This weekend the St. Patrick's community celebrated the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, which is an Eastern Catholic celebration of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist), named after Basil of Caesarea. While the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom has become the normal liturgy of the Byzantine Church, the Liturgy of St. Basil is still celebrated ten times a year.
But why exposed our seminarians to the Eastern rites of the Church? St. John Paul II answered that in his encyclical “Ut Unum Sint":
In this perspective an expression which I have frequently employed finds its deepest meaning: the Church must breathe with her two lungs! In the first millennium of the history of Christianity, this expression refers primarily to the relationship between Byzantium and Rome.
We are Roman Catholics, meaning that we are in communion with and spiritually linked to Rome in the person of our Holy Father. However, 20 million Eastern Catholics are also united to Rome and are just as “catholic". However, they have entirely different liturgical customs and laws. Eastern rites have differences in things such as vestments, music, feasts days, and other liturgical customs. For example, the Eucharist is called the “Divine Liturgy” because “Mass” derives from the Latin missa (one who is sent). The word is not used in the east.
Icons have a significant meaning and importance in the Byzantine Tradition. In Col 2:7, St. Paul wrote, "Christ is the icon of the invisible God." An icon is the manifestation of the hidden. It is a grace and a life; St. John of Damascus calls it a “channel of divine grace." Within the Divine Liturgy, icons take a prominent role in the faith and prayer of the Church.
Please enjoy the slideshow below and notice the various icons: