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1.                  The liturgy is the living treasure for the Maronite Church. It is on a permanent pilgrimage toward the Kingdom of the Father. The Church is enriched by the liturgy and her spiritual and human experiences are richer through it. The liturgy plays a central role in the march of the Church. It is one of the most essential constitutive elements of the Church that begins with the Paschal Event: the death of the Lord Jesus on the Cross and his Resurrection from the dead. The liturgy is the source from which the Church draws her spirituality and puts on holiness. It is the goal of all ecclesial activities dealing with the mysteries and the missionary efforts of the Church’s presence in the world.

The liturgy was the primary subject that ecumenical councils dealt with. To show how important the liturgy is to the life of the Church, the fathers of Vatican II chose to treat it in a special constitution in the first session. The Maronite Church accorded great importance to the liturgy from the 16th century to the middle of the 20th century in her local synods. This attention given to the liturgy helped her easily implement the instructions of the Vatican Council and answer the repeated calls of the popes and, more recently, the apostolic exhortation "A New Hope for Lebanon." In responding to these calls, the Maronite Church renewed the structures and texts of her rituals according to the instructions laid down in ”The Constitution on the Liturgy” by returning to the sources[1] and origins. This Synodal journey offers a fitting occasion for this renewal.

2.                  The liturgical experience of the Church flows out from the Holy Trinity and returns to it. The liturgy is the expression of the Church’s prayerful experience with and toward the Trinity. Through it, the redeemed community thanks and glorifies God the Father, Creator and Savior. Her expression of gratitude is a Eucharist offered with the Only Son who thanked the Father for the salvation realized in him for the sake of the world. The liturgy of the Church is achieved by the Holy Spirit who came down on it at Pentecost and dwells within it during the liturgical celebration. The Holy Spirit completes seals and realizes in it and in the world the fruit of salvation. The Spirit is the one who guides the Church of Christ. The Spirit leads her, renews her and makes her a permanent Pentecost; he prays in her with patience beyond description. Then, the liturgy is the work and the celebration of the Holy Trinity; it flows from and returns to the Holy Trinity. Through this Trinitarian dynamic the Church becomes one with the paschal mystery of Christ’s death, descent to Sheol and resurrection. Thus, the liturgical celebration becomes a living experience of a renewed Easter and a continuous proclamation of the resurrection[2].

The liturgy occupies the most central place in the Church. It is one of the constitutive elements of the Church. It is the pure expression of the prayerful spiritual experience of the Church. For this reason it reaches its climax in the great worshiping service in which the celebrating Church renders glory to the life-giving Trinity.

Hence, the Church becomes the real educator of Christian life and the most complete brief expression of her various aspects. The liturgy is the climax and source of the life of the Church[3]. It is a participation in the mystery of Christ and his Church; it ”actualizes” it for the present time and calls the believers to meditate on it and live it, giving thanks to the Lord for his infinite love.

3.                  The liturgical experience in general and, more specifically, the Eucharistic experience, constitute the first theological/human ”locus” for the proclamation of the Lord's death and his blessed resurrection. In the liturgy the Church participates effectively and instantaneuously in the paschal mystery. Life is renewed in the pasychal mystery and from it pours the whole liturgical and sacramental life. From the person of Christ, the liturgy assumes its eschatological dimension because he is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the awaited king who will come in glory to judge the living and the dead.

The Maronite liturgy summarizes the Maronite experience and embodies it in most of her dimensions and aspects. Thus, theology, spirituality, Sacred Scriptures and the mission of evangelization are all reflected in the liturgy.

The Maronite Church is part of the Syro-Antiochene school and her patristic, liturgical, theological, spiritual and ecclesial heritage flow from this noble culture: the Maronite theology in a general way is reflected in her principal lines within the liturgical books. Thus, the prayers, whether in prose or in poetry, the prayers of forgiveness, the music of the Divine Liturgy and the mysteries and rituals are full of biblical and theological characteristics that reflect a spirituality proper to this Church. The motto of St. Augustine, ”the norm of prayer is the norm of the faith” (Lex orandi est lex credendi) finds an obvious echo in the Maronite liturgy. The Maronite Church's faith is clearly reflected in her authentic and profound experience of prayer through the centuries. This experience reflects clearly her theological belief and confirms the truth that the liturgy is a school of faith.


Chapter One


The Maronite Liturgy


First: Her foundations and nature

4.                  The Maronite liturgy originated in Antioch and interacted with the Eastern and Western Syrian Churches. Her structure and recent form developed in Mount Lebanon. The Maronite rite belongs to the Western Antiochene family. This means three things:

a. The Maronite rite is a branch of the Syro-Antiochene family which embodies to a great extent, the tradition of Jerusalem “mother of all Churches.” It forms with both of them the Jerusalemite and the Antiochene, an internal liturgical unity.

b. The Maronite Antiochene rite shares many common characteristics with the Eastern Syrian rite that is the Chaldean-Assyrian rite. The most important of these characteristics are the writings of St. Ephrem and St. Jacob of Serugh. Their writings had a great influence on the development of the Maronite liturgy; and,

c. The Maronite rite preserved its liturgically unique identity in spite of the fact that it was later marginally influenced by the Latin rite. Its liturgical texts bear the marks of an authentic Syro-Antiochene theology, and the structures of its prayers and rituals bear, without doubt, the Antiochene-Jerusalemite character.

5.                  Therefore, the identity of the Maronite liturgy is Syro-Antiochene. Despite the common points with the Syrian, Chaldean and Coptic rites, the Maronite enjoys a distinct personality and possesses his proper constitutive elements. These characteristics kept the Maronite from disappearing or from being assimilated into another rite.

There are many studies that show the organic interaction between the following rites: Maronite, Syrian and Chaldean. Recent studies have shown that the three Syrian liturgies have a common origin, which is the liturgy of the city of Edessa. These liturgies developed within the framework of their mutual churches which belong to the Syro-Antiochene culture[4].

6.                  These studies show that the Maronite liturgy though rooted in the Antiochene tradition still bears Edessan traces marked by a special structure and a known order found in the Anaphora "Sharar" and in the ritual of the consecration of myron, blessing of the water and in some liturgical hymns attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian, St. Jacob of Serugh and other Syrian fathers[5].

Second: Its development

The essential stages of the Maronite liturgy are the following[6]:

7.                  The first stage spanned from the beginning of the Maronites to the end of the seventh century. This time frame encompasses the six first ecumenical councils and the divisions that followed them in the Antiochene See, particularly the splitting that took place between eastern and western Syrians, another split between western Syrians and Melkites and finally the third division among Chalcedonians themselves. These doctrinal, social, and political divisions did not influence the liturgy. The latter kept her unity inside the one ecclesial community. The Maronites were characterized by their closeness to Antioch and Edessa and to the spiritual and theological heritage of both cities. The independence of the Maronite rite began with the formation of the Maronite patriarchate.

8.                  The second stage stretched from the 8th to the 12th century and was marked by the Syro-Antiochene character which is formed by elements common to Syrian and Melkite liturgies. This is evidenced by the comparison of the manuscripts of that period (London-British Museum 17129) and from certain "Sedros" and hymns. This historic period needs to be studied critically and analytically according to the "comparative method" because it is the period of the formation of the sources. It is worth noting here, that this is the period of the appearance of the collection of the liturgical Maronite "Beit Ghazo." This collection brings to light the dimensions of the Maronite liturgical identity along with theological elements that can be extracted from these precious collections.

9.                  The third stage began after the 12th century. This period is marked by the Syro-Antiochene character with traces of a Roman influence, due to the fact of the direct relations of the Maronites with the Roman See. This influence became apparent in the episcopal vestments, ecclesiastical art and vessels and in certain ways that the rituals and the mysteries were celebrated such as the consecration of the myron, and the conferring of the Mystery of Chrismation. The texts and the structures were generally kept intact, however. Foreign influence began increasing in the Maronite liturgy between the 14th and 15th centuries. Some non-Chalcedonian traces appeared through the publication of liturgical manuscripts among the Maronites in North Lebanon. Some Roman theological influence also was introduced mainly by bishop Jebrayel al-Quelaï, the Franciscan monk.

10.              Another stage was the Maronite Roman College, during which liturgical books started being printed. Following the visit of Father Eliano to the Maronites in 1578, he made a proposal to have a good formation of Maronite candidates for the priesthood; thus the Maronite college was established in Rome. Then liturgical books were printed, such as the funeral ritual in 1585, the Qurbono in 1594, the missalette in 1596, the breviary in 1624, the ritual of feast days and the winter "Fenqitho" in 1656, and the summer "Fenqitho" in 1666. These books were published with an introduction written by the Roman authorities who confirmed that the doctrine contained therein conformed to Catholic teaching. During that period, Western traditions were introduced in force in the popular worshiping devotions. The students of the Maronite college contributed to the introduction of these practices during this period. These practices increased and took root with the arrival of the Latin missionaries in the East. During this time, the Maronites began using in their Eucharistic liturgy the Anaphora of the "Roman Church" and certain forms of administering the mysteries borrowed from the Latin rite.

