An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Eastern Catholic Churches

Byzantine or Eastern Rite churches which retain their rites, canons, customs, and national language, but are in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. They include Albanian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Chaldean, Coptic, Ethiopian, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Italo-Albanian, Malabarese, Malankarese, Maronite, Melkite, Romanian, Russian, Ruthenian, Slovak, Syrian, Ukrainian, and Yugoslavian churches. The largest group is the Ukrainian. During the 1940s the Ukrainian and Romanian Catholic churches were officially suppressed under communism and forced into Orthodoxy. These Eastern Catholic churches continued underground until religious freedom was restored in the former Soviet bloc. The Ukrainian Church was legalized in 1989, and the Romanian Church was legalized in 1990. The Eastern Catholic churches have been called “Uniate” by the Orthodox, but this term is considered derogatory and not acknowledged by these churches. The issue of the Eastern Catholic churches has strained ecumenical relations between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church, especially in places such as Ukraine and Romania where the Orthodox are perceived to have collaborated with the communists in the persecution of these churches.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.