Rorate Caeli

Light from the East: The Russian Catholic Parish in Lyons, France

Videos of a few highlights of some liturgical services celebrated earlier this year in the (Russian) Catholic parish of the Byzantine Rite in Lyons, St. Irenee, are now available on the "vincentraveau" channel on Youtube.
The Cherubic Hymn and Great Entrance during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil for the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy:

The chanting of litanies during the same Divine Liturgy.
St. Irenee is one of only two remaining parishes of the Russian Greek Catholic Church (Byzantine Rite) in France, and one of only about twenty Russian Greek Catholic parishes, chapels and monasteries throughout the world. In these small places of prayer -- magnificent remnants of the great project of reuniting Russian Orthodoxy to Rome, a project now almost forgotten -- the Russian liturgical tradition is celebrated according to the command of Pope St. Pius X, "nec plus nec minus nec aliter", a tremendous display of the richness and diversity (rightly understood and practiced) of Catholicism.
More articles coming up. We request your patience.


  1. Russian Byzantine Catholics - a stumblingblock for the Orthodox, a foolishness for Catholic ecumaniacs.

    Byzantine-Slavic rite used by Russians is probably the most pompous of all Byznatine rites. These recordings are not a professional production, but you can sense much beauty anyway.

    If you have never seen Byzantine-Slavic Divine Liturgy, see and you'll find it out. It's worth it.

    And they use Church Slavic instead of the vernacular, unlike to other Byzantine Catholic Churches.

    Personally I pray for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart in the Rosary Crusade of the SSPX and I encourage everybody who cares about Russia, Byzantines or is stricken by this beauty to do the same - so we may be reunited.

    Bl. Leonid Fedorov, pray for us!

  2. Anonymous1:21 PM

    I had the great grace many years ago to attend the Russian Chapel of St Michael in Mulberry Street in Manhattan over a period of months and it was a life changing experience for someone raised in the banality of the novus ordo of the 70s and 80s.

  3. Iakovos4:34 PM

    Beautiful because it is true. Thanks for positing this. Because I attend this Liturgy and belong to the Greek Catholic Rite, is why I often find contentious arguing about Latin rites of worship -- TLM/SSPX and NO, reform of the reform, etc. -- a threat to peace of soul. Though certainly it is an important subject especially for Latin Rite folks.

    This is the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom which is used (along with the Liturgy of St. Basil) by most of the Churches of the East, certainly of Russia and Ukraine, where vernacular is used as well as Old Slavonic, both Orthodox and Catholic. I might mention that some Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic do not regard Russia in need of consecration to Mary -- 1) Kievan 'Rus has been converted since late 900 AD, and loves and venerates the Theotokos on a level of intimacy unknown in the West, 2) as far as JP II is concerned, Russia has received this consecration. But the first point is sufficient that this lightening rod for the West is mostly irrelevant for Eastern Orthodox and Catholic of Kievan'Rus. But by all means, we pray for unity and B. Leonid Fedorov is a wonderful patron. JP II and Benedict XVI are indeed Popes of the Council (Vatican II) regarding that Council's warm spirit toward the liturgy, theology and spirituality of her Eastern brethren.

  4. Iakovos4:56 PM

    Ooops. Sorry. I guess this is the Liturgie de Saint Basile, Liturgy of St. Basil, which is used a key times in the Eastern calendar, though they are very similar.

  5. Anonymous3:33 AM


    1.) The people of Russia by and large are not church-goers.

    2.) Russia has not been converted to the True Faith, Catholicism. It is still ensnared in the errors of Photius, Caerularius, etc. Yes, there is need for a metanoia.

    -- Bonifacius

  6. Pray tell me what would be the point of reuniting the Orthodox Church which to this day remains faithful to entirety of the Faith with the Roman Catholic Church, the 5/6th of which is under the spell of the pneumatomachian reforms following the last Vatican Council? Let them be. It is clear that the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, notwithstanding the mutual rescinding of the anathema and other common "committees and declarations", are following two different and divergent paths. And furthermore, the ecclesiologies of the two Churches(not branches, nor "lungs"-there can be no such thing) are too different for any compromise, let alone formal agreement, except if it be imposed by arms, as it was by the Kingdom of Poland, at the time of the Unia. Presvyataya Bogoroditse spasi naz.

  7. "The Orthodox Church which to this day remains faithful to entirety of the Faith" is the Roman Catholic Church with all of her particular and ritual Churches.

    Rorate Caeli is not a platform for Eastern Orthodox propagandising.

  8. Forgive me if my post sounded something approaching propagandising. Yet, if indeed, what you say is true, how to square the socialistic and liberal ideology underlying many Vatican II texts and their subsequent implementation with the Catholic Faith of the Church. How, for example, to reconcile Aquinas' doctrinal disproof of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the acceptance and dogmatical promulgation of the same? And further, pray do not doubt the sincerity of these questions.

  9. Aquinas was not infallible, and his opinion was never formally approved by the Church.

    Not everything that Vatican II taught or decreed is infallible, or definitively or irreformably a teaching of the Church. Even less is all that was implemented following Vatican II necessarily a part of the Church's infallible magisterium. Anyway, even if there is a "socialistic and liberal ideology" underlying many of the Council's texts, it's not that underlying ideology that matters, but what the texts actually say and whether or not they can be shown to be in agreement with what the Church has always believed and held to be true.

  10. Thank you for taking the pains to answer my questions. But these remain inconsistent blots. Furthermore, the contriving of the Unia by Sigismond III was not devoid of political interests and, even though it was not made without much bloodshed in both camps, the chief responsibility for the subsequent persecutions and repression rests with the King and his successors.

    cf.Michel Heller, History of the Russian Empire. p.257, in fact, vid. the 4th Chapter of the First Part.

  11. Iakovos4:59 PM

    This much is known by the majority of historians and by the Eastern Churches of Constantinople as well as the Vatican: Kiev Rus was slowing being converted to Christianity during the 9th and 10th centuries. It was a rough and ready road with paganism near at hand. But with the personal conversion of Volodomyr followed by a national baptism, c. 987, this region could be called Christian. Remember, this is before any schism when Rome and Constantinople share a unity albeit unsteady at times. So, call the Christian church then Orthodox or Catholic -- doesn't matter. For example, today there are Eastern Rite Christians who refer to themselves as Orthodox Christians in communion with Rome, e.g., Russian Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic. As to Russians in general not practicing the Faith, I'm not certain of such claims beyond Moscow or their source, but, again it doesn't matter: that is like saying that the French or Italians are not, in general, practicing the Faith, still we regard their glorious Christian past which, of course, is always present, as in Mexico, ready to spark and flame back again. Furthermore, it would have to be clarified and established the remark about the errors of Photius -- if it is meant among the Orthodox, I don't recall that item being on the ecumenical table for unity. It is more about arriving at an acceptable view of the Papacy, and issues such as "filioque", etc.
    Finally, here are two brief quotes concerning the term "catholic" as it was first used:

    Ignatius of Antioch
    "Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

    The Martyrdom of Polycarp
    "And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).

    Catholic in its original use here does not refer to a certain set of rules or set identity or even a particular place like Rome. It assumes congregations some are old enough to remember Christ and His apostles and disciples, those others who believe the Gospel. According to the 2nd century author of the life of St. Polycarp the "universal" church exists in Smyrna as well as any other place in the world -- that's the intention here because the Gospel is for everyone, the astonishing Good News is universal. Therefore, I trust it is not really suggested that the "True Faith" -- Catholicism -- does not exclude those Christians and Martyrs the hundred years of so before some of them in some regions were called catholics. Nor exclude those millions of Christians in the East converted by St. Mark, St. Thomas, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, who knew themselves as Christians long before realizing there is was a Rome or Catholicism attached to just one place.

    God bless.

  12. "Nec plus, nec minus, nec aliter" does not refer to the Russian Rite, or rather, to the Nikonian Rite. Those words were St. Pius X's response to Metropolitan Sheptytsky's querry, whether or not a group of Old-Beleivers (Raskolnyky) who came into union with the Roman Pontiff, could continue to maintin their pre-Nikonian Rite.

  13. "Catholic in its original use here does not refer to a certain set of rules or set identity or even a particular place like Rome."

    No of course not; it would be pretty sad indeed if the Catholic Church were to be found only in Rome.

    But that's not the point. The point is this: all of these other Catholic churches, wherever they may be in the world and whatever their local customs - remember that the Catholic Church comprises 23 autonomous churches each with their own hierarchy, canons and traditions - are they in agreement with the Mother and Head of them, which, as we also read the early Fathers say, is that one blessed and sanctified by the authority, teaching and martyrdom of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul?

  14. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Being a Catholic essentially means communion with bishop of Rome and all other catholics, subjection to the Pope, and adherence to the (relatively few) articles of faith as pronounced by the Magisterium. Not to the current babbling and crisis of the West.

