Who are the Byzantine Catholics?
The Byzantine Catholic Church is considerable the oldest Christian Church originating with the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. Following the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, they began to proclaim the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean
and surrounding regions to all of God's children. During these first critical years of formation of the New Testament Church on Earth, the Greek-speaking Gentiles of Antioch became the first followers of Christ to be called "Christians". These Christians would spread throughout the region of Asia Minor, following the great journeys of the Apostle Paul. This expansion would continue to spread throughout the "known world" of the time, all the way to Rome in Italy, capital of the Roman Empire.
Later as time passed and the Christian Church began to expand into the
Northern provinces of the Roman Empire, each new area and culture receiving the Gospel influenced the growth of the fledgling Church. At this early stage in the history of the Christian Church, two major heritages developed, the Eastern tradition commonly known as "Greek", and the Western tradition more commonly known as "Latin". The Western Church's capital was the Imperial city of Rome, and today is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. The Eastern Church evolved from the Churches in Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch, and shared the common language of Greek and religious traditions. In the year 325, the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the Imperial capital from Rome to
Byzantium on the Bosporus strait, which he renamed Constantinople. The Eastern Roman or "Byzantine" Empire, centered in Constantinople was a Christian Empire that prospered for more than 1,000 years, passing on with it the Eastern Christian beliefs to its population.
The spiritual heritage that we as Byzantine Catholics share is the same as passed down by the Apostles and founding Fathers of the Eastern Christian Church, during the period of the Byzantine Empire. This includes the doctrines, liturgical practices and underlying theology and spiritual beliefs which came from the Christian Church of the Byzantine Empire. This heritage is shared by all of the Christians who trace their spirituality to the Church of the Eastern Byzantine Empire, regardless of nationality or ethnicity.
The Byzantine Catholic Church in America shares in the inheritance of the first Greek-speaking Christian communities of the Eastern Mediterranean world and the Byzantine Religious Culture of the Christian East, while at the same time embrace full communion with the Church of Rome and Pope John Paul II, the successor of the Apostle Peter.