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Rites in the United States

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Since immigration from the eastern portion of Europe and from Asia and Africa set in with such volume, the peoples who (both in union with and outside the unity of the Church) follow the various Eastern rites arrived in the United States in large numbers, bringing with them their priests and their forms of worship. As they grew in number and financial strength, they erected churches in the various cities and towns throughout the country. Rome used to be considered the city where the various rites of the Church throughout the world could be seen grouped together, but in the United States they may be observed to a greater advantage than even in Rome. In Rome the various rites are kept alive for the purpose of educating the various national clergy who study there, and for demonstrating the unity of the Church, but there is no body of laymen who follow those rites; in the United States on the contrary, it is the number and pressure of the laity which have caused the establishment and support of the churches of the various rites. There is consequently no better field for studying the various rites of the Church than in the chief cities of the United States, and such study has the advantage to the exact observer of affording an opportunity of comparing the dissident churches of those rites with those which belong to Catholic unity. The chief rites which have established themselves in America are these: (1) Armenian, (2) Greek or Byzantine, and (3) Syro-Maronite. There are also a handful of adherents of the Coptic, Syrian, and Chaldean rites, which will also be noticed, and there are occasionally priests of the various Latin rites.

The Armenian Rite

This rite alone, of all the rites in the Church, is confined to one people, one language, and one alphabet. It is, if anything, more exclusive than Judaism of old. Other rites are more widely extended in every way: the Roman Rite is spread throughout Latin, Teutonic, and Slavic peoples, and it even has two languages, the Latin and the Ancient Slavonic, and two alphabets, the Roman and the Glagolitic, in which its ritual is written; the Greek or Byzantine Rite extends among Greek, Slavic, Latin, and Syrian peoples, and its services are celebrated in Greek, Slavonic, Rumanian, and Arabic with service-books in the Greek, Cyrillic, Latin, and Arabic alphabets. But the Armenian Rite, whether Catholic or Gregorian, is confined exclusively to persons of the Armenian race, and employs the ancient Armenian language and alphabet. The history and origin of the race have been given in the article ARMENIA, but a word may be said of the language (Hayk, as it is called), and its use in the liturgy. The majority of the Armenians were converted to Christianity by St. Gregory the Illuminator, a man of noble family, who was made Bishop of Armenia in 302. So thoroughly was his work effected that Armenia alone of the ancient nations converted to Christianity has preserved no pagan literature antedating the Christian literature of the people; pagan works, if they ever existed, seem to have perished in the ardour of the Armenians for Christian thought and expression. The memory of St. Gregory is so revered that the Armenians who are opposed to union with the Holy See take pride in calling themselves "Gregorians," implying that they keep the faith taught by St. Gregory. Hence it is usual to call the dissidents "Gregorians," in order to distinguish them from the Uniat Catholics. At first the language of the Christian liturgy in Armenia was Syriac, but later they discarded it for their own tongue, and translated all the services into Armenian, which was at first written in Syriac or Persian letters. About 400 St. Mesrob invented the present Armenian alphabet (except two final letters which were added in the year 1200) and their language, both ancient and modern, has been written in that alphabet ever since. Mesrob also translated the New Testament into Armenian and revised the entire liturgy. The Armenians in their church life have led almost as checkered an existence as they have in their national life. At first they were in full communion with the Universal Church. They were bitterly opposed to Nestorianism, and, when in 451 the council of Chalcedon condemned the doctrine of Eutyches, they seceded, holding the opinion that such a definition was sanctioning Nestorianism, and have since remained separated from and hostile to the Greek Church of Constantinople. In 1054 the Greeks seceded in turn from unity with the Roman Church, and nearly three centuries later the Armenians became reconciled with Rome, but the union lasted only a brief period. Breaking away from unity again, the majority formed a national church which agreed neither with the Greek nor the Roman Church; a minority, recruited by converts to union with the Holy See in the seventeenth century remained united Armenian Catholics.

The Mass and the whole liturgy of the Armenian Church is said in Ancient Armenian, which differs considerably from the modern tongue. The language is an offshoot of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Germanic family of languages, and probably found its earliest written expression in the cuneiform inscriptions; it is unlike the Semitic languages immediately surrounding it. Among its peculiarities are twelve regular declensions and eight irregular declensions of nouns and five conjugations of the verbs, while there are many difficulties in the way of postpositions and the like. It abounds in consonants and guttural sounds; the words of the Lord's Prayer in Armenian will suffice as an example: "Hair mier, vor herghins ies, surp iegitzi anun ko, ieghastze arkautiun ko, iegitzin garnk ko, vorbes hierghins iev hergri, zhatz mier hanabazort dur miez aissor, iev tog miez ezbardis mier, vorbes iev mek togumk merotz bardabanatz, iev mi danir zmez i porsutiun, ail perghea i chare." The language is written from left to right, like Greek, Latin or English, but in an alphabet of thirty-eight peculiar letters which are dissimilar in form to anything in the Greek or Latin alphabet, and are arranged in a most perplexing order. For instance, the Armenian alphabet starts off with a, p, k, t, z, etc., and ends up with the letter f. It may also be noted that the Armenian has changed the consonantal values of most of the ordinary sounds in Christian names; thus George becomes Kevork; Sergius, Sarkis; Jacob, Hagop; Joseph, Hovsep; Gregory, Krikori; Peter, Bedros; and so on. The usual clan addition of the word "son" (ian) to most Armenian family names, something like the use of mac in the Gaelic languages, renders usual Armenian names easy of identification (e.g., Azarian, Hagopian, Rubian, Zohrabian, etc.).

The book containing the regulations for the administration of the sacraments, analogous to the Greek Euchologion or the Roman Ritual, is called the "Mashdotz," after the name of its compiler St. Mesrob, who was surnamed Mashdotz. He arranged and compiled the five great liturgical books used in the Armenian Church: (1) the Breviary (Zhamakirk) or Book of Hours; (2) The Directory (Tzutzak) or Calendar, containing the fixed festivals of the year; (3) The Liturgy (Pataragakirk) or Missal, arranged and enriched also by John Mantaguni; (4) The Book of Hymns (Dagaran), arranged for the principal great feasts of the year; (5) The Ritual or "Mashdotz," mentioned above. A peculiarity about the Armenian Church is that the majority of great feasts falling upon weekdays are celebrated on the Sunday immediately following. The great festivals of the Christian year are divided by the Armenians into five classes: (1) Easter; (2) feasts which fall on Sunday such as Palm Sunday, Pentecost, etc.; (3) feasts which are observed on the days on which they occur: the Nativity, Epiphany, Circumcision, Presentation, and Annunciation; (4) feasts which are transferred to the following Sunday: Transfiguration, Immaculate Conception, Nativity B.V.M., Assumption, Holy Cross, feasts of the Apostles, etc.; (5) other feasts, which are not observed at all unless they can be transferred to Sunday. The Gregorian Armenians observe the Nativity, Epiphany, and Baptism of Our Lord on the same day (6 January), but the Catholic Armenians observe Christmas on 25 December and the Epiphany on 6 January, and they observe many of the other feasts of Our Lord on the days on which they actually fall. The principal fasts are: (1) Lent; (2) the Fast of Nineveh for two weeks, one month before the commencement of Lent — in reality a remnant of the ancient Lenten fast, now commemorated only in name by our Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays; (3) the week following Pentecost. The days of abstinence are the Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year with certain exceptions (e.g., during the week after the Nativity, Easter, and the Assumption). In the Armenian Church Saturday is observed as the Sabbath, commemorating the Old Law and the creation of man, and Sunday, as the Lord's Day of Resurrection and rejoicing, commemorating the New Law and the redemption of man. Most of the saints' days are dedicated to Armenian saints not commemorated in other lands but the Armenian Catholics in Galicia and Transylvania use the Gregorian (not the Julian) Calendar and have many Roman saints' days and feasts added to their ancient ecclesiastical year.

