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Christian churches whose members follow the Eastern rites as a body. Historically they were the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem before the schism in the thirteenth century. They follow the ceremonies originally used by the Patriarch of Constantinople. The groups not in communion with Rome are called the separated Eastern Churches; the others are Catholic Churches of their respective Eastern rites.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.