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Liturgical Latinisation, also known as Latinisation, is the process by which liturgical and other aspects of the Churches of Eastern Christianity (particularly the Eastern Catholic Churches) were altered to resemble more closely the practices of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church. This process particularly occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries, until it was forbidden by Pope Leo XIII in 1894 with his encyclical Orientalium Dignitas. Latinisation is a contentious issue in many churches, and has been called responsible for various schisms.[1]

In recent years Eastern Catholic Churches have been returning to ancient Eastern practices in accord with the Second Vatican Council's decree, Orientalium Ecclesiarum. It mandated that authentic Eastern Catholic practices were not to be set aside in favour of imported Latin Church ones. This further encouraged the movement to return to authentic Eastern liturgical practice, theology and spirituality.[2]

In a somewhat similar development, practices once associated only with the West, such as polyphonic choirs,[3] icons in the style of the Western Renaissance, as in the Cretan School of painting, or even of the Baroque period,[4] and pews,[5] have been adopted also in certain Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches and are today the object of controversy or have been abandoned.


  1. ^ Descy (1993), pp. 58-59, describes one such schism in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, caused by the 1857 adoption of the Gregorian Calendar
  2. ^ Parry (1999), p. 292
  3. ^ Ivan Moody, "Some Aspects of the Polyphonic Treatment of Byzantine Chant in the Orthodox Church in Europe"
  4. ^ Orthodox Art and Architecture
  5. ^ A Call for the Removal of Pews in Orthodox Churches


  • Descy, Serge (1993). The Melkite Church. Boston: Sophia Press. 
  • Parry, Ken; David Melling (editors) (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity. Malden, MA.: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-23203-6. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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