Eastern Rite Disciplines


Do those in Eastern Catholics Rites receive Eucharist standing or kneeling? I guess specifically Marionite and Byzantine.

Communion on the tongue or in the hand?

Is the liturgy the vernacular or in a sacred language?

Do they chant?

Is there low mass and high mass?

Are there altar servers?

Is there a good video and which rite should I watch?

Just curious. Totally uninformed person here.

Point me existing posts if needed. Thanks.



Byzantine - directly into the open mouth by means of a small spoon. (Some traditions do this differently, but never in the hand.)

Usually the vernacular.

Yes. The Byzantine Liturgy is entirely chanted.



This is a pretty good one for the Byzantine Rite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIJlEub5YFE


I’m not as familiar with the Maronites. I’ve only been to one Maronite liturgy, but it was chanted in a combination of English, Arabic, and Aramaic. Communion was by intinction, on the tongue. There were altar servers.


Byzantine Catholics receive Holy Communion under both Species. The priest or deacon places the Holy Eucharist in the mouth of the communicant with a golden spoon. Maronites receive standing and under both Species as well.

The Maronite Qorbono (Liturgy) is either in English or a combination of English, Arabic and/or Aramaic (the language Our Lord spoke spoke when He was on earth).


My Byzantine cousin was married in a Maronite Catholic Church. :blush:


Kneeling?? On a Sunday??? That has been banned since Nice!

Of course byzantines receive standing, the position of respect, rather than kneeling, the position of repentance!

(I can’t speak for the Maronites).

How in the world could we receive in the hand? That would be messy and disrespectful. We’ve had the Eucharist dropped into our mouthes by spoon since the fourth century . . .

Of course sacred matters are conducted in the language we understand, as it has always been. Are you suggesting that there are those that do otherwise? ??? The work of the people in a language they don’t speak?

How else would we sing the liturgy. An odd question, indeed . . .

What is this “mass” of which you speak?

err, what else would subdeacons do at liturgy". Although they’re hard to find these days, and usually other men that could be ordained as such have to fill in, occasionally equipped by boys . . .


Yikes! I’m Roman Rite. How could I know about any of it? That’s why I asked. Please don’t pretend I’m stupid!!


I do not think the OP deserved a sarcastic answer or one that implies stupidity on their part. It seems to me a very genuine question. You will find many in the Latin Catholic Church do not know of the existence of the Eastern Catholic churches let alone anything about their praxis.


Hi Berniemcken,

I’ll answer each point one-by-one from the Maronite perspective:

  1. We receive the Eucharist standing. As Doc pointed out, kneeling on a Sunday was actually forbidden by the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. But even if that were not the case, standing is the sign of respect and reverence in the East. Unlike in the West where it was customary to kneel before the king, in the East respect was shown by standing.

  2. Since the Maronites give Communion by intinction (as do the Byzantines) it is given directly on the tongue.

  3. The East doesn’t really have a concept of “sacred language.” That being said, Syriac is the traditional/historical language of the Maronite Church, and parts of our Liturgy/Qurbono are supposed to always be said in Syriac. But the majority of the Liturgy will be in the vernacular. In the “diaspora” it’s not uncommon for a good portion of the Liturgy to be in Arabic, plus the native language of the land. So, for example, in my own parish the bulk of the Liturgy is in English, but portions are in Arabic, and then the required Syriac portions are maintained. So we actually celebrate Liturgy in three languages!

  4. The bulk of the Maronite Liturgy is typically chanted, although portions are recited. There is an admittedly slow effort to return the Maronite Church to a fully chanted Liturgy, as is our tradition.

  5. There is no such thing as “low” and “high” Liturgy in the East anymore (there was in certain areas at one point in history, but this was a severe latinization that was eventually rejected as not consistent with our tradition). In the East, Liturgy is Liturgy and that’s that.

  6. Altar servers are typically referred to as “acolytes” and traditionally would’ve consisted of ordained sub-deacons. Today the practice is pretty much the equivalent to the Roman altar server practice.

  7. There are lots of videos on YouTube of the various Eastern rites being celebrated. But the best thing you can do is actually go to a Byzantine and/or Maronite parish and experience our Liturgies first-hand.

I hope that’s helpful!


Thanks for your interest in the Eastern Churches. I think that it is important for Catholics of the Latin rite to become aware of the diversity in Liturgy, theology, spirituality, etc. We love visitors in our parishes so please attend Divine Liturgy if there is an Eastern Catholic Church near you.

Others in this thread have answered your questions excellently!

To @dochawk defense, there can be times when we as Eastern Catholics are “baited”, if you will, with answering simple questions to then in a matter of moments we are having to defend our Catholicity. He’s very knowledgeable and someone whom we can all learn from.



So helpful! In searching for reverence and beauty in the Roman Rite, it’s interesting to see other disciplines within Catholicism. So thank you!


Oh no, we are very rural. I would love very much to attend an Eastern Liturgy and take my children but we don’t have any close.

Yes I could maybe understand that! I definitely was only asking out of my own ignorance.

Thank you.


Where are you if I may ask?



East TX. Diocese of Tyler, Texas.


AFAIK, the Melkites are the only byzantines to use intinction; the remainder drop the Eucharist by spoon, going back to the fourth century.

Thank you. It was tongue in cheek, not sarcasm, and intended as humor, not to belittle.

It looks like three parishes and missions in east Texas:


I figured :joy:


Unfortunately still super far away from me. Thanks though. Thanks for all the help!


(Sarcasm on)

As I’ve always said, the Eastern Catholic Churches are the best kept secret in the Catholic Church.

(Sarcasm off)

This is why everyone needs to read Orientalium Ecclesiarium.


How does one read Arabic/Aramaic/Syriac?


Right to left. . :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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