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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.
We have now a general criterion by which to answer the question: What is an Eastern Church?
Eastern Churches depend originally on the Eastern Empire at Constantinople; they are those that either find their centre in the patriarchate of that city (since the centralization of the fourth century) or have been formed by schisms which in the first instance concerned Constantinople rather than the Western world.
Another distinction, that can be applied only in the most general and broadest sense, is that of language. 430) most of all, who built up the traditions of the West; in ritual and canon law the Latin or Roman school formed the West.
To these we must add those formed by missionaries (especially Russians) from one of these Churches.
Later Latin and Protestant missions have further complicated the tangled state of the ecclesiastical East.