#044 APRIL 2004 ORTHODOX-CATHOLIC UNITY

In 1054, a grievious split, known as the Great Schism, separated the Eastern  Apostolic Churches from the Western Apostolic Churches. For centuries following, the separation increased in hardening some of the "rules" of the One Church. "Roman Interpretations" differentiated the first millennium foundation compiled in the initial ecumenical councils that were all held in the East. After the 1054 split, the West, namely, the Roman Catholic Church, initiated the first major change, notably, after 85 years of separation,  in the 1139 Second Lateran Council, Rome proclaimed a manmade mandate of celibacy without counsel of the Eastern Apostolic Churches. The die was cast and the West was adamant in not following the Early Fathers and, especially, the married status within the First Twelve Apostles, married men  "chosen" by Our Lord Jesus Christ.  
 
For centuries afterwards, the East and West struggled for Church Unity without measurable success. Even today, quality meetings between East and West continue but the struggle appears unlimited. The meetings are conducted with candor and the best of intentions, but a "power struggle" exists and the future, although promising, appears unending. One of the most visible differences is the manmade mandate of celibacy adhered to by the Romans even to the point of creating a "priest shortage," worldwide.  
 
Those of us who belong to the Eastern Catholic Churches, and are especially impacted by the dominance of the Roman bishops in the United States of America, recognize that the USA Roman Catholic bishops have persecuted my particular Church, the Byzantine Catholic Church in America, continuously from our beginning. In 863, when Saints Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavs, traveled from Greece to our birthplace (now in present-day Slovakia), the local European Roman bishops jailed our founding Apostles, Saints Cyril and Methodius. Upon hearing of the jailing, the Pope ordered the local Roman bishops to release them. Shortly afterward, the local Roman Catholic bishops jailed them again.  As a result, the Pope "sacked" the Roman bishops, and Saints Cyril and Methodius proceeded to evanglize the Eastern people, my people, Our People.
  
When our Byzantine Catholic faithful migrated to the United States in the late 1870's, Father John Voljansky, our first priest in the USA, married with children, was expelled to Brazil by the Roman Catholic local bishops.  In the 1890's,  Father Alexis Toth traveled from Wilkes-Barre, PA, to Minneapolis, MN to establish a Byzantine Catholic parish. Upon arriving, Father Toth dutifully paid his respects to the local Roman bishop, John Ireland, who found out that Father Toth was a widower, and, as a result, banned Father Toth from establishing a Catholic Church for the faithful of my particular, sui iuris, Apostolic Church.  In 1907, The USA Roman bishops prepared a document. Ea semper and with its most un-Catholic action-items, persecuted my Byzantine Church again. In 1929, The Roman document, Cum data fuerit, promulgated the continuation of the persecution. In 1998, our Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Judson Procyk in Pittsburgh, PA  went to Rome to meet with the Slavic Pope John Paui II and received permission to ordain married men in the Americas. Within 3 months, the USA Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops circumvented the papal agreement and denied us of our papal-approved canon (approved by Pope John Paul II in 1990) in our Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The term "persecution" may not be acceptable to the USA Roman bishops but when my particular Church is reduced from  312,874 faithful in 1963 to 83,900 faithful in 2012, the word "persecution" is "too polite."
 
From our Apostolic beginning in 863, the Roman Catholic bishops have been self-centered and un-educated concerning Our Lord's instructions to the Twelve Apostles. The establishment of Five Major Holy Sees in the One Church, and the particular Apostolic Churches therein is the "way" that Our Lord has organized for us to evangelize all people of the world, all six billion+.
 
In our European Byzantine Rusyn Catholic Church (located primarily in Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, and Ukraine), our married men are ordained without measurable opposition by the Romam Catholic bishops. From 1945 to 1989, Our European Byzantine Church  was obliterated by the atheistic communists. One third of our priests were killed outright, one third were sent to the gulags and one third went underground; we lost every parish church building. Within 20 years after religious freedom in 1989, we have re-captured our churches in Slovakia, rebuilt and filled our seminaries, and now with an oversupply of married priest in Slovakia, my European Byzantine Catholic Church exports priests to the USA to try to stop our terminal decline from 312,874 faithful in 1963 to our 83,900 faithful in 2012. We American Byzantine Catholic faithful plan to continue to serve the Lord to our last breath. We plan to solve the extreme priest shortage. We plan to re-unite with our Orthodox brothers. We plan to obtain our religious freedom. Most importantly, while words alone will not fulfill our objectives, the statistics of the Roman bishops and the proper transparent interpretation will commence the fulfillment of our objectives.
 
Your reading of the ABCRC  documents will provide you with not only the statistics gathered from our Catholic bishops, worldwide, but also provide you with an interpretation by a member of the faithful who has experienced the persecution of my particular Church in the Americas. 
 
ABCRC has prepared over 260 articles, published a book,  all with the primary objective of solving the Catholic priest shortage. The early centuries of our Early Fathers is the foundation of the solution, a married and celibate priesthood, "to go forth and teach all nations," as instructed by Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Twelve Apostles of the One Church. The oversupply of Catholic priests, the prominence and addition of many particular Churches, and the resulting teaching of every human being on earth is our objective
 
Our Eastern Catholic Churches will become "whole" again upon the unity with our sister Orthodox Churches. From our beginning with the Apostles who founded our Churches to the Great Schism of 1054, we were one, together. In accordance with the instructions from Jesus Christ, our Apostles traveled in all directions to "evangelize" the people through the founding of Apostolic Churches. It is in the continuation of Apostolic Succession in the founding of a multiplicity of Apostolic Churches that the future of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church will evangelize all people in Our Lord's instructions, "to go forth and teach all nations." 
 
One of our early documents was prepared to present the conditions of Orthodox-Catholic Church Unity, The document is attached for your study. The fact that the document was prepared by a Byzantine Catholic who treats his brother Orthodox with honor and respect is why Patriarch Chrystodoulos+ of Athens and all Greece responded. It is safe to say that if the Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox were seated at the table, Church Unity would be immediate.
 
 
Orthodox Patriarch of Athens and all Geece, Patriarch Chrystodoulos, letter to ABCRC is located after the Orthodox-Catholic Unity article.  
 
Article #44 can be read by clicking on the file number at the bottom to expedite its availability.
 
 
 
 -PLEASE ALLOW TIME FOR DOWN LOAD.
 
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ĉ
Joseph Bonchonsky,
Mar 29, 2013, 9:12 AM
ċ
Joseph Bonchonsky,
Mar 29, 2013, 9:21 AM
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