Irish Melkite and other Eastern Catholics?

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Melchior

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I am an ethnic Jew and I tend to be fairly pro-Israel. Will I be uncomfortable in an Eastern Catholic Parish? In the Orthodox Churches I have visted and several of the Orthodox people I know I have encountered a good deal of either anti-Semitism or anti-Israelism bordering on anti-Semitism. I can appreciate a difference of opinion on middle east affairs. But I think if I end up in a church that is full of people who call Israel “Palestine” or “The Holy Land” to avoid acknowledging Israel I am not going to make many friends.

Do Eastern Catholics tend to be more open minded than the Orthodox about this? Or is it an identical ethos? I just don’t think I can worship in a charged ethno/political environment when I am the minority. Any thoughts?

Mel
 
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Melchior:
I am an ethnic Jew and I tend to be fairly pro-Israel. Will I be uncomfortable in an Eastern Catholic Parish? In the Orthodox Churches I have visted and several of the Orthodox people I know I have encountered a good deal of either anti-Semitism or anti-Israelism bordering on anti-Semitism. I can appreciate a difference of opinion on middle east affairs. But I think if I end up in a church that is full of people who call Israel “Palestine” or “The Holy Land” to avoid acknowledging Israel I am not going to make many friends.

Do Eastern Catholics tend to be more open minded than the Orthodox about this? Or is it an identical ethos? I just don’t think I can worship in a charged ethno/political environment when I am the minority. Any thoughts?

Mel
I am in the Byzantine Catholic (Rutherian) Church. My pastor is very steeped in Church History and he is Pro-Judism-Christan history.
You however may not see the same in other Churches, not just Eastern.

If it is a different of Orthodox and Byzantine Liturgies that concerns you, I wouldn’t worry. We have the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom too, but we follow the Pope of Rome.

I do not know if this post is any help, but simply pray and let the Holy Spirit direct you in this journey of yours.

Go with God!
Edwin J.
 
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Melchior:
I am an ethnic Jew and I tend to be fairly pro-Israel. Will I be uncomfortable in an Eastern Catholic Parish? In the Orthodox Churches I have visited and several of the Orthodox people I know I have encountered a good deal of either anti-Semitism or anti-Israelism bordering on anti-Semitism. …

Do Eastern Catholics tend to be more open minded than the Orthodox about this? Or is it an identical ethos? I just don’t think I can worship in a charged ethno/political environment when I am the minority. Any thoughts?
Mel,

Good question. I’m actually surprised at the reaction you’ve encountered in the parishes of my Orthodox brothers and sisters. (I remember from your earlier post that you wife is or was Orthodox, although you didn’t say which Church). I’m going to raise the question in the Eastern Christian forum where I regularly post and see what the sense of my Orthodox friends is on the matter. I’ll get back to you on it (btw, I know you e-mailed me, but my e-mail server is acting up, so I haven’t been able to read your message, let alone reply to it - hopefully, later today.)

Since I belong to a Church which has an ethnic base of Arab Catholics, as well as the one which you’ve been visiting of late, I guess my experience with the issues you raise is probably very relevant. I would be lying if I said that, in almost 40 years as a member of a Melkite parish, I have never heard talk that was anti-Zionistic or even anti-Semitic. I will say that it’s extremely rare and that it has precipitously declined in frequency over the years, but it isn’t entirely absent.

The Cathedral community is very diverse; the largest group of ethnic Arabs in the parish are Lebanese from the Diocese of Zahleh (many of our parishes reflect mass migration from a particular place), with a smaller Syrian community, and relatively small numbers of Palestinians and Egyptians. Additionally, there are large numbers of Irish, some Byzantine Ukrainian and Russian Catholics, at least one parishoner who is a convert from Judaism, and a variety of other folks, some of whom are formally Melkites, others of whom are Latins who worship with us. Our diversity is pretty characteristic of Melkite parishes in the US.

