Melkite Greek Catholic Church

The Melkite Greek Catholic Church (also: Byzantine Catholic Church in the Middle East ) is a Uniate with the Roman Catholic Church Eastern Catholic Church. In Lebanon, it is the third largest church.


The word Melkite comes from the Aramaic ( Syriac: ܡ ܠ ܟ ܝ ܐ ). It literally means " royal " in a broader sense, " Empire ..." or " State ..."; in certain contexts can be " imperial " meant in this sense. In Arabic, the word Malaki (Arabic: ملكي ) has the same meaning. It occurs in all Semitic languages ​​.

The term Melkite was originally pejorative used by the other Eastern Churches, after the Council of Chalcedon ( 451). The non- Chalcedonianer indicated that those who were supported by the Byzantine emperor. It is not known when the Melkites the term first used as a self-designation.

Historical distribution

The Melkites were generally Greek -speaking city citizens who lived in the west of the Levant and Egypt, while the non - Chalcedonian Syriac Orthodox and Copts lived longer in the country. The Melkite Church was divided into three historic patriarchates: Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, each under the Patriarch of Constantinople Opel. The non- Chalcedonianer have their patriarchates of Alexandria ( Coptic Church ) and Antioch ( Syriac Orthodox Church ) was established. The Nubian kingdom of Makuria (now in Sudan lying) practiced in contrast to the non- Chalcedonian neighbors the Melkite faith 575-1300 AD (See list of the bishops of Faras )


An important source for the period up to the early 10th century represents the historical work of Eutychios of Alexandria dar. In 1054, at the height of the Oriental schism, Patriarch Michael I excommunicated Cardinal Humbert of Silva Kerularius and Candida each other. In the following centuries, however, strengthened the cooperation of the Orthodox hierarchs with the Holy See. During the Second Council of Lyons and the Council of Florence, the Patriarch of Constantinople Opel a union was received by the Pope to free in the hope Konstantin Opel from the onslaught of Islam.

From 1342 Roman Catholic priests came to Damascus and other areas of the East. They began to proselytize, and some Orthodox priests secretly converted to Catholicism. At the time, the nature of the East-West Schism was undefined and most converts retained the Byzantine rite and remained in her church as a pro- Roman Catholic group. In 1724 Kyrillos VI was. Tanas, a pro - Catholic bishop, was elected Patriarch of Antioch. The Patriarch of Constantinople Opel Jeremais III. regarded this choice as a Catholic takeover attempt and nominated the Greek monk Sylvester instead of Patriarch Kyrillos.

The newly elected Pope Benedict XIII. recognized Kyrillos ' claim to the patriarchate and greeted him and the faithful in communion with Rome. From the time the Melkite Church was split into an Orthodox and a Catholic part, each of which was recognized by Constantine Opel and Rome. The Catholic part retained the name Melkite. In modern parlance, the term is used almost exclusively for Melkite Greek Catholic believers.

At the end of the 18th century there was between the cities of Aleppo and Damascus, clashes, which eventually led to a split of the Orthodox Melkites of rum Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. Well received in 1744 the Damascus -backed Patriarch Kirill by the Pope in Rome, the pallium as a sign of full communion. Since the Catholics but were always hampered by the Turkish authorities, the church held only in the mountains, and many followers emigrated to Palestine or Egypt from. The Catholic- Melkite Patriarch of Antioch was a result, in addition to the Melkite administrator of the jurisdiction areas of Jerusalem and Alexandria. In 1838, Jerusalem and Alexandria were collected to own Melkite Patriarch seats ( patriarchates ). The Melkite Church is divided into three large jurisdiction areas since then on, and the Melkite patriarch bears the title of three Patriarchalsitze ( Antioch and all the East, Jerusalem, Alexandria ). Since 1848 the Turkish government recognized as a separate Millet, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church joined in the 19th century on numerous Orthodox Arabs, as the Catholic Patriarch them less dependent on the government appeared as the Orthodox Patriarch.

Living with the Gregorian calendar celebrate the Catholic Melkites their Byzantine liturgy today in the Arabic language. The approximately 1,284,000 believers are under the Patriarch based in Damascus, organized into 26 dioceses and live in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, USA, Europe and Australia.

Head of the church is the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Gregorios III currently. Laham. Its headquarters is in Damascus, Syria, Lebanon his two residences are in Raboueh and Ain Traz.

At the Second Vatican Council played the Melkite Catholic episcopate, led by Patriarch Maximos IV, a prominent role as a representative of Eastern Christian traditions and their significance for the Catholic Church.


The Melkite Greek Catholic Church in 2010 counted about 1.6 million believers, the dioceses are located in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Jordan, Canada, Mexico, USA and Venezuela.

The majority of the dioceses located in Lebanon and in Syria with seven Eparch with four Eparch and the seat of the Patriarch in Damascus. In Iraq and Kuwait, the Melkite Church shall keep a Patriarchal Exarchate.

Communities in Western Europe

In Western Europe, there are some Melkite communities. For the Melkite Christians in Western Europe Archbishop Jean -Clément Jean Bart of Aleppo is in charge in Syria. He has used since 1999 to Apostolic Visitor for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Western Europe, there are the following communities in

  • Brussels together with the community in the Netherlands,
  • Paris and Marseille,
  • Rome Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and the Pontifical Greek College with the Church " Sant'Atanasio dei Greci ".
  • Valetta church " Our Lady of Damascus "
  • Stockholm, the church is the " Stockholm Katolska pin " connected,
  • London in the St. John Chrysostom parish together in the church of the Anglican Communion.

Religious communities and religious

There are four religious communities, each with a male and female branch:

  • Basilian of Aleppo (Latin: Ordo Basilianus Aleppensis Melkitarum, religious symbol: BA)
  • Basilian of St.. John the Baptist (Latin: Ordo Basilianus of John S. Baptistae, Soaritarum Melkitarum ( Order abbreviation BC )
  • Basilian the Most Holy Redeemer (Latin: Ordo Basilianus Sanctissimi Salvatoris Melkitarum, religious symbol: BS)
  • The Basilian
  • And the Melkite Paulist.

Patriarchal Order of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem is a lay order of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, which is guided by the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, as Grand Master. Since 1841 ( other sources say 1910 ) of the Order of St. Lazarus is already under the patronage of the Patriarch.

On September 22, 1990, the Patriarch took over the protectorate over the Christian ecumenical Templar Order Ordo Templi Militiae Christ Hierosolymitani ( OMCTH ) with the General Command in Cologne and spiritual headquarters in Jerusalem.