Latin: ritus

  • Any one religious function, e.g., the rite of Baptism.
  • A group of such functions, e.g., the last rites (Extreme Unction, Viaticum, etc.).
  • The whole collection of services used in the public worship of any church or group of churches, e.g., the Roman Rite.

In this sense the term is often used as equivalent to Liturgy. The essentials of worship laid down by Christ form the foundation of every rite. The different prayers, actions, and customs used in the amplification of the fundamentals, distinguish the rites. Provided there be unity of faith, diversity of rite matters not at all. The four parent rites and those derived from them are

  • I – Antiochene
    • Pure Antiochene
    • Rite of Saint James (Greek, Syriac, and Maronite)
    • Chaldean
      • Malabar
      • Nestorian
    • Byzantine
    • Armenian
  • II – Alexandrine
    • Greek, Saint Mark
    • Coptic (Saint Cyril, Saint Gregory, Saint Basil)
    • Ethiopic
  • III – Roman
    • Original Roman
    • African
    • Roman with Gallican additions
  • IV – Gallican
    • Ambrosian
    • Mozarabic
    • Celtic

In addition, some religious orders have their own rites, e.g., the Benedictine, Carmelite, Cistercian, Dominican, Franciscan (Friars Minor and Capuchin), Premonstratensian, Servite.