Why do we sing “Eternal Memory” at funerals?
At the end of a funeral the priest intones: “In blessed repose, grant, O Lord, eternal rest to your servant, (Name), and may his (her) memory be eternal.” The people then respond with the hymn: “Eternal Memory!” (Church Slavonic: Вечная память, Vičnaja Pamjat’, Greek: Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη, Eonia i Mnimi)
“Eternal Memory” is a prayer, a petition offered to the Lord that He remember the person who has died. Our memory is not eternal. But the Lord’s memory is eternal. If He remembers the person who has died, then that person exists eternally in heaven. This is our prayer for those who have finished this earthly race.
Union of Uzhorod and the union with Rome
By the grace of Christ, elected most holy Father and universal Patriarch.
We priests of the holy Greek rite, inhabitants of the noble and apostolic kingdom of Hungary, situated through the Districts specified with our signature, realizing that the sacrament of the king is to be hidden, but that the works of God are to be revealed and to be shown to all peoples more clearly than the sun, seeing that they are such that through them the ineffable goodness and clemency of our most merciful God towards rational creatures is wont to be made manifest. According to this principle and this angelic rule we declare to Your Holiness, we preach and we lift up to the heavens with titles of most devout praise before the whole world. What is that [that we declare]? The grace of our God and Savior freely poured out among us, by which working in us and foretelling most lovingly the salvation of our souls, we, having abandoned and driven from our hearts the Greek schism, are restored and affianced again to the Immaculate Virgin Spouse of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is the holy Roman Church, hitherto abominated by us and held in hatred without any cause. This same return of ours, indeed, was accomplished in the year of salvation one thousand six hundred and forty-six, on the twenty-fourth day of April, while Ferdinand III the most sacred Emperor of the Romans was ruling, in the Latin castle-church of Uzhorod situated on the estate of the most illustrious Count George of Humenne, in this fashion:
The bishop of Munkach, Basil Tarasovic, who has already departed this life, when following the party that was both schismatical as well as heretical, he had broken the bond of holy Union, publicly abandoned the Catholic Church. The venerable father in Christ, George Jakusic, bishop of Eger, now resting in Christ, considering this, having with him the Reverend Basilian fathers summoned for this purpose, Father Peter Parthenius, who today is our bishop, and father Gabriel Kosovicky, most courteously invited us by letter to Uzhorod, and after seasonable discourse from the aforesaid Fathers about holy Union, he accomplished, with the Holy Spirit disposing us for it, what he purposed, and appointed the day dedicated to St. George the Martyr for making the profession of faith.
On that day we sixty-three priests came together and followed the aforementioned most Reverend Bishop of Eger to the church named above. So after the enactment of the mystery of the bloodless sacrifice performed in our Ruthenian tongue, and after sacramental expiation of their sins by some of the priests, we pronounced the profession of faith in an audible voice according to the prescribed formula, namely:
We believe all and everything that our Holy Mother the Roman Church bids us believe. We acknowledge that the most holy Father Innocent X is the universal Pastor of the Church of Christ and our Pastor, and we with our successor’s desire and wish to depend on him in everything; with, however, the addition of these conditions:
First: That it be permitted to us to retain the rite of the Greek Church;
Second: To have a bishop elected by ourselves and confirmed by the Apostolic See;
Third: To have free enjoyment of ecclesiastical immunities.
To these the most Reverend bishop acceded without difficulty. The whole of this, too, the most Illustrious Benedict Kisdi, Bishop of Eger, with his Vicar General, and the Reverend Father Thomas Jaszbereny, religious of the Society of Jesus, being present ratified in the year one thousand six hundred and forty-eight. This business of ours received very great support from the paternal solicitude both of the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Primate of Hungary George Lippay, Archbishop of Esztergom, twice invoked by us through a mission undertaken by the aforesaid Reverend Basilian Fathers, and of the Most Reverend Bishop of Vacz, Matthias Tarnoczy also, to both of whom we are for ever obliged.
Bringing these events before the notice of Your Holiness we unanimously and humbly beg Your paternal benediction, the advance of our cause and the confirmation of the Most Reverend father Peter Parthenius elected by us as bishop.
