Uniates (уніяти; uniiaty). The popular term for Eastern Christians recognizing the authority of the papacy. In Ukraine and Belarus the term came into common use after the Church Union of Berestia (1596), when some Orthodox Ukrainians and Belarusians united with Rome by accepting Catholic dogmas but retained their Byzantine rite and canonical peculiarities. In Catholic and Uniate writings those who rejected the Union were frequently called ‘Disuniates.’ The term ‘Uniates’ took on a negative coloration in Orthodox polemical literature, Ukrainian folk oral literature (the duma), and some modern Ukrainian writings (above all in the poems of Taras Shevchenko). In modern times Ukrainian Catholics have objected to the term both for ecclesiological reasons and because of pejorative connotations it has taken on in writings of the Union's opponents. (See also Greek Catholic church and Ukrainian Catholic church.)

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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