Rorate Caeli

Ordinations - I: a new Russian Greek Catholic priest

November 8 of this year witnessed an extremely rare event: the priestly ordination, in Russia and according to the Byzantine Rite, of a Russian Orthodox convert to Catholicism. On this day, Fr. Deacon Pavel (Paul) Gladkov was ordained by Bishop Milan Šášik of the Carpatho-Rusyn Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo in the Latin-Rite Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk (in Siberia).

More photographs can be found on the website of the Catholic Church in Siberia (LINK).

The new priest was born into Russian Orthodoxy in 1982 and became Catholic in 1999. The ceremony itself was according to the Byzantine Rite with some elements of the Latin liturgical tradition (such as the prostration for the Litany of Saints, which has been adopted by some Eastern Catholics for their ordination rites.)

The new priest is now one of about 20 Greek Catholic priests serving the small but growing community of Greek Catholics in Russia, of whom only a minority -- sometimes called "Russian Orthodox United with Rome" -- worship according to the Russian tradition (the majority are from Ukraine and follow the Ukrainian Greek Catholic tradition). He is part of a minority (Russian Greek Catholics) in a minority (Greek Catholics) in a minority (Catholics) in Russia. (The vast majority of Catholics in Russia belong to the Latin Rite.) The Greek Catholic community in Russia is governed by Bishop Joseph Werth S.J. who is also the Latin-Rite Ordinary for the Diocese of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk. (Bishop Werth is biritual and was present in Byzantine vestments at the ordination of Fr. Pavel Gladkov.)

H/t Fides et Ratio and RCKVO.Ru, the website for Byzantine-Rite Catholics in Russia


  1. Francesco6:03 PM

    This is *extremely* exciting news! I did not realize that the Russian Greek Catholic Church even had any seminarians, let alone friendly bishops (of other sui iuris Churches) willing to ordain priests!

    Does anyone know if there are any other seminarians?

  2. Spotted this on the BYZANTINE TEXAS blog and came over to check out more. Thanks for the links.
    I always find this stuff fascinating. Orthodox who become Catholics, Catholics who become Orthodox....
    Oh for the day when we can all say we are One in the Lord. I myself consider myself both and that makes me a heretic to both but I prefer to let GOD judge in the end.

  3. Bernonensis8:14 PM

    God grant his grace and help to Father Pavel. Ad multos annos!

    And kudos to Bishop Werth; most of his Jesuit brethren have trouble enough following the rubrics of one rite.

  4. Ora et Labora8:46 PM

    Praise be to God!!!

  5. Lee Lovelock-Jemmott10:17 PM

    Praise be To The Lord in the Highest for this like anyone coming home, is a truly joyous occasion. Deo Gratias.

  6. Ivan K10:18 PM

    Are these members of the Russian Greek Catholic Church, or members of some other Greek Catholic community whose grandparents 'ended up' in Siberia, along with those of the Latin-Rite Catholics in the area? From what I understand, the Byzantine Rite Russian Catholic Church, established shortly before the revolution, is still not approved in Russia.

  7. To address Francisco's comment as regards the willingness of bishops from other sui iuris Churches to ordain presbyters for the Russian Greek-Catholic Church ...

    In the diaspora, since the time of Archbishop Joseph (Tawil), of blessed memory, the Melkite hierarchy has very actively served that role (as well as ordaining deacons, tonsuring subdeacons and readers, and according biritual faculties in that Church, as needed, to both its own priests and to Latin priests, on request).

    Father Archimandite Alexei (Smith), is one such. Father Alexei was educated and ordained by the Melkites to serve St Andrew the First-Called RGC Church in El Segundo, CA. Father Archimandrite Lawrence (Cross) in Australia, incardinated to the Melkite Eparchy of St Michael in Sydney, is another. Father Economos Roman (Russo), administrator of St Michael the Archangel RGC Church in NYC, is a priest of the Melkite Eparchy. A Melkite priest also presently serves the RGC parish in Brazil, since the repose of its pastor. Bishop Nicholas Samra, present Eparch of Newton of the Melkites, has afforded hierarchical services to OL of Fatima RGC Church in San Francisco in the recent past.