In Uzhorod, in the year one thousand six hundred and fifty-two, the fifteenth day of January.
The most humble servants of Your Holiness, priest of the Greek rite,
Alexius Ladomersky, archdeacon of Makovica
Stephen Andrejov, archdeacon of Spis
Gregory Hostovicky, archdeacon of Humenne
Stephen, archdeacon of Seredne
Daniel Ivanovic, archdeacon of Uz
Alexius Filipovic, archdeacon of Stropkov
From The Union of Uzhorod by Michael Lacko, SJ Published by the Slovak Institute, Cleveland-Rome, 1976, Pages 107-109
More than One Kind of “Catholic”?
While most Catholics only think of the Catholic Church as being comprised of the “Roman Catholic” Church, there are, in fact, 22 different “churches” which comprise the “Catholic” Church. The largest, and best known, of those churches is the “Roman” Catholic Church. However, the next largest church within the Catholic Church is the “Byzantine” Church.
A Church sui iuiris is a distinct community of faithful within a rite of the Church. For example, there are 22 eastern Churches sui iuris, made up of two Alexandrian, three Antiochene, one Armenian, two Chaldean and 14 Byzantine. These churches are in union with Latin rite church recognizing pope as their leader.
Stand Sit or Kneel?
It is customary to chant the Epistle, Gospel and Creed. But it also not wrong to recite them. I know of parishes – both Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox that recite them.
As far as kneeling vs standing, Byzantines would generally stand on Sundays per the Council of Nicea. In the Christian East kneeling is a sign of penance, and penance on Sundays (a little “Pascha”) would not be correct.
In the Byzantine tradition, Catholic or Orthodox, the faithful stand throughout the Liturgy. A deep bow is made during the consecration. Of course, people often sit for the sermon, and often for the epistle reading as well. We do kneel sometimes, and we prostrate ourselves, but this is usually during times like Lent and is not what we do at every Sunday Liturgy.
Of course, if a person is elderly, infirm, or tired, or is on crutches, or is very pregnant 🙂 , or for some similar reason, they are welcome to sit down. The point of standing is not to stand until your feet really hurt; the point of standing is to show that we are joyful about our Lord’s resurrection. 🙂
In many Byzantine Catholic parishes, you will find people kneeling during the consecration or sitting for much of the Liturgy (like during the litanies). Though this is very common, it is unfortunately not really the traditional Byzantine manner of liturgical worship. Kneeling during the consecration, for example, was borrowed from the Roman or Latin manner of liturgical worship. So while kneeling during the consecration is a good thing, it is part of the Latin tradition, not the Byzantine.
Latinizations like this are like having two full jigsaw puzzles with all the pieces of the first puzzle being perfect for the first puzzle, and all the pieces of the second puzzle being perfect for the second puzzle, and having someone take a perfectly good piece out of the first puzzle and trying to replace it with a differently-shaped piece from the second puzzle. We have a Roman jigsaw puzzle and a Byzantine jigsaw puzzle, and the piece of the Roman puzzle called “kneeling during the consecration” (among other pieces) was put into the Byzantine puzzle in place of the Byzantine puzzle piece called “standing and bowing”, where it just doesn’t quite fit. (Pews in our churches are an example of this…the Byzantine way of worship, with its bowing and prostrations, was not developed with pews in mind. They get in the way, and I myself have accidentally knocked into them while bowing. :-)) This switching of pieces was done a while back in a misguided attempt to make ourselves like other Catholics around us, most of whom were Roman, and it lingers to this day, though we are slowly but surely beginning to follow the exhortations of our fathers the bishops, the Pope of Rome with whom we are in union, and Bishop Tawil, who wrote the excellent letter “The Courage to be Ourselves”, and are returning to the richness of our true liturgical and traditional heritage.
Holy water fonts.
“TRADITIONALLY” Holy Water fonts are not apart of Eastern Christian Tradition. They are used because of Latinizations. Even though they are used as Latinizations in some Byzantine Catholic churches it doesn’t man that they are used and are Traditional to the orthodox Eastern Traditions.