Posted by: Fr Chris | February 16, 2019

Byzantine Catholic Evangelization 3: Expansion in West, Domestic Church Book

St Mary of the Holy Protection Proto-Cathedral, Sherman Oaks, CA 

First Byzantine Catholic church on the West Coast 


Looking Beyond the New “Old Country”: A New Expansion

The immigrants who came from Austria-Hungary left behind their homes which quickly became the “stary krai”, or Old Country. Then Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Ohio became the new Old Country as people moved south and west, beginning in the 1950s.

Father Eugene Chromoga was sent to Los Angeles with the names of two families. When he got off in Union Station, he found out that one family had moved. With the foundation of that one family, Father Chromoga went to work. From their work, Saint Mary of the Holy Protection Church was established, and from that base missions and outreach stations grew to become parishes across the whole state of California. Saint Mary became the first  cathedral of the new eparchy in the Western States founded in 1982.

The mission experience in the Western States, which gave birth to our eparchy of the Holy Protection of Mary in Phoenix, was accomplished by the initiatives of laity who wrote to the bishop of the Parma Eparchy, which then had jurisdiction, and asking for priests to come to their towns and serve them.  This is very much the role of the baptized: to work for the Kingdom of God!

By 1985, parishes had been founded in the major cities of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. The expansion into these regions was successful. Now we need both a new expansion into new areas, as people continue to beg for priests in other locations,  and an internal expansion of vision and fervor in existing parishes so as to reach out into the larger population.

A Guide for the Domestic Church

Vatican II teaches clearly that the Catholic home is a domestic church.[1] The Christian family must be the family that prays together, so that it stays together.[2] This is possible by having an active prayer life as a single person, a married couple, or a family. Ancient customs still speak to the modern soul! Ancient prayers awaken us to the living presence of God in each of our lives! People who are in love with God will be in love with each other and with their neighbor.

But how do I introduce my spouse and children to an active life of prayer and living out the rituals and customs of our Church?

Widely used by Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Christians since its original publication in 1986, A GUIDE FOR THE DOMESTIC CHURCH   has been reissued in a full-color updated version for another generation of Eastern Christian families. A kind of cookbook for Christian family life,  A GUIDE FOR THE DOMESTIC CHURCH  is an easy to read presentation of the Eastern Churches’ vision for the Christian home along with specific  directions for those wishing to incorporate Byzantine  spirituality into their home lives throughout the Church year.

This book contains step-by-step directions for family prayer, hints for keeping the fasts, setting up an icon corner, celebrating saints’ name days and participating in the Church’s special moments of encounter with God (baptisms, marriages, funeral and memorial services.)

The second edition includes newly-available resources and recipes as well as links to online distributors and manufacturers of religious supplies. A GUIDE FOR THE DOMESTIC CHURCH does a wonderful job of explaining both the whys and the hows of Eastern Christian family practice, telling you where to find icons, lamps, incense, and so forth, and what to do with them.

Paper, 116 pages. Only $15.00 Available from the Melkite Eparchy of Newton via this site:


Go here for other suggestions on transforming your home into a domestic church:

[1] Lumen Gentium, no. 11.

[2] To paraphrase the famous phrase of Father Patrick Peyton, “The family that prays together, stays together.”

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