RUTHENIAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
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.
The Ruthenian Catholic Church is, like the Ukrainian, Melkite, Hungarian, Romanian and other Byzantine Catholic Churches, 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. This brought additional communities into the Catholic communion. The resulting dioceses retained their Byzantine rite and liturgical traditions, married priests and bishops elected by a council composed of Basilian monks and eparchial clergy.
Annexation of the regions in which the Church functioned to the Soviet Union after World War II led to persecution of the Ruthenian Catholic Church. Since the collapse of Communism the Ruthenian Catholic Church in Eastern Europe has seen a resurgence in numbers of faithful and priests.