Definition of Uniate in US English:


(also Uniat)


  • Relating to any community of Christians in eastern Europe or the Near East that acknowledges papal supremacy but retains its own liturgy.

    ‘the Uniate churches’
    • ‘News of the Uniate church's move first came in June, when Catholic Cardinal Walter Kasper visited Moscow and said that it had been the deathbed wish of Pope John Paul II, who died in April.’
    • ‘Over the centuries, schisms occurred in which the seceders switched allegiance to Rome, forming the Uniate churches.’
    • ‘The 1596 Brest-Litovsk Union divided Ukrainians into Orthodox and Uniate Catholics.’
    • ‘About 80% of Iraqi Christians are Chaldeans or Uniate Catholics.’
    • ‘This is a top-down example of transnational religious activity, documenting in some detail the transfers of money and manpower between Roman and Uniate Catholics in the West and their counterparts in the former Soviet bloc.’


  • A member of a Uniate community.

    • ‘Because the Uniates continued to use the eastern liturgy and follow eastern church practices, they were eventually called Greek Catholics, and today Byzantine Rite Catholics.’
    • ‘There are a small number of Uniates, Seventh-Day Adventists, Baptists, Pentecostalists, Armenian Apostolics, and Molokans.’
    • ‘Like the Eastern churches, the Uniates also allow priests to marry (though monks and bishops must remain celibate).’
    • ‘A group of Assyrians in Cyprus and Iraq broke from Nestorian doctrine in the 1400s and became Uniates, one of a number of Eastern churches admitted into communion with Rome.’
    • ‘This does not include Poland, where 233,000 Uniates, persecuted since 1875, returned fully to the Catholic Church when the government, under pressure from the zemstvos, increased toleration in 1904.’


Mid 19th century: from Russian uniat, from uniya, from Latin unio (see union).