    This unusual relationship between a Church sui iuris of the Greek Tradition and one of the Slav Tradition has its origins in the fact that, in 1896, Father Nicholas (Tolstoy), of blessed memory, the first Russian Orthodox priest in modern times to enter communion with Rome, was received into the omophor of the Melkite Patriarchate at Rome. The relationship was renewed when Archbishop Joseph undertook to take the Russian GC Chapel of Our Lady of Kazan, of blessed memory, under his hierarchical omophor at the request of Cardinal Richard Cushing, also of blessed memory, in the very early '70s.

    Notably, also in the diaspora, the 4th RGC parish in the US, Ss Cyril & Methodius in Denver, is under the spiritual omophor of the Eparch of St George in Canton of the Romanians.

  8. In response to Bernonensis' comment about the priests of the Society of Jesus ...

    While Bishop Werth is to be commended for his concern as regards the Russian Greek-Catholics under his pastoral care, he is a bi-ritual Latin bishop, serving in that role as a consequence of Rome's failure to appoint a hierarch for the Russian GC Church.

    The Jesuits as an order, however, are notable for the service provided, through the Society's Mission Orientalis, or Eastern Province, to the Eastern & Oriental Catholic Churches.

    The list is long and impressive and includes: Father General Emeritus Peter Hans Kolvenbach, who was ordained to the service of the Armenian Catholic Church; the eminent Eastern theologian Mitred Archimandrite Robert Taft; the Servant of God Father Walter Ciszek and the other Jesuits educated at the Russicum and who served and sometimes gave their lives in the Soviet Communist countries; Melkite Archimandrite Orestes Karame, of blessed memory, principal theologian at VII to HB Maximos IV (Saigh), Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, & All the East of the Melkites; Kyr Jan Babjak, Eparch of Presov of the Slovaks; Mar Antoine Audo, Eparch of Aleppo of the Chaldeans; Father George Maloney, of blessed memory, and the other Jesuits who created and served the former Byzantine Center at Fordham University, as well as those who continue its work at the U. of Scranton; those who founded or served at OL of Kazan RGC in South Boston, OL of Fatima RGC in SF, and St Andrew the First-Called RGC in El Segundo; Abba Aghnatios Elias Yaacoub, of blessed memory, Eparch of Luxor of the Copts; and, Archbishop Cyril Vasil (Slovak GC), current Secretary of the Vatican's Oriental Congregation. And those are but a few of the many.

  9. For Neil (Irish Melkite):

    Thank you for your input.

    Permit me to clarify something. Over at the ByzCath forum it's been asked whether I was correct in referring to prostration as a Latinization. To be exact I was referring to the "prostration for the Litany of Saints" as the Latinization. (The reference to the Litany of Saints being sung during the ceremony as Fr. Pavel lay flat on the floor outside the sanctuary can be found in the French-language "Fides et Ratio" blog post that I used as the main basis for my article.)

  10. Anonymous2:01 PM

    "Notably, also in the diaspora, the 4th RGC parish in the US, Ss Cyril & Methodius in Denver, is under the spiritual omophor of the Eparch of St George in Canton of the Romanians."
    Neil, I don't think this is correct. It is my understanding the Greek Catholic parish is under the local Latin bishop. Can you clarify?

  11. Vito, that's why he said "spiritual omophor." Canonically, they are under the Latin bishop of the place, but the Romanian Eparch looks out for them.

    It's like having godparents. It doesn't mean you don't have actual parents as well. (Though to extend the metaphor, the Latin bishops are sort of foster parents, for children who have been orphaned.)

    As Neil notes, we're served here in NYC by a Melkite priest at St. Michael's, but in the liturgy we commemorate Metropolitan Timothy.

  12. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Thanks for the clarification Samuel. Do you know who is commemorated in their liturgy?

