Uninformed about the Orthodox churches as I am, the explanation given by the Patriarch was very encouraging to me.Once I visited a Uniate church in Rome during a service and was greatly impressed by the discipline and devotion of the service, which, I think, was a Mass.
@Jeremiah:It is good to know you have gone outside the Roman rite and seen the broader identity of the Church. Still, it is not a good thing to call Eastern Catholics "Uniates," a label most all of them rightly detest and which, even were it true, would only fit a handful of them.Keep exploring! If you are ever in Rome again the Melkites have a church there and Rome also hosts a Byzantine monastery.
To tell the truth, I'm not at all sure it was the Uniate Church, but was in a hurry to postso I didn't check and I apologise to anyone offended by my terminology.In fact, it was a free day and I was doing the tourist bit, on a Saturdy morning, on my way to Santa Maria Maggiore and I was so glad I went in.Thank you for the correction.
Byzantine Theology and Praxis are a beautiful thing.
The Patriarch is nominally in charge but is effectively ignored by the Church with the largest membership, the Russian O.C. The Russian Patriarch wants to be the leader of all the Orthodox Churches and does not hide the fact. The Pope meets a powerless 'leader' to no effect except to irritate the former 'handmaids of the KGB' and now Putin's. Pope Francis has expressed admiration for their collegiality, their flexibility on the marriage vows AND their ancient liturgy!!
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