Can someone help explain this Rites chart to me?


Particularly the Constantinople section. Are those ALL individual rites? Or are they just different language expressions of the Byzantine Rite?

Whatever the case, what would differentiate them? Language or origin?



The outer ring shows the 24 distinct rites of the Catholic church. The inner rings show the origin.


That’s a rather confused wheel and does not make the proper distinction between rites and churches.

The inner circle should be divided into major families: Latin, Byzantine, Antiochene, Armenian, Alexandrian.

The top of the Antiochene wedge should be subdivided into its rites: West Syrian, East Syrian (alternatively, Syriac and Chaldean).

The top of the Alexandrian should be subdivided: Coptic and Ethiopian.

The top of the Latin wedge should be subdivided into its constituent Latin rites: Roman, Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Bragan, Gallican, Carmelite, Dominican, etc.

Then an outer ring should be placed, listing the churches that use these rites. The (outer) Latin “wedge” should cover the entirety of the Latin (inner) ritual family, including its subdivisions (in the Eastern churches, especially the Byzantine, a single rite (e.g. Byzantine) is used across multiple churches. In the Latin, the single church uses multiple rites).

The outer ring above Byzantine should list the churches that use this rite: Ukrainian, Greek, Russian, Ruthenian, Melkite, etc.

Above the West Syriac wedge should go Maronite and Syro-Malankara

Above East Syriac should go Chaldean and Syro-Malabar

Above Armenian should go Armenian.

Above Coptic should go Coptic.

Above Ethiopian should go Ethiopian and Eritrean.


The Constantinopolitan section largely reflects the different autocephalous churches from which the Catholic rites developed. Not entirely, the italo-albamiam catholic church was formed among refugees from albania in southern italy, chased out by Turks. The Yugoslav is probably mostly the Serbian Ortodox. (How old is this chart?)


I have kept this article bookmarked for years now:


So, would someone knowledgeable like to “fix” the pie chart in Photoshop or Powerpoint, so it is more accurate, and share?


Too much effort to draw a wheel. A chart, however:

After putting pen to paper, so to speak, I refined my definitions a bit, notably, splitting out the East and West Syriac. Arguably, East Syriac is distinct from West Syriac, and is not deemed Antiochene, but its own family.


The Constantinople section refers to different communities which celebrate the Byzantine rite.


That’s a very informative chart! Thanks for figuring it out and posting it.


@Vico made this hand-dandy flow chart some time ago. It’s the most accurate one out there:

Also, as for the OP’s question regarding the Byzantines:

There are 14 particular or sui iuris Churhces within the Byzantine Rite. So as someone mentioned above, it’s actually not accurate to say there are 24 “rites”. It would be more proper to call these the 24 Churches sui iuris of the Catholic Church. There are only six rites, as seen above. A little explanation from the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 1:

“Canon 27 - A group of Christian faithful united by a hierarchy according to the norm of law which the supreme authority of the Church expressly or tacitly recognizes as sui iuris is called in this Code a Church sui iuris.

“Canon 28 - A rite is the liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary patrimony, culture and circumstances of history of a distinct people, by which its own manner of living the faith is manifested in each Church sui iuris.”

To simplify, the Catholic Church is divided into six distinct rites, and within those six rites, there are 24 distinct and autonomous Churches. Of course, the Alexandrian Rite can be further subdivided into the Ge’ez Rite which contains both the Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholic Churches. All this can get confusing, for sure, but I think this just shows how truly awesome and universal our Catholic faith is!


I bookmarked this thread…that chart is awesome. :+1:


Remember that there is a difference between rites and churches. There are 24 particular CHURCHES that make up the Catholic Church and 6 RITES (1 in the west and 5 in the east). A Church is a community of believers, Melkite Greek Catholic Church for example. A rite is the way in which the particular Church expresses their faith (liturgically, theology, monastic life, etc.). So, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church is a Church sui juris and they belong to the Byzantine rite.



There are way more than 6 rites. Within the Latin church alone, we have multiple rites and they are already more than 6. The more accurate number is 13. There is a distinction, for example, between the Roman Rite and the Ambrosian Rite. The Ambrosian is a Rite in and of itself, and is not a Use, as is, for example, the Ordinariate’s Divine Worship, which is a Use of the Roman Rite.

What there are 6 of are ritual families: groupings of rites that have a common heritage. Some might even argue 5 if the East Syrian family were grouped with the West Syrian under the Antiochene family.


Well… yes and no. Essentially there are six rites, or as your earlier chart put it, 6 ritual families. The Eastern Code of Canon Law doesn’t make a distinction of ritual families, but of rites. While the 5 Eastern Rites contain many particular Churches within it, the Latin Rite is unique as this is flip flopped.

The one particular Latin Catholic Church contains many different rites, like the Ambrosian and Mozarabic. At this point, I do think it’s mere semantics. To simplify, I think it’s safe to say that there are 6 rites in the Catholic Church, with a foot note for the Latin Rite.


When it comes to Eastern churches re-uniting with Rome, does this usually involve a bishop, as head of a group of Christians, re-entering communion with Rome? Or is the situation usually a group of lay people and priests?


Usually there is a bishop with community. There is some history here:


@Vico Ohhhhh that book itself looks interesting. Does in go into depth about Eastern Christianity? About how many pages is it?


I have it, and it is 240 pages. Most of it is on the web pages.


If you look at the bottom left corner, it says: UNION OF BREST (POLAND). Not quite. The Polish hierarchy was against the Union of the Ukrainians with Rome. (Technically, Ukraine had schism imposed on it. We never officially broke with Rome but the various rulers of Ukraine imposed schism on the people. Religio rex est religio populo.


This is phenomenal!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit