Maronite Church

The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. It is headed by Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi since 2011. Officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.

Traditionally, the Maronite Church ministers to the Levant, particularly around Mount Lebanon, where its headquarters Bkerke is located north of Beirut. Other centers of historical importance include Kfarhay, Yanouh, Mayfouq and Qadisha Valley. However, due to emigration since the 19th century, approximately two-thirds of church members are located outside "The Antiochian's Range" and live within the worldwide Lebanese diaspora in Europe, the Americas, Australia and Africa.

Establishment of the Maronite Church can be divided into three periods, from the 4th to the 7th centuries. A congregation movement, with Saint Maroun from the Taurus Mountains as an inspirational leader and patron saint, marked the first period. The second began with the establishment of the Monastery of Saint Maroun on the Orontes, built after the Council of Chalcedon to defend the doctrines of the Council.[2] This monastery was described as the "Greatest Monastery" in the region of Secunda Syria, with more than 300 hermitages around it, according to ancient records.[3] After 518, the monastery de facto administered many parishes in Prima Syria, Cole Syria and Phoenicia. The third period was when Sede Vacante followed the Islamic conquest of the region and bishops of the Saint Maroun Monastery elected John Maron as Patriarch around 685 AD, according to the Maronite tradition. The Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch re-established their patriarchate in 751 AD.[4]

Although reduced in numbers today, Maronites remain one of the principal ethno-religious groups in Lebanon, with smaller minorities of Maronites in Syria, Cyprus, Israel, and Jordan.

Over 3,000,000 Maronites practice the faith.[5]

Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch
Arabic: الأنطاكية السريانية المارونية
Classical Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ ܡܪܘܢܝܬܐ ܕܐܢܛܝܘܟܝܐ
Seat of the patriarchate in Bkerké, Lebanon
ClassificationEastern Catholic
PatriarchBechara Boutros al-Rahi
RegionLebanon (approximately one third), Syria, Israel, Cyprus, Jordan, and diaspora
LanguageArabic (Lebanese Arabic  · Cypriot Maronite Arabic); Liturgical: Aramaic (Syriac)
LiturgyWest Syriac Rite
HeadquartersBkerké, Lebanon
FounderMaron; John Maron
Origin410 AD;
c. 685 AD
Monastery of Saint Maron
Official website


The Maronite Church (Arabic: الكنيسة المارونية‎) is officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch (Latin: Ecclesia Syrorum Maronitarum; Classical Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ ܡܪܘܢܝܬܐ ܕܐܢܛܝܘܟܝܐ‎, romanized: ʿĪṯo Suryoyṯo Morunoyṯo d'Anṭiokia; Arabic: الكنيسة الأنطاكية السريانية المارونية al-Kanīsa al-Anṭākiyya al-Suryāniyya al-Mārūniyya).


St Maroun is considered the founder of the spiritual and monastic movement now called the Maronite Church. This movement has had a profound influence in Lebanon, and to a lesser degree in Syria, Jordan and Palestine. Saint Maroun spent his life on a mountain in Syria, generally believed to be "Kefar-Nabo" on the mountain of Ol-Yambos in the Taurus Mountains, contemporary Turkey, becoming the cradle of the Maronite movement established in the Monastery of Saint Maron.

The six major traditions of the Catholic Church are Alexandrian, Antiochene, Armenian, Chaldean, Constantinopolitan (Byzantine), and Latin (Roman). The Maronite Church follows the Antiochene Tradition.[6] A Roman Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at an Eastern Catholic Parish. That is, a Roman Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest since all belong to the Catholic Church.[7] Maronites who do not reside within a convenient distance to a local Maronite Church are permitted to attend other Catholic churches while retaining their Maronite membership.[8]

The Maronite Patriarchal Assembly (2003–2004) identified five distinguishing marks of the Maronite Church:

  • It is Antiochene.
  • It is Chalcedonian, in that the Maronites were strong supporters of the Council of Chalcedon of 451.
  • It is Patriarchal and Monastic.
  • It is faithful to the See of Peter in Rome.
  • It has strong ties to Lebanon.[6]


St. Maron
St. Maron Russian orthodox icon

Saint Maron, a fourth-century monk and a contemporary and friend of St. John Chrysostom, left Antioch for the Orontes River in modern-day Syria to lead an ascetic life, following the traditions of Anthony the Great of the Desert and of Pachomius. Many of his followers also lived a monastic lifestyle.

Following Maron's death in 410 AD, his disciples built Beth-Maron monastery at Apamea (present day Qalaat al-Madiq). This formed the nucleus of the Maronite Church. In 452, after the Council of Chalcedon, the monastery was expanded by the Byzantine emperor Marcian.[9]

The Maronite movement reached Lebanon when St. Maron's first disciple, Abraham of Cyrrhus, who was called the "Apostle of Lebanon", set out to convert the non-Christians by introducing them to St. Maron.[5]

The Maronites subscribed to the beliefs of the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Monophysites of Antioch slew 350 monks and burned the monastery, although Justinian I later restored the walls. Correspondence concerning the event brought the Maronites papal and orthodox recognition, indicated by a letter from Pope Hormisdas (514–523) dated 10 February 518.[10] Representatives from Beth-Maron participated in the Constantinople synods of 536 and 553.

