Georgian Byzantine-Rite Catholics

Georgian Byzantine-Rite Catholics

Georgian Byzantine-Rite Catholics

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Georgian Byzantine Rite Catholics (Catholics of Georgia nationality or origin who are of Byzantine or "Greek" rite) are estimated at only 500 worldwide.

History

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, when almost all Georgian Catholics were of the Latin Rite, some wished to use the Byzantine rite used by the Georgian Orthodox Church. The Russian Tsarist government, which had controlled Georgia since the beginning of that century, made use of that rite exclusive to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Accordingly, some of these Georgians, clergy as well as laity, adopted the Armenian Rite and joined the Armenian Catholic diocese of Artvin, which had been set up in Russian Transcaucasia in 1850.

Only after the granting of religious freedom in Russia in 1905 did some Catholics in Georgia adopt the Byzantine rite.

In 1861, outside of Georgia, indeed outside of the whole of the Russian Empire, Father Peter Karishiaranti (Pétre Kharistshirashvili) founded in Constantinople two religious congregations of the Immaculate Conception, one for men, the other for women. These served Georgian Catholics living in the then capital of the Ottoman Empire. They also served in Montaubon, France. These congregations are long extinct, although some of their members were still alive in the late 1950s. The building that housed the male congregation, in Feriköy district, still stands...
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