  13. Francesco4:41 PM

    Neil, thank you for all of those details. Do you know if there are other Russian Greek Catholic seminarians (either in the States or abroad)?

    Samuel Howard, pardon my ignorance, but who is Metropolitan Timothy?

  14. Thanks for the clarification Samuel. Do you know who is commemorated in their liturgy?

    In Denver? I don't know. I'd assume it's the local Latin bishop, but that would be just that, assumption.

    Samuel Howard, pardon my ignorance, but who is Metropolitan Timothy?

    Archbishop Dolan.

  15. As an Eastern Catholic, Ukrainian, here in Denver I will chime in about the situation of the RGC in the US and in Denver in particular. All RGC are canonically under Latin Bishops, regardless of any other help that may come from other EC Bishops. In Denver the situation is the same. In fact the parish that houses the RGC community also has a Latin Catholic community there. Fr. Frank, the Pastor, is an RGC Priest with Roman faculties.

    Anyone interested in helping the EC witness in Denver can like the local Ukrainian Catholic Parish's facebook page!!/pages/Transfiguration-of-Our-Lord-Ukrainian-Greek-Catholic-Church-Denver/121128821230726

    All the best and Merry Christmas.

  16. Francisco asked whether I know if there are other Russian Greek Catholic seminarians (either in the States or abroad).

    It seems that I heard somewhere, recently, of a couple of RGC seminarians in Russia, but I can't swear to that. I'll try and check.

    There are none in Europe and I'd have to do some serious research to find who is presently serving the RGC communities there. (The recent repose in Dublin of Father Archimandrite Serge Keleher, of blessed memory, put a serious kink in the European and Russian grapevines regarding such matters.)
    That the Russicum, regretably, is no longer functional is a definite loss to the filling of vacancies.

    There are none presently in the US or Canada (the former RGC temple in Canada has been suppressed for several years and now serves a Chaldean parish there) nor are there any in Australia. As to South America, I'm uncertain. A Melkite friend from Brazil may know more, but he's currently in the patriarchal seminary in Lebanon, so his info may not be up-to-date. I'll try and find out what, if anything, he does know.

  17. Ivan asked whether these are members of the RGC or another GK Church.

    They are, indeed, members of the RGC - which, at last count, I believe has 5 registered parishes under the Ordinariate, 3 unregistered ones, and 2 other functioning communities that would be the equivalent of mission stations. One of the parishes serves according to the Old - pre-Nikonian - Rite. The majority of their priests, until now, have been ordained and afforded faculties through the kind offices of the UGCC.

    The only other GCs functioning in Russia currently are some UGCC communities - not certain of the number. The Armenian Catholics have a small presence there as well.

    There was also a mission to some 13 isolated Siberian communities, primarily Ukrainian GC, conducted by Father Jan (Frackiewicza), of blessed memory, a Polish-born Melkite priest, sent there by the Melkite Archbishop of Bierut. Regretably, Father Jan was robbed and murdered a few years ago and the mission died out with him.

  18. Follow-up to my earlier comment ... There is a seminarian in training in Brazil who will eventually be ordained to the service of the RGC. Meanwhile, the Melkites continue to afford pastoral care to the RGC community there.

  19. As Samuel and Sean noted, all RGC parishes are canonically subject to the jurisdiction of the Latin hierarch within whose geographic diocese they are situated.

    In the case of El Segundo, the Melkite Eparch extends his spiritual omophor to the parish by specific request of the Latin Archbishop of LA. El Segundo is a somewhat unique situation as the temple houses the RGC parish and a Melkite Mission, both administered by the same priest - ordained by the Melkites to the service of the RGC but incardinated to the Melkite Eparchy (and serving also as the Ecumenical Officer for the Latin Archdiocese of LA).

    In Denver, the Romanian Eparch likewise does so at the specific request of the Latin Archbishop. (That request would have been directed to the Melkites were it not that Archbishop Cyril had just been enthroned as Melkite Eparch and it was thought that he had enough to do getting established.)