One of the problems with Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox parishes is a tendency to be so ethnocentric that they fail to embrace “outsiders” who come among them (except as customers to their annual food fairs :eek: ). This “ghetto mentality” was cited by our beloved Archbishop Joseph (Tawil), of blessed memory, as one of the two great risks to the future of the Eastern Catholic Churches (the other being assimilation):
In a ghetto, life is closed in upon itself, operating only within itself, with its own ethnic and social clichés. And the parish lives upon the ethnic character of the community; when that character disappears, the community dies and the parish dies with it.
One day all our ethnic traits - language, folklore, customs - will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, primarily for the service of the immigrant or the ethnically oriented, unless we wish to assure the death of our community. Our Churches are not only for our own people but are also for any of our fellow Americans who are attracted to our traditions which show forth the beauty of the universal Church and the variety of its riches.
My own experience, in visiting many Eastern Catholic parishes throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic areas, is that Melkite parishes are extremely open and welcoming, as are the very few Russian Catholic parishes, as well as most Greek Orthodox and Antiochian (Syrian) Orthodox parishes. As to the other 9 or 10 Eastern Catholic Churches that are represented in the US, it varies greatly from parish to parish. Certainly, in times of escalated conflict in the mid-East, the likelihood for some politicized commentary increases in the Churches which originate in that region. (I suspect that, in the 2 or 3 Melkite parishes in the US that have significant numbers of Palestinian parishoners, it may be a more regular occurrence.)

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Israel referred to as Palestine, except by Palestinians. References to ‘the Holy Land’ are few and far between (I really think that styling is more of a Latin thing) and I’ve only heard them in the context of discussing the Christian holy sites, rather than being employed as pseudonyms for Israel.

I guess, all in all, I’d encourage you to stay with us at the Cathedral. I have no doubt you and your wife will be welcomed.

Many years,

Neil
 
Brother, I hope you will not encounter discrimination in any Catholic church, whether of the east or west - for after all, we are Jews too - we are the Jews who get it!
 
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Edwin1961:
I am in the Byzantine Catholic (Rutherian) Church. My pastor is very steeped in Church History and he is Pro-Judism-Christan history.
You however may not see the same in other Churches, not just Eastern.

If it is a different of Orthodox and Byzantine Liturgies that concerns you, I wouldn’t worry. We have the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom too, but we follow the Pope of Rome.

I do not know if this post is any help, but simply pray and let the Holy Spirit direct you in this journey of yours.

Go with God!
Edwin J.
Thanks, Edwin. I appreciate your encouragement.

Mel
 
Neil,

Thank you for your honest answers. I really appreciate it.

My wife grew up Greek Orthodox. I have been to both Greek and Antiochian Parishes. The people were always very nice. I did not mean to imply that they were not. However, even at the Greek parish we were married in they are big supporters of a particular Greek woman who lives in Israel with her Palestinian husband and writes incredibly anti-Semitic articles and books. She pretends her books are about the suffering of Christians in the Holy Land but she never fails to justify suicide bombings and ignore Palestinian Muslim guilt in the sufferings of Christians. She completely ignores the sufferings of Jews. This woman has a big platform in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and she is becoming well known across jurisdictional lines as well. In fact I recently wrote a letter to the Hellenic Voice newspaper taking them to task for publishing her diatribes in the religion section.

I find many people in the Orthodox churches who just take what people like she says as gospel. As a result there is a sometimes subtle, sometimes not, anti-Semitism among many Orthodox people. They are told the Jews are to blame for everything wrong in the Holy Land and they tend to believe it.

What prompted my original question was reading the most recent issue of Sophia which I picked up at the Cathedral. There was an article by a gentleman about Mel Gibson’s movie and he made a completely unrelated point about most Jews not being Hebrews but decendants of the Eastern European Khazars. This is a thoroughly debunked theory. But the readers would not know that. And I can see how something like that could be used to deny the Jews their history. So it bugged me to see something like this on my first encnounter with the Melkite Church. But the wonderful Liturgy and great people cetainly stick out more than that article. I just don’t want them to read it!

Perhaps, my experience in my in-laws parish was so extreme because of this woman that I am particluarly cautious about being in a church with an Arab majority. On the other hand maybe that is exactly where God wants me.

Thanks for the help! I look forward to the responses from your other group.

