As Eastern Christians living in a predominately Western Christian society, we often find ourselves defending what it means to worship differently from the Latin Catholic Church. We may also have to field questions about the church that we attend or the religious practices we engage in. Sharing the unique gift of our Eastern Christian faith with people who have little to no knowledge that we even exist can be a challenge since we have to overcome preconceived ideas what it means to be fully Catholic. One response we can give is that we Melkites belong to a church that was established by St. Peter –before Peter went to Rome.
“Since in fact, we believe that the venerable and ancient tradition of the Eastern Churches is an integral part of the heritage of Christ’s Church, the first need for Catholics is to be familiar with that tradition.” —Pope John Paul II, Orientale Lumen
Fr. Hezekias Carnazzo, a Melkite priest, pastor and founder/director of The Institute of Catholic Church offers us good help in comprehending Eastern Christianity.