armenian Orthodox as well as the Catholic Armenians. The Council of Lyons' second session in 1274 brought about the union of many Eastern Christians with the Holy See; and in 1439 the Union of Ferrara-Florence was to bring in others. The Union of Brest in 1596 brought in the Ukrainians, or (that is) the Ruthenian dioceses lying to the west of Kiev, whilst the Melkites were brought into union in 1724. The Nestorians had come into unity in 1551, and their successors, as the Chaldean Church under the Patriarch of Babylon, now outnumber the Assyrian Church of the East. In Transylvania, under Hapsburg rule, in 1698 the Romanians were united. In India was to be seen the latest union - that of the former Jacobites led by their bishops Mar Ivanios and his auxiliary bishop Mar Theophilus, who brought a thousand followers into the Catholic Church. To distinguish them from the Chaldeans and Latins in those parts, they are known as the Malankara Catholics, whereas the Christians derived from so-called Nestorianism that united with the Roman See are known as Malabarese Catholics. (These are known nowadays, respectively, as the Syro-Malankara Church and the Syro-Malabar Church.) Quite a number of both jurisdictions are now resident in London.

In Greece and in Constantinople there are the truly “Greek Catholics” - those who are Greek by blood as well as by Rite; but they are very few compared with the Ukrainians, as are the Catholic Copts. Yet the Copts have a Patriarch, whereas the Ukrainians have only a "Major-Archbishop", much to their understandable chagrin, since they are the largest of the Eastern Churches united with the Apostolic See of Rome.

These Eastern Catholics have at their immediate head a Patriarch (or, in the case of the Ukrainians and Malankara and Malabarese Churches, a Major-Archbishop). To see how this is worked out in practice, one should go to Beirut, capital of the Lebanon, or to the capital of Syria, Damascus. In these two capitals may be found three Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch – the Melkite, the Syrian Catholic and the Maronite, whilst the Armenian Catholic Catholikos-Patriarch of Cilicia also has a patriarchal residence near Beirut. There are also Latin Archbishops in the area. All own allegiance to the Holy Father and share his faith. But then the differences begin. The Latin bishops have celibate clergy celebrating the Roman rite, whilst the Melkite, Maronite and Syrian clergy, particularly in the villages, may well be married men with children, whose sons serve the Divine Liturgy for their fathers, as one sees in the area around Tyre and Sidon. The faithful of all these Churches may not change rites, but may worship and communicate at the altars of other jurisdictions and rites. This may all seem rather messy, but the Popes, through the ages, have always - at their best - encouraged the retention of the ancient rites of the Easterns, together with their own canon law and traditions, with
which these people are familiar and in which they feel at home.

It was the late Melkite Patriarch, Maximos IV Saigh, who said that Eastern Christians and Anglicans, too, should be able to worship in the traditions in which they and their families and ancestors had been brought up, and not be alienated into traditions which were foreign to them and in which they feel spiritually uncomfortable. What is possible in the Middle East should be possible in the United

Yet “Uniatism” does not seem popular among certain sections of the Latin hierarchy. One bone of dissension is the question of married priests, which caused acute embarrassment to the Latins, particularlyin the United States; so much so, that the Pope issued an Apostolic Letter, Ea Semper, in 1907, forbidding non-celibate priests from functioning in America. The Holy See slightly relaxed this rule, but no married men could be ordained to the priesthood in America, although it was allowed in the Ukraine. This was one of the reasons that 10,000 Ruthenians joined the Orthodox, but retained their name "Greek Catholic". A further Papal Decree, Cum Data of 1929, sent more Ruthenians into the arms of the Orthodox.

So what of Anglican Uniates? It has to be said that the old Anglican Papalists or Reunionists hoped and prayed for Corporate Reunion for the Provinces of Canterbury and York with the See of Peter. The reunion schemes thought up in the reign of King Charles I seem to have envisaged a sort of Uniate Church, and the Malines Conversations of the early 1920s had high hopes of an Anglican
Patriarchate based on Canterbury and the eventual disappearance of the Westminster Latin Hierarchy. It was a romantic pipe-dream thought up by Dom Lambert Beauduin for Cardinal Mercier. It would never have convinced even the majority of Anglo-Catholics, let alone the middle-men in the Church of England. The Evangelicals and Low Churchmen would never have countenanced it.

It raised its head again, this Uniate idea, at the time of the vote on the ordination of women in the Church of England. But, as the Catholic Dominican priest, Father Aidan Nichols OP, wrote in New Directions, an Anglican journal published by “Forward in Faith” :

An added problem is the temper of the Latin episcopate in England, at least at the time of the Synod (for women priests). As William Oddie's The Roman Option shows, the Latin rite bishops, Cardinal Hume alone excepted, were implacably opposed to a Uniate jurisdiction for former Anglicans.
But unless Cardinal Hume had had a change of heart, I remember his telling me, following a lecture for Anglicans considering the Roman option, that there were quite enough Uniate Churches already without adding an Anglican one.

Another problem, over the years since the establishment of the Anglican Papalist or Reunionist Party in the Church of England, which reached its apotheosis in the publication of the Papalist Manifesto of 1933, was the false impression given as to what reunion with Rome would entail. Latinization, that curse of the Uniate Churches, had already got well under way in Anglo-Catholic circles in general and in Anglican Papalists ones in particular. A society for celibate priests had to be called a “Sodality”; a society to encourage devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was a “Confraternity”; a religious order of nuns praying for reunion with the Holy See was “The Augustinian Canonesses Regular of Our Lady of Victories”. Devotions to the Sacred Heart and The Little Flower – Ste.Therese of Lisieux - the Feast of Christ the King; these were all adopted by the vanguard of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England. “Back to Baroque” was the ideal decoration for its "extreme" churches; skimpy Latin chasubles and even skimpier mass-produced cottas edged out elegant, well-cut gothic vestments and surplices; coffee-coloured lace adorned every altar; and the Blessed Virgin`s image had to be dressed in real clothes, and so on and so forth. It put most moderate so-called Prayer Book Catholics off the reunion-with-Rome movement, and drove them into the arms of Percy Dearmer,  of The Parson`s Handbook fame, and the Alcuin Club - what was known by its critics as “British Museum Religion”.

But now the Latin hierarchy in England and Wales are alarmed at what Anglican Papalists might bring into the Catholic Church, apart from their wives!

One of the problems regarding would-be “Anglican Uniates” is that they are more latinized than the Roman Church in England;  they are rather like the Old Believers united with the Moscow Patriarchate. They are more traditionalist than the Church to which they are allied. Some Anglican Papalist parishes have re-adopted all the old rites of the Mass, but they have also adopted the old ceremonies for Holy Week and Easter prior to the reforms of Pope Pius XII in the 1950s. The Anglicans or Episcopalians in the USA who have united with Rome look like “Uniates”, if one looks at  The Pastoral Provision, and have even attracted to their churches more traditionalist Roman Catholics.

On the question of Uniate Anglicans and their terms of union, one may take some inspiration from the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Baalbec in Lebanon, Elias (Zoghby), a lifelong critic of the worst aspects of Latinizing Uniatism, when his Patriarch, Maximos IV Saigh, accepted a Cardinal's hat, resigned in protest at a Patriarch becoming a curate in the Diocese of Rome! The protest meant that the Holy See eventually altered the description for Eastern Patriarchs or Major-Archbishops becoming Cardinals – they became “Cardinals of Holy Church” rather than “Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church”. Zoghby stated that there was a definite possibility of realizing "dual communion" in the Middle East in the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch (a Patriarchate which had been torn by many divisions during its history). "Dual communion" would mean that the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate, which is in full communion with Rome, would also enter into full communion with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch without breaking off communion with the Pope. Whether this would have included the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem was not made clear, but Jerusalem Patriarchate is very conservative; and what about Alexandria? The Melkite Patriarch is also Patriarch for the Melkites of Alexandria. However, the reaction of the Roman Curia at that time was decisively negative. This did not deter the Melkite Greek Catholics and they did not capitulate, but continued the process of reconciliation with the Orthodox. In Lebanon and Syria and other territories in the Middle East many families are intermarried – Melkites and Orthodox live cheek by jowl with one another. The problem did not go away and within ten years on the 18th February 1995 the persistent seeker for unity, Archbishop Elias, formulated a very short creed which stated:
I believe in everything which Eastern Orthodoxy teaches. I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome, in the limits recognized by the first among the Bishops by the Holy Fathers of the East during the first millennium, before the separation.

The response from the Orthodox side was swift – only two days after Archbishop Elias' statement on 20th February 1995, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Georges (Khodr) of the Greek Orthodox
Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East, declared that this short Credo fulfilled the necessary and sufficient conditions to re-establish the unity of the Orthodox Churches with Rome. Archbishop Zoghby`s successor in the see of Baalbeck, Archbishop Cyryl (Butros) five days later on 25th February 1995 acted similarly. With only two Melkite bishops dissenting, the Creed put foward by
Archbishop Elias was individually signed by all the members of the Melkite Greek Catholic Synod of Antioch.

