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Latinization refers to the introduction of Roman Catholic elements of theology or praxis into non-Roman traditions. Examples of such traditions have included the Celtic, Mozarabic and Gallican Rites in the west, and the Byzantine, Maronite, and Coptic Churches in the east. In some cases, Latinization has completely supplanted the older traditions. In other cases, especially in the East, churches coming under the authority of the Vatican are allowed to maintain some of their particular institutions while having to accept other particularly Roman Catholic elements.

In its broadest sense, Latinization may include language, music, decorative arts, architecture, and even world view. In theology, it may simply refer to an emphasis on the writings of the Latin Fathers of the Church. Many of the Latin Fathers who wrote before the Great Schism are considered technically Orthodox. Alternatively, post-Schism Roman Catholic theology, saints, and teachings, in the sense that they may influence Orthodox Christians, are also considered Latinizations. Often the term is used pejoratively to describe changes imposed by Rome upon the so-called Eastern Rite Catholic churches. In these instances, when formerly Orthodox jurisdictions came under the authority of Rome, they were required to accept certain canonical and theological changes. Possibly the most notable of these are the requirement of a celibate priesthood and the insertion of the Filioque clause into the Nicene Creedcitation needed (despite the Councils of Lyons and Florence requiring only assent to double procession, not inclusion of the Filioque[1]).


  1. Maas, A. (1909). Filioque. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. (New York: Robert Appleton Company.) Retrieved July 12, 2011 from New Advent.