In the actual arrangement of the church building for worship the Armenian Rite differs both from the Greek and the Latin. While the Armenian Church was in communion with Rome, it seems to have united many Roman practices in its ritual with those that were in accord with the Greek or Byzantine forms. The church building may be divided into the sanctuary and church proper (choir and nave.) The sanctuary is a platform raised above the general level of the church and reached by four or more steps. The altar is always erected in the middle of it and it is again a few steps higher than the level of & sanctuary. It is perhaps possible that the Armenians originally used an altar-screen or iconostasis, like that of the Greek churches, but it has long since disappeared. Still they do not use the open altar like the Latin Church. Two curtains are hung before the sanctuary: a large double curtain hangs before its entrance, extending completely across the space like the Roman chancel rail, and is so drawn as to conceal the altar, the priest, and the deacons at certain parts of the Mass; the second and smaller curtain is used merely to separate the priest from the deacons and to cover the altar after service. Each curtain opens on both sides, and ordinarily is drawn back from the middle. The second curtain is not much used. The use of these curtains is ascribed to the year 340, when they were required by a canon formulated by Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem. Upon the altar are usually the Missal, the Book of Gospels, a cross upon which the image of Our Lord is painted or engraved in low relief, and two or more candles, which are lighted as in the Roman use. The Blessed Sacrament is usually reserved in a tabernacle on the altar, and a small lamp kept burning there at all times. In the choir, usually enclosed within a low iron railing, the singers and priests stand in lines while singing or reciting the Office. In the East, the worshipper, upon entering the nave of the church, usually takes off his shoes, just as the Mohammedans do, for the Armenian founds this practice upon Exodus 3:5; this custom is not followed in the United States nor do the Armenians there sit cross-legged upon the floor in their churches, as they do in Asia.

The administration of the sacraments is marked by some ceremonies unlike those of the Roman or Greek Churches, and by some which are a composite of the two. In the Sacrament of Baptism the priest meets the child carried in the arms of the nurse at the church door, and, while reciting Psalms li and cxxx, takes two threads (one white and the other red) and twists them into a cord, which he afterwards blesses. Usually the godfather goes to confession before the baptism, in order that he may fulfil his duties in the state of grace. The exorcisms and renunciations then take place, and the recital of the Nicene Creed and the answers to the responses follow. The baptismal water is blessed, the anointing with oil performed, the prayers for the catechumen to be baptized are said, and then the child is stripped. The priest takes the child and holds it in the font so that the body is in the water, but the head is out, and the baptism takes place in this manner: "N., the servant of God coming into the state of a catechumen and thence to that of baptism, is now baptized by me, in the name of the Father [here he pours a handful of water on the head of the child], and of the Son [here he pours water as before], and of the Holy Ghost [here he pours a third handful]." After this the priest dips the child thrice under the water, saying on each occasion: "Thou art redeemed by the blood of Christ from the bondage of sin, by receiving the liberty of sonship of the Heavenly Father, and becoming a co-heir with Christ and a temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen." Then the child is washed and clothed again, generally with a new and beautiful robe, and the priest when washing the child says: "Ye that were baptized in Christ, have put on Christ, Alleluia. And ye that have been illumined by God the Father, may the Holy Ghost rejoice in you. Alleluia." Then the passage of the Gospel of St. Matthew relating the baptism of Christ in the Jordan is read, and the rite thus completed.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is conferred by the priest immediately after baptism, although the Catholic Armenians sometimes reserve it for the bishop. The holy chrism is applied by the priest to the forehead, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, palms, heart, spine, and feet, each time with a reference to the seal of the Spirit. Finally, the priest lays his hand upon and makes the sign of the cross on the child's forehead saying: "Peace to thee, saved through God." When the confirmation is thus finished, the priest binds the child's forehead with the red and white string which he twisted at the beginning of the baptism and fastens it at the end with a small cross. He gives two candles, one red and one green, to the godfather and has the child brought up to the altar where Communion is given to it by a small drop of the Sacred Blood, or, if it be not at the time of Mass, by taking the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle and signing the mouth of the child with it in the form of the cross, saying in either case: "The plenitude of the Holy Ghost"; if the candidate be an adult, full Communion is administered, and there the confirmation is ended.

The formula of absolution in the Sacrament of Penance is: "May the merciful God have mercy upon you and grant you the pardon of all your sins, both confessed and forgotten; and I by virtue of my order of priesthood and in force of the power granted by the Divine Command: Whosesoever sins you remit on earth they are remitted unto them in heaven; through that same word I absolve you from all participation in sin, by thought, word and deed, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And I again restore you to the sacraments of the Holy Church; whatsoever good you shall do, shall be counted to you for merit and for glory in the life to come. May the shedding of the blood of the Son of God, which He shed upon the cross and which delivered human nature from hell, deliver you from your sins. Amen." As a rule Armenians are exhorted to make their confession and communion on at least five days in the year: the so-called Daghavork or feasts of Tabernacles, i.e., the Epiphany, Easter, Transfiguration, Assumption, and Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The first two festivals are obligatory and, if an Armenian neglects his duty, he incurs excommunication.

The Sacrament of Extreme Unction (or "Unction with Oil," as it is called) is supposed to be administered by seven priests in the ancient form, but practically it is performed by a single priest on most occasions. The eyes, ears, nose, lips, hands, feet, and heart of the sick man are anointed, with this form: "I anoint thine eyes with holy oil, so that whatever sin thou mayst have committed through thy sight, thou mayst be saved therefrom by the anointing of this oil, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ", and with a similar reference to the other members anointed.

