The Ruthenian Catholic Church is another sui iuris (i.e., self-governing) Eastern Catholic Church (in canonical terms, a “Particular Church”). The Ruthenian Church uses the Divine Liturgy of the Constantinopolitan Byzantine Eastern Rite. Its roots are among the Rusyns who lived in the region called Carpathian Ruthenia, in and around the Carpathian Mountains. This is the area where the borders of present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine meet.
A gathering of Eastern European Catholic groups. Ruthenians are on the left.The Ruthenian Catholic Church is, like Ukrainian, Melkite and in full communion with the Bishop of Rome as one of the the 23 sui iuris particular churches which are part of the Catholic Church along with the larger Latin (Western) Rite Catholics.The Ruthenian Church also developed as a result of the missionary outreach of Saints Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity and the Byzantine Rite to the Nordic and Slavic peoples in the ninth century. After the separation of the Eastern Orthodox from the Catholic communion with Rome in 1054, the Ruthenian Church retained its Orthodox ties.The invasion of the Magyars in the 10th century later brought Catholic missionary influence to the area. With the Union of Uzhhorod in 1646, 63 Ruthenian clergy were received into the Catholic Church, and in 1664 a union was reached at Mukachevo.
I am Ruthenian on my father’s side of the family. Interestingly, as my mother was compiling some family notebooks to trace family history, she discovered my paternal grandmother’s baptismal certificate. She was baptized Catholic.
However, her particular Ruthenian parish in Passaic, New Jersey, was part of a movement of about 100,000 Eastern Catholics who became Russian Orthodox in the early 1900s.
My grandfather on my mother’s side was born in Kiev but was Russian. My maternal grandmother was English extraction (though her mother was Estonian and Finnish?) but her family had lived in Archangel for generations. They were Protestants.
My dad became an Episcopalian eventually after years of being a so-called “mercenary Episcopalian” who got paid to sing bass in some of the top choirs in the Boston area. Though he had a baritone timbre, he could sing the low notes in Russian choirs.