11.              The fifth stage was the time of the Patriarch Stephan Douaihy (1670-1704). This period is considered a turning point in the history of the Maronite liturgy. This patriarch was a historian, a theologian, a thinker and an ecclesiastical and liturgical reformer. Patriarch Douaihy spent a life time reforming liturgical books and removing from them Latin and non-Chalcedonian elements. His wide ecclesiastic culture helped him in establishing a profound and accurate comparison between the Maronite rite and other eastern and western rites. He justified every reform with theological explanations that showed what is common to the Churches and what is proper to the Maronite rite.

12.              The sixth period stretched from the Lebanese Synod (1736) to Vatican II (1965). It is marked by continuous reform and the printing of liturgical books. It is to be noted, however, that an important movement of liturgical reform followed the Lebanese Synod (1736) and that during this period the projects of reform were conducted by committees headed by their beatitudes the patriarchs. It should be pointed out that in the 18th century the Semaani family played an important role in transcribing manuscripts and assembling them into large Syriac, Arabic and Latin collections. Moreover, the eparchy of Aleppo and its school played a major role in the liturgical renewal. However, we notice that following Douaihy's reform the Latin influence increased instead of decreased, particularly in the books of the mysteries and rituals, and especially in the popular devotions. Despite the introduction of all these Latin elements, the Maronite liturgy preserved her Maronite spirituality.

13.              The last period includes the time from Vatican II until the present day. The Maronite Church continued the reform of the liturgy through the Patriarchal Commission, which based its work on the norms laid down in “The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” on the proper Maronite tradition, and with a special regard to the pastoral reality of the Church in the Patriarchal Domain and in the Countries of Expansion. We have to mention here the role played by “The Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs”[7]. This role is supported by the Liturgical Institute of the University of the Holy Spirit- Kaslik[8], which is the only one of its kind in the Middle East. The Institute deals with eastern liturgical studies and the liturgical education of priests and laymen. We ought to mention here the liturgical reform conducted by the Maronite Eparchy of the United States. It was followed with a great deal of interest for a long time by the League of Priests in Lebanon with many bishops and priests as well[9].

We ought to mention also the pioneering role played by the League of Priests in Lebanon in liturgical education through lectures and conferences addressed to priests, pastoral groups as well as through different publications in addition to the continous formation. The league published some corrected liturgical rituals that prepared and accompanied the official liturgical publications.

Thus, the last period in the liturgical life of the Maronite Church prepared the people to accept the corrected liturgical texts through the positive atmosphere of liturgical education that it created. This preparatory work provided the basis for the reception of liturgical texts and for the celebration of these rituals with an excellent spiritual effectiveness.

14.   We can conclude from the historic periods the following:

a.       The Maronite liturgy belongs to the Antiochene Church and is organically connected with the Syrian culture in both her branches, Eastern and Western. It draws her sources from the basic liturgies of Antioch, Jerusalem and Edessa.

b.      The liturgical elements common to the Maronite, Syrian, Melkite and Chaldean rites are confirmed by “the liturgical comparative study” and by a few manuscripts of the 7th and 8th centuries and constitute the basis for the project of liturgical reforms. This study will contribute to the strengthening of the bonds of love and unity between these Churches, which have a common origin. The ecumenical spirit will grow and will draw strength from the prayerful experience of the Church.

c.       The history of Maronite liturgy shows the mutual interaction of this liturgy with the rest of the Churches. What was borrowed from the Roman rite is somehow limited to the area of ecclesiastic art and vestments, to some forms of liturgical practices, ritual actions and expressions inspired by a defined theological concept. However, the structures and essential texts of the rites kept their Maronite-Syrian character. The Syrian non-Chalcedonian influence is limited to few texts particularly to the transition from the period of manuscripts to the period of printed books in some villages of Mount Lebanon.

d.      This aspect shows how much the Maronites insisted that their rituals would preserve, in its content and essence, the Maronite authenticity. For this reason they attempted, through the periods of the printing of the liturgical books, to emend them from foreign elements that contradict their belief and limit the development of their liturgy and theology.

e.       Through their openness to Western culture and sciences, the students of the Roman College contributed to the purification of Maronite rituals from all foreign elements. The numerous editions of the Maronite liturgical books during a relatively brief lapse of time are proof of their desire to reform, renew and preserve the uniqueness of the rituals. Maronites consider the liturgy to be a constitutive element of the Church through which they express their spirituality, theology and belief. For this reason, the Maronite Church has always had a quasi-continuous movement of liturgical reform.

f.       Patriarch Stephen Douaihy worked on the reform of the rituals and on the return to their Maronite authenticity. He laid out the firm maxims that became the bases for the present liturgical reform.

g.      The history of the Maronite Liturgy has known a fluctuation between a return to the roots and the introduction of foreign elements in the Maronite rite until the convocation of Vatican II. It called for a return to the roots and a rediscovery of the theological and liturgical identity proper to each Church, with emphasis on the spirituality of the eastern Churches and fathers in order that they contribute to the enrichment of the Christian spirituality at the level of the universal Church. Thus, all the directives of the Universal Church, the Roman Congregations and the Maronite Patriarchate are directed toward this goal. What is needed today, and in utmost seriousness, is a liturgical formation geared toward Antioch and the Syro-Maronite culture without neglecting pastoral needs and all the challenges and changes which face the Church in the East and the Countries of Expansion. Departing from this methodology, the Maronite Church, through the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs aimed at giving a new vitality to the liturgical life and at manifesting its theological and spiritual constants[10].

Third: Present situation of the liturgy and outlook for the future: The role of the liturgy in unifying the Maronites within the patriarchate and in the lands of emigration.

15.              The present liturgical situation in the Maronite Church is the result of a variety of historic ramifications and of many intellectual, cultural and social currents that influenced the liturgical rites and texts.

To remedy this situation, an active liturgical movement rose up in a variety of fields, particularly in the field of prayers and hymns. There were numerous reformers and each followed his own inspiration. New liturgical books were put out with a variety of rituals. Some of them were old, other recent or very new. Soon this liturgical movement deteriorated, from a positive initiative, into a chaotic anarchy in certain places, at certain occasions and with certain parish priests. In addition, many promoters of reform began taking the liberty of creating new liturgical rituals not having a Maronite origin[11].

In view of this situation, liturgical reform has become an urgent necessity in order to organize the text and unify the vision within the Maronite Church. Maronites will now assemble in the Patriarchal Domain and the Countries of Expansion to celebrate wherever they are the one liturgy that expresses their authenticity and uniqueness.

16.              This reform directly concerns the Maronites around the world because the liturgy is the most important bond that links them to the mother Church and contributes to their unity in their Countries of Expansion. In today’s world, we see an awakening of ethnic consciousness on one hand, and a new world order, on the other. The Maronites feel an urgent need to follow the liturgical, ecclesial and intellectual path traced by the Patriarchal See in Bkerke. Thus, the liturgical commissions in the Countries of Expansion will adapt the central liturgical reform to the Maronites living in these lands. They will, however, preserve the Maronite personality manifested in their identity. A word of praise is appropriate here for the great efforts of the eparchies of the expansion for continuing to be in communication with the mother Church and for continuing to follow her directives. It is worth pointing out that it is necessary to preserve a few common prayers in Syriac such as the “Qadishat aloho” and the “words of the Eucharistic institutions” and other ritual expressions because the external unity of expression will contribute to a unity of heart. Based on the liturgical heritage, the Maronites would be ambassadors of their Church to the world. Through it, they interact with the cultures of the universal Church having their own standing and role.

Fourth: Characteristics of the Maronite Liturgy

The Maronite Liturgy has a rich theological and human dimension. It is truly a school of faith that takes form into the world in order to illuminate its way with the lights of the Kingdom. The following dimensions are among the most important:

A. The Salvation and Trinitarian Economy

17.              The traces of this economy are manifest in the Maronite Eucharistic prayer. In the Anaphora, the Church sums up the stages of divine economy by thanking the Father for being the loving creator who wants to save Adam and humankind after the first fall. This intervention of the Father was achieved in the fullness of time when He sent His only Son, the Word. He became a man by taking a human body through the work of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary and accomplished everything, realizing the salvific will of the Father through the offering of Himself on the Cross and his Body and Blood for the life of the world. The Father achieved the divine economy by sending His Holy Spirit who descended on the disciples in the upper Room. The Church asks Him to send His Spirit on the oblations, which she offers that He may perfect them all with His divine seal. This dimension of the salvation economy is found in the major liturgical rituals and prayers and in particular in the “Boouths” (litanies) of the divine office where we find few prayer formulae that draw the attention such as: “The Father sent His Son to the world, the Son accomplished salvation through his death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit achieved and continues to achieve all the mysteries sealing them with His divine stamp”[12].

B. Christological dimension

18.              The theological and biblical meanings of this Christological-messianic dimension are manifested through two principal events in the public ministry of Jesus Christ: first, his baptism by John in the Jordan river which began his mission of announcing the Good News, and second, his death on the Cross at Golgotha and his glorious Resurrection from the dead. Baptism in the Maronite rite puts together the two events reflecting the way the theological concept of the Syro-Antiochene rite that stresses the salvific economy of the Son, his incarnation, his baptism, his salvific mission, then his passion and death on the Cross and Resurrection from the dead. Thus, the baptism of the Lord Jesus became the symbol of the baptism of every believer who lives through baptism in Christ, carrying out his mission to the world, as a king witnessing of the love of the Father, a prophet announcing the resurrection, a priest participating in his priesthood. The baptism of the believer becomes a new birth in addition to being a death to the old man, the first Adam, like the death of the Lord for the sake of the new man that he may live like Jesus Christ, the second Adam, risen from the dead[13].

