About Eastern Rite Churches

The term is used for Catholic churches with origins in Eastern Europe, Asia or Africa which have their own distinctive liturgical and legal systems and are identified by the national or ethnic character of their region of origin.

Each Eastern Church is considered fully equal in dignity to the Latin tradition within the Catholic Church, although members of the Latin rite dominate numerically. Eastern Catholics enjoy the same dignity, rights and obligations as members of the Latin rite.

The Eastern churches often admit married men to the priesthood in their regions of origin but do not permit marriage after ordination. Outside their regions of origin, Eastern Catholic churches may not admit married men to ordained ministry without a dispensation from the Holy See. New bishops are ordinarily elected by a synod of the bishops of the church, subject to papal confirmation. Eastern Catholics worldwide number between 10 million and 11 million, according to Vatican figures.

General law for all Eastern Catholic churches is spelled out in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, promulgated in 1990.

According to the code, the Eastern Catholic churches, each with its own particular law, fall into four categories: those headed by patriarchs (Chaldean, Armenian, Coptic, Syrian, Maronite and Melkite churches); those headed by major archbishops (Ukrainian and Syro-Malabar churches); those headed by metropolitans (Ethiopian, Syro-Malakara, Romanian and American Ruthenian churches); and other churches “sui iuris” (Bulgarian, Greek, Hungarian, Italo-Albanian, and Slovak churches, as well as a diocese covering all of the former Yugoslavia). The Belarussion, Albanian, Georgian and Russian Eastern Catholic churches have no hierarchy.

These 22 churches trace their roots to five ritual families or groups. They are:

  • Alexandrian: Coptic and Ethiopian churches.
  • Antiochene: Syro-Malankara, Syrian and Maronite.
  • Armenian: Armenian Church.
  • Byzantine: Albanian, Belarussion, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian, Italo-Albanian, Melkit, Romanian, Russian, American Ruthenian, Slovak, Ukrainian and Yugoslavian churches.
  • Chaldean: Chaldean and Syro-Malabar churches.

In the United States, the following Eastern Catholic churches had their own church jurisdictions in 1999:

  • Armenian Catholics: Exarchate of the USA and Canada, based in New York.
  • Chaldean Catholics: Eparchy of St. Thomas in Southfield, Mich.
  • Maronite Catholics: Eparchy of St. Maron in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon in Los Angeles.
  • Melkite Catholics: Eparchy of Newton in Newton, Mass.
  • Romanian Catholics: Eparchy of St. George in Canton, Ohio.
  • Ruthenian Catholics (often referred to as American Byzantine): Archeparchy of Pittsburg, with eparchies of Passaic, N.J.; Parma, Ohio; and Van Nuys, Calif.
  • Syrian Catholics: Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance in Newark, N.J.
  • Ukrainian Catholics: Archeparchy of Philadelphia and eparchies of St. Nicholas in Chicago and Stamford, Conn., and St. Josaphat in Parma, Ohio.

Our Lady of Peace Syriac Catholic Church

5854 University Blvd. N.
Jacksonville, FL 32216-5733
(904) 551-4782


Rev. Talaat Yazji

Mass Schedule

Sunday: 11:00 a.m.

St Ephrem Syriac Catholic Church

4650 Kernan Blvd. South
Jacksonville, FL 32224
(904) 998-7800 or (904) 998-7801
Fax: (904) 998-7802
Email: stephremsyriacfl@yahoo.com
Website: www.stephremjax.com


Rev. Muntaser Haddad


Rev. Cesar Russo

Mass Schedule

Sunday: 11:00 a.m., 5:30 p.m. (English)

St. Maron Maronite Catholic Church

7032 Bowden Road
Jacksonville, FL 32216-5733
(904) 448-0203
Fax: (904) 448-8277


Rev. Elie Abi-Chedid


Rev. Elias Shami

Mass Schedule

Tuesday-Thursday: 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 11:00 a.m.
Sunday: 11:15 a.m.