Do Maronites have to follow Maronite Rules?

I am Maronite in the USA. Can I pick to follow Maronite or Latin terms for fasting?

Also if you are from another Eastern Catholic Church, what do you do to fast or abstain on Fridays, Wednesdays and lent? I am curious.

You are bound by the rules and laws of your canonical Church. so yes, you’re required to follow the Maronite fasting terms.

That being said, Eastern tradition has always been that you fast according to your ability. If you can’t fast until noon because you’re diabetic or hypogycemic, then you wouldn’t be bound by that “rule.”


Not an expert, but it seems to me that you should follow the rules of your particular Church, unless there is a valid reason for an exception under those rules.


ok thank you

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As a fellow Maronite, trust me, I know how difficult it can be to fast until noon.

But check out the Desert Fathers on fasting sometime. They’re very pastoral in their approach. The assumption is always that a person fasts, and there’s always some sort of guideline in place. But the guideline is always an ideal toward which we strive, not a law that’s set in stone.


I see… Thank you for your help. :upside_down_face::slightly_smiling_face::upside_down_face:

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I’ve got a question though, my parents are Maronites, but follow the Roman Catholic laws and only abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent and the first and last week. I really do not have too much influence on what I get to eat, and I did somehow end up more religious than my parents. I don’t know what to do really…

If you are a minor, follow your parents’ directives, and eat what they serve. Once you are an adult then you can follow other rules.


Eastern Catholic Canon Law (CCEO) specifies to follow the norms of your sui iuris Church.

Canon 882 - On the days of penance the Christian faithful are obliged to observe fast or abstinence in the manner established by the particular law of their Church sui iuris.

Canon 883 - §1. The Christian faithful who are outside the territorial boundaries of their own Church sui iuris can adopt fully for themselves the feast days and days of penance which are in force where they are staying.
§2. In families in which the parents are enrolled in different Churches sui iuris, it is permitted to observe the norms of one or the other Church, in regard to feast days and days of penance.

I am Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic and we are encouraged to abstain and fast per tradition to our ability. The minimum, however, is the hour communion fast and the rule on most Fridays and during the four penitential periods is to abstain from meat (or do other penitential practice). Some days are strict - Clean Monday and Good Friday (no meat, milk products, eggs) and others are no (just no meat). All Wednesdays and Fridays in Great Lent are observed.


Hold up, I was going through the rules and it says we fast from December 13 to 24. Does that mean that we fast on Christmas eve? I’m pretty sure it’s a feast day, so it is exempt? If so, why don’t they just move the date to 23?

Thank you in advance

Also, does pancakes and similar count as dairy?

I forgot that question…


If pancakes are made with dairy products, yes.


Excerpt from the Statutes of the Eparchy of St. Maron (for full text:

Times of Fast and Penitence

STATUTE 99. In our Maronite Church all Fridays of the year are considered to be days of penance, and days of abstinence from meat and dairy products, (with the exception of Fridays that fall on a Holy Day, or Fridays between the Nativity of the Lord and the Glorious Epiphany, and between the Resurrection and Pentecost). Although highly encouraged, this rule of abstinence is not obligatory in this Eparchy. However, it is obligatory to abstain from meat on Ash Monday and on all Fridays of Lent, as long as one is physically able to do so.

STATUTE 100. Ash Monday and Great Friday are not only days of abstinence, but also
days of fast, whereby, no food or drink (except water or medication) is to be taken from midnight until noon, as long as one is physically able to do so.

STATUTE 101. Great Lent and Passion Week, beginning on Ash Monday and ending at 12:00 (noon) on Saturday of the Light, is a season of penitence. In our Maronite Church each day of this season is considered to be a day of
fasting and abstinence from meat and dairy products, (with the exception of Sundays and Holy Days). Although highly encouraged, this fast is not obligatory in this Eparchy. However, it is obligatory to abstain from meat on Ash Monday and all Fridays of Lent, and to fast on Ash Monday and Great Friday, as long as one is physically able to do so.

STATUTE 102. In our Maronite Church the “Christmas Fast” is observed on all days, except Sundays, from December 16 until noon on December 24. Each day of this period is considered to be a day of fasting and abstinence
from meat and dairy products, (with the exception of Sundays). Although highly encouraged, this fast is not obligatory in this Eparchy.

In my Ukrainian Greek Catholic family, we always kept Christmas Eve as a strict fast day. No meat, no dairy products and nothing with meat or dairy products in them. And as I’ve posted on other threads, my Russian Orthodox cousins are in their 60s & 70s and still keep all the traditional fasts, including the Eucharistic fast from midnight.

Because you’re a minor, you need to talk to your priest AND your parents about how you want to keep your Maronite tradition. They can help you much better.

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P.S. The statutes refer to “Ash Monday”. In the rest of the Byzantine Churches, it’s called Clean/Pure Monday which is 2 days before Ash Wednesday on the Latin calendar.

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The Maronite Church is a Syriac Church that, properly speaking, would be classified among the “oriental” Churches (like the Armenians, the Syriac Church, and the Chaldeans). We have a different liturgical calendar and different rules for fasting than do the Churches of the Byzantine traditions.

“Ash Monday” is our equivalent to “Clean/Pure Monday” even though the ashes themselves are strictly speaking, a Latinization.

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Thank you.

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Technically speaking you following the norms according to your Maronite Eparchy. In the United States, the two Maronite Bishops generally make recommendations on following a more traditional fast, but they follow the obligations as set forth by the USCCB.

So for you, being a Maronite in the United States, there is no obligatory differences between the Roman Catholic and Maronite fasting regulations, with the sole exceptions of Ash Monday and great Friday. They are virtually the same.

As you can see from what @Margaret_Ann posted, all the extra fasting outside of Lent is “recommended but not obligatory”.

EDIT TO ADD: Here’s a good summary in general of Maronite fasting traditions, written by a friend of mine:

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When/why do Maronites fast until noon. I’m not too knowledgeable about Syriac Christianity.

Is it every day? Just on Friday/Wednesday?

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I know it used to be until 3, when Jesus died on the cross, but they shortened it to 12.

Thank you very much Margeret_Ann, you really helped me out there. I guess I’ll just fast and abstain in lent and do another act of penance the rest of the days for now, but still try my best to at least Friday and Wednesday for now. My family has been doing the minimum that is obligatory for Maronites. But again, minimum isn’t for me. I guess when I grow up I will try my best. Thank you all very much, and I loved to learn about traditions of my other eastern brothers and sisters. May God bless all of you.

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