207 Tompkins Street Syracuse, NY 13204

The Byzantine Rite

We are a Byzantine Rite Catholic Church

St. Pope John Paul, II said that the Catholic Church "breathes with two lungs". In the universal Catholic Church, there are both Western and Eastern Rites. These rites developed over time as the Christian faith was brought to various locations around the Mediterranean Sea, into Western, Northern, and Eastern Europe. The rites usually reflect the culture and tradition of the countries or areas in which they developed. However, the rites share the same Catholic faith and are in union with the Pope in Rome, Italy.

St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church is a member of the Byzantine Rite, which originated in Constantinople (Byzantium). The Ukrainian people were baptized into Christianity in the year 988, when Volodymyr the Great accepted the faith on behalf of himself and his people. The services and liturgies were strongly influenced by Greek and Byzantine church practices, and continue those traditions to this day.

St. John's is a parish of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of Stamford under the leadership of Bishop Paul Chomnycky, OSBM. Our diocese (eparchy) is part of the larger Archeparchy of Philadelphia, whose head is Metropolitan Archbishop Borys Gudziak. Our Patriarch, the primary head of our Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Our services are offered in English and Ukrainian.

The Rites of the Catholic Church

There are more Eastern rites than Western rites.

The Eastern rites are:

Alexandrian (Egyptian or Coptic) used by the Christians of Egypt
Ethiopian or Abyssinian used by Christians of Ethiopia
Antiochian (Eastern Syrian) for the Christians of Syria and Palestine
Chaldean (Western Syrian) which is used by the Chrisians of Irag.
Malabar (evolved from the Chaldean) is used by the Christians of India on the island of Malabar
Maronite used by Christians in Lebanon
Armenian used by Armenian people
Byzantine includes 14 churches some of these are: Byzantine-Greek, Byzantine-Arabic, Byzantine-Georgian, Byzantine-Roumanian, Byzantine-Slavic, and Byzantine-Ukrainian

The Western rites are:

  1. The Roman or Latin
  2. Ambrosian or Milan
  3. Mozarb or Spanish
  4. Celtic

The Celtic and Gallic rites do not exist any more. The Ambrosian rite is used by a small number of Western Christians. Most Christians of the West use the Latin or Roman rite.