Blessings,

Dave
 
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Melchior:
What prompted my original question was reading the most recent issue of Sophia which I picked up at the Cathedral. There was an article by a gentleman about Mel Gibson’s movie and he made a completely unrelated point about most Jews not being Hebrews but decendants of the Eastern European Khazars. This is a thoroughly debunked theory. But the readers would not know that. And I can see how something like that could be used to deny the Jews their history. So it bugged me to see something like this on my first encnounter with the Melkite Church. But the wonderful Liturgy and great people cetainly stick out more than that article. I just don’t want them to read it!
Dave,

I have only had an opportunity to skim the latest issue of Sophia. Was discussing one article with Father Eugene last Saturday evening, but it didn’t have anything to do with Gibson’s movie, and our discussion was relatively brief because he also hadn’t had an opportunity to read the whole issue. I’ll take a look at it today, had been planning to do so anyway.

I’m very interested in the GO stance. One of the most respected posters on the Byzantine Forum is a GO lady from NYC. I’ll ask her about it.

Many years,

Neil
 
Irish Melkite:
Dave,

I have only had an opportunity to skim the latest issue of Sophia. Was discussing one article with Father Eugene last Saturday evening, but it didn’t have anything to do with Gibson’s movie, and our discussion was relatively brief because he also hadn’t had an opportunity to read the whole issue. I’ll take a look at it today, had been planning to do so anyway.

I’m very interested in the GO stance. One of the most respected posters on the Byzantine Forum is a GO lady from NYC. I’ll ask her about it.

Many years,

Neil
Neil,

I would love to hear yours and Fr. Eugene’s thoughts on the St. Patrick article. :ROFLMAO:

Mel
 
WOW!

I am really learning new things on this site. Glory Be to God!

I am discovering how truly rich the Catholic Church is.

I am of Irish descent but I have not heard of the Irish Melkite Church. I vaguely have heard of Melkite, but was not sure what it was. What I gather from the web search is Melkite is the Byzantine rite, that is in union with Rome. The site I was reading
describes also the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches. Are these also in union with Rome? And how did the Irish get into the act?

Thanks for any responses.

Sid
 
I believe the original poster was being facetious about his Jewish heritage. The Melkite Rite is of Greek origin, similar to the Greek Orthodox Church but in full communion with Rome.
 
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arnulf:
I believe the original poster was being facetious about his Jewish heritage. The Melkite Rite is of Greek origin, similar to the Greek Orthodox Church but in full communion with Rome.
Nope. I really am Hebrew. My dad was a Jew and I was raised with the ethnic heritage and the holidays.

Faustina,

The Melkite’s are of middle eastern origin. I believe Irish Melkite is a person of Irish descent who happen to be in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. But it is generally speaking a mostly Arab Church.

Mel
 
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Melchior:
I would love to hear yours and Fr. Eugene’s thoughts on the St. Patrick article.
Dave,

Exactly what the 2 of us were discussing last week. Will pm or e-mail you about it, for reasons that I can better make clear in that medium.

Many years,

Neil
 
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Melchior:
What prompted my original question was reading the most recent issue of Sophia which I picked up at the Cathedral. There was an article by a gentleman about Mel Gibson’s movie and he made a completely unrelated point about most Jews not being Hebrews but decendants of the Eastern European Khazars. This is a thoroughly debunked theory. But the readers would not know that. And I can see how something like that could be used to deny the Jews their history. So it bugged me to see something like this on my first encnounter with the Melkite Church. But the wonderful Liturgy and great people cetainly stick out more than that article. I just don’t want them to read it!
Dave,

I just read the “review”. The paragraph you to which you referred is indeed bizarre - it has no relationship to the remainder of the text that I can see and, as you said, recites the Khazar theory, which I haven’t seen referenced anywhere in a long time.

Probably the strangest aspect is that, absent that paragraph, the article seemed to me to be essentially neutral on Jewish culpability - or at least not overtly anti-Semitic, although not exactly a literary masterpiece. The author is from St. Joe’s in Lansing, a parish that I recollect as having a congregation that has had a heavy influx of Palestinian refugees in recent years (which illustrates a point I made yesterday).

I plan on e-mailing the editor regarding the paragraph in question, - probably will get to it this weekend. I’ll blind copy you on it.

Many years,

Neil
 
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Faustina:
I am really learning new things on this site. Glory Be to God!

I am discovering how truly rich the Catholic Church is.