The Divine Liturgy or Mass is of course the chief rite among the Armenians, whether Catholic or Gregorian, and it is celebrated with a form and ceremonial which partakes in a measure both of the Roman and Byzantine rites. As we have said, the curtains are used instead of the altar-rail or iconostasis of those rites, and the vestments are also peculiar. The Armenians, like the Latins, use unleavened bread, in the form of a wafer or small thin round cake, for consecration; but like the Greeks they prepare many wafers, and those not used for consecration in the Mass are given afterwards to the people as the antidoron. The wine used must be solely the fermented juice of the best grapes obtainable. In the Gregorian churches Communion is given to the people under both species, the Host being dipped in the chalice before delivering it to the communicant, but in the Catholic churches Communion is now given only in one species, that of the Body, although there is no express prohibition against the older form. On Christmas Eve and Easter Eve the Armenians celebrate Mass in the evening; the Mass then begins with the curtains drawn whilst the introductory psalms and prophecies are sung, but, at the moment the great feast is announced in the Introit, the curtains are withdrawn and the altar appears with full illumination. During Lent the altar remains entirely hidden by the great curtains, and during all the Sundays in Lent, except Palm Sunday, Mass is celebrated behind the drawn curtains. A relic of this practice still remains in the Roman Rite, as shown by the veiling of the images and pictures from Passion Sunday till Easter Eve. The Armenian vestments for Mass are peculiar and splendid. The priest wears a crown, exactly in the form of a Greek bishop's mitre, which is called the Saghavard or helmet. This is also worn by the deacons attending on a bishop at pontifical Mass. The Armenian bishops wear a mitre almost identical in shape with the Latin mitre, and said to have been introduced at the time of the union with Rome in the twelfth century, when they relinquished the Greek form of mitre for the priests to wear in the Mass. The celebrant is first vested with the shapik or alb, which is usually narrower than the Latin form, and usually of linen (sometimes of silk). He then puts on each of his arms the bazpans or cuffs, which replace the Latin maniple; then the ourar or stole, which is in one piece; then the goti or girdle, then the varkas or amict, which is a large embroidered stiff collar with a shoulder covering to it; and finally the shoochar, or chasuble, which is almost exactly like a Roman cope. If the celebrant be a bishop, he also wears the gonker or Greek epigonation. The bishops carry a staff shaped like the Latin, while the vartabeds (deans, or doctors of divinity; analogous to the Roman mitred abbots) carry a staff in the Greek form (a staff with two intertwined serpents). No organs are used in the Armenian church, but the elaborate vocal music of the Eastern style, sung by choir and people, is accompanied by two metallic instruments, the keshotz and zinzqha (the first a fan with small bells; the second similar to cymbals), both of which are used during various parts of the Mass. The deacon wears merely an alb, and a stole in the same manner as in the Roman Rite. The subdeacons and lower clergy wear simply the alb.

The Armenian Mass may be divided into three parts: Preparation, Anaphora or Canon, and Conclusion. The first and preparatory portion extends as far as the Preface, when the catechumens are directed by the deacon to leave. The Canon commences with the conclusion of the Preface and ends with the Communion. As soon as the priest is robed in his vestments he goes to the altar, washes his hands reciting Psalm xxvi, and then going to the foot of the altar begins the Mass. After saying the Intercessory Prayer, the Confiteor and the Absolution, which is given with a crucifix in hand, he recites Psalm xlii (Introibo ad altare), and at every two verses ascends a step of the altar. After he has intoned the prayer "In the tabernacle of holiness," the curtains are drawn, and the choir sings the appropriate hymn of the day. Meanwhile the celebrant behind the curtain prepares the bread on the paten and fills the chalice, ready for the oblation. When this is done the curtains are withdrawn and the altar incensed. Then the Introit of the day is sung, then the prayers corresponding to those of the first, second, and third antiphons of the Byzantine Rite, while the proper psalms are sung by the choir. Then the deacon intones "Proschume" (let us attend), and elevates the book of the gospels, which is incensed as he brings it to the altar, making the Little Entrance. The choir then sings the Trisagion (Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us) thrice. The Gregorians interpolate after "Holy and Immortal" some words descriptive of the feast day, such as "who was made manifest for us," or "who didst rise from the dead," but this addition has been condemned at Rome as being a relic of the Patripassian heresy. During the Trisagion the Keshotz is jingled in accompaniment. Then the Greek Ektene or Litany is sung, and at its conclusion the reader reads the Prophecy; then the Antiphon before the Epistle is sung, and the epistle of the day read. At the end of each the choir responds Alleluia. Then the deacon announces "Orthi" (stand up) and, taking the Gospels, reads or intones the gospel of the day. Immediately afterwards, the Armenian form of the Nicene Creed is said or sung. It differs from the creed as said in the Roman and Greek Churches in that it has, "consubstantial with the Father by whom all things were made in Heaven and in Earth, visible and invisible; who for us men and our salvation came down from Heaven, was incarnate and was made man and perfectly begotten through the Holy Ghost of the most Holy Virgin Mary; he assumed from her body, soul, and mind, and all that in man is, truly and not figuratively;" and "we believe also in the Holy Ghost, not created, all perfect, who proceedeth from the Father (and the Son), who spake in the Law, in the Prophets and the Holy Gospel, who descended into the Jordan, who preached Him who was sent, and who dwelt in the Saints," and after concluding in the ordinary form adds the sentence pronounced by the First Council of Nicaea: "Those who say there was a time when the Son was not, or when the Holy Ghost was not; or that they were created out of nothing; or that the Son of God and the Holy Ghost are of another substance or that they are mutable; the Catholic and Apostolic church condemns." Then the Confession of St. Gregory is intoned aloud, and the Little Ektene sung. The kiss of peace is here given to the clergy. The deacon at its close dismisses the catechumens, and the choir sings the Hymn of the Great Entrance, when the bread and wine are solemnly brought to the altar. "The Body of our Lord and the Blood of our Redeemer are to be before us. The Heavenly Powers invisible sing and proclaim with uninterrupted voice, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts."