An outbreak of civil war during the reign of Emperor Phocas brought forth riots in the cities of Syria and Palestine and incursions by Persian King Khosrow II. In 609, the Patriarch of Antioch, Anastasius II, was killed either at the hands of some soldiers or locals.[11] This left the Maronites without a leader, which continued because of the final Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628.

In the aftermath of the war, the Emperor Heraclius propagated a new Christological doctrine in an attempt to unify the various Christian churches of the East, who were divided over accepting the Council of Chalcedon. This doctrine, the unity of Christ's will with God's, was meant as a compromise between supporters of Chalcedon, such as the Maronites, and opponents, such as the Jacobites. The doctrine was endorsed by Pope Honorius I to win back the Monophysites but problems soon arose (see his anathematization).

Instead, the unity of Christ's will with God's (mia-thelitism) was misunderstood as Monothelitism (that Christ and God have only one will) which caused even greater controversy, and was declared a heresy at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680–681. The Council condemned both Honorius and Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople but did not mention the Maronites.[9]

Contemporary Greek and Arab sources misrepresented the miathelite Maronites as having rejected the third council and accepted monothelitism,[12] and that the miathelites in fact maintained monothelitism for centuries, only moving away from it in the time of the crusades in order to avoid being branded heretics by the crusaders. The Maronite Church, however, rejects the assertion that the Maronites were ever monothelites or apart from the Roman Catholic Church;[13] and the question remains a matter of controversy.[12] Elias El-Hāyek attributes much of the confusion to Eutyches of Alexandria, whose Annals contain erroneous material regarding the early Maronite Church, which was then picked up by William of Tyre and others.[9]

During the start of the patriarchs periods, the persecution of Christians and Arabization of the region, including the destruction of the Monastery of Saint Maron, led the majority of the Maronites to move to the barren mountains of Lebanon, especially the northern territory. They established a closed, rural, hierarchical society; re-established their communications with the Papacy during the Crusades; maintained Syriac up to the 18th century; and shifted to Lebanese Arabic as their native language. They issued many liturgical reforms, most notably during Qannoubin's council of 1580, and the Lebanese council of 1736 – which seems in many parts to be a Latinization- gained protection from the Monarchy of France for the church and its community. They organised the monastery in 1696. They played an influential role in Lebanon's political scene especially after 1770 when the Chehab dynasty joined the Maronite Church. That choice was an essential element of the creation of Greater Lebanon in 1920, seen widely by scholars as fulfillment of the Maronites' desire. However, due to mass emigration and eventually the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the Maronite role in the Second Lebanese Republic declined.

First Maronite Patriarch

Maronite monk and pilgrims, Mount Lebanon
Maronite monk and pilgrims, Mount Lebanon

The Patriarch of Antioch Anastasius II died in 609, and Constantinople began to appoint a series of titular patriarchs, who resided in Constantinople. In 685, the Maronites elected Bishop John Maron of Batroun as Patriarch of Antioch and all the East.[9] Through him, later Maronites claimed full apostolic succession through the Patriarchal See of Antioch. While this installation of a patriarch was seen as a usurpation by the Orthodox hierarchy, John received the approval of Pope Sergius I, and became the first Maronite Patriarch of the oldest see in Christianity.

In 687, as part of an agreements with Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, Byzantine emperor Justinian II sent 12,000 Christian Maronites from Lebanon to Armenia,[14] in exchange for a substantial payment and half the revenues of Cyprus.[9] There they were conscripted as rowers and marines in the Byzantine navy.[15] Additional resettlement efforts allowed Justinian to reinforce naval forces depleted by earlier conflicts.[16] The Maronites struggled to retain their autonomy against both imperial power and Arab incursions on the part of the Damascus Caliphate.

Maron established himself in the remote Qadisha Valley in Lebanon. In 694, Justinian sent troops against the Maronites in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the Patriarch.[17] Maron died in 707 at the Monastery of St. Maron in Lebanon. Around 749 the Maronite community, in the Lebanon mountains, built the Mar-Mama church at Ehden. Meanwhile, caught between the Byzantines and the Arabs, the monastery at Beth-Maron struggled to survive.[18]

Islamic rule

1779 painting of a Maronite nun from Mount Lebanon, with brown jilbab, blue khumur and black hijab.

After they came under Arab rule following the Muslim conquest of Syria (634–638), Maronite immigration to Lebanon, which had begun some time before, increased, intensifying under the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun (813–33).[17] The Maronites experienced an improvement in their relationship with the Byzantine Empire. Emperor Constantine IV (reigned 668–685) provided direct ecclesiastical, political and military support to the Maronites. The new alliance coordinated devastating raids on Muslim forces, providing a welcome relief to besieged Christians throughout the Middle East.

During this period the region was dominated by the Abbasids, who persecuted the Maronites. Around AD 1017, a new Muslim sect, the Druze, emerged. At that time the Maronites, as dhimmis, were required to wear black robes and black turbans and they were forbidden to ride horses.

To eliminate internal dissent, from 1289 to 1291 Egyptian Mamluk troops descended on Mount Lebanon, destroying forts and monasteries.[19]


Following the Muslim conquest of Eastern Christendom outside Anatolia and Europe in the 7th century and after the establishment of secured lines of demarcation between Islamic Caliphs and Byzantine Emperors, little was heard from the Maronites for 400 years. Secure in their mountain strongholds, the Maronites were re-discovered in the mountains near Tripoli, Lebanon, by Raymond of Toulouse on his way to conquer Jerusalem in the Great Crusade of 1096–1099. Raymond later returned to besiege Tripoli (1102–1109) after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, and relations between the Maronites and European Christianity were re-established.[20]

The Maronites assisted the crusaders and affirmed their affiliation with the Holy See of Rome in 1182.[21] To commemorate their communion, Maronite Patriarch Youseff Al Jirjisi received the crown and staff, marking his patriarchal authority, from Pope Paschal II in 1100 AD. In 1131, Maronite Patriarch Gregorios Al-Halati received letters from Pope Innocent II in which the Papacy recognized the authority of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Patriarch Jeremias II Al-Amshitti (1199–1230) became the first Maronite Patriarch to visit Rome when he attended the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215.[21] The Patriarchate of Antioch was also represented at the Council of Ferrara in 1438.[22]

Peter Hans Kolvenbach notes, "This contact with the Latin Church enriched the intellectual world of Europe in the Middle Ages. Maronites taught Oriental languages and literature at the universities of Italy and France."[18]

Ottoman rule

In the Ottoman Empire, indigenous concentrated religious communities dealt mainly with the provincial administration. Officially, Maronites had to pay the jizya tax as non-Muslims, but sometimes the monks and clergy were exempt because they were considered to be "poor".[23]

Fakhr-al-Din II (1572 – 1635) was a Druze prince and a leader of the Emirate of Chouf District in the governorate of Mount Lebanon. Maronite Abū Nādir al-Khāzin was one of his foremost supporters and served as Fakhr-al-Din's adjutant. Phares notes that "The emirs prospered from the intellectual skills and trading talents of the Maronites, while the Christians gained political protection, autonomy and a local ally against the ever-present threat of direct Ottoman rule."[24] In 1649, Patriarch Yuhanna al-Sufrari placed the Maronites under French protection, and the French opened a consulate in Beirut.[25]

The Khāzin sheiks increased in power and influence. In 1662, with the mediation of Jesuit missionaries, Abū Nawfal al-Khāzin was named French consul, despite complaints by Marseille merchants that he wasn't from Marseille.[23] The Church prospered from the protection and influence of the Khāzins, but at the expense of interference in church affairs, particularly ecclesiastical appointments, which the Khāzins saw as an extension of their political influence.[24]

In 1610, the Maronite monks of the Monastery of Saint Anthony of Qozhaya imported one of the first printing presses in the Arabic-speaking world; however, that press printed in the Syriac language, not Arabic. The monasteries of Lebanon later became key players in the Arabic Renaissance of the late 19th century as a result of developing Arabic, as well as Syriac, printable script.

Bachir Chehab II was the first and last Maronite ruler of the Emirate of Mount Lebanon.[26] A convert from Sunni Islam, his rivalry with the Druze leader Bashir Jumblatt caused tension between the two communities. In the 1822 war between Damascus and Acre, they backed opposite sides.

Tobia Aoun 4
Archbishop of Beirut Tobia Aoun (1803–1871)

In the spring of 1860, war broke out between the Druze population and the Maronite Christians. The Ottoman authorities in Lebanon could not stop the violence and it spread into neighboring Syria, with the massacre of many Christians. In Damascus, the Emir Abd-el-Kadr protected the Christians there against the Muslim rioters.

French emperor Napoleon III felt obliged to intervene on behalf of the Christians, despite London's opposition, which feared it would lead to a wider French presence in the Middle East. After arduous negotiations to obtain the approval of the British government, Napoleon III sent a French contingent of seven thousand men for a period of six months. The troops arrived in Beirut in August 1860 and took positions in the mountains between the Christian and Muslim communities. He then organized an international conference in Paris, where the country was placed under the rule of a Christian governor named by the Ottoman Sultan, which restored a fragile peace.

Synod of Mount Lebanon (1736)

Maronite orientalist Joseph Simon Assemani presided as papal legate for Pope Clement XII. The synod drafted a Code of Canons for the Maronite Church and created the first regular diocesan structure.[21] The Council of Luwayza led to a more effective church structure and to gradual emancipation from the influence of Maronite families.[27] Education was declared a major task. Through the joint efforts of the Church and French Jesuits, literacy became widespread.


Due to closer ties with the Latin Church, the Maronite Church is among the most Latinized of the Eastern Catholic Churches, although there have been moves to return to Eastern practices.

Contacts between the Maronite monks and Rome date to the 5th century and were revived during the Crusades. The Maronites introduced to Eastern Churches Western devotional practices such as the rosary and the Stations of the Cross.[18] Late in the 16th century, Pope Gregory XIII sent Jesuits to the Lebanese monasteries to ensure that their practice conformed to decisions made at the Council of Trent.[19] The Maronite College in Rome was established by Gregory XIII in 1584.[24] The Maronite missal (Qurbono) was first printed between 1592 and 1594 in Rome, although with fewer anaphoras. The venerable Anaphora (Eucharistic Prayer) Sharrar, attributed to St. Peter, was eliminated from later editions.

Patriarch Stephan al-Duwayhî (1670–1704), (later declared a "Servant of God"), was able to find a middle ground between reformers and conservatives, and re-vitalized Maronite liturgical tradition.[22]

The Synod of Mount Lebanon sought to incorporate both traditions. It formalized many of the Latin practices that had developed, but also attempted to preserve ancient Maronite liturgical tradition. The Synod did not sanction the exclusive use of the Roman ritual in the administration of Baptism. However, in the Eastern tradition, the oil of catechumens is blessed by the priest during the baptismal rite. This blessing was now reserved to the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday. A practice common among all the Eastern Churches is to administer Baptism and First Communion together. As in the Latin Rite Holy Communion is to be given only to those who have attained the age of reason; priests were forbidden to give Communion to infants.[28]

In Orientale lumen, the Apostolic Letter to the Churches of the East, issued 2 May 1995, Pope John Paul II quotes Orientalium Ecclesiarum, the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches:

It has been stressed several times that the full union of the Catholic Eastern Churches with the Church of Rome which has already been achieved must not imply a diminished awareness of their own authenticity and originality. Wherever this occurred, the Second Vatican Council has urged them to rediscover their full identity, because they have "the right and the duty to govern themselves according to their own unique disciplines. For these are guaranteed by ancient tradition and seem to be better suited to the customs of their faithful and to the good of their souls."[29]

Cardinal Sfeir's personal commitment accelerated liturgical reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1992 he published a new Maronite Missal.[22] This represents an attempt to return to the original form of the Antiochene Liturgy, removing the liturgical Latinization of past centuries. The Service of the Word has been described as far more enriched than in previous missals, and there are six Anaphoras.

Patriarch Sfeir stated that Sacrosanctum concilium and the Roman liturgical changes following Vatican II apply to the Maronite Church. Sancrosanctum Concilium says, "Among these principles and norms there are some which can and should be applied both to the Roman rite and also to all the other rites. The practical norms which follow, however, should be taken as applying only to the Roman rite, except for those which, in the very nature of things, affect other rites as well."[30]


The Peshitta is the standard Syriac Bible, used by the Maronite Church, amongst others. The illustration is of the Peshitta text of Exodus 13:14–16 produced in Amida in the year 464.

Patriarchate of Antioch

The head of the Maronite Church is the Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant, who is elected by the Maronite bishops and resides in Bkerké, close to Jounieh, north of Beirut.He resides in the northern town of Dimane during the summer.[6]

There are four other claimants to the Patriarchal succession of Antioch :

The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant since March 2011 is Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Rahi, while Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir is Patriarch Emeritus. When a new Patriarch is elected and enthroned, he requests ecclesiastical recognition by the Pope, thus maintaining communion with the Holy See. As an Eastern Catholic Patriarch, the Patriarch is usually created a Cardinal by the Pope in the rank of a Cardinal Bishop; he does however not receive a suburbicarian see (required to become Dean), even ranks below those six, but is known by the title of the patriarchate of his sui iuris Church.

Celibacy is not strictly required for Maronite deacons and priests of parishes outside of North America; monks, however, must remain celibate, as well as bishops who are normally selected from the monasteries. Due to a long-term understanding with their Latin counterparts in North America, Maronite priests in that area have traditionally remained celibate. However, in February 2014, Wissam Akiki was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop A. Elias Zaidan of the U.S. Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon at St. Raymond's Maronite Cathedral in St. Louis. Deacon Akiki is the first married man to be ordained to the Maronite priesthood in North America and will not be expected to uphold a vow of celibacy.[31]


Despite the many archiepiscopates, none is a Metropolitan abstraction made of the Patriarch of Antioch, who has a single Suffragan (Jebbeh–Sarba–Jounieh) and hence an ecclesiastical province. In Latin America, two Maronite eparchies are suffragans of Latin metropolitans.

The Maronite church has twenty-six eparchies and patriarchal vicariates as follows:[32]

Middle East

Worldwide Immediately subject to the Patriarch


Exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See:
Subject to the Synod in matters of liturgical and particular law, otherwise exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See and its Roman Congregation for the Eastern Churches :
Suffragan Eparchies in the ecclesiastical provinces of Latin Metropolitan Archbishops; both in South America :

Titular sees

Religious institutes (orders)


The global Maronite population is not exactly known, but is estimated at more than 3 million, according to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

According to the official site of the maronite church, approximately 1,062,000 Maronites live in Lebanon, where they constitute up to 22 -23 percent of the population. Syrian Maronites total 51,000, following the archdioceses of Aleppo and Damascus and the Diocese of Latakia.[39] A Maronite community of about 10,000 lives in Cyprus[39] that speaks Cypriot Maronite Arabic.[40][41] A noticeable Maronite community exists in northern Israel (Galilee), numbering 7,504,[39] famous for its preservation attempts of the Aramaic language and Aramean ethnic identity.


Immigration of Maronite faithful from the Middle East to the United States began during the latter part of the nineteenth century. When the faithful were able to obtain a priest, communities were established as parishes under the jurisdiction of the local Latin bishops. In January 1966, Pope Paul VI established the Maronite Apostolic Exarchate for the Maronite faithful of the United States. In a decree of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Bishop Francis Mansour Zayek was appointed the first exarch. The see, in Detroit, Michigan, with a cathedral under the patronage of Saint Maron, was suffragan to the Archdiocese of Detroit. In 1971, Pope Paul VI elevated the Exarchate to the status of an Eparchy, with the name of Eparchy of Saint Maron of Detroit. In 1977, the see of the Eparchy of Saint Maron was transferred to Brooklyn, New York, with the cathedral under the patronage of Our Lady of Lebanon. The name of the Eparchy was modified to Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn.[8]

In 1994, the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon was established with the cathedral at Los Angeles, California, under the patronage of Our Lady of Lebanon.[8] John George Chedid, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, was ordained as the first Bishop of the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles at the Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Los Angeles, California, where he served until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 80. In December 2000, Robert Joseph Shaheen succeeded Chedid as eparch.

The two eparchies in the United States have issued their own "Maronite Census," designed to estimate the population of Maronites in the United States. Many have been assimilated into Western Catholicism absent Maronite parishes or priests. The "Maronite Census" was designed to locate these Maronites.

Eparchies operate in São Paulo in Brazil, as well as in Colombia, México, France, Australia,[42] South Africa, Canada and Argentina.[39]

The history of the Lebanese community in South Africa dates to the late 19th century, when the first immigrants arrived in Johannesburg, the biggest city in the Transvaal, having come from Sebhel, Mesyara, Becharre, Hadath El Jebbeh, Maghdouché and other places. It is recorded that in 1896, the first Maronite and Lebanese immigrants arrived in Durban, Cape Town, and Mozambique, and congregated around their local Catholic churches.


  • Medal,[43] Great Cross,[44] and Golden Order of the Maronite General Council of the Maronite Church[45]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ History of the Maronites, Maronite, 13 April 2016.
  3. ^ Beggiani, Seely. "Aspects of Maronite History—Monastery of St. Maron". Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn. Archived from the original on 2 March 2001. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  4. ^ No'man 1996, p. 22.
  5. ^ a b "There are 3,198,600 Maronites in the World". 3 January 1994. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Maronite Church". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  7. ^ "About the Maronite Rite - Our Lady's Maronite Catholic Church". Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "MARONITE HISTORY & SAINT MARON - St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Conversion and Continuity" – via
  10. ^ Attwater, Donald; The Christian Churches of the East
  11. ^ Frendo, J. D. (1982). "Who Killed Anastasius II?". The Jewish Quarterly Review. 72 (3): 202–204. JSTOR 1454219.
  12. ^ a b Moosa 1986, pp. 195–216.
  13. ^ "The Story of the Maronite Catholics - The Maronite Monks of Adoration". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  14. ^ Bury, J.B., A History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene, Vol. II, MacMillan & Co., 1889, p. 321
  15. ^ Treadgold, Warren T., Byzantium and Its Army, 284–1081, 1998, Stanford University Press, p. 72, ISBN 0-8047-3163-2,
  16. ^ Ostrogorsky, George, History of the Byzantine state, (Joan Hussey, trans.), 1957, Rutgers University Press, pp. 116–122, ISBN 0-8135-0599-2
  17. ^ a b "PureHost". Archived from the original on 20 May 2015.
  18. ^ a b c "Maronites Between Two Worlds – Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn". Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  19. ^ a b Johnston, William M. (4 December 2013). "Encyclopedia of Monasticism". Routledge – via Google Books.
  21. ^ a b c "CNEWA - The Maronite Catholic Church". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  22. ^ a b c Wainwright, Geoffrey (23 March 2006). "The Oxford History of Christian Worship". Oxford University Press, USA – via Google Books.
  23. ^ a b Leeuwen, Richard Van (23 March 1994). "Notables and Clergy in Mount Lebanon: The Khāzin Sheikhs and the Maronite Church, 1736-1840". BRILL – via Google Books.
  24. ^ a b c O'Mahony, Anthony; Loosley, Emma (16 December 2009). "Eastern Christianity in the Modern Middle East". Routledge – via Google Books.
  25. ^ Phan, Peter C. (21 January 2011). "Christianities in Asia". John Wiley & Sons – via Google Books.
  26. ^ Moosa 1986, p. 283.
  27. ^ Hakim, Carol (19 January 2013). "The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea: 1840–1920". University of California Press – via Google Books.
  28. ^ "PureHost". Archived from the original on 20 May 2014.
  29. ^ "CIN - Orientale Lumen Pope John Paul II".
  30. ^ "Sacrosanctum concilium". Archived from the original on 21 February 2008.
  31. ^ "First married man ordained priest for U.S. Maronite Catholic Church". National Catholic Reporter. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  32. ^ Church website Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 20 March 2011
  33. ^ Soumen. "MARONITE EPARCHY OF OUR LADY OF LOS ANGELES". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  35. ^ "Home". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  36. ^ "OAM - Accueil". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  37. ^ Mariamite Maronite Order (O.M.M.) Archived 28 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine Arabic
  38. ^ "Congregation Of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  39. ^ a b c d Annuario Pontificio : The Eastern Catholic Churches 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  40. ^ Maria Tsiapera, A Descriptive Analysis of Cypriot Maronite Arabic, 1969, Mouton and Company, The Hague, 69 pages
  41. ^ "Cyprus Ministry of Interior : European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages : Answers to the Comments/Questions Submitted to the Government of Cyprus Regarding its Initial Periodical Report" (PDF). 28 July 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  42. ^ M. Ghosn, Maronite institutional development across Australia, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society 31/2 (2010/11), 15-26.
  43. ^ "The Maronite Central Council Medal, About Us - Central Council of the Maronite Societies". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  44. ^ "Great Cross of the Maronite Central Council, About Us - Central Council of the Maronite Societies". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  45. ^ "The King of Morocco Mohamad VI Awards Prince Alwaleed His 60th Honorary Medal - Kingdom Holding Company". Retrieved 16 June 2016.


