Eastern Rite

Ukrainian Catholic Rite

There are twenty-two distinct Churches that form the Catholic Church: the Western (Latin) Church and the Eastern Churches of which there are twenty-one.    There are over 17 million Catholics that are members of an Eastern Church. Some of  the well known ones include the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Maronite Catholic Church, the Melkite Catholic Church, and the Coptic Catholic Church.

Below is an article from a US publication from a few years ago which provides some insite:

Western Christianity uses Latin as the predominant church language and traces their cultural development to Rome, while Eastern Christianity uses Greek as the predominant church language and traces their cultural development to Constantinople. (This does not mean it’s the “everyday” language currently used by its parishioners, as many western Churches use languages such as English, Spanish, Italian, Polish, German, Korean, etc., and many eastern churches use languages use Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, Armenian, etc.,  ) What it essentially means is that both types of Christianity were originally dependent on, and developed from those languages.In Western Christianity, sacraments such as Confirmation and Holy Communion are seen as “coming of age” ceremonies, whereas in many Eastern churches, sacraments are grace for all full members of the church, and administered to infants after baptism.

Western Christianity has religious traditions such as Stations of the Cross and Ash Wednesday that never developed in eastern Christianity (this does not mean they “reject” them, but simply that it’s not part of their culture), whereas Eastern Christians likewise have religious traditions like the Sunday of Orthodoxy and Blessing of Waters at Theophany, which never developed in Western Christianity.

Western Christianity makes frequent use of realistic statues and contemporary artwork in their churches and worship service, letting individual artists show the glory of God through their creativity, whereas eastern Christianity makes frequent use of icons (an ancient style of religious paintings) and vibrant colors, focusing on the idea that the artwork expresses the public teaching of the church, and has a shared ownership. Icons are also flat and unrealistic, showcasing the venerable holiness of the saints and prophets.    Western Christianity focuses on clear, direct communication with spoken bible readings, whereas Eastern Christianity focuses on  the subconscious and eschatology, usually by chanting bible readings.

Western Christianity focuses on the atonement through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and both Roman Catholics and Protestants often meditate on Jesus’ suffering for our sins. Eastern Christianity focuses on the incarnation, and the fact Jesus willing gave himself up to be crucified.

Western Christianity focuses on sacraments as it relates to the atoning nature of Christ, whereas the East focuses on sacraments as they lead towards the divinization of all humanity.

In Western Christianity, the Church is often at odds with the secular society and has, at times, been both religious and secular head of society. In Eastern Christianity, the Church typically maintains a separate but close and mutually dependent relationship with the secular government of their respective nations

Western Christianity has evolved its theological development over the centuries and often adds new prayers or customs, whereas Eastern Christianity is very conservative and maintains the basic theology found from the earliest centuries of the Church. For example, the Roman Catholic mass has gone through multiple divisions in recent years, whereas the present-day Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy is almost identical to the guidelines established for it in the 8th century.

Western Christianity is seen as too legalistic by eastern Christianity, and replies much on intellectual speculation and formal wording for doctrines. On the other hand, Eastern Christianity is seen as too mystical by the western world, and relies much on spiritual practices.

Western Church buildings tend to have large steeples and majestic ceilings, focusing on reaching towards the heavens. Eastern Church buildings tend to have big gold or silver domes and bright colors, focusing on the fact that God has been with us through the centuries and is watching over us.

Western Christianity tends to express itself outward, as both Roman Catholics and protestants are very vocally seen in American culture and outspoken about their beliefs, whereas Eastern Christianity tends to express itself inward.

In Western Christianity, the minister usually faces towards the people from the altar, empathizing that all are invited to gather around the Lord’s Table here and now. In Eastern Christianity, the minister faces towards the altar along with the people, focusing on the fact that everyone is facing God and headed towards His Kingdom.BothWestern and Eastern Christianity believe in the trinity, that God is one being but three persons. Western Christianity tends to focus on the aspect of one God, whereas Eastern Christianity tends to focus on the three persons.Both Western and Eastern Christianity believe Jesus was both fully human and fully divine

Western Christianity tends to focus on identifying with Jesus through his humanity, whereas Eastern Christianity tends to focus on identifying with Jesus through his divinity.Western Christianity sees a Sunday Mass and the liturgy as a way to tune the mind towards God and connect people directly to God, by having them focus on a simple but elegant liturgy, clear messages and use of reason, whereas Eastern

Christianity sees the liturgy to an art form – with all five senses being involved in the service – sight (icons), smells (incense), sound (constant music), touching (relics like the cross), and tasting (the bread and wine). All this is intended to foster a deep spiritual elevation in the worshiper.





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