Here the curtains are drawn, and the priest takes off his crown (or the bishop his mitre). The priest incenses the holy gifts and again washes his bands, repeating Psalm xxvi as before. After the Salutation is sung, the catechumens are dismissed, and the Anaphora or Canon begins. The Preface is said secretly, only the concluding part being intoned to which the choir responds with the Sanctus. The prayer before consecration follows, with a comparison of the Old and the New Law, not found in either Greek or Roman Rite: "Holy, Holy, Holy; Thou art in truth most Holy; who is there who can dare to describe by words thy bounties which flow down upon us without measure? For Thou didst protect and console our forefathers, when they had fallen in sin, by means of the prophets, the Law, the priesthood, and the offering of bullocks, showing forth that which was to come. And when at length He came, Thou didst tear in pieces the register of our sins, and didst bestow on us Thine Only Begotten Son, the debtor and the debt, the victim and the anointed, the Lamb and Bread of Heaven, the Priest and the Oblation for He is the distributor and is always distributed amongst us, without being exhausted. Being made man truly and not apparently, and by union without confusion, He was incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and journeyed through all the passions of human life, sin only excepted, and of His own free will walked to the cross, whereby He gave life to the world and wrought salvation for us." Then follow the actual words of consecration, which are intoned aloud. Then follow the Offering and the Epiklesis, which differs slightly, in the Gregorian and Catholic form; the Gregorian is: "whereby Thou wilt make the bread when blessed truly the body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" and the Catholic form: "whereby Thou hast made the bread when blessed truly the Body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." As there is actually no blessing or consecration after the Epiklesis, the Catholic form represents the correct belief. Then come the prayers for the living and the dead, and an intoning by the deacons of the Commemoration of the Saints, in which nearly all the Armenian saints are mentioned. Then the deacon intones aloud the Ascription of Praise of Bishop Chosroes the Great in thanksgiving for the Sacrament of the Altar. After this comes a long Ektene or Litany, and then the Our Father is sung by the choir. The celebrant then elevates the consecrated Host, saying "Holy things for Holy Persons," and when the choir responds, he continues: "Let us taste in holiness the holy and honourable Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who came down from heaven and is now distributed among us." Then the choir sings antiphons in honour of the sacrifice of the Body and Blood, and the small curtain is drawn. The priest kisses the sacred Victim, saying "I confess and I believe that Thou art Christ, the Son of God, who has borne the sins of the world." The Host is divided into three parts, one of which is placed in the chalice. The choir sing the communion hymns as appointed; the priest and the clergy receive the Communion first, and then the choir and people. The little curtain is withdrawn when the Communion is given, and the great curtains are drawn back when the people come up for Communion.

After Communion, the priest puts on his crown (or the bishop his mitre), and the great curtains are again drawn. Thanksgiving prayers are said behind them, after which the great curtains are withdrawn once more, and the priest holding the book of gospels says the great prayer of peace, and blesses the people. Then the deacon proclaims "Orthi" (stand up) and the celebrant reads the Last Gospel, which is nearly always invariable, being the Gospel of St. John, i, 1 sqq.: "In the beginning was the Word, etc."; the only exception is from Easter to the eve of Pentecost, when they use the Gospel of St. John, xxi, 15-20: "So when they had dined, etc." Then the prayer for peace and the "Kyrie Eleison" (thrice) are said, the final benediction is given, and the priest retires from the altar. Whilst Psalm xxxiv is recited or sung by the people, the blessed bread is distributed. The Catholic Armenians confine this latter rite to high festivals only. The chief editions of the Gregorian Armenian Missals are those printed at Constantinople (1823, 1844), Jerusalem (1841, 1873, and 1884), and Etschmiadzin (1873); the chief Catholic Armenian editions are those of Venice (1808, 1874, 1895), Trieste (1808), and Vienna (1858, 1884).

Armenian Catholics

Armenians had come to the United States in small numbers prior to 1895. In that and the following year the Turkish massacres took place throughout Armenia and Asia Minor, and large numbers of Armenians emigrated to America. Among them were many Armenian Catholics, although these were not sufficiently numerous to organize any religious communities like their Gregorian brethren. In 1898 Msgr. Stephan Azarian (Stephen X), then Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, who resided in Constantinople, entered into negotiations with Cardinal Ledochowski, Prefect of the Congregation of the Propaganda, and through him obtained the consent of Archbishop Corrigan of New York and Archbishop Williams of Boston for priests of the Armenian Rite to labour in their respective provinces for the Armenian Catholics who had come to this country. He sent as the first Armenian missionary the Very Reverend Archpriest Mardiros Mighirian, who had been educated at the Propaganda and the Armenian College, and arrived in the United States on Ascension Day, 11 May, 1899. He at first went to Boston where he assembled a small congregation of Armenian Catholics, and later proceeded to New York to look after the spiritual welfare of the Catholic Armenians in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He also established a mission station in Worcester, Massachusetts. In New York and Brooklyn the Catholics of the Armenian Rite are divided into those who speak Armenian and those who, coming from places outside of the historic Armenia, speak the Arabic language. At present this missionary is stationed at St. Stephen's church in East Twenty-eighth Street, since large numbers of Armenians live in that vicinity, but has another congregation under his charge in Brooklyn. All these Catholic Armenians are too poor to build any church or chapel of their own, and use the basement portion of the Latin churches. Towards the end of 1906 another Armenian priest, Rev. Manuel Basieganian, commenced mission work in Paterson, New Jersey, and now attends mission stations throughout New England, New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania. In 1908 Rev. Hovsep (Joseph) Keossajian settled in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and established a chapel in St. Mary's Church. He also ministers to the spiritual wants of the Armenian Catholics at Boston, Cambridge, East Watertown, Newton, Lynn, Chelsea, and Lowell. In 1909 Rev. Moses Mazarian took charge of the Armenian mission at Cleveland, Ohio, and in the cities throughout the west. None of these have been able to build independent Armenian churches, but usually hold their services in the Roman Catholic churches. Besides the places already mentioned there are slender Armenian Catholic congregations at Haverhill, Worcester, Fitchburg, Milford, Fall River, Holyoke, and Whiting, in Massachusetts; Nashua and Manchester, New Hampshire; Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls in Rhode Island; New Britain and Bridgeport, in Connecticut; Jersey City, West Hoboken, and Newark, in New Jersey; and Philadelphia and Chicago. The number of Catholic Armenians in the United States is very small, being estimated at about 2000 to 2500 all told. So many of them reside among the other Armenians and frequent their churches, that there may be more who do not profess themselves Catholics, and purely Armenian chapels would doubtless bring to light many whom the mission priests on their rounds do not reach.

Gregorian Armenians

Inasmuch as Armenia was converted to the faith of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Armenians who are not in union with the Holy See pride themselves upon the fact that they more truly hold the faith preached by St. Gregory and they are accordingly called Gregorians, since the word "Orthodox" would be likely to confuse them with the Greeks. By reason of the many schools founded in Armenia and in Constantinople by American Protestant missionaries, their attention was turned to America, and, when the massacres of 1895-96 took place, large numbers came to the United States. Many of them belonged to the Protestant Armenian Church, and identified themselves with the Congregationalists or Presbyterians; but the greater number of them belonged to the national Gregorian Church. In 1889 Rev. Hovsep Sarajian, a priest from Constantinople, was sent to the Armenians in Massachusetts, and a church which was built in Worcester in 1891, is still the headquarters of the Armenian Church in the United States. The emigration increasing greatly after the massacres, Father Sarajian was reinforced by several other Armenian priests; in 1898 he was made bishop, and in 1903 was invested with archiepiscopal authority, having Canada and the United States under his jurisdiction. Seven great pastorates were organized to serve as the nuclei of future dioceses: at Worcester, Boston, and Lawrence (Massachusetts), New York, Providence (Rhode Island), Fresno (California), and Chicago (Illinois). To these was added West Hoboken in 1906. There are numerous congregations and mission stations in various cities. Churches have been built in Worcester, Fresno, and West Hoboken; in Boston and Providence halls are rented, and in other places arrangements are often made with Episcopal churches where their services are held. The Gregorian Armenian clergy comprises the archbishop, seven resident and three missionary priests, while the number of Gregorian Armenians is given at 20,000 in the United States. There are several Armenian societies and two Armenian newspapers, and also Armenian reading-rooms in several places.

