Page 6, 28th April 1944

28th April 1944
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Page 6, 28th April 1944 — Ruthenia and the Church
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Organisations: Russian Orthodox Church
Locations: Rumania, Rome

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Ruthenia and the Church

Catholics of three non-Lann rites live in the vicinity of the Russian thrust into Rumania, Poland and Ruthenia. Says Donald A(twatei^. the authority on Eastern Churchei: " Ruthenian' is the official ecclesiastical descriptive term for certain bodies of Catholics of the Byzantine rite found in Polish Galicia. Podcarpathia (Czechoslovakia and Hungary). and the Bukovina (Rumania), with colonies In North America and elsewhere. They all belong to one race, the same which Inhabits the Soviet Socialist Republic of the Ukraine and the Polish provinces of Volhynia and Southern Polissia."

The Ruthenian rite (language used being Old Slay. and ritual closely akin to that of the Russian Orthodox Church of which these followers formed part till their Catholic union of the sixteenth century) is used by some three millions under the Metropolitan Count Andrew Szeptkky. of Lwow, living mainly in Galicia It is also the rite of the Potkar. pathians, Little or White Russians. mostly very poor peasants, who live on the Southern part of the Carpathians in what was formerly' Hungarian territory and is now part of Czech territory (named in some maps " Ruthenia ''").

Their union dates from the seventeenth century, but they form no part of the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Lwow, number.

lug about half a million. Their sympathies are strongly pro. Russian, and they are said to be amongst the most willing collaborators with the Russians advancing into their territory.

Third rite in this area. also Byzantine, but using the Rumanian tongue. is that to be found in Transylvania, followers dating their union with Rome from 1701, when 1,500 priests and 200,000 people entered the Church.

Students of Eastern rites are most hopeful of eventual reunion of all Rumania as the result of the good feelings shown among all Christians in this area towards one another. particularly between the Byzantine Catholics of Transylvania and their Orthodox brethren, who worship practically in the same way and live in Rumania proper.

An estimate of non-Latin Catholics affected by the Russian advance would therefore be (prewar figures) five millions, while dissident Christians corresponding to the same rites would roughly number 14,000,000. The well known peculiar customs of the former include married clergy (not bishops), lay Communion in both kinds, no organs in churches. and the division of nave and sanctuary by a mosaiccovered screen, veils being drawn across the main opening at certain parts of the Mass.




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