Greek Catholic Church

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Refers to the Christians known as Melkites. The word Melkite comes from the Syrian and Arabic words for king and was originally used to refer to those within the ancient patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem who accepted Christianity as professed by the Byzantine emperor. Early on, Melkite followers were centered in modern-day Syria and Lebanon, but they later immigrated to Palestine and Egypt. These Arabic-speaking Christians of the Middle East are now part of the Church of Rome but have their own patriarch and still observe Byzantine rituals. The Melkite Church has three major seminaries, including the Holy Savior Seminary in Beit Sahour, Israel, which serves dioceses in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan. Melkites make up the second largest Catholic community in the Middle East, after the Maronites.

SEE ALSO Christianity;Maronites;Melkites.