Ritual family

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Rites (Latin: ritus), liturgical rites, and ritual families within Christian liturgy refer to the families of liturgies, rituals, prayers, and other practices historically connected to a place, denomination, or group. Rites often interact with one another, such as in liturgical Latinization, and contain subsets known as uses. There are two broad categories into ritual families fall into: Latin or Western rites associated with Western Christianity and Eastern rites associated with Eastern Christianity. The most common rite is the Roman Rite, itself a Latin liturgical rite and further subdivided into uses.[1][2]


The word rite is often used to describe particular Christian rituals. Rite has also come to refer to the full pattern of worship associated with a particular Christian denomination or tradition,[3] typically comprising the liturgies for the Eucharistic celebration, canonical hours, and sacramental rites.[4] Rites typically result from local variations and traditions, sometimes becoming further distinguished as uses of ritual families.[1] The Roman Rite is further subdivided between the liturgies from the post-Second Vatican Council period, such as the Mass of Paul VI and Liturgy of the Hours, and the pre-conciliar liturgies, such as the Tridentine Mass and Divine Office according to the Roman Breviary.[5] Some ritual families originated with the early focal points of Christianity, such as Rome (Roman Rite), Alexandria (Alexandrian liturgical rites), and Antioch (East and West Syriac Rites).[6]

Some Christian denominations encompass multiple ritual families. The Catholic Church utilizes the various Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church along side the rites that compose Eastern Catholic liturgy.[5] The use of those liturgical rites are determined by the particular church of the celebrating clergy; other Catholic rites are associated with Catholic religious orders, such as the Dominican Rite and Carmelite Rite.[6] The liturgical rites of the Eastern Catholic Churches are often distinct from the same rites as practiced by non-Catholic denominations, sometimes the result of Liturgical Latinization.[7] Within Eastern Orthodoxy, the Byzantine Rite–including the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and Byzantine adaption of the Liturgy of Saint Mark–is predominant, with some limited usage of the Western Rite.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Megivern, J.J.; Richstatter, T. (eds.). "Liturgical Rites". New Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17 January 2023 – via Encyclopedia.com.
  2. ^ McNamara, Edward (25 October 2016). "Why So Many Rites in the Church". Zenit News Agency. Retrieved 17 January 2023 – via EWTN.
  3. ^ Kurian, George, ed. (2001). "rite". Nelson's Dictionary of Christianity. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 9781418539818. Retrieved 20 January 2023 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Griffin, Patrick (1912). "Rites". Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York City: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 17 January 2023 – via New Advent.
  5. ^ a b Zuhlsdorf, John (27 January 2016). "The different Rites of the Latin Church". Madison Catholic Herald. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  6. ^ a b "The Rites of the Catholic Church". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  7. ^ Boniface Luykx (1993). "Thirty Years Later: Reflections on Vatican II's Unitotis Redintegrotio and Orientolium Ecclesiorum" (PDF). Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies. 34: 365. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  8. ^ Jerome Shaw (22 February 2013). "On the Western Rite in the ROCOR". New York City: Historical Studies of the Russian Church Abroad.