C. Eschatological Dimension

19.              The theology of the Maronite liturgy is marked by an accent on the end of time and future life which are manifest in most celebrations. We find these ideas in liturgical texts, in particular in the rich texts related to the Blessed Sacrament (Body of the Lord), the resurrection and new life and in the texts of the Maronite funeral liturgy that bear the dimensions of a life of hope, to be considered as a steadfast foundation of Christian faith. We can understand in this context the Maronite liturgy of Holy Saturday, the theology of the descent to sheol, the waiting for the dawn of resurrection and the expectation of the coming of the heavenly Bridegroom, “Maranata,” who will appear in his second coming to the “ones with straight hearts.” The celebration of the liturgy with all its symbolism reflects the liturgy of heaven of the divine Lamb. Thus, the earthly liturgy is a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy. The liturgy is a celebration of the resurrection of the Lord and the joy of the Church born of the womb of the baptismal font and consequently a simultaneous feast celebration of heaven and earth[14].

D. Marian Dimension

20.              The Maronite liturgy is Marian par excellence. The Marian theology is evident in the oldest liturgical texts. They stress the fact that the Virgin Mary “Mother of God” is the only one who best understood the divine economy of the salvation of man. This economy devotes an important, multifaceted and completely coordinated place for the Virgin Mary and for the living of the stages of salvation through many images and symbols. In this economy the Virgin is shown as a new Eve. Through her, salvation is achieved. She is “The Virgin Mother,” announced by the prophets and from whom will be born “Emmanuel,” the “Savior” who will redeem man. Mary will participate in this work of redemption[15].

E. Biblical Theology

21.              The Maronite liturgy is rooted in the Sacred Scriptures. It occupies in both the Old and the New Testaments a fundamental place. It is often difficult to distinguish the biblical text from the liturgical text. There is no liturgy without Sacred Scriptures. The liturgical celebration is the best place “for reading the word of God” and announcing “The Good News.” The theology of the Maronite liturgy is basically biblical. The Bible plays a pivotal role in it. The liturgy reflects the Bible in her prayers. She thinks with it, she meditates it, explains it and distributes it to the faithful, making it the source of her inspiration, symbolism and prayer in prose or poetry. The Bible is her ultimate end.

Consequently, the Maronite community is considered to be a biblical community centered, in prayer, on “the meeting with the Word of God,” on explaining it, on announcing the Good News, which the Church carries as a living mission to the whole world[16].

F. Monastic Dimension

22.              The disciples of St. Maron gathered around their ascetic father and adopted him as their intercessor. They were of the monastery of St. Maron and from many other Maronite monasteries in Syria where they had lived a liturgy rooted in the Syro-Antiochene rite. This monastic milieu stamped the Maronite liturgy with a monastic mark which is characterized by the prayers of the canonical hours[17], by the remeberance of the communities in most of the prayers, intercessions, hymns, and by continuous reading of the Old and New Testaments. The monastic character is also evident in the permanent call for repentance, detachment, asceticism and mortification. On account of this characteristic of their liturgy, the Maronites were assimilated into monastic communities because they used the prayers of the monks; they celebrated the rest of the liturgical rituals like the monks. In all this, they expressed the monastic dimension in living the basic precepts of the Gospel, in following Christ and in carrying his victorious Cross.

G. Human Dimension

23.              The Maronite liturgy reflects a spirituality proper to man and to the experiences he lives in the various states of his life journey of faith. The Liturgy embodies this spirituality in a dynamic and ascendant prayer towards the Father who accepts it and is pleased with the sacrifice of the Son offered by the believer through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Maronite liturgy is characterized by its human and anthropological dimension. We find these characteristics in the texts and in the architecture of the church building. The encounter of the praying community and the external harmony of the faithful with each other reflect a unity of thinking and a spirituality in which the human and social values interact in all their dimensions, states and conditions. The liturgical texts reflect the various experiences lived by the Maronite Church. She experienced suffering, persecution, war and forced emigration, but also the joy of communion, solidarity, unity, pardon, forgiveness and the glorious victory through the resurrection of the Lord, the liberation of the people and the victory of the saints who came out from this Church[18]. The popular character is the most important mark of this liturgy. It is simple and profound at the same time. It is simple in the Syriac music, the structures and ritual forms and depth of theological meaning. It reserves a space for the participation of the people in the prayers and hymns during the celebration of the Eucharist and outside it. The current liturgical reform urges the preservation of these characteristics that are the hallmark of the Maronite liturgy.

H. Theology of repentance

24.              The theology of repentance is evident in many liturgical texts. Most of them express their relationship with the reality of the Cross, the passion of the Lord Redemptor and his death. We find, in these same texts, the dimension of fasting and mortification and a link with repentance. This could be because of the direct monastic experience and by the ascetic character that marked the Syrian Fathers and the Maronite people. The theology of penance is expressed in a tangible way in the rituals of “burning of incense.” The gestures of adoration and “the metania” express the bowing of the sinner and his contrition for the sins he has committed and the complete submission to the Almighty.

The state of repentance lived by the faithful is the way that leads to the joy of resurrection, to the hope of a new life and to giving thanks to God for His love and His abundant gifts which He bestowed on mankind[19].


Chapter Two: Renewal of the Maronite Liturgy

First: The Necessity of Renewal

25.              The liturgical reform in the Church is a permanent workshop. However, Vatican II, without a doubt, gave it a jump start. The churches have begun reformation initiatives according to the lines established by the Council and according to the determination of the particular law.

The reform is performed for a determined period of time because the liturgy is the living prayer of the Church and it ought to speak to contemporary man. Thus, the community of faithful in a determined place and time is called to understand the meanings and symbols of the liturgy and to participate in it in a conscious, effective and fruitful way.

The Liturgical renewal does not mean the return to the practices of the past, but it is a good understanding of the pastoral reality based on steadfast tradition and on its development within a straight liturgical line. All of this should lead to an effective popular participation that fits the spirit of the liturgy and the good taste.

26.              Within the framework of renewal, the Maronite Church has seen through her history a trend toward continuous reform in comparison with other Eastern Churches. This was particularly evident in the time from approximately 500 years ago until today. This is a clear sign of the Maronites’ interest in the liturgical life and the development that makes their liturgy more consistent with the Syro-Antiochene heritage and that reveals its specific character aiming to get the common people to participate in the liturgical event.

In implementing the recommendations of Vatican II, the Maronite Church today carries out the renewal of her liturgy through the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs. The work begins with establishing the Syriac text as the basis for the corrected texts from which are expanded translations inspired by the original text and forms developed from the Syriac text. All of them preserve the theological depth and authentic spirituality which constitute a heritage that was handed down through the centuries. This liturgical tradition includes spiritual and human experiences valid for every age confirming the following motto: "The identity and development are the law of life in everything"[20].

Second: Principles of Renewal: Return to the Antiochene roots and pastoral updating

27.              The liturgical renewal is the exclusive ability of the ecclesiastic authority and it is based on the studies and reform projects of the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs. This commission is the appropriate authority. It presents its work to the synod of bishops headed by the patriarch for approval according to the ecclesiastic law in force. The liturgical books are distributed by this commission to be used by the different communities as an official ecclesial authority to invigorate their faith. The most important renewal principles are the following:

a.             The point of departure of any renewal ought to be the Syro-Antiochene Maronite liturgical authenticity; its identity must be kept pure from any foreign element that contradicts it and changes its features;

b.            The development of new liturgical forms ought to follow the principle of "organic development," which means that liturgical rituals ought to be reformed by returning to their proper roots and developing them according to their basic nature and their theological and biblical constants within the framework of the ecclesial tradition. This development is carried out when it is certainly and firmly needed for the good of the Church;[21]

c.             The rituals should be made pastoral and popular. The participation of the people in the prayers, symbolic gestures and hymns should be conscious and fruitful[22];

d.            The liturgical cycle is the center of liturgical reform because it is focused on the Mystery of Christ with which the rest of the mysteries and Church rituals are bound;

e.             It is possible to develop liturgical forms according to the need of the times in order to suit the expectations of the various communities of believers provided that the general liturgical sequence is not altered;

f.             The use of a liturgical language should be marked by its easy style, its clarity of meaning and the depth of its theological and biblical spirituality that will help the community enter into the dynamic of the prayer. Therefore, it is required that a liturgical text expresses the faith experience of the community using a language that helps lift up their hearts and minds to God in a form aware of the openness to Syro-Antiochene and Eastern Churches, on the one hand, and to the Arabic and Islamic culture on the other hand[23].

Third: The Role of the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Matters

28.              In implementation of the decrees of the Lebanese Synod, the Apostolic Exhortation Motu Proprio ("About the rites and Persons of the Eastern Churches"), Vatican II decree on "The constitution on the Liturgy," the decree of its implementation and of its" Decree about the Catholic Eastern Churches" and "the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches" and the "Instruction" about the application of the principles contained in the code, the patriarch, in his capacity of first supervisor of the liturgy in the Church, established a special commission he named "Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Matters"[24].

29.              The objective of this commission is to make the liturgy a means of catechizing, a school of faith and an instrument of sanctification. The commission will accomplish this through studies and through preparation of a reform of the Church rituals, processions and general devotions, the chants and Church music and their renewal. They will present them to the patriarch and the synod of bishops for approval and adoption. The liturgy then becomes attractive to the people so they will participate in it in a mindful and effective way and draw from it the true Christian spirit. The work and the role of this commission cover the Patriarchal Domain and the Countries of Expansion.

30.              In order to reach its goal in a better way, this commission may ask for the help of experts from the clergy and the laity chosen from all the eparchies in the Patriarchal Domain and in the Countries of Expansion. The commission will establish an agenda of its topics of studies in which the priorities are organized according to the importance of each and will determine the necessary timetable and plan that it will follow in its programs.

31.              The commission will observe in its work the principles established by Vatican II and will review, where it is needed, the rites in their entirety with the necessary reflection correcting the texts, organizing the rituals in a way that will enable the people to understand them. The liturgy comprises a fixed part of divine origin that will not change, and parts that are accidental from human origin. These latter parts may be or even should be, altered with the passing of time in order to awaken a new vitality that fits the circumstances, the persons and the needs of every age[25].

Fourth: The Role of Bishops in Liturgical Life

32.              The task of organizing the liturgical rites in the life of the Church, which is dependent on Church authority, is mostly realized through the work of the bishop and his basic function in the eparchy. The bishop is the first and elder priest for his flock; the spiritual life of the faithful flows from him and depends on him because he is the guardian who strengthens and directs liturgical life in her entirety in the eparchy[26].

The role of bishops consists in promoting liturgical life and ordering it according to the norms proper to the Maronite Church and her legitimate customs. They are not free to act according to their opinion in this field. Their actions ought to be based on the proper heritage of the Maronite Church, realizing the communion with their brother bishops. They are to be united with their clergy playing the role of the attentive guardian to the liturgical conscience present and active in the living mind of God's people in their eparchies. As a faithful people resolute in their understanding of the doctrine of the faith, they have to keep celebrating with the same resolve.[27] They are to establish liturgical commissions that will stay in communication with the Patriarchal Commission endeavoring to support the liturgical work in the eparchy.

The faithful people are to value the liturgical life of the eparchy gathered around the bishop particularly in the Cathedral, which ought to be the example followed in the eparchy[28].

In order to promote liturgical life in the eparchy the bishop is to encourage the continuous liturgical education of his priests through educational workshops, periodical lectures dealing with the liturgical matters emanating from the authentic Church heritage of the Maronites[29].

The bishop is to lead his flock to fertile pastoral pastures in applying the liturgical rules proper to the Maronite Church and its continuous directives about her promotion, growth and progress. These directives are also connected with the preservation of her noble and rich heritage[30].


Chapter Three

Liturgical Formation

First: In Seminaries and Religious Institutes

33.              The liturgical reform will be carried out in the Church through two actions. The first action consists in providing liturgical formation through scientific knowledge and through research of the historic, theological and pastoral aspects of the liturgy. This means examining manuscripts and printed documents and comparing them with other eastern and western liturgies. The second action involves providing continuing education for priests, seminarians, monks, nuns and laity in order that they acquire a deep understanding of the liturgy and knowledge of the rites covering their theological and pastoral dimensions.

34.              For this reason the Church asks the persons responsible for seminaries and institutes of religious men and women to give liturgical formation the necessary attention. This way they will serve the Church and will support the priests, seminarians, monks and nuns in their vocation as witnesses to the love of Jesus and to his effective presence in the Church. This is the mission they are required to accomplish so that the theological teaching and the deep, all encompassing Christian culture they receive, fit the liturgical and pastoral dimensions which they ought to preserve because it is the symbol of their unity and their faithfulness to their authentic Maronite identity[31].

35.              The teaching of the liturgy should be placed among the essential and important subjects on the curricula of seminaries, religious institutes and schools of theology. The liturgy should also be taught in its entire theological, historic, spiritual, and theoretical point of view, by studying it. It could also be taught from the practical point of view by participating in it through the celebration of the holy mysteries or the rituals imbued with authentic eastern Christian spirituality[32].

Second: Priests’ Continuing Education

36.              Through the reform of the liturgy the Maronite Church wishes to enable the faithful to participate effectively and with understanding, in the liturgical celebrations, because they are the principal source of true Christian spirit and of a firm theological doctrine. For this reason, the Church asks the pastors to exert the necessary efforts to insure, in the eparchies, a continuing education for the priests that is liturgical, pastoral, theological and spiritual, as a service they render to the Church who celebrates the salvific mystery of Jesus Christ[33].

To accomplish this objective, the pastors have to acquire a deep knowledge of the liturgy of her effectiveness and power, to be able to communicate it to others, to teach it and to follow it up through the continuing education of their priests. This makes of the liturgical education an obligation incumbent on the eparchies[34].

–Third: Making the Faithful Aware of the Meanings of the Liturgy

37.              The Maronite liturgy was not far from the real life of the faithful. It reflected their life experience in their prayers, Christian life choices and spiritual needs during times of persecution and suffering and in times of joy. The liturgy in this framework was a mirror of the faith of the Church in the triune God and in the incarnation of the only, Son - perfect God and perfect Man. It was a liturgy that joined together the celebration of divine economy and the life of a free and sincere human experience.

For this reason the pastors are asked to strive with zeal, patience and sincerity to insure for the faithful, a liturgical education that gives them the necessary understanding that enables them to participate effectively in the ceremonies, a participation that will lift up their hearts to God while they are involved tangibly in the celebration of His salvific mystery[35].

–Fourth: The Role of the Celebrant, Deacons and Animators

38.              The liturgy is a communal celebration of the Church with all members playing a special role in it. It removes the narrow understanding of this function for it is the work of the people and a service rendered by the Church which is the mystery of unity of the Body of Christ. Consequently, this celebration belongs to the whole Church, to each member with his special condition, rank and function.

 The celebrant of the mystery, along with the concelebrant priests, deacons and animators who participate in it, are to carry out their proper function during the liturgical celebration, each according to the requirement of his ecclesiastic order and his pastoral service, and as required by the nature of the celebration and its liturgical norms. In addition, each one of them should not go beyond the limits of his role but learn how to assist wisely without acting independently of the others. This participation requires from them a wide and profound liturgical education and a spirituality based on the Gospel to be capable of fulfilling their duty in a correct and ordered way[36]. This manner of acting is called “liturgical participation.” This practice originated and developed in its liturgical meaning in the Churches of eastern liturgies and was expanded to include all the other Christian liturgies[37].

–Fifth: The Role of the Choir

39.              Singing occupies a central place in the liturgical celebration particularly in the eastern liturgies. It expresses the union of the Church on earth with that of heaven. The Church raises unceasingly hymns of thanksgiving and praise to the heavenly Father for His love realized by the Son and completed in the world by the Spirit. The Church singing is a reflection of the angelic glorification of the liturgy of the Lamb. Hence, liturgies were characterized by a perfect rendering of the singing which required trained choirs for this ministry. The Maronite rite, which was marked by its beautiful popular hymns, did not limit it to the choir. On the contrary, the members of the choir in the Maronite rite were known for helping the whole congregation to sing liturgical songs. This characteristic is one of the most important ones of the Maronite Church. Consequently, the Maronite choirs should be aware today of these characteristics of the Maronite liturgy and carry out their function in the celebration with skillfulness and spirituality. The beautiful voices should be in harmony with the praying hearts. Thus, the choir becomes the aid that will assist the praying assembly in singing according to the proper music and with a distinct spiritual piety. For this reason, the choir and the soloists ought to observe the nature and the norms of the liturgical celebration without encroaching upon the right of the faithful to participate in the liturgy. The liturgy belongs to the people and the choir does not have the right to replace the people in it. The choir plays an assistant role and not an independent role. Their choice of music should conform to liturgical principles. There should be synchronization between the celebrant, the choir and the liturgical committee in the preparation of the celebration in the parish. Consequently, improvisation and moodiness in this matter should not be allowed.

In this context, we should distinguish between the liturgical choir, which carries out their function in the liturgical celebrations, and the religious chorus, which performs ecclesiastic songs outside the liturgical celebration.

The choir and soloists ought to exercise their role with sincere piety in an order fitting God’s house and His salvific mystery, imbued with a liturgical spirit, a spiritual education and a prayerful and humble performance.



–Sixth: The Necessity of Helping the People to Participate in an Effective Manner

40.              The liturgy is a celebration, and the celebration belongs to the people. The Maronite liturgy is known for its popular color. The assembly of the faithful should not remain a stranger, watching and listening in silence. The function of the celebrant priest, the deacon, liturgical minister, the choir and soloists consists in helping the people to participate with awareness, piety and effectiveness in the singing, in the prayers and in the processions. The liturgy will then become a true expression of the prayer of the people, of their exhortations and praises of God the creator, thanking Him for all His graces and gifts. This way the faithful will be renewed and sanctified in Christ and finally all of them become all in God Who is all in all.