  • Moosa, Matti (1986). The Maronites in History. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press.
  • No'man, Paul (1996). The Yesterday of the Maronite Church and it's Tomorrow. Ghosta: Books. (in Arabic)

Further reading

  • Moosa, Matti, The Maronites in History, Gorgias Press, Piscataway, New Jersey, 2005, ISBN 978-1-59333-182-5
  • R. J. Mouawad, Les Maronites. Chrétiens du Liban, Brepols Publishers, Turnhout, 2009, ISBN 978-2-503-53041-3
  • Kamal Salibi, A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered (University of California Press, 1990).
  • Maronite Church. New Catholic Encyclopedia, Second Edition, 2003.
  • Riley-Smith, Johnathan. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995)
  • Suermann, Harald. Histoire des origines de l'Eglise Maronite, PUSEK, Kaslik, 2010, ISBN 978-9953-491-67-7
  • Barber, Malcolm. Letters from the East: Crusades, Pilgrims and Settlers in the 12th–13th centuries, Ashgate Press, Reading, United Kingdom, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4724-1393-2

Sources and external links

Maronite hierarchy


Maronite Church Religious Orders

Coordinates: 33°58′04″N 35°38′02″E / 33.9678°N 35.6339°E


Bkerké (Arabic: بكركي, also Bkerke or Bkirki) is the episcopal see of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch of the Maronite Church in Lebanon, located 650 m above the bay of Jounieh, northeast of Beirut, in Lebanon.

Though now exclusively used by the church, the area was owned by the noble Khazen family. The clergy use it under a special waqf.

Cathedral of Saint Elijah, Aleppo

Saint Elijah Cathedral (Arabic: كاتدرائية القدّيِس الياس‎), is an Eastern Catholic (Maronite) church in Aleppo, Syria, located in the Christian quarter of al-Jdayde. It is named after the biblical prophet Elijah. The church was built in 1873, replacing an old Maronite church. It was renovated in 1914.

Christianity in Lebanon

Christianity in Lebanon has a long and continuous history. Biblical Scriptures purport that Peter and Paul evangelized the Phoenicians, whom they affiliated to the ancient patriarchate of Antioch. The spread of Christianity in Mount Lebanon was very slow where paganism persisted in mountaintop strongholds. A 2015 study estimates some 2,500 Lebanese Christians have Muslim ancestry, whereas the majority of Lebanese Christians are direct descendants of the original early Christians.

Proportionally, Lebanon has the highest rate of Christians in the Middle East, where the percentage ranges between 40.5% and 45%, followed directly by Egypt and Syria where most likely Christians account for an estimated 10 percent.

Lebanese Maronite Christians

Lebanese Maronite Christians (Arabic: المسيحية المارونية في لبنان) refers to Lebanese people who are adherents of the Maronite Church in Lebanon, which is the largest Christian denomination in the country.

The Lebanese Maronite Christians are believed to constitute about 25% of the total population of Lebanon. Lebanon's constitution was intended to guarantee political representation for each of the nation's ethno-religious groups.Under the terms of an unwritten agreement known as the National Pact between the various political and religious leaders of Lebanon, the president of the country must be a Maronite.

Little Syria, Manhattan

Little Syria was a largely Arab-American but diverse neighborhood that existed in the New York City borough of Manhattan from the late 1880s until the 1940s, composed largely of Arab-Americans arriving from the Ottoman territory known as Greater Syria, the approximate area of which included in present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, during the Great Migration from 1880 to 1924. Also called the Syrian Quarter, it encompassed Washington Street from Battery Park to above Rector Street.The enclave, in its greatest reach, overlapped with the future site of the World Trade Center, and even encompassed the St. Joseph's Maronite Church, whose cornerstone was found in the rubble after the September 11 terrorist attacks. It declined as a neighborhood as the inhabitants became successful and moved to other areas, especially Brooklyn Heights, the Sunset Park area and Bay Ridge, with many retail shops relocating to Atlantic Avenue, in Brooklyn, and disappeared almost entirely when a great deal of lower Washington Street was demolished to make way for entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.