Byzantine or Greek Rite

This rite, reckoning both the Catholic and Schismatic Churches, comes next in expansion through the Christian world to the Roman Rite. It also ranks next to the Roman Rite in America, there being now (1911) about 156 Greek Catholic churches, and about 149 Greek Orthodox churches in the United States. The Eastern Orthodox Churches of Russia, Turkey, Rumania, Servia, and Bulgaria, and other places where they are found, make up a total of about 120,000,000, while the Uniat Churches of the same rite, the Greek Catholics in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria, Asia, and elsewhere, amount to upwards of 7,500,000. The Byzantine Rite has already been fully described [see THE RITE OF CONSTANTINOPLE; GREEK RITES; ORTHODOX CHURCH; ALTAR (IN THE GREEK CHURCH); ARCHIMANDRITE; EPIKLESIS; EUCHOLOGION; ICONOSTASIS], as well as the organization and development of the various churches using the Greek or Byzantine Rite (see EASTERN CHURCHES; GREEK CHURCH; RUSSIA). Unlike the Armenian Rite, it has not been confined to any particular people or language, but has spread over the entire Christian Orient among the Slavic, Rumanian and Greek populations. As regards jurisdiction and authority, it has not been united and homogeneous like the Roman Rite, nor has it, like the Latin Church, been uniform in language, calendar, or particular customs, although the same general teaching, ritual, and observances have been followed. The principal languages in which the liturgy of the Greek Rite is celebrated are: (1) Greek; (2) Slavonic; (3) Arabic, and (4) Rumanian. It is also celebrated in Georgian by a small and diminishing number of worshippers, and sometimes experimentally in a number of modern tongues for missionary purposes; but as this latter use has never been approved, the four languages named above may be considered the official ones of the Byzantine Rite. A portion of the population of all the nations which use this rite, follow it in union with the Holy See, and these have by their union placed the Byzantine Rite in the position which it occupied before the schism of 1054. Thus, the Russians, Bulgarians, and Servians, who are schismatic, use the Old Slavonic in their church books and services; so likewise do the Catholic Ruthenians, Bulgarians, and Servians. Likewise the Rumanians of Rumania and Transylvania, who are schismatic, use the Rumanian language in the Greek Rite; but the Rumanians of Transylvania, who are Catholic, do the same. The Orthodox Greeks of Greece and Turkey use the original Greek of their rite; but the Italo-Greeks of Italy and Sicily and the Greeks of Constantinople, who are Catholic, use it also. The Syro-Arabians of Syria and Egypt, who are schismatic, use the Arabic in the Greek Rite; but the Catholic Melchites likewise use it.

The numerous emigrants from these countries to America have brought with them their Byzantine Rite with all its local peculiarities and its language. In some respects the environment of all people professing the Greek Rite in union with the Holy See but in close touch with their countrymen of the Roman Rite has tended to change in unimportant particulars several of the ceremonies and sometimes particular phrases of the rite (see ITALO-GREEKS; MELCHITES; RUTHENIAN RITE), but not to a greater extent than the various Schismatic Churches have changed the language and ceremonies in their several national Churches. Where this has occurred in the Greek Churches united with the Holy See, it has been fiercely denounced as latinizing; but, where it has occurred in Russia, Bulgaria, or Syria, it is merely regarded by the same denouncers as a mere expression of nationalism. There is in the aggregate a larger number of Catholics of the Byzantine Rite in America than of the Orthodox. The chief nationalities there which are Catholic are the Ruthenians, Rumanians, Melchites, and Italo-Greek; the principal Orthodox ones are the Russians, Greeks, Syro-Arabians, Servians, Rumanians, Bulgarians, and Albanians. The history and establishment of each of these has been already given (see GREEK CATHOLICS IN AMERICA; GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA). As emigration from those lands increases daily, and the representatives of those rites are increasing in numbers and prosperity, a still wider expansion of the Greek Rite in the United States may be expected. Already the Russian Orthodox Church has a strong hierarchy, an ecclesiastical seminary, and monasteries, supported chiefly by the Holy Synod and the Orthodox Missionary Society of Russia, and much proselytizing is carried on among the Greek Catholics. The latter are not in such a favourable position; they have no home governmental support, but have had to build and equip their own institutions out of their own slender means. The Holy See has provided a bishop for them, but the Russians have stirred up dissensions and made his position as difficult as possible among his own people. The Hellenic Greek Orthodox Church expects soon to have its own Greek bishop, and the Serbians and Rumanians also expect a bishop to be appointed by their home authorities.

Maronite Rite

The Maronite is one of the Syrian rites and has been closely assimilated in the Church to the Roman Rite (see MARONITES). Unlike the Syro-Chaldean or the Syro-Catholic rites, for they all use the Syriac language in the Mass and liturgy, it has not kept the old forms intact, but has modelled itself more and more upon the Roman Rite. Among all the Eastern rites which are now in communion with the Holy See, it alone has no Schismatic rite of corresponding form and language, but is wholly united and Catholic, thereby differing also from the other Syrian rites. The liturgical language is the ancient Syriac or Aramaic, and the Maronites, as well as all other rites who use Syriac, take especial pride in the fact that they celebrate the Mass in the very language which Christ spoke while He was on earth, as evidenced by some fragments of His very words still preserved in the Greek text of the Gospels (e.g., in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 5:41). The Syriac is a Semitic language closely related to the Hebrew, and is sometimes called Aramaic from the Hebrew Aram (Northern Syria). As the use of Ancient Hebrew died out after the Babylonian captivity, the Syriac or Aramaic took its place, very much as Italian has supplanted Latin throughout the Italian peninsula. This was substantially the situation at the time of Christ's teaching and the foundation of the early Church. Syriac is now a dead language, and in the Maronite service and liturgy bears the same relation to the vernacular Arabic as the Latin in the Roman Rite does to the modern languages of the people. It is written with a peculiar alphabet, reads from right to left like the Hebrew or Arabic languages, but its letters are unlike the current alphabets of either of these languages. To simplify the Maronite Missals, Breviary, and other service books, the vernacular Arabic is often employed for the rubrics and for many of the best-known prayers; it is written, not in Arabic characters, but in Syriac, and this mingled language and alphabet is called Karshuni. The Epistle, Gospel, Creed and Pater Noster are nearly always given in Karshuni, instead of the original Arabic.

