St. Athanasius Parish at 1117 Blaine Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46221-1110 US - HomeWelcome to Our Website
SAINT ATHANASIUS THE GREAT BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH WELCOMES YOU, WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE EAST FOR CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN INDIANA Please accept this invitation to worship with us! Saint Athanasius the Great is an Eastern Church, a Church descended from the traditions and customs of Greece rather than Rome. The word "Byzantine" comes from the city of Byzantium, the old name for the city of Istanbul (Constantinople), which applies to us the same way the world "Roman" does when it describes Catholics of the Western (Rite) Church. 100% CATHOLIC We believe as Catholics do, and bishops appointed for us by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, govern us. However, because missionaries from Greece, Saints Cyril and Methodius, converted our ancestors, we learned to think of God and to worship Him in the Eastern "style." Our Sui Juris Autocephalous Church (the Byzantine Carpatho-Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church, serving Carpatho-Rusyns, Hungarians, Slovaks and Croatians) was reunited with Rome in 1646 after the Roman Church split from Byzantium in 1054. The Pope of Rome guaranteed that we would always be permitted to retain our own Byzantine customs and most ancient traditions. Here, at St. Athanasius our services are in English, with some parts in Old Church Slavonic (our original ancient liturgical language; an early form of what later became Russian, Ukranian, Slovak, etc.). Upon entering or leaving the church building, Byzantine Catholics make a bow and a sign of the Cross, instead of genuflecting. Byzantine Catholics, make the sign of the Cross from the right to the left, the opposite of what Western Catholics do. The East stresses the Divinity of Christ - while the West, His humanity. Ours is the older way of making the gesture. A CAPELLA - NO MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS All of our divine Services are sung. The parishioners know the music and take an active part in all services. Do not feel out of place if you do no know the music. Look, listen, smell, and first of all: pray. Because the early Church Fathers wanted to be sure that the people would learn and participate in the services, they forbade musical instruments in the church. We take great pride in the fact that our people can participate fully without the assistance of any instruments. ICONS INSTEAD OF STATUES You will notice that there are no statues in our church. The Greek Fathers feared that statues would lead us to the worship of idols. The Greeks worshipped idols anyway, and the Church Fathers wanted to make sure that the Christian church would be distinguished from pagan religions. In the place of statues, we use icons (the Greek word icon means image), which are flat paintings of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, His most Holy Mother, the Ever-Virgin Mary, important feast days, and the Icons look odd to many people, as though the artist was poorly trained; this is not the case, however, because icons are "written" according to traditional, most ancient standards. They look odd to modern eyes because they are intended to be symbolic rather than realistic. RECEIVING "HOLY COMMUNION" During the Holy and divine Liturgy (our name for what the Latins call "Mass"), when the time comes for the distribution of the Most Holy Body and the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ (called "Holy Communion" by the Latins), do not be afraid to receive if you are Catholic or Orthodox and in the state of Grace. "Holy Communion" is given under both forms, bread and wind, using a golden spoon. The spoon simplifies things for us, since we use leavened bread, (baked with a special recipe and marked with special markings - and called prosphora) rather than the unleavened (flat wafer) bread used by the Latins. Communion "in the hand" is NOT an option. To receive the Most Holy body and the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, just approach the Priest with your arms folded in the form of St. Andrew's Cross (X), tilt your head back slightly, and open your mouth. The priest says a prayer; you DO NOT answer "Amen." Be sure to chew the Sacred Species carefully. No one has ever choked on a "Particle" here; neither will you. Your Sunday obligation is fulfilled by attending the Holy and Divine Liturgy ("Mass") in any Catholic Church of any tradition. Catholics should experience as many of the Eastern "Rites" as they can. "Catholic" means "universal," and it is through the variety of "rites" that the Church reveals its universality. Please feel "at home" praying with us, and please come visit us often and bring or tell a friend!