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Dec 15, 2014

I stood in front of the two Catholic churches. They were right next door to each other. Which one do I enter? I am confused. One sign read, "Holy Ghost Catholic and the other, "Byzantine Catholic Liturgy."  My mind was blown. 

Knoxville has a Byzantine Catholic church next door to a Roman Catholic church. The theological discussion, perhaps debate, is intriguing.  What is a Byzantine Catholic Church and is it different from a Roman Catholic church?  

The Byzantine Catholic Churches  are self-governing particular churches in full communion with the Pope.  Together with the Latin Church, they make up the Catholic Church. Their liturgical, devotional and theological traditions are shared with other Eastern Christian churches with which they were once associated.

Let's back up. The church split around 1054 as a result of the great "schism."   The East–West Schism came about in a context of cultural differences between the Greek-speaking East and the Latin-speaking West and of rivalry between the Churches in Rome.  It became customary to refer to the Eastern side as the Orthodox Church and the Western as the Catholic Church.

After a few hundred years of no longer bring in communion with the Church of Rome. There arose a group that considered it important to restore that communion. In 1438, the Council of Florence convened, which featured a strong dialogue focused on understanding the theological differences between the East and West, with the hope of reuniting the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Several eastern churches reunited, forming Eastern Catholic Churches. Including the Byzantine Catholic Church. The See of Rome accepted them without requiring that they adopt the customs of the Latin Church, so that they all have their own "liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage, differentiated by peoples' culture and historical circumstances, that finds expression in each Church's own way.

Roman Catholics, today, who stop by a Byzantine or other Eastern Catholic Church mass or liturgy will find a rather different set of customs.  Guess what, they are both Catholic Churches.  In fact, a Roman Catholic may wish to embrace their Eastern brothers and sisters.  From a theological stand point it could be a unique experience.  The fact that we have a Byzantine and a Roman Catholic Church next door to each other is compelling. 

Holy Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Mission began in 1999.  In 2009, the mission was invited to move to a more central location just north of downtown Knoxville by Monsignor Xavier Mankel, the pastor of Holy Ghost Roman Catholic Church. During this time, preparations and remodeling were made to the original Holy Ghost Church, a building which had been built in 1908 before the current church was constructed in 1926. On Easter Sunday of 2011, the first Divine Liturgy was held in the newly redesigned church located at 1031 North Central Avenue, Knoxville,

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