The form of the Liturgy or Mass is that of St. James, so called because of the tradition that it originated with St. James the Less, Apostle and Bishop of Jerusalem. It is the type form of the Syriac Rite, but the Maronite Use has accommodated it more and more to the Roman. This form of the Liturgy of St. James constitutes the Ordinary of the Mass, which is always said in the same manner, merely changing the epistles and gospels according to the Christian year. But the Syrians, whether of the Maronite, Syrian, Catholic, or Syro-Chaldaic rite, have the peculiarity (not found in other liturgies) of inserting different anaphoras or canons of the Mass, composed at various times by different Syrian saints; these change according to the feast celebrated, somewhat analogously to the Preface in the Roman Rite. The principal anaphoras or canons of the Mass used by the Maronites are: (1) the Anaphora according to the Order of the Holy Catholic and Roman Church, the Mother of all the Churches; (2) the Anaphora of St. Peter, the Head of the Apostles; (3) the Anaphora of the Twelve Apostles; (4) the Anaphora of St. James the Apostle, brother of the Lord, (5) the Anaphora of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist; (6) the Anaphora of St. Mark the Evangelist; (7) the Anaphora of St. Xystus, the Pope of Rome; (8) the Anaphora of St. John surnamed Maro, from whom they derive their name; (9) the Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom; (10) the Anaphora of St. Basil; (11) the Anaphora of St. Cyril; (12) the Anaphora of St. Dionysius; (13) the Anaphora of John of Harran, and (14) the Anaphora of Marutha of Tagrith. Besides these they have also a form of liturgy of the Presanctified for Good Friday, after the Roman custom. Frequent use of incense is a noticeable feature of the Maronite Mass, and not even in low Mass is the incense omitted. In their form of church building the Maronites have nothing special like the Greeks with their iconostasis and square altar, or the Armenians with their curtains, but build their churches very much as Latins do. While the sacred vestments are hardly distinguishable from those of the Roman Church, in some respects they approach the Greek form. The alb, the girdle, and the maniple or cuffs on each hand, a peculiar form of amict, the stole (sometimes in Greek and sometimes in Roman form), and the ordinary Roman chasuble make up the vestments worn by the priest at Mass. Bishops use a cross, mitre, and staff of the Roman form. The sacred vessels used on the altar are the chalice, paten or disk, and a small star or asterisk to cover the consecrated Host. They, like us, use a small cross or crucifix, with a long silken banneret attached, for giving the blessings. The Maronites use unleavened bread and have a round host, as in the Roman Rite.

The Maronite Mass commences with the ablution and vesting at the foot of the altar. Then, standing at the middle of the sanctuary, the priest recites Psalm xlii, "Introibo ad altare," moving his head in the form of a cross. He then ascends the altar, takes the censer and incenses both the uncovered chalice and paten, then takes up the Host and has it incensed, puts it on the paten and has the corporals and veils incensed. He next pours wine in the chalice, adding a little water, and then incenses it and covers both host and chalice with the proper veils. Then, going again to the foot of the altar, he says aloud the first prayer in Arabic, which is followed by an antiphon. The strange Eastern music, with its harsh sounds and quick changes, is a marked feature of the Maronite Rite. The altar, the elements, the clergy, servers, and people are incensed, and the Kyrie Eleison (Kurrilison) and the "Holy God, Holy strong one, etc." are sung by choir and people. Then comes the Pater Noster in Arabic, with the response: "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, world without end. Amen." The celebrant and deacon intone the Synapte for peace, which is followed by a short form of the Gloria in excelsis: "Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace and good hope to the sons of men, etc." The Phrumiur is then said; this is an introductory prayer, and always comes before the Sedro, which is a prayer of praise said aloud by the priest standing before the altar while the censer is swung. It is constructed by the insertion of verses into a more or less constant framework, commemorative of the feast or season, and seems to be a survival of the old psalm verses with the Gloria. For instance, a sedro of Our Lady will commemorate her in many ways, something like our litany, but more poetically and at length; one of Our Lord will celebrate Him in His nativity, baptism, etc. Then come the commemorations of the Prophets, the Apostles, the martyrs, of all the saints, and lastly the commemoration of the departed: "Be ye not sad, all ye who sleep in the dust, and in the decay of your bodies. The living Body which you have eaten and the saving Blood which you have drunk, can again vivify all of you, and clothe your bodies with glory. O Christ, Who hast come and given peace by Thy Blood to the heights and the depths, give rest to the souls of Thy servants in the promised life everlasting!" The priest then prays for the living, and makes special intercession by name of those living or dead for whom the Mass is offered. He blesses and offers the sacred elements, in a form somewhat analogous to the Offertory in the Roman Rite. Another phrumiun and the great Sedro of St. Ephraem or St. James is said, in which the whole sacrifice of the Mass is foreshadowed. The psalm preparatory to the Epistle in Arabic is recited, and the epistle of the day then read. The Alleluia and gradual psalm is recited, the Book of Gospels incensed, and the Gospel, also in Arabic, intoned or read. The versicles of thanksgiving for the Gospel are intoned, at several parts of which the priest and deacon and precentor chant in unison. The Nicene Creed, said in unison by priest and deacon, follows, and immediately after the celebrant washes his hands saying Psalm xxvi. This ends the Ordinary of the Mass.

The Anaphora, or Canon of the Mass, is then begun, and varies according to season, place, and celebrant. In the Anaphora of the Holy Catholic and Roman Church, which is a typical one, the Mass proceeds with the prayers for peace very much as they stand at the end of the Roman Mass; then follow prayers of confession, adoration, and glory, which conclude by giving the kiss of peace to the deacon and the other clergy. The Preface follows: "Let us lift up our thoughts, our conscience and our hearts! Response. They are lifted up to Thee, O Lord! Priest. Let us give thanks to the Lord in fear, and adore Him with trembling. R. It is meet and just. P. To Thee, O God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, O glorious and holy King of Israel, for ever! R. Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, now and forever, world without end. P. Before the glorious and divine mysteries of our Redeemer, with the pleasant things which are imposed, let us implore the mercy of the Lord! R. It is meet and just" (and the Preface continues secretly). Then the Sanctus is sung, and the Consecration immediately follows. The words of Consecration are intoned aloud, the choir answering "Amen." After the succeeding prayer of commemoration of the Resurrection and hope of the Second Coming and a prayer for mercy, the Epiklesis is said: "How tremendous is this hour and how awful this moment, my beloved, in which the Holy and Life-giving Spirit comes down from on high and descends upon this Eucharist which is placed in this sanctuary for our reconciliation. With silence and fear stand and pray! Salvation to us and the peace of God the Father of all of us. Let us cry out and say thrice: Have mercy on us, O Lord, and send down the Holy and Life-giving Spirit upon us! Hear me, O Lord! And let Thy living and it descend upon me and upon this sacrifice! And so complete this mystery, that it be the Body of Christ our God for our redemption!" The prayers for the Pope of Rome, the Patriarch of Antioch, and all the metropolitans and bishops and orthodox professors and believers of the Catholic Faith immediately follow. This in turn is followed by a long prayer by the deacon for tranquillity, peace, and the commemoration of all the saints and doctors of the early Church and of Syria, including St. John Maro, with the petition for the dead at the end. Then comes the solemn offering of the Body and the Blood for the sins of priest and people, concluding with the words: "Thy Body and Thy Holy Blood are the way which leads to the Kingdom!" The adoration and the fraction follow; then the celebrant elevates the chalice together with the Host, and says: "O desirable sacrifice which is offered for us! O victim of reconciliation, which the Father obtained in Thy own person! O Lamb, Who wast the same person as the High Priest who sacrificed!" Then he genuflects and makes the sign of the Cross over the chalice: "Behold the Blood which was shed upon Golgotha for my redemption; because of it receive my supplication." The "Sanctus fortis" is again sung, and the celebrant lifts the Sacred Body on high and says: "Holy things for holy persons, in purity and holiness!" The fraction of the Host follows after several prayers, and the priest mingles a particle with the Blood, receives the Body and the Blood himself, and gives communion to the clergy and then to the people. When it is finished he makes the sign of the Cross with the paten and blesses the people.

