/mel"kuyt/, n.
1. a Christian in Egypt and Syria who accepted the definition of faith adopted by the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451.
2. of or pertaining to the Melchites.
Also, Melkite.
[1610-20; < ML Melchita < MGk Melchítes royalist, equiv. to melch- < Syriac malka king (or < a deriv. adj. of appurtenance) + -ites -ITE1]

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▪ Christian sect
also spelled  Melkite,  

      any of the Christians of Syria and Egypt who accepted the ruling of the Council of Chalcedon (Chalcedon, Council of) (451) affirming the two natures—divine and human—of Christ. Because they shared the theological position of the Byzantine emperor, they were derisively termed Melchites—that is, Royalists or Emperor's Men (from Syriac malkā: “king”)—by those who rejected the Chalcedonian definition and believed in only one nature in Christ (the monophysite heresy). While the term originally referred only to Egyptian Christians, it came to be used for all Chalcedonians in the Middle East and finally, losing its pejorative tone, came to designate the faithful of the patriarchates of Alexandria, Jerusalem, and especially Antioch.

      The Melchite community generally consisted of Greek colonists and the Arabicized populations of Egypt and Syria. They adopted the Byzantine rite and thus followed Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, into schism with Rome in 1054. For several centuries afterward, the patriarch of Antioch attempted reunification with Rome, and a small number of Melchite Catholics emerged. Final union came in 1724, when Cyril VI, a Catholic, was elected patriarch of Antioch; he was followed by several bishops and a third of the faithful. The Orthodox who opposed union elected their own patriarch, Silvester, and obtained the legal recognition from the Ottoman government that assured them autonomy. About 100 years later, after much persecution and religious difficulties with Jesuits and Lebanese Maronites, the Catholics also received autonomous status from the Ottoman Turks, which allowed for normal activity and growth.

      While there had been some few conversions to Catholicism in the patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem, there is only one Catholic Melchite “patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and all the East.” In each patriarchate he has his own diocese (Damascus, Jerusalem, Alexandria) and is helped by a patriarchal vicar. There are seven archdioceses—Aleppo, Homs, and Latakia (all in Syria), Beirut and Tyre (both in Lebanon), Basra (in Iraq), and Petra-Philadelphia (Jordan). There are six dioceses, in Acre (Israel) and Baalbek, Baniyas, Saïda, Tripolis, and Zahleh-Furzol (all in Lebanon). The number of Catholic Melchites, who observe the Byzantine liturgy in their vernacular Arabic, totals about 250,000 with an additional 150,000 abroad, mainly in Brazil, Argentina, the United States, and Canada.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Melchite — Mel chite, n. [Heb. melek king.] (Eccl. Hist.) One of a sect, chiefly in Syria and Egypt, which acknowledges the authority of the pope, but adheres to the liturgy and ceremonies of the Eastern Church. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Melchite — [mel′kīt΄] n. [ModL Melchita < MGr melchitēs, lit., a royalist < Heb mēlekh, king] a member of the Eastern Church of the Byzantine rite, as in Egypt, Israel, and Syria: also Melkite …   English World dictionary

  • Melchite — Manuscrit trouvé au Sinaï qui aurait été utilisé par les Melchites Melchite est une appellation donnée par les Syriaques Jacobites à ceux qui partagent les idées du Concile de Chalcédoine[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • MELCHITE — n. m. Chrétien appartenant au rite grec uni à l’église romaine. Le patriarche grec melchite d’Antioche …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • Melchite — or Melkite noun Etymology: New Latin Melchita, from Middle Greek Melchitēs, from Syriac malkāyā, from malkā king Date: 1615 1. an Eastern Christian chiefly of Syria and Egypt adhering to Chalcedonian orthodoxy in preference to Monophysitism 2. a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • melchite — (mèl ki t ) s. m. 1°   Nom donné par les eutychiens aux orthodoxes. •   Je ne m arrêterai pas à l ignorance de votre ministre, qui, en comptant les melchites parmi les sectes d Orient, les oppose aux nestoriens et aux eutychiens, sans songer que… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • melchite — mel·chite …   English syllables

  • Melchite — Mel•chite [[t]ˈmɛl kaɪt[/t]] n. rel a Christian in Egypt or Syria who accepts the definition of faith adopted by the Council of Chalcedon in a.d. 451 • Etymology: 1610–20; < ML Melchīta < MGk Melchitēs royalist =melch (< Syriac malkā… …   From formal English to slang

  • Melchite — /ˈmɛlkaɪt/ (say melkuyt) Eastern Church –adjective 1. of or relating to the Uniat Greek Catholic Church in Syria, Egypt and Israel. –noun 2. a member of this Church. {Medieval Greek Melkhītēs, literally, royalist, from Syriac malkā king} …  

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