I am of Irish descent but I have not heard of the Irish Melkite Church. I vaguely have heard of Melkite, but was not sure what it was. What I gather from the web search is Melkite is the Byzantine rite, that is in union with Rome. The site I was reading
describes also the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches. Are these also in union with Rome? And how did the Irish get into the act?
Sid,

Arnulf is essentially correct, except for describing the Melkites as a Rite, rather than a Church. Melchior correctly characterizes me as a person of Irish descent who happens to have canonically transferred from the Latin Catholic Church to the Melkite Catholic Church many, many years ago.

There is no Irish Melkite Church 😃 (yet), although the Melkite Catholic Church in the US numbers many persons of Irish descent among its faithful.

There are no Melkite parishes in Ireland, although the Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Church has a parishes in Dublin (as do a couple of our sister Eastern Orthodox Churches and, possibly, the Maronite Catholic Church). Father Serge Kelleher, the Ukrainian Catholic priest in Dublin, on occasion serves the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom using a Gaelic translation approved by His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim, of blessed memory, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria, and of Jerusalem of the Melkite Greek-Catholics.

The Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, both of which also use the Byzantine Rite, are not in communion with Rome, although their small counterparts, the Greek and Russian Catholic Churches, are.

Many years,

Neil
 
Irish Melkite:
Dave,

Exactly what the 2 of us were discussing last week. Will pm or e-mail you about it, for reasons that I can better make clear in that medium.

Many years,

Neil
Thanks, I look forward to it.
 
Irish Melkite:
Dave,

I just read the “review”. The paragraph you to which you referred is indeed bizarre - it has no relationship to the remainder of the text that I can see and, as you said, recites the Khazar theory, which I haven’t seen referenced anywhere in a long time.

Probably the strangest aspect is that, absent that paragraph, the article seemed to me to be essentially neutral on Jewish culpability - or at least not overtly anti-Semitic, although not exactly a literary masterpiece. The author is from St. Joe’s in Lansing, a parish that I recollect as having a congregation that has had a heavy influx of Palestinian refugees in recent years (which illustrates a point I made yesterday).

I plan on e-mailing the editor regarding the paragraph in question, - probably will get to it this weekend. I’ll blind copy you on it.

Many years,

Neil
Neil,

I appreciate your interest in this. I am glad I was not just seeing things that were not there. To be honest I have no idea what the point of the article was. My wife read it and then asked me to, to see if she was missing something. Perhaps I should read it again.

I look forward to seing your e-mail to the editor. I feel better already.

Blessings,

Mel
 
Thanks Neil.

I didn’t think the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox were in union with Rome. The date 1074 seems to come to mind.

Thanks again for the responses

Sid
 
Actually, the Eastern Churches are very rooted in their Jewish roots. On Christmas eve we have a meatless meal that resembles the Sedar service. (An extra place setting, unleavened bread, etc.)

We celebrate the feast of all of the Old Testament Figures, especially Elishia. We look to him as the height of comtemplation. The Carmelite order looks to him as their spiritual father. We celebrate his feast on July 20th. We have our cars blessed on the Sunday nearest to his feast. We also honor the 3 youths in the fiery furnance, King David, and all of the ancestors of Christ.

You should feel very much at home in the Eastern Church.
 
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Melchior:
Nope. I really am Hebrew. My dad was a Jew and I was raised with the ethnic heritage and the holidays.
According to Jewish law, you are not considered Jewish unless your mother was Jewish. A Jewish father doesn’t make you Jewish.

~achaean
 
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achaean:
According to Jewish law, you are not considered Jewish unless your mother was Jewish. A Jewish father doesn’t make you Jewish.

~achaean
In all seriousness, there are two senses to that idea. I don’t argue with your point, I am sure Melchior understands that too. But in our way of looking at things he is still of Hebrew descent, one cannot rub out one’s heritage or affection with a rule. In the same manner if the mother was the Jewish one, the gentile ancestry wouldn’t just disappear.

I am sure that is what Melchior means, half of the ancestry is certifiably Jewish and he can still take a great interest in the affairs of his relatives, ancestry and the State of Israel.

As a Catholic, I cannot help feeling a bit in awe. Such a Christian is twice blessed. I wish we had maintained the home prayer and blessing traditions of our Jewish predecessors in Faith.

Michael
 
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