St. Cyril & Methodius Parish is part of the Eparchy (Diocese) of Passaic, NJ, headed by Bishop William Skurla. The Eparchy is part of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, PA. The Byzantine Catholic Metropolia of Pittsburgh is a Church sui iuris (self-governing), in full communion with Rome.
You will notice many differences upon entering an Eastern Christian church. The most prominent of which is the Iconostasis, a screen covered with icons separating the nave from the altar or holy of holies. The Iconostasis is adorned with images of Christ and those central to the mystery of his Incarnation – the Mother of God, the Apostles, and the patron saints of the Church. Although appearing to hide what happens beyond it, the Iconostasis actually serves as a symbol of the reality that during the Liturgy, Christ unites heaven and earth. Through the Royal Doors, the Garden awaits. Behind the altar is a large icon of Mary, The Mother of God, holding on her breast her Divine Son, and her hands uplifted in prayer. This icon is called the Platytera, meaning “more spacious than the heavens.” Mary gave birth to the Word who had created the heavens and earth. Other notable characteristics of Byzantine worship include icons, the use of candles and incense, the rich a capella congregational singing, the festal processions, and the great frequency with which the people bow and make the sign of the cross.
Byzantine Catholic Greetings
Saludos Catolicos Bizantos
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
Gloria a Jesucristo! Gloria por siempre!
Laudetur Jesus Christus! Semper laudetur!
Slava Isusu Christu! Slava na viki!
Doxa si o kyrios! Panda doxa!
Sia lodata Gesu Cristo! Siempre sia lodato!
Inside St. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Church
- Sanctuary: Holy Place
- Holy Table (Altar): located in center of Sanctuary
- Artophorion (Tabernacle): sacred vessel containing the Eucharist
- Sanctuary Lamp: oil fueled lamp burning constantly as sign of Christ’s presence in Eucharist
- Candelabra: 7-branched signifying the seven Mysteries (sacraments)
- Antimension: silken cloth with depiction of Burial of Christ and relics sewn into it
- Book of Gospels: lies on Antimension and has a decorated metal cover
- Ripidia: round fans inscribed with cherubim icons reminding us Holy Table is Throne of God
- Synthronos: seat for the Bishop representing his authority given by Christ
- Proscomedia: preparation table where Holy Gifts (bread and wine) are prepared for consecration
- Sacristy: sacred vestments, liturgical vessels, etc., stored here
- Icon of Mother of God (Theotokos)
- Iconostasis/Templon: large screen of icons separating Sanctuary (divine/permanent world) from nave (human/temporary world). Has 3 sets of doors:
- Holy Doors (large central): features Icon of Annunciation of Most Holy Theotokos
- Icons: right of Royal Doors Christ the Teacher Icon; extreme right St. Gregory Icon; left of Royal Door Theotokos with Infant Jesus Icon and extreme left St. Nicholas of Myra Icon
(2) Deacon Doors: small door on each side of Royal Doors with Icons of the first of two deacons: St Stephen on the right and St. Prochorus on the left
- Nave: main body of church where parishioners sit or stand and walls contain icons of those who came before
- Ambo: elevated platform for entering through Royal Doors into Sanctuary and where Book of Gospels is read
- Devotional Shrines: Theotokos on left and St. Cyril and Methodius, patron saints, on right
- Tetrapod: four legged table with icon of holy day on left and cross on right.
- Trojca: 3-branched candle held by one of parishioners during the chanting of the Gospel
- Baptismal Font: blessed water for baptisms, house blessings, and other blessings
- Narthex/Vestibule (entry/foyer): symbolizes the call to continually change our ways and to live a new life.