    In San Francisco, the arrangement is more informal in that I don't believe a specific request was made. However, bi-ritual Latin priests with faculties from the Melkites had served the parish for some time after the Jesuits and it was a natural progression to the Latin Archbishop agreeing to then Auxiliary Bishop (now Eparch) Nicholas providing hierarchical visitations.

    Samuel can correct me on this, but I do not believe that there is a formal or informal omophor extended there - just the 'loan' of Father Economos Roman (as well, two other Melkite priests, one now of blessed memory, have assisted there from time to time.)

    In Australia, the Melkite Eparch likewise exercises his spiritual omophor by specific request of the Latin Archbishop (of Sydney, as I recollect) to then-Eparch Issam John, a situation that continues under Eparch Robert.

    As far as I know, the situation in Brazil is an informal arrangement between the Latin Archbishop and Melkite Eparch, Sayedna Fares.

  20. Francesco1:39 PM

    Neil & Samuel, thank you for the updates and clarifications.

    Could either of you tell me how these Russian Greek Catholic communities (in the States) started? Were there actual, ethnic Russians, who came over during the last century or two and started these parishes?

    Also, do either of you know what the present populations are like? Are they mostly Roman Catholics, who have "switched rites" (as is common in many Ruthenian communities these days)?

    Finally, I believe it was Neil that mentioned that one community in Russia follows the Old Rite. Are there any materials available to learn more about the Old Rite in communion with Rome? I have the Erie "Old Orthodox Prayer Book" but have no idea how any of it could adopted for use by Catholics for public worship. Does anything like a "missal" exist?

  21. In past the wages of such ordination was martyrdom. Let us thank the Theotokos under her title of Our Lady of Fatima for her intercession.

    BTW, what really is the correct name to call the Russian Catholic Church? I always thought they call themselves as the Russian Orthodox Church in Communion with Rome.

  22. Francesco (and apologies for misspelling your name earlier),

    Of the 11 present and former RGC communities in North America, South America, and Oz, 8 were founded by and to serve Russian refugees and 1 of the other 3 eventually came to that same purpose. In the US, the surviving parishes now serve multi-ethnic communities. Those in Brazil and Oz are still heavily populated by the descendents of ethnic Russians.

    Ss Cyril & Methodius in Denver, the newest such parish in the US, was established by a priest who previously pastored the Byzantine parish in Denver. As I recollect, there was a division in the parish between those (including Father) who wished to worship according to the Great Russian Rescension and those who preferred the Little Russian (Ruthenian) Rescension common to the Byzantine Metropolia. As far as I know, the parish has never had an ethnic Russian community associated with it.

    The RGC Chapel at the former Pope John XXIII Byzantine Center of Fordham University served both the university and broader community, but did not have an ethnic base. It was suppressed after the program closed. (Although the program's areas of study were transferred to the U of Scranton, I don't believe that the chapel was reopened there.)

    St Andrew's in El Segundo originated to serve an emigrant Russian refugee population, but initially not an RGC population. In its inception, it was an effort to convert Molokans, a Russian religious sect with Protestant overtones that arose near contemporaneously with the Russian Orthodox schism provoked by the Nikonian reforms. However, St Andrew's mission to the Molokans proved fruitless about the same time that RGC and RO refugees began to flee China, where there had been significant Russian emigrant communities - one at Harbin, the other at Shanghai. The history of the parish (altho it's short on some details) can be read at

    OL of Fatima in SF was erected largely in response to the evacuation and expulsion of the RGCs (together with the RO) from Harbin. Its history, again brief on details, can be read at

    Others of the former Harbin community settled in Brazil and Australia, giving rise to Annunciation of the Virgin in Rio and St Nicholas in Melbourne and Sydney. There is a brief history of the Australian communities at the website of St Michael's in NYC. It can be read at . Regretably, there is no on-line history of the Brazilian community.

