Lent is treated slightly differently across the Catholic Rites.

In the Melkite Rite, the Great Lent begins on the Vespers of Clean Monday, which is the Monday after Ash Wednesday (Feb 19th this year), and ends on the Friday after the 5th Sunday of Lent. This is precisely 40 days, counts Sundays and has stricter a stricter abstinence obligation than the Latin Rite form of Lent. Namely, that abstinence be practiced on all days of Lent except for Palm Sunday and the Feast of the Annunciation.

In the Roman Catholic Rite, lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday. This includes Sundays only as far as our conscience dictates.


If someone is baptized, given first communion, and confirmed as a Melkite Catholic, but has otherwise grown up in the Western Rite, does Melkite doctrine state that there can be a choice in which Lent a believer chooses to follow?

  • I think you may be mistaken in identifying the Friday after the fifth Sunday in Great Lent as being Good Friday. It is the week before Good Friday, and is followed by Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, which are not, in Eastern tradition, part of Lent.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 13:06
  • @davidlol edited accordingly
    – isakbob
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 13:07
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    Why do you doubt that observing the Western Rite Lent is the right thing for you? Whose approval do you want? Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 15:29
  • 2
    But is he a member of the Western Rite, merely because he considers himself to be one? Canon 112 section two says the practice, however prolonged, of receiving the sacraments in a particular Rite does not entail enrollment in that rite. Of course, on one level, he can do anything he pleases, but if the question is premised on Church law, then canon 112 seems to say that he is not a member of the Western rite, whatever he considers himself.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 16:34
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    Yes, you are Eastern rite,. But whether Eastern Rite members are permitted to observe western rite lent, has not been answered yet. I don't know the answer, but was merely clarifying the question. Hopefully someone will answer it.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches codifies common portions of the canon law of all the Eastern Catholic Churches within the (Roman) Catholic Church.

Canon 883 says

The Christian faithful who are outside the territorial boundaries of their own Church sui juris can adopt fully for themselves the feast days and days of penance which are in force where they are staying.

This shows that someone whose own Church is an Eastern Rite Church, but who lives in a Western country, is free to observe Lent according to the Latin rite instead of the rite of his own Church.

The question is about someone attending a Latin rite Church, rather than living in Latin rite territory, but in practice most Eastern Rite Catholics regularly attending a Latin Rite parish will do so because of where they live, and so I offer this answer.

In years when Easter is the same East and West, Clean Monday is 2 days prior to Western Ash Wednesday and Eastern Lent ends 2 days before Palm Sunday. This year Eastern Easter is one eeek later. There are obvious disadvantages in fasting according to one calendar but using the liturgy of another as one could be fasting in preparation for Easter even while celebrating it in church.


  • Is territory understood as territory within a political body or diocese/eparchy?
    – isakbob
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 21:00
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    Territory is the area in which a Church (or its Orthodox equivalent) was historically dominnant.In the case of the Bulgarian, Ethiopian or Romanian churches their teritory is Bulgaria, Ethiopia or Romania respectively. The Melkite covers several middle Eastern countries. The whole of the Americas is Latin territory, as is Western Europe and Australia. There are eparchies etc of Eastern Churches in Western countries, e, g. the Newton eparchy of the Melkite Church, but is outside the territory of the Melkite patriarchy.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 21:52

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