The Byzantine Catholic Tradition

The Byzantine Rite encompasses the liturgical and theological traditions of the Church of Constantinople. In the broadest sense, Byzantine Catholic refers to those self-governing (sui iuris) Churches of the Byzantine Rite which are in full communion with the Church of Rome. Virtually all Eastern Orthodox Churches are of the the Byzantine tradition.

For centuries “Old Rome” and Constantinople or “New Rome” were in communion. The Great Schism between Rome and Constantinople (New Rome) in 1054 initiated the split that exists to today. In practice, the rupture occurred over several centuries, and the details are complex. At various points in history, segments of the various Eastern Orthodox Churches reestablished communion with the Church of Rome while retaining their unique theological, liturgical and ecclesiastical traditions, and, These became the Byzantine Catholic Churches.

The reestablishment of communion has not been without complications. However the Byzantine Catholic Churches are called to remain faithful to their tradition: In essence to be “Orthodox in communion with Rome” as we continue to pray  in the Divine Liturgy  “for the stability of the holy Churches of God and for the union of all.”