    St Michael's in NYC was erected to serve RGC emigrants from Russia proper, as was OL of Kazan in South Boston and the Presentation of the Virgin in Montreal, both of blessed memory. St Michael's own history can be read at .

    Our Lady of Tikvin RGC Chapel, of blessed memory, was located at Mt Angel (Benedictine) Abbey in OR and served a small Old Rite RGC emigrant community. Subsequent to the repose of its presbyter, the Catholic Old Ritualists were assimilated into the Stariovertsy (Priested) Old Rite Orthodox communities in the area.

  23. Francesco, you also asked whether there any materials available to learn more about the Old Rite in communion with Rome?

    Nothing of which I'm aware that would be readily available to anyone. A half-century ago, Hieromonk Feodor (Palczynski), MIC, of blessed memory, was dispatched from the Marianist Monastery in Stockbridge MA to Mount Angel (Benedictine) Abbey in OR to serve the Old Ritualist Catholics there. At the time, he was provided photocopies of some of the Old Rite service books by the Oriental Congregation.

    With those, and coming from a familial background of Old Believers, he served according to the Old Rite. It's possible that the texts are still at the Abbey, in the museum or library, although the community is a historical footnote. The texts would, however, be in Old Church Slavonic, rather than the English text from Nativity in Erie.

  24. Francesco, I would just add to my immediate previous comment, that it's likely that the texts from Rome closely adhere to that from Erie.

    The early RGC community in Russia included two parishes that served according to the Old Rite, as the Servants of God, Fathers Patapy Emilianov and Eustachy Susalev, brought their Old Believer communities with them when they entered communion. The RGC and the Old Believers had a cordial relationship and the RGC are known to have afforded the Orthodox Old Riualists the use of their presses.

    I strongly suspect that the texts provided to Hieromonk Feodor would have been copies of those same texts.

  25. Francesco11:12 PM

    Neil, thank you for your very detailed responses to my questions. I appreciate the time you have taken to answer!

    From what you have said, it seems as though the Old Ritual has more or less fallen by the wayside in the Catholic Church. Is there any lingering interest? Are the prayers, liturgies, and customs *that* distinct to warrant continued publication of the Old Believer materials? From what little I have looked at the Erie prayer book, the prayers do not seem all that different from the mainstream Eastern materials that I have at hand.

    Thanks again!

  26. Ben said that in the past the wages of such ordination was martyrdom ...

    Indeed it was. The incomplete list at
    is telling in its length.

    A significant number of those named from 1893 onward are either known to have been martyred in odium fidei or are of unknown fate and almost assuredly suffered that same end. Even among those who survived torture, hard labor, and imprisonment, a majority are considered to have eventually died as martyrs ex aerumnis carceris (due to the hardships of incarceration) or to be martyrs ex acertatibus et vexationibusque pro fidei quibus pertulit (by reason of the force and violence which they endured for the faith).

    Ben also said, 'Let us thank the Theotokos under her title of Our Lady of Fatima' ...

    The patronal title of the SF parish, and that Father Mitred Archimandrite John (Mowatt), of blessed memory, established a RGK chapel at Fatima, aside, my Russian brethren would be more likely to thank her under her titles of Kazan, of Tikhvin, or otherwise. The title of Fatima belongs to the West, not to us, though we are grateful for the many past prayers offered to the Theotokos under that title which helped to restore Russia as a Christian nation.

  27. Francesco, it's not so much that the Old Ritual has fallen by the wayside, as that it was always ever only a very small segment of the RGC Church.

    I don't know to what extent it was a surprise when Fathers Patapy Emilianov and Eustachy Susalev, both of blessed memory, brought their Old Rite parishes into the then-fledgling RGC Church.

    I can tell you, though, that it was a surprise to Benedictine Abbott Damien Jentges, of blessed memory, to learn, a half-century later, that such as Catholic Old Ritualists existed. While considering what his monks could do to assist the principally non-English speaking Old Ritualists that had moved into the area of Mt Angel, Abbott Damien discovered that among them were Katolicheskaja Stariobriodtsi, Catholic Old Ritualists, presumably descended from the parishes of Fathers Eustachy and Papaty.

