The Church is the new and continuous living Pentecost. The commissioning of the twelve Apostles was not limited to one group or race, to one nation or one geographic location. Nor was it restricted to the one particular era during which Jesus lived. Jesus commissioned the Twelve saying: “Therefore go and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:19, 20b). The first Church nucleus saw the light in Jerusalem, and the success of the simple fishermen was overwhelming. This success stemmed from the fact that Jesus” promises were fulfilled. The greatest witness to this success is that the Church has entered its third millennium and is stronger than ever. Starting in Jerusalem, the Apostles went to all “four corners of the world.” Ensuing generations of Apostles in various locales continued in the footsteps of the first generation and the commissioning torch was handed down to our day. Although the Church suffered a great deal of hardship and persecution, it never ceased to spread and flourish in many different countries. Enriched by the variety of particular traditions, be it the type of worship or the form of discipline, the Church at large developed different linguistic, artistic and cultural traits. From East to West the rich diversity of faithful professed the same Catholic truth but worshipped in a particular way, each according to its local customs. But all these churches which developed independently make up the One Catholic Church in the Unity of Faith , in the Celebration of the Seven Sacraments . Although they have their own particular hierarchy, they are in communion with the Pope of Rome .
These autonomous Churches developed their own style of worship, spirituality, liturgy, theology, music, art and other types of disciplines stemming from location, ethnicity, culture and language. Although they are self-governed, they belong to different types of hierarchical discipline. Some are Patriarchal, others Archiepiscopal and still others Metropolitan. For example: the Maronite Church would be categorized as Eastern, Patriarchal and Antiochene.
The Maronite Church is the only Eastern Church which neither parted from the unity of the Church of Rome nor had an Eastern Orthodox counterpart. It is worth mentioning that this Church had maintained Aramaic, the language of our Lord, to this day. At a Maronite Divine Liturgy, anywhere around the globe, one can still hear the Institution Narrative (the words of consecration) in Aramaic, the same language Our Lord used and the same words He pronounced at that Last Supper.
The table below shows the Catholic Church in its various traditions from which the particular churches have developed. Everyone can trace the origin of his or her particular traditions by relating it to one of these listed Rites.
Malabar West Syriac