When did Eastern Catholicism happen

How and when did the Eastern Catholic Churches come back to Rome of did they never leave? For those that did return to Rome what was the reasoning at the time and where there any ramifications for leaving the Orthodox? How where/are they treated?

Some Eastern Catholic Churches were always in active communion with Rome.

Some never denied it, though the distances and conditions of history did not always make communication possible.

Some restored it.

Some returned to it.

However, until Vatican 2, there was a widespread attitude (on both sides) that the Eastern Churches were somehow inferior and the more they resembled the Roman Church in liturgical praxis and discipline, the more Catholic they were.

In other words, the policy was “to Latinize is to Catholicize.”

Eastern Catholic Churches have been working to return to their primitive and original practices.

Thanks. Is there any chance of getting some dates of when the ones that rejoined did?

Was it soon after the Schism or something that happened hundreds of years later? If later what triggered it?

The Maronites never left. The See of Antioch remained in full communion until around 1725 when a fraction did break communion with the Holy See ( I think about 30%). I’m not sure what triggered the break. Perhaps someone else can provide information on the other Sui Juris Churches of the East.

Fr. Roberson of CNEWA gives a very good overview on the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, on line.

A brief history of each Eastern Catholic Church is presented, including the date of reunion where applicable.

Click on any subject in the TOC provided at the right of the page:


Thank you for the link. It answers all my questions. :thumbsup:

I’d think that the Catholic Church started off as Eastern Rite, and the first Pope was an Eastern Rite bishop as well.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there was full Communion between Byzantine Antioch and Rome through to 1725, but Antioch certainly tended to have a less problematic relationship with Rome than many of the other Eastern Orthodox Sees. The big “split” of 1724-25 occurred because the Antiochian Bishops elected a Patriarch that was very pro-Rome and he sent a letter of Communion to the Pope of Rome upon election, and Constantinople reacted by appointing its own Patriarch of Antioch. The majority went with the elected Patriarch, and are called the Melkite Catholic Church today, while a minority went with the Greek-appointed Patriarch and became what’s known as the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

So far as I know the Melkite Church is the only one that has been reunited (and remained so) from the majority actions of a Patriarchal Synod, but I could be wrong.

Peace and God bless!

Thanks for the clarification. Sometimes I tend to oversimplify. Just to be sure that I understand, there was no formal break until around 1725 and, at that time, the majority remained in communion with the Holy See, is that correct.

Many years.

There was no formal break between the Antiochians of the two “sides”, but there had been formal breaks between Antioch and Rome, especially when Antioch was a “subsidiary” of Constantinople (which is how it aquired the Byzantine Liturgy, for example).

Antioch was always a bit of a moderate in the dispute between Rome and Constantinople, however. For example, when the 1054 incident occurred, the Patriarch of Antioch advised both sides to cool down and remember Catholic Charity in dealing with each other, and he opposed any schism at that time. Later the Patriarchate came under the domination of Constantinople, and followed Constantinople’s view, and after that it gained independence and began acting in its more neutral manner, while still maintaining Communion with Constantinople. It was during this period that strong relations were cultivated with Rome, eventually leading to the events of 1724-25 when the Antiochian Church split, with the majority becoming the Melkite Church, and the rest going back under Constantinople-appointed Bishops until about a century ago when they regained full independence.

Some people will say that a split never occured between Rome and the Melkite Church, but it’s more true that there simply wasn’t the kind of hardening of the split that you find with Constantinople. The schism was real, but it was oftentimes more of a technical issue than a Church-defining thing. When Antioch tried to rectify this by officially recognizing Rome, Constantinople reacted harshly and appointed its own Antiochian Patriarch (the Melkites never formally “split” from the Eastern Orthodox, but rather it went the other way around due to the Melkite recognition of Rome).

Peace and God bless!

Usually it is much more complicated than the exact date of this or that specific Union with Rome, such as the Union of Brest in 1596 which united much of the Kyivan Church with Rome. Each particular Church will have a unique history in this regard.

In the case of the UGCC, for centuries individual bishops and clergy had been pro-Union (at least since the 13th) within the Kyivan Metropolitanate.

I think the situation was:

The Patriarchate of Antioch sided with the East during the Great Schism of 1054 and, therefore, broke communion with Rome.