    That ain't much, especially when considering that Pope intervenes rarely (in comparison with Latin church) in the life of Eastern Catholics. I think the Orthodox imagine that when they accept papal authority they will be "manually steered" from the Vatican, as they perceive the Latin Church is. They won't.

    The Ukrainians use a rather modest version of the Byzantine rite (it's called Byzantine-Ukrainian, as opposed to synodal Byzantine-Slavic) and simple vestements. They use vernacular language almost exclusively, since they struggle with the Orthodox to show them who's more Ukrainian and whose Church is more national. They're also more latinized, their clergy shaves beards, they use confessionals, rosaries etc.

  15. F.G.S.A, you say: "Pray tell me what would be the point of reuniting the Orthodox Church
    which to this day remains faithful to entirety of the Faith...", implying that that Catholic Church does not have the fulness of the Faith. In support of your argument you then accuse it of having what you perceive to be "inconsistent blots".

    You asked that the sincerity of your questions not be doubted. In that same spirit I will now ask you some questions. What is a Catholic to make of the Orthodox Church allowing divorce
    and having a lenient attitude towards homosexuality? How does that square with remaining "faithful to the entirety of Faith"? And what about those high-ranking clerics in the Orthodox
    Church who in the days of the Communist regime were at the same time members of the KGB?
    Even now one very high-ranking cleric is known to be ex-KGB. Are these not 'inconsistents blots"?

  16. Mr "Mar", before addressing your questions i would strongly advise you to peruse once more the passionless scroll of Clio. Pray cite me the instances in which leniency towards homosexuality were ever shown in the fold of the Orthodox Church and allowed by a council or synod of Hierarchs. If you are referring to the Church of Finland, then your case is a bad one as this particular case received worldwide condemnation from Orthodox Bishops, and this, being against most canons, has no force of precedent and authority. Second, if you are looking for a standard of Orthodoxy, turn your gaze rather to the Holy Mountain, and if ever, the impudence comes to you to cite the monks of Esphigmenou, in their resistance to undue ecumenistic overtures, as rebellious and defective of Orthodoxy, know precisely that it is to counter the misunderstandings which greater friendship between the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of New Rome might occasion, and that as motto, as they adopted "Orthodoxia kai Thanatos".

    Now regarding what you call "Orthodox Church allowing divorce" know that it is done in very exceptional circumstances arising of human weakness and provided for in the canons. And the second marriage in question is a little more than a blessing, the service of which is mournful in tone. According to Saint Basil remarriage is a lesser evil in order to avoid a greater evil: a dissolute and immoral life.

    In speaking of Hierarchs who were members of the KGB, notice how much care you take into not mentionning the more numerous New Martyrs which the period of Communism has known,- how you pretend from your high moralistic vantage point judge the conducts of persons who were coerced to act under duress. And finally it shows how well media manipulation has crept in certain places and is the staple food of most.

    If inconsistent these behaviours seem to you, know that the Christians involved lived in a time of persecution of which you have not the slightest idea; and if others under the name of Christian, advocate certain practices for which there be no guaranty in the Holy Tradition, then indeed, are they cut off and no part of the Church.

  17. Anonymous5:15 PM

    "Even now one very high-ranking cleric is known to be ex-KGB."

    well even now russian hierarchs relativize Stalin`s policy of genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933. According to a Tv-interview with Kyrill of Moscow the victims of the Holodomor are victims of "natural disasters".

  18. Anonymous8:19 AM

    Telling the Croats that resisting communism was something wrong makes really no sense. Everybody except for the liberals knew already how godless communism is. Tito's partisans were destroying churches, so when he was in power there was virtually no religion in Yugoslavia.

    When you mention martyrs of the Soviet Union you tend to forget that death of a heretic and schismatic for the name of Our Lord doesn't mean his salvation.

    Also the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church clergy were KGB officers is just an outcome of the persecution. They have murdered the believers and the clergy and taken over the Church to control the remains. That's all.

    So there's a tough question: were they really believing and having the proper intentions when they were administering sacraments?

    "Blessing" second or even third marriage is, objectively speaking, blessing adultery. Marriages exist objectively, whether men and women are weak or not.

    Tell me which OEcumenical Council has taught the opposite?

    There is always some greater sin, so such way of thinking leads you to acceptance and blessing of every sin, for the sake of not falling into worse one.

    Which is false. Sin leads to sin. Adultery, even blessed by a priest, leads to more adultery.

