Western Christendom till the Reformation was Latin; even now the Protestant bodies still bear unmistakably the mark of their Latin ancestry. In a still broader sense the East may be called Greek.True, many Eastern Churches know nothing of Greek; the oldest (Nestorians, Armenians, Abyssinians) have never used Greek liturgically nor for their literature; nevertheless they too depend in some sense on a Greek tradition. vi) there were three patriarchates, those of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.But both these lands eventually fell back into the branches that surrounded them (except for the thin remnant of the Catholic Italo-Greeks).
Historically and archeologically, it is a secondary question.
Each Catholic body has been formed from one of the schismatical ones; their organizations are comparatively late, dating in most cases from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
In faith a Catholic Armenian, for instance, is joined to Catholic Chaldees and Copts, and has no more to do with the schismatical Armenians than with Nestorians or Abyssinians. He knows quite well that he is a Catholic in union with the Pope of Rome, and that he is equally in union with every other Catholic.
Nevertheless, national customs, languages, and rites tell very strongly on the superficies, and our Catholic Armenian would certainly feel very much more at home in a non-Catholic church of his own nation than in a Coptic Catholic, or even Latin, church.
Moreover, although all these Eastern-Rite Catholics of course agrees in the same Catholic Faith we profess, they are not organized as one body.
Each branch keeps the rites (with in some cases modifications made at Rome for dogmatic reasons) of the corresponding schismatical body, and has an organization modelled on the same plan.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.The division of Eastern and Western Churches, then, in its origin corresponds to that of the empire.Western Churches are those that either gravitate around Rome or broke away from her at the Reformation.What in one case is a schism (as for instance between Orthodox and Jacobites) still remains as a not very friendly feeling between the different Eastern Catholic Churches (in this case Melkites and Catholic Syrians).