Leading to 1725, the Patirarchate was in turmoil because there arose a polarization between the pro-Rome/Catholic party based in Damascus (mainly as a result of missionary efforts by the Jesuits, the Capuchins, and Carmelites) and the pro-Constantinople/Orthodox party based in Aleppo.

Majority of the faithful went along with the pro-Rome /Catholic party after electing a pro-Catholic Patriarch and re-established communion with the Church of Rome. This is today known as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

The remainder remained with Constatninople and became what is now known as the Anthiochian Orthodox Church (or the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch).

Great Info, So technically, one of the Patriarchate is back in communion with the Catholic church…

does it mean that the orthodox responded by electing a rival?

Appointed a rival, actually. The elected Patriarch and most of the Bishops entered the Catholic Communion, and the Patriarchate of Constantinople stepped in and picked its own Patriarch of Antioch (not elected), a Greek monk.

That being said, the split between the two groups of Byzantine Antiochians is quite unfortunate, and not something that is at all celebrated or gloated about. It’s a painful and almost frivilous divide, especially since there is so much “mixed marriage” and unofficial cross-Communion between the two (a sizable portion of the regular parishoners at my Melkite parish are officially Antiochian Orthodox, for example; in fact, they’re often some of the most supportive and enthusiastic parishoners).

The Melkite Church, by and large, continues to view itself fundamentally as an “Orthodox Church in the Catholic Communion”, meaning it accepts the Catholic teachings, but doesn’t necessarily view itself as “cut off” from the Eastern Orthodox. Our Church still tries to play the moderate voice, as it has for centuries, and doesn’t view the two sides as being fundamentally incompatible at all. Obviously this view is at odds with the majority of Eastern Orthodox, but that’s why we’re the Melkite Catholic Church at this point in time. It’s a shame that the two “parties” of a single Church had to split, but that’s the way history has taken us, and hopefully it will take us back together again so we don’t have to play legal games (or simply charitably ignore the Canons) to Commune with eachother.

Some Catholics view this stance as threatening, as if the Melkite Church might break away at any point, but I like to think that it actually shows the commitment to Union that the Melkite Church has; if our views are so much in line with the Eastern Orthodox, but our Church remains Catholic, it is for a reason and not merely sentiment. :slight_smile:

Peace and God bless!

This is certainly not my area of expertise, so I appreciate any infor and/or correction to my statements.

From what I’ve read, there was always a “pro-union” element within the Russian Church since its inception with St. Vladimir, an element that always valued its unity with the See of Peter.


Which Eastern and Oriental Particular Church in union w/Rome are you referring to when you say ***“The Eastern Rite Church”***?


Marduk, you are quite correct. Remember that at the Baptism of St. Volodymyr (988) the sad events of 1054 had not yet occurred and there was indeed full communion.

Even after 1054 it seems the Kyivan Church did not take much stock in the events happening far away in Constantinople. There was always an idea that a dual communion was possible between both Rome and Constantinople, really since the time of the conversion of Rus’, and thus similar to the ideas of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.

You don’t start seeing polemic literature against Rome in any significant way until centuries later when the Muscovite and Polish-Lithuanian powers arise and divide Ukraine. Each then had their own respective divisive political agendas for which their respective Churches became agents of the secular powers. And each considered the Greek Catholics (and non-Muscovite Ukrainian Orthodox) to be a threat to the continuity of their own foreign domination of those two powers of the time.

But even then, as the Union itself shows, the desire for full communion was never quenched. Prince Danylo already in the late 13th century was in frequent contact with Rome. At one point he even offered to place all of his kingdom in communion with Rome even at that time.

And may East and West all be in full communion soon. We pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer.

Dearest Father Deacon Diak,

Thank you for putting it in perspective for me. I don’t have time to do the research right now, but IIRC, one of the pro-union hierarchs during the Council of Florence was from Russia(?).


P.S. Forgive me for not properly addressing you sometimes. I only very recently realized you were a Father Deacon.

Your use of the word “primitive” isn’t that appropriate. What’s so primitive about it? Maybe you should use “ancient” instead being their liturgy and practices haven’t changed as the Roman Rite has.

Your wording can be quite offensive!!!

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