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(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.


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

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References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Following the example of the two other Christian families, the historical name of the community (Melchites) was dropped by the majority, those faithful to a Christian East disunited with the Christian West and who called themselves Orthodox Roums - or, according to a somewhat inappropriate translation - Greek Orthodox.
Chalcedonians, later called Orthodox, the Melchites were divided into three patriarchates: Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.
But both the ecclesiastical and political dynamics led to a many-faceted byzantinization of the Melchites. Before long their progress was checked, on more han one front, by the Arab-Muslim conquest, beginning with their separation from the other Roums, according to the Arab designation of Byzantines.
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 main part of the book is an exemplification and categorization of translation techniques as they occur in the idiomatic "Coptic" version; the Melchite version, following closely the Peshitta text, has not much to offer in this respect.