Chapter Four: General Norms Concerning the Participation in Various Liturgical Rituals

41.              The glorification of God and the sanctification of man are the purpose of the liturgy. It is necessary, therefore, that the community of faithful participate in this worshipping act with an awareness and fruitfulness that reflect the majesty of this service and its great dignity. Hence, the Maronite Church lays down norms for the participation in liturgical rites that makes them shine with a noble simplicity and a profound concision, avoiding repetitive and useless forms of prayers. Then, the elements of the celebration would meet the various needs of the faithful according to their respective education and social conditions, whether in the Patriarchal Domain or in the Countries of Expansion. Within the framework of such a fitting celebration, the liturgy speaks of the active presence of Christ in his Church and in the world. The liturgy also reflects the paschal mystery that continues to be realized through the practice of the mysteries administered by the Church. In order that the Maronite liturgy manifest with splendor its unity in the celebration of the rites, through the word, the music, the movement and the prayerful community of believers, it was necessary to lay down general norms concerning the participation in the various liturgical rituals[38]. For this reason, the fathers of the holy Patriarchal Synod ordered the following:

First: The Mysteries of Christian Initiation

42.              The purpose of the mysteries is the sanctification of mankind and the building of the body of Christ. Since they are tangible signs, the life of the mysteries takes a teaching dimension. The mysteries do not suppose the existence of faith only, but they also express this faith, strengthen it and properly nourish it. Then the graces abound in the heart of the people. For this reason, the faithful should be prepared to receive these graces[39] properly.

43.              The mysteries of Christian Initiation are considered a unit that cannot be divided; through it one enters in the life of Christ and by the same token in the community that lives in him. It is the first call to the faith that ultimately leads to the paschal mystery that is to the death and resurrection of the Lord. In this mystery man is baptized and becomes son of God and temple of the Holy Spirit through the anointing with the myron; he may then participate in the Eucharistic table, the Kingdom’s banquet.

44.              Maronite liturgical sources assert through their written and printed documents the steady bond that unites the Christian Initiation mysteries whether through their theological unity or their ritual celebration. The mysteries of Initiation are considered one undivided celebration of the entrance into the life of Christ. According to the Church, understanding and earliest liturgical practice, the Christian faithful used to receive the new baptismal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit which is becoming a member of God’s people through a sublime “Sign,” which is the Kingdom’s banquet. This sacrament cannot be divided and ought to be administered in the best orderly fashion[40].

45.              All the books of Maronite rituals recommend the preparation of the baptismal ceremony and stress its importance and necessity. This preparation would express the journey of the candidate toward Christ. On this ancient custom is based the present Church common law requiring that the baptized should have a Godparent who helps him lead a Christian life that fits his baptism and fulfills faithfully the entailed duties without neglecting the role of the parents in the preparation of this great mystery[41].

 The administration of this mystery is of the competence of bishops and priests. In the case of necessity not only deacons, but also clerics and faithful Christians may confer it. However, the holy Patriarchal Synod orders that the conferring of the mystery of baptism is of the competence of the pastor of the parish of the candidate. However, another priest may baptize him with the permission of the pastor of the candidate or with the permission of the local Church hierarchy[42].

The mystery of baptism is conferred by plunging three times the candidate in the baptismal water with prudence and piety or by pouring water three times on the head of the candidate. Immediately after, the anointing with holy myron (Chrism) takes place signifying that the candidate has completed his (or her) entrance in the one mystery of Christ[43].

46.       Concerning communion after baptism, the norms of particular law enacted by the Synod of Maronite Bishops headed by the Patriarch should be followed until the time that Church authority adopts decisions conforming to the ancient Eastern Churches’ tradition. This consists in conferring the Mysteries of Christian Initiation in one single ceremony. In the meantime the order of the Synod of Bishops should be implemented.

Second: The Divine Liturgy or the Eucharist

47.       The celebration of the Divine Liturgy is the center of Christian worship. It is the celebration of the mystery of the salvific economy which our Lord accomplished; it is the mystery of his death and resurrection and the giving of his body and blood to his Church. Christ is present in his Church through his living word and through the Eucharistic table, where his presence reaches its climax. Hence, the celebration of the Divine Liturgy is divided in two parts: God’s word, and the body and blood of the Lord[44].

48.       The rite of the Qurbono decreed by the synod of bishops headed by the patriarch and promulgated in an official patriarchal document, is the only one to be used. Also, the books of lectionary (Epistles & Gospel) along with the liturgical hymns and the book of rubrics are to be used upon promulgation by a decree from the patriarch.

49.       The Divine Liturgy ought to be celebrated on the main altar of the parish church or monastery. It is recommended that the Mass be concelebrated by a main celebrant with other concelebrants to avoid the multiplicity of individual celebrations on the side altars[45]. These multiple Masses are not recommended because they do not fit the nature of the liturgy, particularly the spirit of eastern rites.

The liturgy is to be celebrated while the priest celebrant wears all priestly vestments as is required by the ancient Maronite tradition. The concelebrants will wear the stole over the Jibbi or the monastic “Abaya” otherwise the stole should not be worn over different attire.

50.       At least two candles should be lit in the Divine Liturgy, made out of beeswax, and during a Pontifical Mass four candles should be lit. Mass may be celebrated on feast days, Sundays and on ordinary days with the exception of Good Friday where a presanctified Mass is celebrated and on Holy Saturday. The service of the Divine Liturgy will follow the special instructions published in a special book.

51.       It is recommended to receive communion from the Eucharist consecrated in the same Mass. However, it is allowed to receive communion, when there is a need, from the Eucharist preserved in the tabernacle[46].

The communion is distributed to the faithful participating in the Mass. We ought to make sure that non-Christians, who sometimes attend the Mass, are not given communion. Moreover, it is recommended that non-Christians not be invited to the Mass; instead they may be invited to participate in other religious rites particularly those celebrated at national occasions.

The distribution of the Eucharist is the proper function of the bishop, priest and deacon; when there is need, a sub-deacon or a minor order cleric may be allowed to assist the priest in the distribution of the communion. However, in a very urgent case and with special permission from the local bishop, this privilege may be given to committed faithful Christians[47].

Holy Communion is distributed under both species by intinction to the faithful. A sincere, serious and spiritual preparation should precede the reception of the body and blood of Christ[48].


Third: The Priesthood and Holy Orders

52.       The priesthood in the Church is one of her holy mysteries and it is an extension of the mission of Christ, the priest who offered himself at the paschal supper and on the Cross-for the redemption of the world. Christ is the pure offering presented to the Father. Christ sent out the apostles to continue the priestly ministry. The bishops in the Church are the successors of the apostles. They continue the three-dimensional mission of Christ, namely: the teaching, the sanctifying and the administering. The priestly order originates in the ministry of the bishop; thus, the presbyterate through holy ordination is distinguished by a hierarchical unity and distinct orders. These orders are bishops, priests and deacons. The one who receives these orders is no longer a layman, but becomes a member of the presbyterate, belonging by law to a definite eparchy where he exerts his ministry[49]. In addition to these, other ministers are established to serve God’s people and exercise special functions in the liturgy. In this context the holy Patriarchal Synod orders that the ancient Maronite Church tradition be revived and that the candidates for the order of cantor, reader and sub-deacon be ordained in an effort to strengthen the liturgical service. This service requires the highest degree of respectability, dignity and pastoral vitality; it contributes to a serious Christian commitment. In addition, reviving the ancient Maronite tradition will render effective the points that are common to eastern Churches by way of their faithfulness to their common tradition.

In this context the holy Patriarchal Synod orders the return to the tradition of permanent deacons so as to fulfill the liturgical function pertaining to their order and to contribute to the announcing of the Good News and carrying out social and human charitable work. The order of the diaconate can be received ordinarily as a step leading to the priesthood and it can be received also as a permanent state for the sake of assisting bishops and priests in the administration of the Church as St. Ignatius of Antioch describes this order in his letters.[50]

Fourth: Penance and the Anointing of the Sick

53.       The Church as a merciful father and an affectionate mother hastens to meet human weakness by granting forgiveness after baptism. The faithful who have committed sins and have the firm purpose to repent and live again in the state of grace, obtain from God the grace of repentance in reconciling themselves with Him, with themselves and with the Church through the priest. The individual confession with absolution is the only way that a repentant faithful may obtain the absolution of his sins particularly during the Lenten season[51].

The holy Patriarchal Synod orders that this great mystery be conferred within the framework of a church penance group that will be celebrated liturgically[52], centered on the word of God and on communal prayer.

54.       The Mystery of the Anointing of the Sick is an announcement of salvation and a sign of Christ the only physician of souls and bodies. This ritual is the expression of one of the functions of the Church which through the Holy Spirit perfects the salvific work recommended by St. James in his letter (5:14). The anointing of the sick was performed in order to operate the healing of the sick through a rite that expressed the healing of the sick person, soul and body, from all the spiritual, psychological and physical diseases. Consequently, the oil of the sick became the spiritual medicine that God grants to the man of faith who repents to God, unites with Him in order to arrive with Him in the Kingdom[53].

This mystery is administered to the person who is exposed to a dangerous sickness; he does not necessarily have to be at the throes of death. The administration of the Anointing of the Sick belongs only to the priests according to the norms of the particular law[54]. This mystery is administered in the presence of a few members of the faithful particularly in presence of relatives who need to renew the hope in their hearts and receive the consolation that comes from Christ who heals the wounds of men.

