Byzantine, Melkite, Maronite

There’s so many different types of eastern Catholicism. What’s the difference between these three (they’re in my state)? Just went to Byzantine and it was beautiful I wanted to check out some of the others :slight_smile:


Byzantine is a liturgical umbrella that embraces the Ruthenians (who often refer to themselves simply as “Byzantine”), Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, Melkites, Romanians, etc.

Maronites are from the Syriac tradition.

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Hopefully, someone will post the chart that shows them hierarchically . . .

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Do these help?

Back in a minute…

Were you thinking of this one?


Many things described in the Byzantine Rite can also be be present in the Latin Rite. The priest my celebrate ad orientem in the Roman Rite, even in the OF. The Roman Rite in both forms uses many things that are centuries old. I am not sure the chart truly shows the differences.

I posted another chart in reply to dochawk.

All three of the graphics you posted are excellent. I saved these. Thanks so much!

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I am hoping to attend a Maronite church tomorrow night. They are a shrine now as
a healing occured there. I have never been before.
I have been to a Byzantine once. We also have a Syro-Malabar church in our city.


Just as a heads-up; the Maronite tradition is very different from the Byzantine tradition (both on a liturgical and on a theological level). So go with an open mind. The first time I attended a Maronite Qurbono I felt a bit of culture shock after having attended a Melkite/Byzantine Liturgy for around five years. Now I can’t see myself anywhere else.

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Maronites - migrated from Antioch area to Mt. Lebanon and held to Council of Chalcedon of 451 A.D. Patriarchate of Antioch
Greek-Melkites - Byzantine under influence of Arab rulers. Held to Council of Chalcedon of 451 A.D. Patriarchate of Antioch


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Thank you. Is there anything I should know about receiving the Eucharist
or participating in the Mass? I believe it will be a Mass (is that what they call it
in the Maronite church?)



Thank you for the interesting info.

The Maronite church I’ve attended offers Communion in a manner similar to the Latin church. “Body of Christ. R. Amen.” Option to receive on the tongue or on the hand. The Maronite church is one of the more Latinized of the Eastern churches, and will still have a lot of Latin influence in its practices. However, the Liturgy is largely delatinized, and has now regained its Syriac character.

“Mass” is an acceptable term in the Maronite church, and the English portions of their bulletin call it Mass. The more precise, native term, however, is Qurbono.


In the Maronite tradition the “Mass” is referred to either as the “Divine Liturgy” or “Qurbono”, although thanks to Latinization many refer to our liturgy as the “Mass.”

You are free to receive the Eucharist so long as you are a baptized Catholic in a state of grace (so you should be fine! :smiley:). The Eucharist is given by intinction, making it impossible to receive in the hands. The priest or deacon will say, “The Body and Blood of Christ are given to you for the remission of sins and for eternal life.” You simply tilt your head back slightly, open your mouth, and stick out your tongue a bit. DO NOT say “Amen”, as the end result could be disastrous (i.e. Jesus’ Body and Blood missing your mouth and landing on the floor).

Final note, participation in the Maronite Qurbono will fulfill your “Sunday Obligation” as a Roman Catholic. No need to seek out a Roman Mass elsewhere. :grin::+1:


My Byzantine Catholic cousin was crowned (i.e. married) in a Maronite Catholic church. We got there late (just before the Consecration! :grimacing:). The pew book was in Arabic & English - I FINALLY figured out how to read it before Holy Communion :confounded:).

Best of all, the words of consecration were in Aramaic - the language Our Lord spoke on earth. So to hear the words of consecration in Aramaic was really awesome.

Yes, the pew books take a bit of getting used to. :laughing:

The liturgical language used by the Maronites is Syriac, which is a dialect of Aramaic. Whether or not it is the dialect that Jesus spoke is beyond me. My Syriac skills aren’t where they should be… :flushed:

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I think that’s the one I’m thinking of turned into a table . . . I’m thinking of one with lines forking as they go across the page . . .

Not merely “may”. Rather, he “may” face the people rather than East, but the rubrics are written with a presumption of ad orientum, and have multiple instructions to turn and face the people . . .


Thanks for the info @Phillip_Rolfes

I ended up not going to the Maronite church tonight. I was too tired. But they
have the healing Mass or Liturgy once a month.

I have never received on the tongue before.

I think in understanding the Eastern Catholic churches there are two things to bear in mind. The first is that each of them is a valid church in its own right, known in Latin Catholic canon law by the phrase sui iuris. The second thing to note about the Eastern Catholic churches is that each church belongs to a rite. There are 23 Eastern Catholic churches but between them they follow one of five rites. The rites determine such things as their theology, liturgy, prayer life, praxis, etc. So, for example you mention the Byzantines which is a rite whereas as the Melkites and Maronites are churches. The Melkites, in full Melkite Greek Catholic Church, is a Byzantine church and will be similar to other Byzantine Rite churches, e.g. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. They will be, however, different from the Maronites which follow the West Syriac Rite.

I think it best to go to each with an open mind and do not expect them to be the same.

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