On the occasion of their ad limina visit, the 37 bishops of the Maronite Church visited the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The challenges of the Church in a land strongly characterized by the coexistence of the faithful of different confessions and religions, by limitations to the freedom of faith and worship, and by persecutions against Christians, were the primary points of discussion.
The Maronite Church is a Church sui iuris Patriarchal in communion with the Catholic Church. Rites and liturgy derive from the Antiochian tradition. The liturgical language still embraced is Syriac.
The title "Mar" means "holy" in Aramaic. The Maronite Patriarchs bear the second name "Boutros", referring to St. Peter, founder of the Church of Antioch.
The Maronite Church is the only Church of the East that has always remained faithful to the Apostolic See. Formally, it preserves an element of autonomy: the Patriarch is elected by the Synod of Bishops and only after the election makes a profession of communion with the Roman Pontiff.
The six principal Rites of the Catholic Tradition are: Alexandrian, Antiochian, Armenian, Chaldean, Rite of Constantinople (Byzantine), and Latin (Roman). The Maronite Church follows the Antiochian rite.