    Abbott Damien, Father Feodor whom I mentioned earlier, and Benedictine Brother Ambrose Moorman (who learned Old Slavonic to serve for Father Feodor and Russian to serve the worldly needs of the Old Ritualists), devoted extraordinary efforts to the spiritual and secular care of both the Catholic and Orthodox Old Ritualists. (At one time, the Abbey's Old Ritualist Center housed distinct chapels for 5 different Orthodox Old Ritualist soglasies/sects, as well as the Old Ritualist Catholic chapel.) These men of God were tireless advocates for the immigrant communities in the educational, social service, medical, and govermental sectors and incredibly respected for all that they did.

    However, as I said previously, after the repose of Father Feodor, those of the Catholic community eventually integrated into the priested Orthodox communities. Other than the current single parish in Russia, there are no other known Old Believer/Old Ritualist Catholics and, with the repose of Father Serge (Keleher), there is one less Catholic presbyter with the knowledge to serve according to the rubrics.

    Both popovotsy (priested) and bezpopovtsy (priestless) Orthodox Old Believer/Old Ritualist soglasies continue to exist, many in strong numbers. But, that single Russian parish is it as far as Catholics of that ritual use. The differences to be found will be less apparent in prayers than in ritual and rubric. Some differences might also be observed in vesture, architecture, iconography, and liturgical accoutrements.

    From the standpoint of an entity within the Catholic Communion, the desirability/need to republish service texts, etc, is probably not high. Original texts are available from Orthodox Old Ritualist presses these days and the remnant Catholic Old Ritualists are obviously in real danger of being nothing more than the subject of scholarly research or a single lesson in courses on liturgics or the history of 'Other' Catholics.

  28. Francesco2:27 AM

    Neil, thank you once again (!) for all of your help. As you suggested, the prayers themselves are not all that different, but it might be more the vestments and rituals. Would it be possible to use the Old Orthodox Prayer Book to have a private reader service of sorts for some of the Little Hours? I haven't cracked the book open lately, but what would I need to do differently? I don't recall the text mentioning anything too different from most other Eastern texts.

    Also, what kind of differences would the Old Believers have with their vestments? I have seen some Old Believer hats for sale from a Russian tailor online, but they look a slightly similar to what a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest friend used to wear (but in a different color).

  29. Francesco, I know of no reason why the Erie Prayer Book couldn't be privately used for the Little Hours - which is contained there. You might find some slight differences in the translation of the Creed. You will find rubics and instructions for the bows to be made and you'll likely notice small textual differences in prayers. A number of Eastern Catholics and Orthodox of my acquaintance use it regularly.

    As to what one might do differently in using it, I'm not clear on what you mean - offhand, I'd say nothing.

    As to vesture, some examples:

    skufias -

    cassocks -

    A thread discussing Old Beliver episcopal vesture, with links to a number of photos

    There is an entire forum devoted to Old Believers/Old Ritualists at the ByzCath site, with somewhere in excess of 150 threads, several of which include photos and most of which contain links. The wealth of info there is in large measure due to the tireless work of a retired history professor of Polish ancestry who is quite interested in the Old Believers. Tom constantly searches out new material on the topic and adds it.

    I'd recommend clicking on the forum link, then scrolling to the bottom of the page and using the drop-down menu to change the display to 'all threads, regardless of age' (or something along that line). The forum is at:

  30. Francesco2:55 PM

    Thanks, Neil. I will check out the forum again. I used to read ByzCath quite regularly in years past but have not done so of late. Hopefully, I can catch up and learn more about the Old Rite.

    Also, regarding the prayer book, I had meant if there were any other "ritual differences" beyond the bows and the Sign of the Cross (which I have read about elsewhere) that I ought to know in order to properly pray the Little Hours from the Erie book.


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!