In 1724 the Patriarchate of Antioch had bi-furcated: one group remained in communion with  Constantinople under Patriarch Sylvester, whilst the Papalist party went under the jurisdiction of
Cyril. It was to end this division that Archbishop Elias spent much of his time and effort in promoting the gradual union of the Patriarchate of Antioch. It entailed only three basic steps:

  1. Settlement of the schism in the Patriarchate of Antioch, which was caused by the Union (with Rome) of 1724, a method which belongs to the past according to the well known "Balamand" document;
  2. Achievement of full communion of faith by those who signed the creed with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and, as a consequence, the restoration of sacramental communion.
  3. Maintenance by the bishops-signatory of communion with the See of Rome, recognized by Orthodoxy as the first among other Episcopal sees. It should be the same as the communion recognized and practised by the Eastern Fathers during the first millennium before theGreat Schism.
These irenical moves on the part of the Melkite Greek Catholic hierarchy led eventually to a cautious reaction from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, in which it stressed that such a move would require the approval of the Sister Churches within the Orthodox Communion. It also expressed the view that what the Orthodox regarded as the local councils of the Church of Rome should not be regarded as Ecumenical Councils and that the Melkite Catholics should not be obliged to accept such councils. In the Ukraine, a similar idea had been launched, whereby the Ukrainian Greek Catholics might enter into communion with the Mother Church of Constantinople whilst still retaining communion with the Papacy and the Church of Rome.

Is there a parallel between the position of the Melkites and that of the Anglicans? Are there formulas in the history of the Catholic Church which do not have the same “Boo” words such as “Papal Infallibility” and “Transubstantiation” which make moderate Anglo-Catholics jump? One supposes that the agreed documents of ARCIC have covered these points, but if not then there are long lists of
formulas defining the Pope as a unifying centre, from Hegesippus and Vincent de Lerins right down to Vatican I, with endless formulas in between, such of those of St.Thomas Aquinas, Pope Martin V and Pope Eugenius IV. The old formulas are of a practical kind, later ones of a more theoretical kind. St.Thomas Aquinas' formula was of a practical kind:
All the faithful must be at one on the faith. But controversies may arise on questions of doctrine, and the Church would soon be divided by discordant opinions, were she not safeguarded in her unity by the decisions of one.
Or as St. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, has it:
We must always have recourse to the Holy See for a final decision in our controversies.
On the question of Transubstantiation : if the Aristotelian term worries Anglicans, why not use the simple formula of St. Irenaeus?
The earthly bread… becomes the Eucharist made up of two elements, one earthly. the other, heavenly.
The terminology may be different between Aquinas and Irenaeus and, for both of them, that of the first Vatican Council; but it was the same faith in the Petrine Office as a living thing. If the Melkites may omit the “Filioque” from their Creed, why saddle Anglicans with later formularies ?

Perhaps, the practical difficulties facing would-be Ordinariate Anglicans are more insurmountable than the liturgical and doctrinal hurdles. One has spoken to the younger Anglican clergy about this. One young priest, anxious about his future, has left the Church of England and his incumbency, because he has not time to wait for the Ordinariate to be set up. He awaits a decision about his future and has fortunately been housed by the Catholic Church in a presbytery, while working in secular employment. Another did not wish to have to fit in at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon with the local Latin priest to celebrate his Anglican Catholic rite. Many Latin clergy might find it an inconvenience to have to give hospitality to Anglicans - just as some have done with the Eastern Catholics using their churches - and may wonder why they can't become “ordinary Catholics”!

Young clergy with wives and small children to support, or elderly relatives to care for, will not be in for a bed of roses in many cases, should they join the Ordinariate. An Anglican will give up a good
deal, if he cannot keep his church, his liturgy, his Authorized Version, his Coverdale Psalms, his English Hymnal and Hymns Ancient and Modern, his friends and relations and his fellow worshippers, the whole setting of his religious life, which long association has endeared to him more than anything else. And psychologically he is right. The late Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh and Archbishop Elias Zoghby would have said he was right, too. We Catholics will tell him lovely tales about sacrificing the whole of his world for the salvation of his soul, because we can be quite glib about other people's sacrifices. A conversion, to be a complete one, should be able to transfer not only the convert but also his baggage, his Anglican culture, his sort of Anglo-Catholic humour and vibes, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and in some cases the cult of King Charles I etc., etc.

There is sad evidence in the history of the Catholic Church of how disastrous it can be for converts (and for the Church itself) to be snatched out of their religious and social milieu. The Syro-Indians
know how disastrous it was on the Malabar Coast, when the Portuguese came with their Latinizations. So did the Ruthenians in the United States in the 1920s, who “defected” to the Orthodox.

We should wish the Ordinariate well and pray for all those who may have to make heroic decisions.


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