Maron, also called Maroun or Maro, (Syriac: ܡܪܘܢ‎, Morōn; Arabic: مارون‎; Latin: Maron; Greek: Μάρων) was a 4th-century Syriac Christian hermit monk in the Taurus Mountains whose followers, after his death, founded a religious Christian movement that became known as the Syriac Maronite Church, in full communion with the Holy See and the Catholic Church. The religious community which grew from this movement are the modern Maronites.

Saint Maron is often portrayed in a black monastic habit with a hanging stole, accompanied by a long crosier staffed by a globe surmounted with a cross. His feast day in the Maronite Church is February 9.

Maronite Cathedral of Saint George, Beirut

Saint George Maronite Cathedral (Arabic: كاتدرائية مار جرجس للموارنة‎) is the cathedral of the Maronite Catholic Archeparchy of Beirut, Archdiocese of the city of Beirut, Lebanon. Its construction, with a Neoclassical facade, interior and plan inspired by the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, began in 1884 and ended in 1894.

The cathedral was heavily hit and shelled during the Lebanese civil war and was plundered and defaced. A number of works of art that were looted have since been recovered, including the famous painting by Delacroix representing Saint George, the patron saint of the cathedral and of the Archdiocese of the city of Beirut. The cathedral was restored after the end of the hostilities and was re-inaugurated by the Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir on 24 April 2000.

Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles

Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon (in Latin: Eparchia Dominae Nostrae Libanensis in civitate Angelorum in California Maronitarum), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is an entity pertaining to the Apostolic Maronite Patriarchal Church of Antioch and includes the Maronite faithful in the western and central United States. In conformity with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO), the Eparchy is under the direct jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff. In 2013 there were 52,300 baptized. It is currently ruled by eparch Abdallah Elias Zaidan, MLM.

Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn

Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn (in Latin: Eparchia Sancti Maronis Bruklyniensis Maronitarum) is an entity pertaining to the Apostolic Maronite Patriarchal Church of Antioch and is a diocese of the Maronite Church for the east coast of the United States, being headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. In conformity with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO), the Eparchy is under the direct jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff. In 2014 there were 33,000 baptized. It is currently ruled by eparch Gregory John Mansour.

Maronite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch

The Maronite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch (in Latin: Patriarchatus Antiochenus Maronitarum) is the seat of the Patriarch of the Maronite Church. It is currently governed by the Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, OMM.

Maronite Church in Israel

Maronites in Israel (Arabic: الموارنة في إسرائيل‎, Aramaic Syriac: ܒܝܫܪܐܠ‎ ܡܖ̈ܘܢܝܐ‎‎) are an Arabic-spekaing minority who belong to the Maronite Catholic Church, who reside in Israel and identify as Arameans (or Aramaeans). Their church has historically been tied with Lebanon. They derive their name from the Syriac Saint Maron, whose followers moved to Mount Lebanon from northern Syria, establishing the Maronite Church, most of whose members currently live in Lebanon. The Maronites in Israel encompass the long existing Maronite community in Jish area and the families of former South Lebanon Army members, 7,000 of them who fled South Lebanon in April–May 2000 to Israel. Of the 7,000 SLA and their families who left their family members and belongings in Lebanon, just 2,700 have remained in Israel. Over the years, many of them decided to return home to Lebanon, while others left for Europe and the US.

The Maronite community in Israel is trying to revive the ancient Western Neo-Aramaic language, which used to be the lingua franca of the region after the spread of Christianity, and a common language within the Maronite community until the 16th century. The Maronite-majority town of Jish has recently initiated official teaching of neo-Aramaic language in a local school, with approval of the Israeli Ministry of Education.

The Maronites in Israel and the Palestinian territories are subject to either the Maronite Catholic Archeparchy of Haifa and the Holy Land, or the Maronite Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Jerusalem and Palestine, both in turn subject to the Patriarch of Antioch, but since 1996 both these branches of the Maronite Church have been in the pastoral care of one single bishop, being united for now in persona episcopi.

Maronite Convent, Jerusalem

The Maronite Convent, also known as the Maronite Church or the Maronite Monastery, is a Maronite Catholic convent located on Maronite Convent Street 25 near the Jaffa Gate in the Armenian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Erected in 1895 as the only Maronite place of worship in the Old City of Jerusalem, it effectively serves as the cathedra of the Maronite Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate of Jerusalem and Palestine along with official residence of its archbishop.The complex, which previously served as a hospital for German Protestants in the 19th century, comprises a Maronite chapel, as well as the Pilgrim's Guesthouse of Saint Maron (French: Foyer de Saint Maron), maintained by Maronite nuns from the Congregation of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. In addition, it hosts a pilgrim organisation called Peregrinatio Jubilaum Jerusalem (PJJ), set up in 1999 by the Maronite Church in charge of organising tours.

Maronite Cypriots

The Maronites in Cyprus are members of the Maronite Catholic Archeparchy of Cyprus whose ancestors migrated from present-day Lebanon during the Middle Ages. They traditionally speak their own variety of Arabic in addition to Greek. As Eastern Catholics of the West Syriac Rite, they are in full communion with the Catholic Church of Rome.

As of 2018 the Archbishop of Cyprus was Youssef Soueif, born in Chekka, Lebanon on 14 July 1962. He was ordained Archbishop on 6 December 2008 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lebanon-Harissa by the Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir. The Mass of Enthronement was held at the Maronite Cathedral of Our Lady of Graces in Nicosia, Cyprus on 21 December 2008. He succeeded the Emeritus Archbishop of Cyprus Boutros Gemayel, who lives in Lebanon.


