|Doctrines|| ||The Melkites are Uniate
Christians who acknowledge, firstly, the authority of the papacy and,
secondly, the authority of the Melkite Catholic patriarch of Antioch and
of All the East.|
|History|| ||The term "Melkite"
derives from the Syriac word malka, meaning "king" or "emperor". It was
used by anti-Chalcedonian Christians to describe those Christians within
the patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch or Jerusalem who supported the
emperor's christological position after Chalcedon. After the Arab
invasion of eastern Christendom in the seventh century the Melkites came
to place themselves increasingly under the jurisdiction of Constantinople
and to adopt the Byzantine rite.|
Historically, Melkites sought to ally themselves to both Rome and Constantinople. But in 1724 a Catholic Melkite Church was set up in Antioch to rival the Orthodox Melkite Church. This Catholic Melkite Church suffered bloody persecution at the hands of the Ottoman Turks during the early decades of the nineteenth century. However, the patriarch Maximos Ill Mazlum (1833-1855) managed to persuade the Turkish government complete independence for his church. Today the patriarch of Antioch has jurisdiction over all the regions of the former Ottoman empire and Egypt.
|Symbols|| ||The cross to commemorate
the death and resurrection of Christ; bread and wine to commemorate
Christ's last supper; and water to commemorate Christ's baptism and to
symbolise the cleansing of sins.|
|Adherents|| ||There are some 924,202
Melkite believers (Harris et al. 1994, 144). There are Melkite
communities in the following countries: Egypt, 7,500; Iraq, 340; Israel,
3,000; Jordan, 18,288; Lebanon, 339,225; Syria, 166,500 (Europa
Publications Limited, 1:1073, 1:1569, 1:1610, 1:1713, 2:1867, 2:2940).
There are also Melkite communities in Australia, Canada, Mexico, and
patriarch resides in Damascus, but spends part of the year in Alexandria