Its Structure, History, Liturgy und Spirituality
The Catholic Church of the Byzantine-Slavonic rite (in Slovakia it is called the Greek Catholic Church) is in full communion with the Catholic Church. Each member of the Catholic Church (of any rite) can actively and permissibly receive the sacraments (the sacred mysteries) and attend the divine services.
Byzantine Catholics and members of the Orthodox Church are originally one community of the Byzantine rite, but divided by “schism”. Rite and spirituality are identical, in fact only their attitude towards Roman Pope, whose executive authority as a head of the whole Church is not accepted by the Orthodox Church, makes them disunited.
The Byzantine Catholic Church in Slovakia (or Slovak Catholic Church sui iuris) compounds of 2 bishoprics: the Apostolic Exarchate in Kosice and the Eparchy of Presov (both located in the Eastern Slovakia). The Eparchy of Presov was established in 1818 by the separation from the Eparchy of Mucachevo, vladyka Jan Hirka is its residing bishop. The 21st February 1997 is the official date of the establishment of the Apostolic Exarchate in Kosice, Milan Chautur CSsR was appointed its Exarch. The bishoprics are subordinated directly to the Congregation of Eastern Churches (in Rome), and are mutually independent. The Catholics of the Byzantine-Slavonic rite residing at the territory of Kosice region belong to the Apostolic Exarchate in Kosice. The remaining areas of Slovakia are controlled by the Eparchy of Presov. There are only insignificant number of parishes in middle and western Slovakia: (Bratislava, Nitra, Zilina, Martin, Zvolen, Banska Bystrica, Telgart, Sumiac). The Prague Exarchate was established on 13th March 1996 after a peaceful split of the Czecho-Slovak Republic. 219 831 worshippers listed themselves as the members of the Byzantine Catholic Church in the 2001 census (4.1% of population of the Slovak Republic). However, a real number reflecting the actual number of Byzantine Catholics in Slovakia is approximately 500 000 (in 1948: 305 645 worshippers, in 241 parishes with 1059 branches; taking into account the growth of population and atheisation). During a totality period many of them belonged to the Roman Catholic Church (The Byzantine Catholic Church was officially non-existing) and many of them still wrongly believe that they are Roman Catholics.
(c) www.grkat.net 2005-11-02 by andreios