The Maronites (Arabic: الموارنة‎, Aramaic Syriac: ܡܖ̈ܘܢܝܐ‎) are an Arabic-speaking Christian group who adhere to the Syriac Maronite Church with the largest population around Mount Lebanon in Lebanon. The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, one of more than a dozen individual churches in full communion with the Holy See. They derive their name from the Syriac Christian saint Maron, whose followers migrated to the area of Mount Lebanon from their previous location of residence around the area of Antioch, establishing the nucleus of the Syriac Maronite Church. Some Maronites argue that they are of Mardaite ancestry, but most historians reject such claims. Maronites were able to maintain an independent status in Mount Lebanon and its coastline after the Muslim conquest of the Levant, keeping their Christian religion, and even the distinctive Aramaic language as late as the 19th century.The Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate of the Ottoman Empire and later the republic of Lebanon were created under the auspice of European powers with the Maronites as their main ethnoreligious component. Mass emigration to the Americas at the outset of the 20th century, famine mainly resulting from Ottoman blockades and confiscations during World War I, that killed an estimated one third to one half of the population, the Lebanese Civil War between 1975-1990 and the low fertility rate greatly decreased their numbers in the Levant. Maronites today form more than one quarter of the total population in the Republic of Lebanon. With only two exceptions, all Lebanese presidents have been Maronites as part of a tradition that persists as part of the National Pact, by which the Prime Minister has historically been a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of the National Assembly has historically been a Shi'i Muslim.

Though concentrated in Lebanon, Maronites also show presence in neighboring Syria, Israel, Cyprus and Palestine, as well as a significant part in the Lebanese diaspora in the Americas, Europe, Australia, and Africa.

The Syriac Maronite Church, under the Patriarch of Antioch, has branches in nearly all countries where Maronite Christian communities live, in both the Levant (mainly Lebanon) and the Lebanese diaspora.

Monastery of Saint Maron

The Monastery of Saint Maron (Syriac: Deir Mar Maroun‎), also called the Cave of the monks, is an ancient cavern - used as a Maronite monastery - carved out of solid rock in the side of a cliff, located around 200 metres (660 ft) from Ain ez Zarqa, the source of the Orontes river, and south of Hermel in Baalbek-Hermel Governorate, northern Lebanon. It is named after Saint Maron whose life and works at the location is associated with the establishment of the Maronite Church.

Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir

Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir (Al-Kārdīnāl Mār Naṣrallah Buṭrus Ṣufayr; Arabic: الكاردينال مار نصر الله بطرس صفير‎; Latin: Victor Petrus Sfeir; 15 May 1920 – 12 May 2019) was the patriarch of Lebanon's largest Christian body, the Maronite Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See. He was also a cardinal. He was elected Patriarch of Antioch for the Maronites on 27 April 1986, and his resignation was accepted on 26 February 2011. He was the third Maronite cardinal and the 76th patriarch of the Maronite Church, with the official title of "His Beatitude and Eminence the 76th Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole Levant".

Our Lady of Lebanon

The Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon (Arabic: سيدة لبنان‎, Sayyidat Lubnān; French: Notre Dame du Liban) is a Marian shrine and a pilgrimage site in Lebanon.

The shrine belongs to the Maronite Patriarchate who entrusted its administration to the Congregation of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries since its foundation in 1904. It is one of the most important shrines in the world honoring Mary, Mother of Jesus. The shrine is highlighted by a huge, 15-ton bronze statue. It is 8.5 m high, and has a diameter of five meters. The Virgin Mary stretches her hands towards Beirut.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon draws millions of faithful both Christians and Muslims from all over the world. The 50th jubilee in 1954 was also the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception. During these celebrations, Pope Pius XII sent his representative, Cardinal Angelo Roncalli (later to become Pope John XXIII) to Lebanon. Pope John Paul II visited Our Lady of Lebanon in 1997.

The Congregation of Maronite Lebanese Missionaries, responsible for the administration, works at reinforcing relations among all local Churches, Christian communities and apostolic movements.

The Lebanese Christians as well as the Druze and Muslims have a special devotion to Mary, Mother of Jesus. The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch named her the "Queen of Lebanon" in 1908 upon completion of the shrine. Overlooking the bay of Jounieh, the shrine has become a major tourist attraction where tourists take the gondola lift, the Téléphérique, from the city of Jounieh to Harissa.

Saint Moura

Saint Moura, also known as Mart Moura, is a Christian martyr of the third century and is honored in Egypt and the Middle East. Her feast is celebrated on 3 May and on 25 September, 5 Hathor and 8 Pashons in the Coptic church.

Several churches are dedicated to her, especially in northern Lebanon, as well as a monastery in Ehden.

Bible and
By country
of the faithful
West Syriac, legacy of
the Patriarchate of Antioch
East Syriac, legacy of
the Church of the East
(the "Nestorian Church")
Saint Thomas Christians,
legacy of
the Malankara Church
(1st century–1601)
in India
Key figures
See also

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