Doctrinal Differences Between Romans & Melkites?


Apart from liturgy, what are the chief divergences in doctrine between the Melkite Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church? This inquiry seeks both formalized divergences and informal divergences.

The more candid and particularized the answer, the more it will be appreciated.

Thank you and may the peace of Christ be with you.


The more you look into it, the more you will realize that there are no clear answers to be found. It’s really difficult to define what Melkites believe to the level of detail that you would like. They are not a monolithic group, and getting a handle on them is really difficult because individual Melkites will say contradictory things.

The worst place to look is on the internet, especially forums like this. You’ll just get a bunch of meaningless propaganda from all sides, mostly tinged by politics. Stick with scholarly literature. And good luck, because it will take a lot of work and study to figure them out. This subject is a tough nut to crack.


I was given advice by a holy Orthodox priest that to know the Church is to spend an entire liturgical year there. In addition to one on one catechesis and reading material hopefully recommended by the priest. You have to experience the ebb and flow of life in the church, baptisms, funerals, etc. Ask questions there, keep a spirit of humble teachability.


This will be helpful, from the Eparchy of Newton webpage.



The Melkite Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church are in full communion with each other.


What constitutes “full communion”?


The Roman Church and the Melkite Catholic Church are both particular churches within the one Catholic Church. Their clergy can licitly concelebrate the Eucharist with one another. Melkites may receive communion in the Roman Church, and members of the Roman Church may receive communion in the Melkite Church.


Are Melkites bound to the same dogma as Roman Catholics?


All 24 of the particular Churches that make up the Catholic Church hold the same beliefs. There are varieties of emphasis, as well as in theological methodologies/approaches. However, the beliefs are the same.


Respectfully, brother, if the Melkite Eparchy of Newton’s website is correct, I do not see how this is true. .

It states, for example, that there have been only seven Ecumenical Councils and that the “Vatican council” was not ecumenical. This view renders as non-binding papal pronouncements outside those ecumenical councils - and, by consequence, the Catechism of the Catholic Church - along with other dogmatic statements that are central one’s regular life as a Roman Catholic, such as Humanae Vitae and Lumen Gentium - Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Conversely, Lumen Gentium requires of Roman Catholics obsequium religiosum (Latin for “religious submission”) of will and intellect to these same teachings of the Magisterium.

(See,, stating, for example, “religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra.”)

It thus appears incorrect to say that Melkites and Roman Catholics are bound by the same articles of faith. Frankly, it appears the Melkites believe with the Eastern Orthodox, save for praying for the Pope in the Divine Liturgy and maintaining the canonical validation of the Holy Father.

I have no doubt that we are in full communion canonically - with members of each particular Church eligible to commune in the other. But that we maintain full communion of belief appears a dubious proposition at best if we do not agree on a question as fundamental as that of authority. I mean, the question of the Church’s exercise of Magisterial authority is at the very core of Catholic religion.

I desire full communion and unity just like every loyal son and daughter of the Church, so please correct me if I’m mistaken (preferably, with due authority). But I want the truth.

“In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.” That is, in essentials, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity. - St. Augustine.




We as Eastern Catholics have been told by recent Popes that we are to hold on to our ancient traditions. We are not Roman Catholics with a different Mass. We are our own Church, one of 24, that makes up the Catholic Church. The last few Popes have spoken of Councils after the first 7 Councils as general Roman Councils and not Ecumenical.

I suggest you read what the Church has to say about the Eastern Catholic Churches:
Orientalium Dignitas On the Churches of the East by Pope Leo XIII November 30, 1894
Saint Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen



Their reason for stating that councils subsequent to the Third Council of Nicea are not ecumenical is the lack of participation of the Orthodox. That is not the same as saying that they are not authoritative. Also, I believe that the Melkite bishops who participated in Church councils that have taken place since the Melkite reunion have “signed off” onto those councils, indicating their assent.


In no way at all have I meant to raise the spectre of whether the Melkites must abandon ancient traditions - if by traditions we mean liturgy, private devotions, etc.

@ziapueblo, perhaps you could synthesize from these docs the portions addressing universally binding articles of faith, i.e., the beliefs binding Latin and Eastern Catholics. If not, I understand.

I desire to know whether we are bound by the same deposit of faith - and, in particular I suppose, the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Pope Saint John Paul II.


Are you suggesting putting aside those documents and asking all Eastern Catholics to somehow validate their status? We don’t follow that catechism, btw, we also have a separate Canon Law.


@RyanBlack, thanks.

Which councils are we talking about? And by “indicating their assent” do you mean that Roman Catholics and Melkite Catholics are bound to religious submission of the same dogma?


@Casilda, thank you for the candid response. Interesting, what makes you say that the Melkites don’t follow that catechism?

And btw, I certainly do not suggest that anyone sets aside those documents.


The Melkite Catholic Church came into union in 1724, so I’m referring to Vatican I and Vatican II.


We have our own catechisms.


From the Eastern Code of Canon Law:

Canon 597 - §1. The Roman Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority if, as
supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful who is to confirm his fellow believers in the faith,
he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.
§2. The college of bishops also possesses infallible teaching authority if the bishops, gathered in an
ecumenical council, exercise their teaching authority, and, as teachers and judges of faith and morals for
the universal Church, declare that a doctrine of faith or morals must be definitively held; they also
exercise it scattered throughout the world but united in a bond of communion among themselves and with
the successor of Peter when together with that same Roman Pontiff in their capacity as authentic
teachers of faith and morals they agree on an opinion to be held as definitive.
§3. No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless it is clearly established as such.


Thank you all,

God bless you and may the peace of Christ be with you.

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