|Office of Educational Services
Melkite Eparchy of Newton
1710 Surf Avenue – Belmar , NJ 07719
Voice 732-556-6917- Cell 201-417-3804
email – email@example.com
One of the more important developments in catechetics in our Church in recent memory has been the growing spirit of cooperation between the various Eastern Catholic eparchies in the United States and Canada. As of this writing, there are ten Byzantine Catholic dioceses in the US. and another seven in Canada, in addition to dioceses of several other Eastern Catholic traditions (Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite and Syrian). Yet, until recently, there was little interaction among them. How did this come about?
One of the characteristics of Eastern Churches, in contrast to the Roman, is that each national Church is relatively autonomous. While all Byzantine Churches, for example, employ the same liturgical and spiritual Tradition, each has its own body of bishops, language, and musical heritage. And so, when Byzantine Christians emigrated to the New World, they came both speaking and praying in different languages. When parishes and, later, dioceses were established, it was on the basis of the national Churches from which the immigrants had come. In time, all these Churches would move to the use of English in worship and life, but their structures remain separate. Naturally, Churches of non-Byzantine Eastern traditions would have their own structures as well.
Currently the following Churches exist in North America, all sharing a common Byzantine Catholic heritage, but differing in structure, ethnic origin, and particular uses. Dioceses are headquartered in the cities indicated.
- Melkite: Newton (USA)
- Montreal (Canada)
- Romanian: Canton (USA)
- Ruthenian: Pittsburgh, Passaic, Parma and Van Nuys (USA);
- Unionville (Canada)
- Ukrainian: Philadelphia, Stamford, Chicago, Parma (USA);
- Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton, Saskatoon, New Westminster (Canada)
- More variety exists in the Syriac or Aramaic traditions represented in the following jurisdictions:
- Chaldean: Deerfield, MI.
- Maronite: Brooklyn, Los Angeles (USA)
- Montreal (Canada)
- Syrian:Jersey City, NJ (USA & Canada)
- There is also an Armenian Catholic Exarchate for the USA and Canada headquartered in New York City.
In 1970 representatives from the Melkite and Ruthenian dioceses in the United States began discussing the possibility of common catechetical action. Out of this discussion, the God With Us series was envisioned and developed. Over the next ten years, representatives from these dioceses worked together to produce this material. In time, representatives from several other dioceses became involved in this cooperative venture.
With more dioceses committed to this work and with the completion of the eight grade series, diocesan catechetical personnel formed an ongoing organization, the ECDD (Eastern Catholic Diocesan Directors of Religious Education) conference. Working as an arm of the United States Eastern Catholic bishops’ conference, the ECDD has published nine books for adult enrichment and catechist formation. ECDD is also in the process of publishing Light for Life, a handbook for Byzantine Catholic catechesis. Two parts, entitled The Mystery Believed and The Mystery Celebrated, have already been published. The third part, The Mystery Lived, is currently in preparation. ECDD is also in the process of expanding and revising the God With Us Series. It also distributes other publications of catechetical interest through Theological Book Service.