Friday, February 27, 2009

Orthodox in Faith and Catholic in Love

From an interesting (and very brief) interview between Eastern Orthodox author Frederica Mathewes-Green and Fr. Stephen Wojcichowsky, a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and director of the Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky Institute for Eastern Christian Studies in Ottawa, Ontaria, Canada. Fr. Stephen discusses (quite generously) the Eastern Catholic approach as it stands between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy:
I grew up Ukrainian Catholic and it’s a matter of fact that much of our worship had been laden with Latin elements. But over the course of time, and thanks to our great leadership in our church, we have learned where we have come from. I like the way one of our patriarchs put it, he said “We are Orthodox in Faith and Catholic in love.” In the sense that we are in full communion with the Church in Rome, but at the same time, our faith, our liturgy, the whole ethos of our church is Orthodox. And one priest in Ukraine I asked, “What do you call our church over here?” I was thinking of something else, but he came back and said, “Oh, that’s a very straightforward thing. We’re the Catholic Orthodox. They’re the Orthodox, and we’re the Catholic Orthodox.” And I thought, that really does explain who we are.
Certainly, this is a very simple articulation. The history behind this relationship is much more deep and, in some cases, quite divisive within Eastern Catholicism itself. I often reflect on my many discussions with Eastern Catholics from various backgrounds. Very eye-opening. Very hopeful yet disconcerting at the same time.

Listen to the interview on Ancient Faith Radio.

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