Byzantine Catholic Churches
This Set includes various pictures of Byzantine Catholic (Eastern Catholic) Churches (of the Byzantine Rite) around the World that I have had the opportunity of visiting.

The Eastern Catholic Churches are autonomous (in Latin, sui iuris) particular Churches in full communion with the Bishop of Rome — the Pope. They preserve the liturgical, theological and devotional traditions of the various Eastern Christian Churches with which they are associated, and between which doctrinal differences exist, in particular between the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy and the Assyrian Church of the East. Eastern Catholics recognize that their faith is not at variance with that of other Eastern Christians and of Latin Catholics, whom they see as equal members of the same Catholic Church. In particular, they recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops. They hold distinct forms (different both from the Latin forms and from those of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches) of liturgical worship, sacramental[1] and canonical discipline, terminology, traditional prayers and practices of piety. They preserve the special emphases and illuminations that Eastern Christianity has developed over the centuries, some of which Pope John Paul II illustrated in his apostolic letter Orientale Lumen of 2 May 1995.

Most Eastern Catholic Churches have counterparts in other Eastern Churches, whether Assyrian or Oriental Orthodox, from whom they are separated by a number of theological concerns, or the Eastern Orthodox Churches, from whom they are separated primarily by differences in understanding of the role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops.

The Eastern Catholic Churches were located historically in Eastern Europe, the Asian Middle East, Northern Africa and India, but are now, because of migration, found also in Western Europe, the Americas and Oceania to the extent of forming full-scale ecclesiastical structures such as eparchies, alongside the Latin dioceses. One country, Eritrea, has only an Eastern Catholic hierarchy, with no Latin structure.

The terms Byzantine Catholics and Greek Catholic are used of those who belong to Churches that use the Byzantine liturgical rite. The terms Oriental Catholic and Eastern Catholic include these, but are broader, since they also cover Catholics who follow the Alexandrian, Antiochian, Armenian and Chaldean liturgical traditions.

The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite, is the liturgical rite used currently (in various languages) by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches and by the Greek-Catholic Churches (Eastern Catholic Churches which use the Byzantine Rite). The rite developed in the city of Constantinople (now Istanbul), which had earlier been called Byzantium. It is the second largest liturgical rite in Christendom, second in world-wide usage only to the Roman Rite.

The Rite consists of the Divine Liturgies, Canonical Hours, forms for the administration of Sacred Mysteries (sacraments) and the numerous prayers, blessings, and exorcisms, developed in the Church of Constantinople. Also involved are the specifics of architecture, icons, liturgical music, vestments and traditions which have evolved over the centuries in the practice of this Rite.

Some characteristics which distinguish the Constantinopolitan Rite from the Roman Rite are the use of leavened bread for the Eucharist (see azymes), a married priesthood in the parishes (see clerical celibacy), a prominent role for the deacon in the services, and a continuing emphasis on monasticism. Unlike most Western churches, the majority of Eastern Christian services are chanted rather than recited. Traditionally, the congregation stands throughout the whole service, and an iconostasis separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church. The faithful are very active in their worship, making frequent bows and prostrations, and feeling free to move about the temple (church building) during the services.

Scripture plays a large role in Byzantine worship, with not only daily readings but also many quotes from the Bible throughout the services. The entire Psalter is chanted each week, and twice weekly during Great Lent.

Fasting laws are stricter than in the West. On fast days, the faithful give up not only meat, but also dairy products, and on many fast days they also give up fish, wine and the use of oil in cooking. The Rite of Constantinople observes four fasting seasons: Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast. In addition, most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year are fast days. Many monasteries also observe Monday as a fast day.
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