Following yesterday's Great Vespers service, my priest handed me a copy of the PRAXIS magazine published through the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. He asked me to check it out and see if there might be anything worthy of including in next week's bulletin. I wasn't familiar with the publication, but apparently it's specific purpose is regarding religious education ministry.
Last night, thumbing through it, I happened upon a very intriguing article titled "East Meets West" by Rev. Dr. Miltiades B. Efthimiou, retired Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In it, he discusses a basic overview of the Chevetogne Monastery in Belgium, as well as his personal experience visiting it.
For those interested, a copy of the article can be read here: http://www.ocl.org/i...tp_preview=true
I had never heard of the monastery before, and the uniquely described way of life, combining a Benedictine Abbey w/ a supposed Orthodox Byzantine monastery, peaked my interest. It clearly states that the Benedictine Catholics worship separately from their Orthodox brethren, but both unite for an agape meal, as well as other conversations and research projects within their vast library. Certain red flags were going off, so I decided to look into this monastery a little further. In any other sources I've been able to find, I don't read of any claims to being Orthodox. It appears as though they are Byzantine/Eastern Rite Catholic. I've seen the number 27 related to how many monks are at the entire complex, and have read about half are Byzantine Rite, half Benedictine.
I wouldn't imagine any bishop would allow Orthodox clergy to concelebrate with Eastern Rite Catholics in the Katholikon. I know that Catholics are able to distribute communion to Orthodox, Coptic, and sometimes even Anglican parishioners, but that we Eastern Orthodox are prohibited from either partaking of, or distributing the Eucharist to anyone that is either not Eastern Orthodox, or in good standing.
I truly don't want this to get into some ecumenism thread, because it really isn't my intention. I am really just seeking clarity on whether or not this monastery truly is a catholic/Orthodox hybrid, or if some faithful are seemingly confused by the smoke & mirrors of a Byzantine Rite Liturgy?
After reading the article, and having it distributed by the GOARCH, particularly written by a retired priest of such high regard, I sense that there might be much confusion upon its reception that is worth clearing up.
I contacted Fr. Miltiades, and he seems to be under the impression that canonical Orthodox clergy come in and serve for Sunday Divine Liturgy & Feast Days. I asked for further clarification on whether or not the supposed Byzantine Rite Catholic monks partake of the Eucharist at this Liturgy, as well as Orthodox. I have yet to hear back, but eagerly await a reply. I have also contacted the publisher asking for any possible clarification on some of these matters, and he quickly replied that he would look into it.
Being a magazine that thrives on the ministry of religious education, I would hope that such an article can be cleared up and/or resolved. Either that, or my undiscerning eye & brain is potentially functioning at half-wit...which wouldn't be the first or last time
Perhaps some of you here have some more perspective or information regarding this community that may clear some of this up?
Michael Anthony Cornett
Edited by Michael 'Anthony' Cornett, 27 July 2011 - 08:07 PM.