Fifth: Marriage

55.       This great sacrament reflects the richness of married life which is in the image of the bond that exists between Christ and his Church. For this reason we ought to take care of the faithful who are preparing themselves to contract marriage in order that their preparation fits the mystery of the communion of love and that they understand the meaning of Christian marriage, its unity and its permanence and that they become aware of the obligations of marriage. Therefore, church marriages are those marriages which are contracted with a blessing and a holy rite performed by an ecclesiastic hierarch or a priest delegated by him and attended by at least two witnesses. The blessing of the celebrant means that he is the true minister of the "mystery according to the priestly power of sanctification he holds"[55].

The Maronite Church celebrates, according to her ancient tradition, the engagement rite, which is called also "Rings’ rite." It precedes the "Crowning rite" in which the marriage is concluded. The holy Patriarchal Synod recommends that this ancient tradition be revived. The engagement rite expresses the consent of the spouse while the crowning ceremony reflects the immediate entry into the fullness of marital life[56].

Sixth: The Liturgy of the Divine Office.

56.       The Christian prayer finds its permanent source in the Holy Spirit and the glorified Christ from whom flow rivers of living waters (John 7:38-39). In replying to this grace, the faithful enters into a listening state to the Word of God and acts on it. The liturgical prayer was established in the Church to keep vivifying the awakening spirit and the return to God in order that it may be sanctified by Him. The liturgical prayer reflects the hymn that the Church on earth raises to the Father through the only priest Jesus Christ. Through this prayer the communion between earth and heaven is achieved and by it the priestly function of Christ is clearly expressed; in it is reflected the intimate communion of the Church community with the Holy Trinity. Thus, the liturgical prayer becomes "a school of prayer and faith"[57].

For this reason the holy Patriarchal Synod enjoins all members of the Church, priests, religious and lay people to celebrate in common the liturgical prayers in the parish church as well as in the church of the monastery according to the norms of the liturgical books in a pious and solemn way. The holy Patriarchal Synod urges also that a measure of perfection be brought to the celebration of these prayers in the cathedral which is the example to be imitated by the other churches of the eparchy. The prayers of the canonical hours will help the faithful to enter in the "state of permanent prayer" and permanent encounter with Christ. In addition they will confirm them in the true worship and nourish their spirituality on their way to the Kingdom.

Seventh: Other rituals and devotions

57.       The spiritual leaders are to employ all their efforts to give a mature liturgical and sacramental education to the faithful that will enable them to be nourished spiritually through the understanding of the meaning of the celebration and the effective participation in the liturgical devotional rituals, whether they are communal or individual, and in the various processions[58]. Thus, they will be able to distinguish between what is formally liturgical and what is called popular liturgy which has an effective influence on the ecclesiastic choice.

Therefore, the Church encourages the communal celebrations that manifest clearly the worthiness of the ecclesial prayer conducted according to the liturgical norms. The liturgical committee is to give consideration to traditional prayers that have a pastoral and popular character and to correct them in such a way that will fit the spirituality of the liturgy and the spiritual needs of the faithful.


Chapter Five: Ecclesiastic Art and Feast Days

First: Architecture of the Maronite Church

58.       The holy building is a sign that leads us to the Master of the creation, the Holy One, who came and dwelt among us to lead us to the Kingdom, the true promised land in heaven. The church of stone was considered the sign of the heavenly altar and the true temple in the presence of God. This holy building reflects the relationship that exists between the two worlds: the earthly and the heavenly. One reason being that the Church thinks it is necessary to give a margin of liberty for creativity and innovation in the architecture and building of the church while preserving the essential elements of the Church tradition and heritage.

When the space became holy through the Lord’s incarnation, death, and resurrection[59] the whole world became “a Holy House of God” where we worship him in "truth and spirit" (John 4:23). In addition, the Church, mystical body of Christ, will choose a place where she gathers her members to worship and praise God. Where the community of believers meets, there the Church will be. This place will take its name after the community that meets in it. Therefore, the church ought to be the new temple built with stones in the image of the community of believers that built it: a house of God expressing the faith of the people, with a sacred architecture and a special building art that has been inspired by the spirituality of the Maronite Church and her ancient tradition and her Syro-Antiochene liturgy[60].

The altar is the explicit expression of the worship bound to the new sacrifice on top of Golgotha. Through it we thank God for the gifts we have received. The Last Supper of the Lord is renewed in implementation of his command: "Do this in memory of me until I come again." The altar is a perfect representation of the tomb of the Lord and of the glory of his resurrection; it is the source of each sacramental grace and the icon of the heavenly altar where the angels celebrate the eternal liturgy of the "Sanctus," and where the Church on earth offers the sacrifice with the Son to the Father. On the altar, the church gives the truest expression of the apparition of God and of His presence in her midst; for this reason, the altar must be oriented toward the east in the internal architecture of the church[61], to be in accordance with the theological meaning and with the common eastern tradition.

Second: The liturgical Vestments


59.       The liturgical vestment is an important element of the liturgical celebration. For this reason, the holy Patriarchal Synod recommends that the vestments to be used should be neat, beautiful and of a noble simplicity without any excess, inspired by the authentic liturgical vestment of the Syro-Antiochene rite, and compatible with the ritual function of the liturgical celebration.

Moreover, the Synod orders that the liturgical vestment be unified in such a way that it will be the same used in all rituals and liturgical celebrations. The bishop has his proper vestment, the priest celebrant has his, the assistant priest has his own liturgical vestment, the deacon, sub-deacon, the reader and cantor should wear each one his liturgical vestment proper to him. Consequently, the synod enjoins everyone to observe the directives issued by the patriarchal commission for liturgical matters approved by the Synod of Bishops headed by the Patriarch[62].

Third: Icons

60.       The holy icon has a great value because it reminds the believers of the marvels of God and of what he has accomplished through his saints because it “actualizes” the different moments of the salvific economy. The icon makes present and represents at the same time the absolute newness of “what no eye has seen and ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man" (1cor 2:9). It does this through special ways and forms inspired by the special cultural heritage and through methods compatible with the holy images, reflecting the faith of the faithful in the heavenly truths[63].

Therefore, the Holy Synod recommends that this ancient heritage be brought back to our Church, eliminating from our Maronite tradition all the influences which are foreign to it. It also orders that action must be taken to make the faithful aware of the importance of the veneration of the holy icons exhibiting them, in an orderly fashion and in accordance with Maronite Church spirituality, in a special place in the church and in the celebrations in which they should appear, compatible with the liturgical celebration[64].

Fourth: Sacred Vessels and Furnishings

61.       From the beginnings our mother Church showed concern for and watched over sacred vessels and the holy furnishings. She asked always that all of them contribute through their dignity, beauty and art to the success of the liturgical celebration for the Glory of God[65].

Therefore, the Holy Synod recommends to keep vigilance over the church furnishings, the sacred vessels, the liturgical vestments and all that relates to old, precious and beautiful objects so that they may be preserved carefully from deterioration and from being sold, because they are the ornament of God's holy house[66]. The Holy Synod enjoins that these may be blessed according to the Maronite liturgical tradition before they are used.

Fifth: The Church Music

62.       The music in the church is an ancient heritage and a most precious treasure. Its first source is the Holy Bible and the ecclesiastic and popular traditions. The singing of hymns is in fact the blessed prayer of the church that cannot be separated from liturgical celebration. For this reason the Church recommends that the holy singing be executed to perfection, expressing through the meaning and the music the steadfast faith of the Church in a prayer sung with a beautiful tune that raises in harmony of heart and voice the praises to the Father with majesty and reverence.

Therefore, the Holy Synod orders that the norms of the Maronite musical tradition known in all prayers, celebrations and liturgical rituals, be preserved, provided that the primary aim of church music that is the glorification of God and sanctification of the faithful, be respected. For this reason a special musical commission derived from the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs, is put in charge of directing church musical composition according to clear and firm musical and theological criteria. In addition, this commission will watch over the new musical work and give its opinion about it before the appropriate church authority will approve it. Furthermore, the Maronite musical heritage must be collected and renewed in a way that suits the needs of the faithful wherever they may be. In this context, we ought to encourage the choirs of the cathedrals to help the community of the faithful to participate effectively in the liturgical celebration. Also, the synod enjoins the seminaries and monasteries of religious men and women to teach church music and tunes, particularly the psalms which constitute a remarkable musical treasure[67].

Sixth: The Sacred Art

63.       The sacred art is considered the most sublime endeavor of the human mind. It aims at expressing the infinite divine beauty, at praising God and directing the faithful to praise and thank Him. Holy art occupied an important place in the Maronite Church, particularly in the past centuries. From the beginning the Maronite Church was familiar with religious art. The miniature designs on the Maronite Gospels and frescoes on the walls of the churches and in the caves of the Maronite hermits are but a clear proof of the concern of the Maronite Church with artistic matters and with its theological and anthropological dimensions.

Therefore, the holy Patriarchal Synod recommends that the Commission of the Sacred Art, which is subcommittee of the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs, be rendered more effective on the eparchial level, along with other sub-commissions of the liturgical commission. The commission of sacred art is in charge of insuring that the projects of building new churches, cathedrals or basilicas, decorating their interiors and restoring old ones are compatible with the criteria of ancient Maronite liturgical tradition and its meaning. This commission will endeavor to preserve the heritage of Maronite sacred art and develop it through painting icons and creating workshops for this purpose that are tied to the eparchies and monasteries[68].

