We have already noted that they are by no means all in communion with each other, nor have they any common basis of language, rite or faith.
All are covered by a division into the great , those formed by the Nestorian and Monophysite heresies (the original Monothelites are now all Eastern-Rite Catholics), and lastly the Catholic Eastern Rites corresponding in each case to a schismatical body.
Outwardly, the bond of a common language and common liturgy is often the essential and radical division of a schism.Indeed these Eastern Catholic bodies in many cases still faintly reflect the divisions of their schismatical relations.Their adherents everywhere belong of course to the Western portion.It is now possible to draw up the list of bodies that answer to our definition.But it must not be imaged that either half is in any sense one Church.
The Latin half was so (in spite of a few unimportant schisms) till the Reformation.Moreover, although all these Eastern-Rite Catholics of course agrees in the same Catholic Faith we profess, they are not organized as one body.Each branch keeps the rites (with in some cases modifications made at Rome for dogmatic reasons) of the corresponding schismatical body, and has an organization modelled on the same plan.Western Christendom till the Reformation was Latin; even now the Protestant bodies still bear unmistakably the mark of their Latin ancestry. In a still broader sense the East may be called Greek.True, many Eastern Churches know nothing of Greek; the oldest (Nestorians, Armenians, Abyssinians) have never used Greek liturgically nor for their literature; nevertheless they too depend in some sense on a Greek tradition. vi) there were three patriarchates, those of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.An accident of political development has made it possible to divide the Christian world, in the first place, into two great halves, Eastern and Western.