Then follow a synapte (litany) of thanksgiving, and a second signing of the people with both paten and chalice, after which the priest consumes all the remaining species saying afterwards the prayers at the purification and ablution. The prayer of blessing and protection is said, and the people and choir sing: "Alleluia! Alleluia! I have fed upon Thy Body and by Thy living Blood I am reconciled, and I have sought refuge in Thy Cross! Through these may I please Thee, O Good Lord, and grant Thou mercy to the sinners who call upon Thee!" Then they sing the final hymn of praise, which in this anaphora contains the words: "By the prayers of Simon Peter, Rome was made the royal city, and she shall not be shaken!" Then the people all say or sing the Lord's Prayer; when it is finished, the final benediction is given, and the priest, coming again to the foot of the altar, takes off his sacred vestments and proceeds to make his thanksgiving.

The principal editions of the Maronite missals and service books for the deacons and those assisting at the altar are The Book of Sacrifice according to the Rite of the Maronite Church of Antioch (Kozhayya, 1816, 1838, and 1885; Beirut, 1888), and The Book of the Ministry according to the Rite of the Maronite Church of Antioch (Kozhayya, 1855).

Maronites in America

The Maronites are chiefly from the various districts of Mount Lebanon and from the city of Beirut, and were at first hardly distinguishable from the other Syrians and Arabic-speaking persons who came to America. At first they were merely pedlars and small traders, chiefly in religious and devotional articles, but they soon got into other lines of business and at present possess many well-established business enterprises. Not only are they established in the United States but they have also spread to Mexico and Canada, and have several fairly large colonies in Brazil, Argentine, and Uruguay. Their numbers in the United States are variously estimated from 100,000 to 120,000, including the native born. Many of them have become prosperous merchants and are now American citizens. Several Maronite families of title (Emir) have emigrated and made their homes in the United States; among them are the Emirs Al-Kazen, Al-Khouri, Abi-Saab, and others. There is also the well-known Arabic novelist of the present day, Madame Karam Hanna (Afifa Karam) of Shreveport, Louisiana, formerly of Amshid, Mount Lebanon, who not only writes entertaining fiction, but touches on educational topics and even women's rights. Nahum Mokarzel, a graduate of the Jesuit College of Beirut, is a clever writer both in Arabic and English. The Maronites are established in New York, the New England States, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Alabama. The first Maronite priest to visit the United States was Rev. Joseph Mokarzel, who arrived in 1879 but did not remain. Very Rev. Louis Kazen of Port Said, Egypt, came later, but, as there were very few of his countrymen, he likewise returned. On 6 August, 1890, the Rev. Butrosv Korkemas came to establish a permanent mission, and after considerable difficulty rented a tiny chapel in a store on Washington Street, New York City. He was accompanied by his nephew, Rev. Joseph Yasbek, then in deacon's orders, who was later ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Corrigan, and founded the Maronite mission in Boston; he is now Chor-Bishop of the Maronites and practically the head of that rite in America.

A church was later established in Philadelphia, then one in Troy and one in Brooklyn, after which the Maronites branched out to other cities. At present (1911) there are fifteen Maronite churches in the United States: in New York, Brooklyn, Troy, Buffalo, Boston, Lawrence, Springfield, Philadelphia, Scranton, St. Paul, St. Louis, Birmingham, Chicago, Wheeling, and Cleveland. Meanwhile new congregations are being formed in smaller cities, and are regularly visited by missionary priests. The Maronite clergy is composed of two chor-bishops (deans vested with certain episcopal powers) and twenty-three other priests, of whom five are Antonine monks. In Mexico there are three Maronite chapels and four priests. In Canada there is a Maronite chapel at New Glasgow and one resident priest. There are only two Arabic-English schools, in New York and St. Louis, since many of the Maronite children go to the ordinary Catholic or to the public schools. There are no general societies or clubs with religious objects, although there is a Syrian branch of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. About fifteen years ago Nahum A. Mokarzel founded and now publishes in New York City the daily newspaper, "Al Hoda" (The Guidance), which is now the best known Arabic newspaper in the world and the only illustrated one. His brother also publishes an Arabic monthly magazine, "Al Alam ul Jadid" (The New World), which contains modern Arabic literature and translations of American and English writers. There are also two Maronite papers published in Mexico. The Maronites also have in New York a publishing house on a small scale, in which novels, pamphlets, and scientific and religious works are printed in Arabic, and the usual Arabic literature sold.

Other Oriental rites

The rites already described are the principal rites to be met with in the United States; but there are besides them a few representatives of the remaining Eastern rites, although these are perhaps not sufficiently numerous to maintain their own churches or to constitute separate ecclesiastical entities. Among these smaller bodies are: (1) the Chaldean Catholics and the schismatic Christians of the same rite, known as Nestorians; (2) the Syrian Catholics or Syro-Catholics and their correlative dissenters, the Jacobites, and (3) finally the Copts, Catholic or Orthodox. All of these have a handful of representatives in America, and, as immigration increases, it is a question how great their numbers will become.

