The Christian Church was born in the Holy Land, what we call the Middle East today. As it spread, the Church took on the ways of the nations which accepted it. In this country, most Christian churches are western because their roots are in western Europe, and their ways reflect the culture of the German, Irish or Italian immigrants who founded them.
Some American churches, including ours, were started by people from Eastern Europe or the Middle East. They still keep the ways of the Holy Land: Jerusalem, where Christ founded His Church; Antioch, where the name Christian was first used; Damascus, where Saint Paul was converted. Because our ways reflect this Eastern culture, we are called ‘Eastern’ Churches.
At the time of the early Church, there were several rich cultures in the Middle East and each of them has given rise to a different church tradition. The traditions of this church reflect the Greek or Byzantine culture, and so we are called Greek Catholics or Byzantine Catholics (from Byzantium, the ancient name for Constantinople).
Greek Catholics in the Middle East were also nicknamed Melkite, because they followed the faith of the Byzantine emperor, or ‘melek’, in supporting the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon.