About The Maronite Church

Jesus with Saint Peter and Saint Maron

Icon: The Almighty Lord is seated on the throne in front of the celestial circle with its luminous gradations. To His right, stands St. Peter the Rock of the Church of Antioch (first) and of Rome (second) and to His left, St. Maron the monk-priest, carrying his Church, offering her in supplication.

Are we Catholic?

 

This is not an uncommon question that many Maronites in the United States face at times. The answer is yes. We are Catholic. We are also in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, whom we recognize as the visible Head of the Catholic Church. To illustrate this further, here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1203) has stated about Maronite Catholics as well as other Eastern Catholics.

 

The liturgical traditions or rites presently in use in the Church are the Latin (principally the Roman rite, but also the rites of certain local churches, such as the Ambrosian rite, or those certain religious orders) and the Byzantine, Alexandrian or Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite and Chaldean rites. In "faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity, and that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way."

 

The majority of Catholics in the United States are 'Roman' Catholics. Yet at times many people forget, or are completely unaware of the fact, that the Catholic Church is a communion of twenty-two Eastern and Western churches within it. Each Church or 'rite', contains their own unique traditions, cultures, languages, architecture as well as music. While Eastern and Western Christians express the same basic truths of their Catholic faith handed on to them from the apostles, they live these truths in unique ways as well as different worship forms.

 

It is important to remind ourselves that the early Church started in the East. Our Lord Jesus Christ lived, died and resurrected in the Holy Land. As Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Mary, commissioned the apostles to go into the world and make disciples of all nations, the early Church with its foundation in Jerusalem spread throughout the known world. The first Christians were Jews and entire communities came to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. As a result, the early church was influenced by its Jewish culture and its Christian heritage.

Next Page