Orthodox Christians and RCIA?

QHow ought a Russian Orthodox person be received into the Catholic Church? The convert has undergone RCIA and been elected in the cathedral. Our pastor seems to be unfamiliar with the status of Russian Orthodox sacraments. For example, is confirmation is necessary? Presumably the bishop would ultimately decide?

AIf you open your RCIA text to paragraph 473, you’ll find everything you need. All that is required of an Orthodox Christian is a profession of faith. You would not celebrate confirmation with the Orthodox person, who was presumably confirmed at his baptism. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Orthodox confirmation. One interesting thing to note is that even if the Orthodox person is received in a Roman Catholic parish, he is not received into the Roman Catholic Church. He is received into the parallel Eastern Catholic Church. In this case, your candidate would be received into the Russian Catholic Church — which is in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. If your candidate wishes to be a Roman Catholic, he must apply to the Apostolic See. However, he can worship as a full member of your parish, including Eucharist, as a Russian Catholic.

There is no need for the bishop to approve his reception. Your pastor has full authority to receive the person.

An Orthodox Christian would not be referred to as a convert, nor would he participate in the Rite of Election. If you flip to the back of the RCIA and look at paragraph 2 of the National Statutes for the Catechumenate, you’ll see that the term “convert” is reserved only for those who convert from unbelief to belief — not for Christians changing denominations.

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  1. Since there are only three Russian Catholic Churches in the United States and they are all under Roman dioceses, a Russian Catholic may also become a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church. The Ukrainians because at one time they had jurisdiction over parts of Russia and the Ruthenians because they are an American Byzantine Church.
    Actually, when I saw the question I cringed because so often I see the wrong answer. It was great, wonderful, awesome to see the right answer including the correct information on chrismation/confirmation and the change of rite issue.

  2. Bless, Father.
    There are currently four Russian Eastern Catholic parishes in the US: NYC, Denver, El Segundo, CA and San Francisco.

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