Byzantine Rite

Also known as

  • Rite of Constantinople


That used in the Church of Constantinople. It is the one most widely used after the Roman and has three forms. The oldest is the Liturgy of Saint James modified by Saint Basil the Great (died in 379) and named after him. Saint John Chrysostom (died in 407) modified Saint Basil‘s Liturgy. This, with later modifications, became the common Eucharistic service of Constantinople. It did not entirely displace Saint Basil‘s, but limited its use to a few days each year. The third form is the Liturgy of the Presanctified, the essence of which is the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament consecrated the preceding Sunday.

Followed by all Orthodox churches, by Melchites in Syria and Egypt, Balkan Uniats, Italo-Greeks in Calabria, Apulia, Sicily and Corsica, by over 100,000,000 Christians. It is of Antiochene origin. It employs the Greek, Arabic, Old Slavonian, and Rumanian languages, and follows the Julian Calendar (Old Style), the liturgical year beginning 1 September. There are four great fasts: of Christ’s Birth, 15 November to 25 December; of Easter, seven weeks before the feast; of the Apostles, first Sunday after Pentecost to 28 June; of the Mother of God, 14 days from 1 August. Instead of a Missal and Breviary, it has many service books, 20 in number. The liturgy followed is that of Saint Chrysostom but, except Palm Sunday, on all Sundays in Lent, Maundy Thursday and Holy Saturday, the Eves of Christmas and Epiphany, the Liturgy of Saint Basil is used.

MLA Citation

  • “Byzantine Rite”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 October 2010. Web. 16 May 2021. <>