Eastern Catholic Churches

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The Eastern Catholic Churches, or Uniate Churches as some Orthodox Christians call them, are 23 self-governing bodies that are in full communion with the Pope. Together with the Roman Catholic Church, they make up the entire Catholic Church. There are five rites that belong to these churches, which include the Byzantine, Armenian, Alexandrian, West Syriac/Antiochian, and East Syriac/Chaldean rites. These churches have their own theology, liturgy, culture, and calendar while sharing the same beliefs, moral code, and biblical with the Roman Catholic Church. Since they are in full communion, Roman Catholics may take communion from parishes of these churches. Many of them are Catholic counterparts of the churches from the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, and the Assyrian Church of the East. Exceptions are the Maronite Catholic Church, Italo-Albanian Catholic Church, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, and the Hungarian Greek Catholic Church. [1]



Distinction from the Roman Catholic Church

The Eastern Catholic Churches are distinct from the Roman Catholic Church in terms of their culture, liturgy, and calendar. The Byzantine Rite churches are known to resemble the Eastern Orthodox Church since many of them have derived from this sect. This includes the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the liturgical calendar, icons and the veneration of them, architecture, and even the Eucharist, which is cubes of leavened bread drenched in wine mingled with water. The Armenian Catholic Church is a lot like its Orthodox Counterpart except for different vestments, some changes in the liturgy, and the beliefs and code the church shares with the Roman Catholic Church. The Alexandrian Rite Churches are quite Latinized versions of their Orthodox counterparts, especially for the Ethiopian Catholic Church and the Coptic Catholic parishes in the United States of America. The West-Syriac Rite Churches are distinct from each other: the Maronite Catholic Church has a heavily Latinized liturgy and is filled with Lebanese culture, the Syriac Catholic Church has a liturgy based on the St. James Liturgy and is full of Middle-Eastern culture, and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has a similar liturgy to the previous one and is filled with Indian culture and a unique calendar. The East-Syriac Rite Churches use the Liturgy of Addai and Mari, and consist of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church. The only differences are their cultures, calendars, and some rituals. It should be noted as before that they do not count as different denominations or sects but part of Catholicism or the Catholic Church.

List of Churches

Byzantine Rite

Armenian Rite

Alexandrian Rite

West Syriac Rite

East Syriac Rite

Criticism and Counter-Apologetics

Priests, specifically Byzantine rite ones may marry before they are ordained; however, they may not marry if they are already ordained. [2]

Just because many of these churches came from schismatic churches or sects of Christianity does not mean the Catholic Church is the one true church or the original sect of Christianity, as some Catholics like to argue.

Syro-Malabar Christians are disagreeing about certain aspects of their own liturgy. [3]

Some Eastern Orthodox Christians see the Eastern Catholic Churches as schismatic ones, or those that split from the "True Church".[4]

See Also


  1. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Eastern_Catholic_Churches
  2. http://www.catholic.com/tracts/celibacy-and-the-priesthood
  3. http://unavoce.org/uva-archive/syro-malabar-rite
  4. http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/uniate_tragedy.aspx

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