Melchites


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Melchites

or

Melkites

(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.
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 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.
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), the Melchite community has its own hierarchy under the pope and its own rite.

Bibliography

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