  19. Anonymous1:17 PM

    "but i'm sure a more select readership would be of great benefit to it."

    more probably moderators should at last ensue their own lip services:

    "Rorate Caeli is not a platform for Eastern Orthodox propagandising."

    it is scandalous that on this blog the holy remembrance of Blessed Alojzije cardinal Stepinac, hailed by Pius XII for his virtues and beatified by John Paul II, is lampooned by panslavic-servian propaganda myth without any saction.

  20. Anonymous4:53 PM

    When Russians say that the Holodomor was a "natural disaster" you can see symptoms of a typical Byzantine illness - whether Catholic or not - ethnocentrism (apart from KGB defending Soviet regime. Even ordinary Russians often defend Stalin - he was not a good man, but at least they were having a real empire shaking the whole world at that time. They fail to perceive that they were his primary victims).

    The Eastern Churches are split along ethnic boundaries. They fight each other jurisdiction (like in Ukraine), which is doubled or tripled on many territories. They have began early to suffer from the unity-destroying principle of using vernacular languages.

    Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Greeks, etc. etc. - everybody has his own sui iuris church, with its catholicos/patriarch/metropolitan/whatever, plenty of bishops ordinaries on the same territory.

    How come that among 23 sui iuris Curches there's only one Western Church, and 22 Eastern or Oriental, split along ethnic boundaries, many of them (if not all) using vernacularum for a long time? The same applies to the Orthodox.

    There's definitely something wrong with that, a national church can hardly be called "catholic" ("universal").

  21. "Ethnocentrism" has plagued the Latin Church as well. In the not so distant past Italian, Polish, Irish, German, and Lithuanian Catholics (etc.) tended to stick together in the United States, and specifically ethnic parishes were established. Intermarriage among these ethnic groups was uncommon. This problem has all but disappeared now, and in the U.S. it's more and more common now to find people whose ethnic origin would indicate a Latin Catholic affiliation belonging to Eastern Catholic Churches. For example, there is a Maronite parish not far from where I live, but I know that not all the laity and clergy there are Lebanese.

    If you want to know why there is just one Western Church while there are 22 Eastern Catholic Churches, you'll have to study your history. Catholicism developed differently in the West, where the only Apostolic See was THE Apostolic See, whereas the East has several Apostolic Sees, none of them with the authority and prestige of Rome. There are many, many other cultural and historical influences that shaped the different histories of the Church in the East and West. It's a complicated story, and each "lung" of the Church has suffered from various respiratory illnesses through the centuries.

  22. I get the impression sometimes that the ONLY ones concerned at all about the visible and doctrinal unity of the entire Church around the world are Roman Catholics. I might be wrong, but I have the feeling that Orthodox simply don't care much about it. They are very concerned about maintaining what they consider to be the true Orthodox faith, but unity is not very high on their agenda. Besides, how many of these Orthodox churches are there anyway? And they are all autonomous ! Sorry! That belies the term "catholic" whether a big c or a small C.

  23. Does anyone know where I can get a copy of the Greek Euchologion (εὐχολόγιον)- that is the complete book of Greek Rites as approved by Pope Benedict XIV. There is an 1872 Edition that the Roman Congregation Propaganda de Fide published, and also there is a 1720 edition published in Venice. I cannot find any of these editions in print or even used. Does anyone know where I can find these?

    Anyone that could direct me to the right sources, this is wonderful.

    St. John Chrysostom, pray of us!


  24. To Gregory: The Monastery of Chevetogne in Belgium sells nearly all the liturgical books of the Byzantine Rite in french translation. See the collection "Diaconie Apostolique"


Comment boxes are debate forums for readers and contributors of RORATE CÆLI.

Please, DO NOT assume that RORATE CÆLI contributors or moderators necessarily agree with or otherwise endorse any particular comment just because they let it stand.


(1) This is our living room, in a deeply Catholic house, and you are our guest. Please, behave accordingly. Any comment may be blocked or deleted, at any time, whenever we perceive anything that is not up to our standards, not conducive to a healthy conversation or a healthy Catholic environment, or simply not to our liking.

(2) By clicking on the "publish your comment" button, please remain aware that you are choosing to make your comment public - that is, the comment box is not to be used for private and confidential correspondence with contributors and moderators.

(3) Any name/ pseudonym/ denomination may be freely used simply by choosing the third option, "Name/URL" (the URL box may be left empty), when posting your comment - therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to simply post as "Anonymous", making debate unnecessarily harder to follow. Any comment signed simply as "Anonymous" will be blocked.

Thank you!