Seventh: The Liturgical Year, Feast Days of Obligation and Fasting

64.       The liturgy builds the faithful into a holy temple for the Lord and a dwelling for God in the Spirit through the dynamic temporal movement that the Lord Jesus sanctified through his incarnation and redemption and consecrated through the years, months, weeks, days and hours. The liturgical year essentially celebrates the mystery of Jesus Christ and all the stages of the economy of his salvation, starting with his paschal mystery: his death and his blessed resurrection. The liturgical year proceeds upward in a spiral movement to express the ascending of the holy community to the kingdom of the Father. Thus, the yearly cycle of these stages is no longer a repetition of empty events that occurred in the past, but will become with Christ a cycle that leads to the fullness of his stature[69].

The feast days are an expression of the faith in which the Church shows her deep attachment to Christ and his salvific economy through stations which she called "feasts" and which she classified as "Lordly" and "Marian" feasts, distinguishing them from the remembrance of the prophets, apostles, martyrs and confessors. She venerates them after they plunged themselves in the love of God, and united themselves with Him becoming examples to be imitated by others and intercessors for the community of the faithful. She established feast days in remembrance of them; thus, the "liturgical calendar", fasting seasons, and feast days of obligation[70] came to be.

The holy Patriarchal Synod orders that the decisions of the Synod of the Bishops concerning the liturgical year, feast days, fasting seasons and feast days of obligation are to be implemented. Therefore, the "Maronite Liturgical Calendar" must be reformed and brought back to the Maronite tradition with pastoral prudence, by eliminating from it all the elements which are not compatible with the Eastern Syro-Maronite Antiochene tradition[71].


65.       The Antiochene Syro-Maronite liturgy is a school of faith in which the Church poured her theology, lived her spirituality, embodied her divine and human values, and reflected her long journey with the Sacred Scriptures, her theology, and the Church fathers. The liturgical experience of the Maronites played a central role in the growth and development of the life of the Church and in her pastoral ascetic, missionary, social and human dimensions.

The Maronite liturgy is in truth a “Beit Ghazo,” a “living treasure.” Throughout her history she adorned the Church with saints, heroes in their witnessing and martyrdom. The liturgy is truly a source that quenched the thirst of the faithful along their march towards the heavenly Jerusalem.

Today, with the many and urgent needs and challenges that confront us, the liturgy should not lose her spirituality, simplicity and depth. She will remain, thus, for the Maronites and for the universal Church, a source of renewal and a contributing factor in spreading the Christian spirituality in the new world. This world is more and more in need to hear the message announcing the mystery of Christ who became man and descended to Sheol to change death into resurrection and a new life.







1. Participation of the Maronites of the Expansion in the Liturgical Reform Project.

1. The Synod advises of the necessity of preserving the unity of the Maronite ritual and some of the formulations in the Syriac language in all Maronite eparchies and parishes wherever they may be.

1. Charging the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs with establishing committees composed of experts and people of specialization, whether from the Patriarchal Domain or the Countries of Expansion, to publish liturgical books and instructions and to supervise translation and work on:


┬ĚPreserving the unity of the liturgy.


┬ĚPreserving some of the formulations of the Syriac language, such as the “Qadeeshat Aloho” and the “Eucharistic Institution” and other liturgical formulae.


2. Studying and Living the Liturgy in Formation Centers.

2. The Synod charges seminaries, monastic formation centers, schools of theology and religious enculturation institutes to study the liturgy and live it.

2.a: The Liturgical Commission is to be charged, in coordination with seminaries, monastic formation centers, schools of theology and religious enculturation institutes, to devise a program for the teaching of the Maronite liturgy from the theological, historical, spiritual, pastoral and canonical aspects.


2.b: Seminaries and monastic formation centers are to master rituals and liturgical celebrations, such as studying ecclesial music, the learning of ritual hymns, practicing homiletics and the art of public speaking, communication and fine rendering.



3. Formation of the Faithful in the Parishes, Religiously and Liturgically.

3. The Synod advises pastors to provide a pastoral and liturgical life where prayers, the mysteries and rituals assume a distinctive standing alongside catechesis to all categories and ages of the faithful using the best of methods that they may attentively and effectively participate in liturgical celebrations.

3.a: Bishops and parish priests are asked to cooperate with the pastoral councils of every parish, apostolic movements and qualified faithful to devise an integrated program of catechetical formation in their parishes.


3.b: The Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs is to be charged with preparing a liturgical guide containing the following:


Explanations on the liturgy and its symbols in preparation for partaking of the Mysteries and performing the celebrations. Explanations on the liturgical cycle and its feasts to the faithful at every opportunity.




4. Preparing Parents and Godparents for the Mystery of Baptism.

4. The Synod stresses the importance of preparing for the Mystery of Baptism advising of the necessity of preparing Godparents and parents in aiding the baptized “to live a Christian life befitting of his Baptism and to perform trustworthily the duties it requires.”

4.a: The Patriarchal Liturgical Committee is to be charged with the preparation of a booklet to aid pastors in preparing Godparents and parent for the Mystery of Baptism.


4.b: Bishops and parish priests are asked not to provide the Mystery of Baptism before meeting with the parents and the Godparents, at least once in preparation for this Mystery.


5. The Mass on Good Friday, and the Great Saturday of the Light.

5. The pre-sanctified Mass will be celebrated on Good Friday and no Mass is celebrated on the Great Saturday of the Light.



6. Liturgical Texts for Specific Occasions.

6. The Synod recommends the writing of new liturgical texts inspired from our Syriac tradition and that of the Fathers, to be celebrated at specific occasions, to be decreed by the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities.


6. Patriarchal Commission for Liturgical Affairs is charged, with help from experts, to print and disseminate these texts to benefit from.


[1]. Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium (On the Sacred Liturgy), A. Flannery O.P. 1981; Apostolic Exhortation A New Hope for Lebanon published by the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Beirut 1997, No. 65-68; J. Feghali: History of the Maronite Church Canon Law, Councils of the 16th and 17th century (in French), Paris 1962; The Lebanese Synod “1736”, Beirut, 1986, pp. 34-233.

[2]. Corbon The Liturgy of the Source, Paris, 1980 (in French); The Maronite Missal, according to the Maronite Syriac Antiochene Rite, Bkerke, 1992, pp. 330-331.

[3]. Sacrosanctum Concilium,Op.cit. pp. 45-47; Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 14.

[4]. J. Is-haaq: Al-Qudass al-Kaldani (The Chaldean Liturgy), analytical liturgical studies, Baghdad, 1988; Jammo: Haikaliyat al-Qudass al-Kaldani fi Matla’ihi wa-li-Ghayat an-Nafoor (Structure of the Chaldean Mass, from its Origin to the Anaphora), Historical study OCA 207, Rome 1979 (in French); G. Khoury-Sarkis: The Syriac Liturgy, the Anaphora of 12 Apostles, Paris, 1950, (in French); P. Fahd, Kitab al-Huda (The Guidance Book), Aleppo, 1935; A. Joubeir, The Guidance Book, Jounieh, Lebanon, 1974 (in French); A. Heiss, The School of Edessa, Paris, 1930 (in French); Macomber, The Theory of the Origins of the Syriac and Maronite and Chaldean Rites OCP 39, (1973), pp. 235-236 (In English).

[5]. M. Hayek: Maronite Liturgy, History of the Eucharistic Texts, Tours, 1964, 125 (in French); Bishop Boutros Gemayel, Tajdeed al-Hayat at-Taqsiya fil-Kaneesa al-Marouniya (Renewal of Liturgical Life in the Maronite Church), Kornet Chahwan, Report to the committee preparing the Maronite Synod 1988; Y. Soueif, Rutab ma qabl an-Nafoor wa Nafoor Mar Boutros al-Marouni,ar-Raqm ath Thalith (Rites of the Pre-Anaphora and the Anaphora of Mar Boutros the Maronite, thirdNumber), (Sharar), A Historical and Liturgical Study, Rome (1992) (in French).

[6]. B. Dib: A Maronite Liturgical Study, Paris 1919 pp. 14-33 (in French). Thanks to Abbot Jean Tabet who edited the “Beit Gazo” Maronite liturgical manuscripts, which constitutes an essential base for an understanding of the origins of liturgical texts and their development across the ages.

[7]. Bishop Boutros Gemayel is the president of the Liturgical Commission. He is assisted in this task by bishops, priests and lay people who have knowledge and expertise in this field, encouraged by His beatitude and Eminence Patriarch Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir and the esteemed Synod of Maronite Bishops.

[8]. It was established by Abbot John Tabet with the aid of the late Abbot Emmanuel Khoury.

[9]. The likes of Bishop Francis Zayek, Bishop Hector Doueihy, Chorbishop Michael Ar-Rajji, Chorbishop Youhanna Kawkabani, Msgr. Michel Hayek and Father Youakim Moubarak.

[10]. Moubarak: Al-Khumassiya al-Antakiya – Aba’ad Marouniya (The Antiochene Quintet – Maronite Dimensions), in Antiochene Pentology, Vol. I, p. 195-275; Bidawid: The Letters of the Nestorian Patriarch Timothy I, Rome 1956 (French); Bishop Boutros Gemayel: The Part of the Services in the Maronite Mass, History and Structure, OCA, p. 147, Rome 1965 (French); Bishop Boutros Gemayel, Al-Quddass al-Marouni, Dourous wa Nousous (The Maronite Mass, Studies and Texts), Beirut, 1970, p. 202; Mikhael al-Rajji, Fil-Quddass al-Marouni al-Mashriqi (On the Eastern Maronite Mass), 1935, p. 481-522; Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 3-6.

