This is always good to take note of, although the vast majority of Catholics in the world are Latin-rite. We do have significant populations of the Eastern-rite Catholics in our countries, notably the Syro-Malabaris of south India. These twenty-three or so communities of Catholics are significantly smaller in numbers (with the exception of the Maronites, the Chaldeans and the south Indians) than the non-Catholic communities they have often emerged from and many of them are called ‘uniates,’ because they have sought union with the Holy See of Rome. They are the fruit of much ecumenical dialogue over the centuries and are a great joy to us. Here’s a comprehensive list of Eastern Catholic churches, from the Wikipedia site on sui iuris churches, churches which are autonomous and self-governing, with their own hierarchical administration:
1. Maronite Catholic. Syriac-rite community often linked to the ancient Phoenicians, with a well known and influencial patriarchate in the Lebanon and significant communities the world over. Patriarch, Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai.
2. Melkite Greek Catholic. A uniate church emerging from the patriarchate of Antioch, with a strong presence in the Levant and throughout Syria, with significant communities in the West. The Melkites use the Byzantine liturgical tradition. Patriarch, Youssef Absi.
3. Armenian Catholic. Called of Cilicia, the patriarchate was moved from Constantinople to Beirut following the Turkish persecution of the Armenians in the early twentieth century. Following a turbulent history until the present time, the church has been travelling north of Syria. Patriarch, Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan.
4. Chaldean Catholic. A uniate based in Baghdad (safer than Mosul) that emerged from the Assyrian Church of the East, drawing a majority of its membership, today two-thirds. Patriarch, Louis Raphael I Cardinal Sako.
5. Syriac Catholic. Associated with Antioch, with the patriarchate in Beirut, but with the heartland on the Nineve plains, north of Baghdad. Patriarch, Ignace Youssef III Younan.
6. Coptic Catholic. A tiny uniate church of the Copts based in Alexandria. Patriarch, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.
16. Albanian Greek Catholic
17. Belarusian Greek Catholic
18. Bulgarian Greek Catholic
19. Byzantine Catholic Croatia and Serbia
20. Greek Byzantine Catholic
21. Italo-Albanian Catholic
22. Macedonian Greek Catholic
23. Russian Greek Catholic