In the early centuries, worship in the Church assumed distinct forms in the major centres: Rome, Alexandria (Liturgy of S. Mark) Antioch and Jerusalem (of S. James) and Constantinople (of S. Basil and S.John Chrysostom). A variety of Latin rites were used across Western Europe, and there was some mutual influence. It is interesting to note that there was no dispute over the external forms of worship. All held the same faith and respected each other's expressions of that faith.
The separation of
what are now called the Oriental Churches, and the Mohamedan
weakened the position of the Eastern Orthodox communities in Syria and
Egypt, and the missions in Russia and other Slavic lands adopted
the rite of Constantinople in Slavonic. As a result, the rites other
that of Constantinople eventually survived only among separated
but over the succeeding centuries, minor differences of
and musical style evolved among in the Orthodox
nations. The form of service however retained its coherence and came to be thought of as "the Orthodox Liturgy".
On the eve of the Great Schism (1054) between the Eastern and Western Patriarchs the Roman Rite held sway over most of Western (Catholic) Europe, while. Increasingly the Eastern (Orthodox) Churches used what we today call the Byzantine Rite (of Byzantium, called Constantinople by the Christians). After that schism, two rites came to characterize two separate churches; although each continued to admit the legitimacy of the other's rite, and first Rome, and later Orthodoxy, came to include people of the other rite - although under rather different circumstances. The "Uniate" Churches were created by considerable pressure, and, perhaps as a result, Orthodox authorities accepted western communities much later, and with some caution.