(redirected from Melchite)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.




(both: mĕl`kīts), members of a Christian community in the Levant and the Americas, mainly Arabic-speaking and numbering about 250,000. They are in communion with the pope and have a Byzantine rite much like that of Constantinople but in the Arabic language. Their head, under the pope, is called patriarch of Antioch; he lives in Damascus or Egypt. The name Melchites (which derives from the Syriac word for "king") was first applied to all who followed the emperor Marcian in accepting the Council of Chalcedon (451) and came back into use in the 18th cent. to designate that segment of the Orthodox Eastern Church that reunited with Rome; it is now, however, also sometimes applied to the Orthodox of Syria and Egypt. Like the MaronitesMaronites
, Lebanese Christian community, in communion with the pope. By emigration they have spread to Cyprus, Palestine, Egypt, South America, and the United States and now number about one million.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the Syrian Catholics (see Jacobite ChurchJacobite Church
, officially Syrian Orthodox Church, Christian church of Syria, Iraq, and India, recognizing the Syrian Orthodox patriarch of Antioch as its spiritual head, regarded by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as heretical. It was founded (6th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
), the Melchite community has its own hierarchy under the pope and its own rite.


See D. Attwater, The Christian Churches of the East, Vol. I (1947).

References in periodicals archive ?
When the Melchite patriarchal see at Antioch fell vacant at the beginning of the 7th century, they elected their own patriarch, John Maron, who became the true founding father of the Maronite community.
Arab Christian tradition, as well as several Muslim historiographers and polemicists, make reference to Nestorians, Melchites and Jacobites.
In comparison, the Melchites have not suffered the same tragic events as the Assyrians in their recent history.
Chalcedonians, later called Orthodox, the Melchites were divided into three patriarchates: Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.
The Melchites adapted to the new situation in spite of some suspicion because of their earlier or still existing ties with Byzantium.
But, in spite of their opposition to the crusades, the Melchites suffered from the consequences of the Mamelukes' reaction.
The Ottoman conquest attached the Melchites strongly to the Greek church.
The Orthodox Roums - formerly the Melchites - are scattered principally in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.