Chaldean or Syro-Chaldean Catholic Rite

Those who profess this rite are Eastern Syrians, coming from what was anciently Mesopotamia, but is now the borderland of Persia. They ascribe the origin of the rite to two of the early disciples, Addeus and Maris, who first preached the Gospel in their lands. It is really a remnant of the early Persian Church, and it has always used the Syriac language in its liturgy. The principal features of the rite and the celebration of the Mass have already been described (see LITURGY OF ADDEUS AND MARIS). The peculiar Syriac which it uses is known as the eastern dialect, as distinguished from that used in the Maronite and Syro-Catholic rites which is the western dialect. The method of writing this church Syriac among the Chaldeans is somewhat different from that used in writing it among the western Syrians. The Chaldeans and Nestorians use in their church books the antique letters of the older versions of the Syriac Scriptures which are called "astrangelo," and their pronunciation is somewhat different. The Chaldean Church in ancient times was most flourishing, and its history under Persian rule was a bright one. Unfortunately in the sixth century it embraced the Nestorian heresy, for Nestorius on being removed from the See of Constantinople went to Persia and taught his views (see NESTORIUS AND NESTORIANISM; PERSIA). The Chaldean Church took up his heresy and became Nestorian. This Nestorian Church not only extended throughout Mesopotamia and Persia, but penetrated also into India (Malabar) and even into China. The inroads of Mohammedanism and its isolation from the centre of unity and from intercommunication with other Catholic bodies caused it to diminish through the centuries. In the sixteenth century the Church in Malabar, India, came into union with the Holy See, and this induced the Nestorians to do likewise. The conversion of part of the Nestorians and the reunion of their ancient Church with the Holy See began in the seventeenth century, and has continued to the present day. The Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon (who really has his see at Mossul) is the chief prelate of the Chaldean Catholics, and has under him two archbishops (of Diarbekir and Kerkuk) and nine bishops (of Amadia, Gezireh, Mardin, Mossul, Sakou, Salmas, Seert, Sena, and Urmiah). The Malabar Christians have no regular Chaldean hierarchy, but are governed by vicars Apostolic. The number of Chaldean Catholics is estimated at about 70,000, while the corresponding schismatic Nestorian Church has about 140,000 (see ASIA; CHALDEAN CHRISTIANS).

There are about 100 to 150 Chaldean Catholics in the United States; about fifty live in Yonkers, New York, while the remainder are scattered in New York City and vicinity. The community in Yonkers is cared for by Rev. Abdul Masih (a married priest from the Diocese of Diarbekir), who came to this country from Damascus some six years ago. He says Mass in a chapel attached to St. Mary's Catholic Church, and some Nestorians also attend. At present (1911) there are two other Chaldean priests in this country: Rev. Joseph Ghariba, from the Diocese of Aleppo, who is a travelling missionary for his people, and Rev. Gabriel Oussani, who is professor of church history, patrology, and Oriental languages in St. Joseph's Seminary at Dunwoodie near Yonkers, and from whom some of these particulars have been obtained. There are also said to be about 150 Nestorians in the United States the majority of these live and work in Yonkers, New York. They have no priest of their own, and, where they do not attend the Catholic Rite, are drifting into modern Protestantism. Several of them have become members of the Episcopal Church, and they are looked after by Dr. Abraham Yohannan, an Armenian from Persia, now a minister in the Episcopal Church and lecturer on modern Persian at Columbia University. They have no church or chapel of their own.

Syro-Catholic Rite

This rite is professed by those Syriac Christians who were subjects of the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch; these are spread throughout the plains of Syria and Western Mesopotamia, whereas the Maronites live principally on Mount Lebanon and the sea coast of Syria (see ASIA; EASTERN CHURCHES). The Syriac Mass and liturgy is, like the Maronite (which is but a variation of it), the Liturgy of St. James, Apostle and Bishop of Jerusalem. For this reason, but principally for the reason that Jacob Baradæus and the greater part of the Syriac Church (see JACOB BARADAEUS) embraced the Monophysite heresy of Eutyches (see MONOPHYSITES AND MONOPHYSITISM), the schismatic branch of this rite are called Jacobites, although they call themselves Suriani or Syrians. Thus we have in the three Syrian rites the historic remembrance of the three greatest heresies of the early Church after it had become well-developed. Nestorians and Chaldeans represent Nestorianism and the return to Catholicism; Jacobites and Syro-Catholics represent Monophysitism, and the return to Catholicism; the Maronites represent a vanished Monothelitism now wholly Catholic (see MONOTHELITISM AND MONOTHELITES). The Syro-Catholics like the Maronites vary the Ordinary of their Mass by a large number of anaphoras or canons of the Mass, containing changeable forms of the consecration service. The Syro-Catholics confine themselves to the anaphoras of St. John the Evangelist, St. James, St Peter, St. John Chrysostom, St. Xystus the Pope of Rome, St. Matthew, and St. Basil; but the schismatic Jacobites not only use these, but have a large number of others, some of them not yet in print, amounting perhaps to thirty or more (see SYRIA; EAST SYRIAN RITE). The epistles, gospels, and many well-known prayers of the Mass are said in Arabic instead of the ancient Syriac. The form of their church vestments is derived substantially from the Greek or Byzantine Rite. Their church hierarchy in union with the Holy See consists of the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch with three archbishops (of Bagdad, Damascus, and Homs) and five bishops (of Aleppo, Beirut, Gezireh, Mardin-Diarbekir, and Mossul). The number of Catholics is about 25,000 families, and of the Jacobites about 80,000 to 85,000 persons.

There are about 60 persons of the Syro-Catholic Rite in the eastern part of the United States, of whom forty live in Brooklyn, New York. They are mostly from the Diocese of Aleppo, and their emigration thither began only about five years ago. They have organized a church, although there is but one priest of their rite in the United States Rev. Paul Kassar from Aleppo, an alumnus of the Propaganda at Rome. He is a mission priest engaged in looking after his countrymen and resides in Brooklyn, but he is only here upon an extended leave of absence from the diocese. There are also some thirty or forty Syro-Jacobites in the United States; they are mostly from Mardin, Aleppo, and Northern Syria, and have no priest or chapel of their own.

Coptic Rite

There is only a handful of Copts in this country — in New York City perhaps a dozen individuals. Oriental theatrical pieces, in which an Eastern setting is required, has attracted some of them thither, principally from Egypt. They have no priest, either Catholic or Orthodox, and no place of worship. As to their Church and its organization, see EASTERN CHURCHES; EGYPT: Coptic Church.


I. ISSAVERDENZ, The Armenian Liturgy (Venice, 1873); IDEM, The Armenian Ritual (Venice, 1873); IDEM, The Sacred Rites and Ceremonies of the Armenian Church (Venice, 1888); PRINCE MAXIMILLAN, Missa Armenica (Ratisbon and New York, 1908); FORTESCUE, The Armenian Church (London, 1873); ASDVADZADOURIANTS, Armenian Liturgy, Armenian and English (London, 1887); BRIGHTMAN, Liturgies Eastern and Western (Oxford, 1896); NILLES, Kalendarium Manuale, II (Innsbruck, 1897); U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, Religious Bodies, pt. II (Washington, 1910).

III. DANDINI, Reisebemerkungen ueber die Maroniten (Jena, 1903); ISTAFAN-AL-DAWAIHI, A History of the Maronites (Beirut, 1890); NAU, Opuscules Maronites (Paris, 1899-1900); KOHLER, Die kathol. Kirchen des Morgenlandes (Darmstadt, 1896); PRINCE MAXIMILLAN, Missa Maronitica (Ratisbon and New York, 1907); AZAR, Les Maronites (Cambrai, 1852); ETHERRIDGE, The Syrian Churcha (London, 1879); SILBERNAGL, Verfassung u. gegenwaertiger Bestand saemtlicher Kirchen des Orients (Ratisbon, 1904).

About this page

APA citation. Shipman, A. (1912). Rites in the United States. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Shipman, Andrew. "Rites in the United States." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by John Fobian. In memory of Max Dominick.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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