Roman - Eastern - Byzantine?


Can someone explain to me what Eastern Catholics, Roman Catholics, and Byzantine Catholics practice that sets them apart from each other?



Hi Matt,

Eastern Catholics belong to a variety of Catholic Churches, each headed by a Patriarch, as the Latin Church is headed by a Patriarch (the Pope) who, in this case, happens to be both a Patriarch and the Head of All Catholics, including Eastern Catholics.

Byzantine Catholics are one of a group of Eastern Catholics.

All Catholics believe in the same truths. Where the Eastern Churches differ is mainly in two fields : the liturgy and canon law. They have their own ways and languages for celebrating mass and other liturgical functions. They also have a separate code of canon law.

One must not confuse Eastern Catholics with Eastern Orthodox Christians who do not accept the authority of the Holy Father. Most Eastern Catholic Churches were at one time part of the Eastern Orthodox community, and they have come back to the fold.

If you do a web search with “Eastern Catholics”, you will find many interesting sites.



And also how does Greek Orthodox compare?


Hi Matt,

“Greek Orthodox” are not part of the Catholic family. They belong to the community of Orthodox Christians, as explained. above. Their liturgical language is Byzantine Greek.



Lots of reading–but good stuff!



Essentially, there were some Eastern communities who were cut off from the Pope during the Great Schism who did not want to be. But due to the limited communication capacity at the time, they were unfortanately kept out of communion not by their own will. These Christians came back into communion with Rome and their rites re-established. Nothing separates us, we are all Catholics. We can go to communion in each others churches and do what they do. Basically, it is just the liturgy (Mass for us, Divine Liturgy for the Easterns) which is different, mainly due to cultural and language developments. There is no ‘Byzantine’ Catholic Church. The Byzantine Rite is a Rite which is used by many Eastern Catholic Churches. I think there are one or two Eastern churches which managed to stay in communion even throughout the whole schism, but I can’t remember which ones. The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is the largest of the Eastern churches. You may want to check out:

Oh, and if you happened to catch the pope’s requiem Mass, the patriarchs in the black robes and the long beards which were incensing and doing the Byzantine chants are our Eastern brethren. :wink:


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