[11]. Sacrosanctum Concilium Op.cit.pp. 3-16.

[12]. Bouyer. L. The Different Forms of Eucharistic Prayer and their Geneneology SP 8 TU 93 (1996); 156-170; C. Giraudo, Lanne, E. Liturgies eucharistiques en Orient et en Occident 1er et 4eme siècles, DS 9, 884-899; C. Giraudo, Eucaristia per la Chiesa, prospettive teologiche sull’ eucharistia a partire della: “Lex Orandi”, (ALOISIONA 22), Brescia, Rome, 1989, starting with page 452;

The “Baouth” of midday for Thursday of Ordinary Time, Sh-heemi, Kaslik, 1982, p. 254; Y. Soueif, Al-Laah al Aab fil-Liturjia (God the Father in the Liturgy), series of lectures, 26, Kaslik, Lebanon, 2000; Ar-Rooh al-Qudos fil-Liturjia (The Holy Spirit in the Liturgy), Kaslik, Lebanon, series of lectures; 25, Kaslik, Lebanon 1999.

[13]. Al-Beit Ghazo (C 12-13), introduction and translation by Abbot John Tabet, publications of the Liturgical Institute of the University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik, Lebanon. Series of Maronite Liturgical Sources 4 volumes in 6 books (2000-2004), vol. 3; A. Mouhanna: Formation Orders in the Maronite Church, OCA 212, Rome, 1980, (in French).

[14]. Aj-Jinazaat al-Maseehia (Christian Funerals), a series of lectures, 11, Kaslik, Lebanon, 1990; Corbon, The Liturgy as a Source; Sacrosanctum Concilium Op. cit. p. 1-282.

[15]. Al-Beit Ghazo (C 12-13), introduction and translation by Abbot John Tabet, publications of the Liturgical Institute of the University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik, Lebanon. Series of Maronite Liturgical Sources 4 volumes in 6 books (2000-2004), vol. 1; Bishop Boutros Gemayel: Mariyam fil-Kaneesa al-Marouniya (Mary in the Maronite Church), Beirut, 1988.

[16]. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, op.cit.loc.cit

[17]. J. Tabet, The Maronite Divine Office, Kaslik, Liban, 1972 (in French); R. Thaft, The Canonical Hours in the East and the West, Belgium, 1991, 67-126 (in French).

[18]. Al-Beit Ghazo (C 12-13), introduction and translation by Abbot John Tabet, publications of the Liturgical Institute of the University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik, Lebanon. Series of Maronite Liturgical Sources 4 volumes in 6 books (2000-2004), Vol. 2.

[19]. Al-Beit Ghazo , loc.cit; Maronite Liturgical Sources, loc.sit.

20. Sacrosanctum Concilium No. 22, Instructions concerning the liturgical prescriptions pf the.

[21]. Sacrosanctum Concilium Op.cit.

[22]. Ibid, 213.

[23]. Douaihy: Manarat al-Aqdaas (Lighthouse of the Sacraments), Vol. 1, Beirut, 1895, p. 216.

[24]. Op. Cit. p. 218-220; A. Rahmani: Eastern and Western Liturgies, a special and comparative Study, Beirut, 1929 (in French); F. Brightman: Liturgies of the East and the West, Oxford, 1896 (in English); Dalmais: Liturgies of the East, Paris, 1980, (in French).

[25]. Sacrosanctum Concilium Op.cit. No. 21

[26]. Op. Cit. 41.

[27] . Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 23.

[28]. Sacrosanctum Concilium Op.cit. no 32

[29]. Op. Cit. no 14-16.

[30]. Op. Cit. 19-42.

[31]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 17.

[32]. Sacrosanctum Concilium no 16; Apostolic Exhortation A New Hope for Lebanon published by the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Beirut 1997, No. 77.

[33]. Sacrosanctum Concilium no 17.

[34]. Op. Cit. 14.                                                                                                                                                             

[35]. Op. cit. 19.

[36]. Op. cit. 28.

[37]. R. Thaft: The Liturgy of the East and the West, Wahington, 1984.

[38]. H. Danzinger: Eastern Rites, Vol. 1, and 2, Gratz, 1961, (In Latin).

[39]. Rituale, aliaeque piae precationes ad usum Ecclesiae Maroniticae, Rome, 1839; Sacrosanctum Concilium no 59.

[40]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 42; A. Mouhanna: Formation Rites in the Maronite Church, OCA 212, Rome, 1980, (in French).

[41]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 44; Kitab Rutbatay Al-Ma’moodiya wal-Mairoun Bihasab Taqss al-Kanisa al-Antakiya al-Marounia (The Rites of Baptism and Myron, According to the Rite of the Maronite Antiochene Church), prepared by the Patriarchal Committee for Ritual Affairs, Bkerke, 2003.

[42]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 46.

[43]. Op. cit. 48-49.

[44]. Diaconale Syriacum Juxta ritum Ecclesiae Antiochenae Nationis Maronitarum, Rome 1736; Liber dilationis Juxta ritum Ecclesiae Antiochenae Maronitarum, Kozhayya, 1816, 1838, 1872, Beyrouth, 1888, 1908; The first printing of the Maronite Mass was done in Rome in 1594, and the second in 1716. I. Ziadé: The Eastern Mass, 2.11 CTD, 1343-1489 (in French).

[45]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 57.

[46]. Op. cit. 61.

[47]. Op. cit. 58.

[48]. Op. cit 59.

[49] . Op. cit. 72.

[50]. Liber ministerii juxta ritum Sanctæ Syrorum Maronitarum Ecclesiæ, Kozhayya 1854 and 1896, Op. cit. 76; Y. Merhej: Ma’alem fi Tareekh Kitab as-Siamaat al-Marounia (Milestones in the History of the Book of Maronite Ordinations), (Doctoral thesis at the Catholic Institute, Paris), 1975.

[51]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 88.

[52]. Op. cit. 89.

[53]. Op. cit. 91-93.

[54]. Op. cit. 93-94.

[55]. Op. cit. 79-81-82; The Rites of Engagement and Marriage according to the Antiochene Maronite Church” by the Patriarchal Committee for Ritual Affairs, Bkerke, 2003.

[56]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 85; Bishop Youhanna Fouad al-Hage: Engagement, Marriage and Divorce across the Ages and in the Maronite Church, (Doctoral thesis), 1985, (in French); Youhanna Fouad al-Hage: Ibn al-Qalaa’I’s Law Book on the History of the Marriage Law of the Maronites, Kaslik, 2001 (in French).

[57]. Horæ Diurnæ et nocturnæ Maronitarum, Montefiaxone, 1699; Sacrosanctum Concilium no 21; Al-Fard al-Ilaahi, a series of lectures, 21, Kaslik – Lebanon, 1987.

[58]. Op. cit. 225-226; Az-Ziyaahaat war-Rutab at-Taqsiya, a series of lectures, 21, Kaslik – Lebanon, 1996.

[59]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 100.

[60]. Op. cit. 102.

[61]. Lebanese Synod “1736”, 1986, 1-8; Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 102-107; Douaihy: Manarat al-Aqdaas (Lighthouse of the Sacraments), Vol. 1, Beirut, 1895, p.p. 93-175.

[62]. Op. cit. 285-325.

[63]. The importance of iconography began developing in Maronite Church and its relationship with the liturgy. Accompanying this development were initiatives for the establishment of iconographic workshops inspired in their work by the highbred Syriac Maronite heritage. We mention here, as examples, the workshop of the Eparchy of Cyprus, the workshop of the College of Ecclesiastical Art in Kaslik and the workshop of the Antonine Sisters, and workshops managed by priests and laymen; Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 108.

[64]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 109.

[65]. Sacrosanctum Concilium no 122.

[66]. Op. cit. 126.

[67]. Op. cit 242-246; We bring attention here to the fact that Patriarch Estefan Ad-Douaihy is the one who arranged the Syriac Maronite tunes of those days, and based on that, musical and scientific studies were carried out in this domain, and of the most important of those who delved in them were: Father Paul Ashkar, Youssef El-Khoury and Louis El-Hage.

[68]. Sacrosanctum Concilium no 122-130

[69]. Masaadir As-Sana al-Litourjiya (Reference of the Liturgical Year); Sacrosanctum Concilium no 239-241.

[70]. Lebanese Synod 1736, Beirut, 1986, 101; H. Matar: The Maronite Calendar (doctoral thesis in the Pontifical Colleges of the Eastern Catholic Churches), Rome, 1987, (in French); Tony Jibran: Good Friday in the Maronite Liturgy, a theological and liturgical study (doctoral thesis in the Pontifical Colleges of the Eastern Catholic Churches ), Rome 2001.

[71]. Tawjeeh li-Tatbeeq al-Mabadi’ al-Liturjia al-Warida fi Majmoo’at Qawaneen al-Kana’is ash-Sharqia (Directive for the Implementation of Liturgical Principles of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches), Publications of the Episcopal Commission for the Media, Jal ed-Deeb, Lebanon, 1996, No. 36.