Latin and Eastern churches
In the first thousand years of Catholic history, different varieties of Christianity developed in the Western and Eastern Christian areas of Europe. Though most Eastern-tradition churches are no longer in communion with the Catholic Church after the Great Schism of 1054, autonomous particular churches of both traditions currently participate, also known as "churches sui iuris" (Latin: "of one's own right"). The largest and most well known is the Latin Church, the only Western-tradition church, with more than 1 billion members worldwide. Relatively small in terms of adherents compared to the Latin Church, are the 23 self-governing Eastern Catholic Churches with a combined membership of 17.3 million as of 2010.
The Latin Church is governed by the pope and diocesan bishops directly appointed by him. The pope exercises a direct patriarchal role over the Latin Church, which is considered to form the original and still major part of Western Christianity, a heritage of certain beliefs and customs originating in Europe and northwestern Africa, some of which are inherited by many Christian denominations that trace their origins to the Protestant Reformation.
The Eastern Catholic Churches follow the traditions and spirituality of Eastern Christianity and are churches that have always remained in full communion with the Catholic Church or who have chosen to re-enter full communion in the centuries following the East–West Schism and earlier divisions. These churches are communities of Catholic Christians whose forms of worship reflect distinct historical and cultural influences rather than differences in doctrine.
A church sui iuris is defined in the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches as a "group of Christian faithful united by a hierarchy" that is recognized by the pope in his capacity as the supreme authority on matters of doctrine within the church. The term is an innovation of the CCEO to denote the relative autonomy of the Eastern Catholic Churches, who remain in full communion with the pope, but have governance structures and liturgical traditions separate from that of the Latin Church. While the Latin Church's canons do not explicitly use the term, it is tacitly recognized as equivalent.
Some Eastern Catholic churches are governed by a patriarch who is elected by the synod of the bishops of that church, others are headed by a major archbishop, others are under a metropolitan, and others are organized as individual eparchies. Each church has authority over the particulars of its internal organization, liturgical rites, liturgical calendar and other aspects of its spirituality, subject only to the authority of the pope. The Roman Curia has a specific department, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, to maintain relations with them. The pope does not generally appoint bishops or clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches, deferring to their internal governance structures, but may intervene if he feels it necessary.
Alexandrian rites are liturgical rites employed by three Oriental Orthodox churches, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as by their Eastern Catholic counterparts of the Coptic Catholic Church, Eritrean Catholic Church, and Ethiopian Catholic Church.
The Alexandrian rite's Divine Liturgy contains elements from the liturgies of Saints Mark the Evangelist (who is traditionally regarded as the first bishop of Alexandria), Basil the Great, Cyril the Great, and Gregory Nazianzus. The Liturgy of Saint Cyril is a Coptic language translation from Greek of the Liturgy of Saint Mark.
The Alexandrian rites are sub-grouped into two rites: the Coptic Rite and the Ge'ez Rite.
The Armenian Rite (Armenian: Հայկական պատարագ, romanized: Haykakan Patarag) is an independent liturgy used by both the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic Churches.
The liturgy is patterned after the directives of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the first official head and patron saint of the Armenian Church. Churches of the Armenian rite have a curtain concealing the priest and the altar from the people during parts of the liturgy, an influence from early apostolic times.
The order of the Armenian celebration of the Eucharist or Mass is initially influenced by the Syriac and Cappadocian Christians, then (from the 5th century AD onwards) by Jerusalemites, then by Byzantines (from circa the 10th century) and lastly by the Latins. The Armenians are the only liturgical tradition using wine without added water. They also use unleavened bread for the Eucharist, which has been their historic practice.
Of all the Armenian language anaphoras the only one currently in use is the anaphora of Athanasius of Alexandria. It became the standard anaphora of the Armenian church before the end of the 10th century and is a translation of the Greek version. In research, it is often attributed to Gregory of Nazianzus, or to an older version of the Armenian anaphora of St. Basil or seen as a composite text.
The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or the Rite of Constantinople, identifies the wide range of cultural, liturgical, and canonical practices that developed in the Eastern Christian Church of Constantinople.
The canonical hours are very long and complicated, lasting about eight hours (longer during Great Lent) but are abridged outside of large monasteries. An iconostasis, a partition covered with icons, separates the area around the altar from the nave. The sign of the cross, accompanied by bowing, is made very frequently, e.g., more than a hundred times during the divine liturgy, and there is prominent veneration of icons, a general acceptance of the congregants freely moving within the church and interacting with each other, and distinctive traditions of liturgical chanting.
Some traditional practices are falling out of use in modern times in sundry churches and in the diaspora, e.g., the faithful standing during services, bowing and prostrating frequently, and priests, deacons, and monastics always wearing a cassock and other clerical garbs even in everyday life (monastics also sleep wearing a cassock) and not shaving or trimming their hair or beards.
In addition to numerous psalms read every day, the entire psalter is read each week, and twice each week during Great Lent, and there are daily readings of other scriptures; also many hymns have quotes from, and references to, the scriptures are woven into them. On the numerous fast days there is prescribed abstention from meat and dairy products, and on many fast days also from fish, wine, and the use of oil in cooking. Four fasting seasons are prescribed: Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast. In addition, throughout the year most Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as Mondays in monasteries, are fast days.
Neither "Greek" nor "Byzantine" is accepted as descriptors within the Eastern Orthodox Church itself, which does not identify its own, often divergent, forms of worship as a singular rite. Rather, the term "rite" was created to differentiate the practices of Greek Catholic Churches as a distinct liturgical rite within the wider Catholic Church. Despite the name "Greek Rite", it uses a variety of linguistic traditions, most prominently Slavonic, Romanian and Georgian, in regions where the Greek language has never been used liturgically (despite being historically associated with the Church of Constantinople).
The East Syriac Rite or East Syrian Rite, also called the Edessan Rite, Assyrian Rite, Persian Rite, Chaldean Rite, Nestorian Rite, Babylonian Rite or Syro-Oriental Rite, is an Eastern Christian liturgical rite that employs the Divine Liturgy of Saints Addai and Mari and the East Syriac dialect as its liturgical language. It is one of two main liturgical rites of Syriac Christianity, the other being the West Syriac Rite (Syro-Antiochene Rite).
The East Syriac Rite originated in Edessa, Mesopotamia, and was historically used in the Church of the East, the largest branch of Christianity which operated primarily east of the Roman Empire, with pockets of adherents as far as South India, Central and Inner Asia and strongest in the Sasanian (Persian) Empire. The Church of the East traces its origins to the 1st century when Saint Thomas the Apostle and his disciples, Saint Addai and Saint Mari, brought the faith to ancient Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq, the eastern parts of Syria, southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders. According to traditional accounts, Thomas the Apostle is believed to have travelled as far as the Malabar coast, the south-western coast of India.
The East Syriac rite remains in use in churches descended from the Church of the East, namely the Assyrian Church of the East of Iraq (including its archdiocese the Chaldean Syrian Church of India) and the Ancient Church of the East, as well as in the two Eastern Catholic churches, the Chaldean Catholic Church of Iraq and the Syro-Malabar Church of India, which are both now in full communion with the See of Rome. The words of Institution are missing in the original version of the Liturgy of Saints Addai and Mari. However, the Eastern Catholic churches have added the words of Institution in their version of the liturgy.
Although the ancient Church of the East and the Catholic Church split in 431 AD through the Council of Ephesus, in 1994 the Assyrian Church Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV and Pope John Paul II signed a common declaration in the Vatican. The Common Christological Declaration (1994) document asserted that the split that occurred due to the Council of Ephesus in 431 was "due in large part to misunderstandings," affirmed both that "Christ is true God and true man," recognized "each other as sister Churches" and vowed to resolve remaining differences. In 2001, the committee established from the 1994 dialogue drew up guidelines for mutual admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, overcoming all other issues
Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Catholic rites of public worship employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.
The Latin rites were for many centuries no less numerous than the liturgical rites of the Eastern autonomous particular churches. Their number is now much reduced. In the aftermath of the Council of Trent, in 1568 and 1570 Pope Pius V suppressed the breviaries and missals that could not be shown to have an antiquity of at least two centuries (see Tridentine Mass and Roman Missal). Many local rites that remained legitimate even after this decree were abandoned voluntarily, especially in the 19th century. In the second half of the 20th century, most of the religious orders that had a distinct liturgical rite chose to adopt in its place the Roman Rite as revised in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. A few such liturgical rites persist today for the celebration of Mass, from1965 to 1970 in revised forms, but the distinct liturgical rites for celebrating the other sacraments have been almost completely abandoned.
The Roman Rite is by far the most widely used. Like other liturgical rites, it developed over time, with newer forms replacing the older. It underwent many changes in the first millennium, during half of its existence (see Pre-Tridentine Mass). The forms that Pope Pius V, as requested by the Council of Trent, established in the 1560s and 1570s underwent repeated minor variations in the centuries immediately following. Each new typical edition (the edition to which other printings are to conform) of the Roman Missal and of the other liturgical books superseded the previous one.
The 20th century saw more profound changes. Pope Pius X radically rearranged the Psalter of the Breviary and altered the rubrics of the Mass. Pope Pius XII significantly revised the Holy Week ceremonies and certain other aspects of the Roman Missal in 1955.