Maronite Church

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Coat of Arms of the Maronite Patriarchate.svg
Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch
Arabic: الأنطاكية السريانية المارونية
Classical Syriac: ܥܕܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ ܡܪܘܢܝܬܐ ܕܐܢܛܝܘܟܝܐ
Bkerke.jpg
Seat of the patriarchate in Bkerké, Lebanon
Classification Eastern Catholic
Orientation Syriac
Scripture Peshitta [1] [2]
Theology Catholic theology
Polity Episcopal
Pope Francis
Head [3] [4] Patriarch
Bechara Boutros al-Rahi
First autocephalous
Patriarch
John Maron
RegionFlag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon (approximately one third), Syria, Israel, Cyprus, Jordan, and diaspora
Language Arabic (Lebanese Arabic  · Cypriot Maronite Arabic); Liturgical: Aramaic (Syriac)
Liturgy West Syriac Rite
Headquarters Bkerké, Lebanon
Founder Maron; John Maron
Origin410 AD;
c. 685 AD
Monastery of Saint Maron
Members3,537,690 [5]
Official website http://www.bkerki.org

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, seated in Bkerke north of Beirut, Lebanon. Officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.

Eastern Catholic Churches Autonomous, self-governing particular Churches in full communion with the Pope

The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian autonomous particular churches in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. They are united with one another and with the Latin or Roman Church. In particular, they recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops and his infallibility when speaking ex cathedra. The majority of the Eastern Catholic Churches are groups from the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the historic Church of the East that have returned to communion with the Bishop of Rome, either due to theological concerns or due to understanding the role of the Bishop of Rome as head of church. As such the five liturgical traditions of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, including the Alexandrian Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Byzantine Rite, the East Syriac Rite, and the West Syriac Rite, are shared with other Eastern Christian churches. Consequently, the Catholic Church consists of six liturgical rites; including the aforementioned five liturgical traditions of the Eastern Catholic Churches along with the Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church.

Sui iuris, also spelled as sui juris, is a Latin phrase that literally means "of one's own right". It is used in both civil law and canon law by the Catholic Church. The term church sui iuris is used in the Catholic Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO) to denote the autonomous churches in Catholic communion:

A church sui iuris is "a community of the Christian faithful, which is joined together by a hierarchy according to the norm of law and which is expressly or tacitly recognized as sui iuris by the supreme authority of the Church" (CCEO.27). The term sui iuris is an innovation of the CCEO, and it denotes the relative autonomy of the oriental Catholic Churches. This canonical term, pregnant with many juridical nuances, indicates the God-given mission of the Oriental Catholic Churches to keep up their patrimonial autonomous nature. And the autonomy of these churches is relative in the sense that it is under the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff.

Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.

Contents

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. [6] 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. [7] 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. [8] Other centers of historical importance include Kfarhay, Yanouh, Mayfouq and Qadisha Valley.

Taurus Mountains mountain range

The Taurus Mountains, are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, separating the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau. The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east. It is a part of the Alpide belt in Eurasia.

Patron saint saint regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person

A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family or person.

Council of Chalcedon Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451; not accepted by Oriental Orthodoxy

The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451, at Chalcedon, a town of Bithynia in Asia Minor. The Council was called by Emperor Marcian to set aside the 449 Second Council of Ephesus. Its principal purpose was to assert the orthodox catholic doctrine against the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites, although ecclesiastical discipline and jurisdiction also occupied the council's attention.

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. Due to emigration since the 19th century, approximately two-thirds of its 3,000,000 members [9] are located outside "The Antiochian's Range" and live within the worldwide Lebanese diaspora in Europe, the Americas, Australia and Africa.

Maronites religious group in Levant

The Maronites are a Christian group whose members 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 which is in full communion with the Pope and the Catholic Church, with the right of self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, one of more than a dozen individual churches which are in full communion with the Holy See.

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Lebanon, including population density, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Syria Country in Western Asia

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turkemens. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunnis make up the largest religious group in Syria.

Name

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).

Overview

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.

Lebanon Arabic country in Western Asia

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia that is part of the Arab League. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.

Jordan Arab country in Western Asia

Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and the east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and Israel and Palestine to the west. The Dead Sea is located along its western borders and the country has a short 26-kilometre (16 mi) coastline on the Red Sea in its extreme south-west, but is otherwise landlocked. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The capital, Amman, is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic, political and cultural centre.

Palestine (region) geographical region in the Middle East

Palestine is a geographic region in Western Asia usually considered to include Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in some definitions, parts of western Jordan.

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. [10] 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. [11] 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. [12]

Alexandrian Rite liturgical rite used by the Coptic Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church

The Alexandrian Rite is the liturgical rite used by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as by the three corresponding Eastern Catholic Churches.

Antiochene Rite family of liturgies originally used in the Patriarchate of Antioch

Antiochene Rite or Antiochian Rite designates the family of liturgies originally used in the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Armenian Catholic Church one of the Eastern particular churches sui iuris of the Catholic Church

The Armenian Catholic Church, also referred to as the Armenian Uniate Church, is one of the Eastern particular churches sui iuris of the Catholic Church. They accept the leadership of the Bishop of Rome, known as the papal primacy, and therefore are in full communion with the Catholic Church, including both the Latin Church and the 22 other Eastern Catholic Churches. The Armenian Catholic Church is regulated by Eastern canon law, namely the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

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

History

St. Maron Russian orthodox icon St. Maron.jpg
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. [13]

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. [9]

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. [14] 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. [15] 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. [13]

Contemporary Greek and Arab sources misrepresented the miathelite Maronites as having rejected the third council and accepted monothelitism, [16] 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; [17] and the question remains a matter of controversy. [16] 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. [13]

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;[ citation needed ] 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.jpg
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. [13] 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, [18] in exchange for a substantial payment and half the revenues of Cyprus. [13] There they were conscripted as rowers and marines in the Byzantine navy. [19] Additional resettlement efforts allowed Justinian to reinforce naval forces depleted by earlier conflicts. [20] 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. [21] 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. [22]

Islamic rule

1779 painting of a Maronite nun from Mount Lebanon, with brown jilbab, blue khumur and black hijab. NunofLebanon.jpg
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). [21] 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. [23]

Crusades

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. [24]

The Maronites assisted the crusaders and affirmed their affiliation with the Holy See of Rome in 1182. [25] 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. [25] The Patriarchate of Antioch was also represented at the Council of Ferrara in 1438. [26]

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." [22]

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". [27]

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." [28] In 1649, Patriarch Yuhanna al-Sufrari placed the Maronites under French protection, and the French opened a consulate in Beirut. [29]

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. [27] 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. [28]

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. [30] 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.

Archbishop of Beirut Tobia Aoun (1803-1871) Tobia Aoun 4.jpg
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.

French rule

Independent Lebanon

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. [25] The Council of Luwayza led to a more effective church structure and to gradual emancipation from the influence of Maronite families. [31] Education was declared a major task. Through the joint efforts of the Church and French Jesuits, literacy became widespread.

Latinization

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.[ citation needed ]

Contacts between the Maronite monks and Rome date to the 5th century[ citation needed ] 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. [22] 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. [23] The Maronite College in Rome was established by Gregory XIII in 1584. [28] 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.[ citation needed ]

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. [26]

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 baptism al 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. [32]

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." [33]

Cardinal Sfeir's personal commitment accelerated liturgical reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1992 he published a new Maronite Missal. [26] 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,[ citation needed ] 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." [34]

Organization

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. Peshitta464.jpg
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. [10]

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. [35]

Dioceses

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: [36]

Middle East

Worldwide Immediately subject to the Patriarch

Elsewhere

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)

Population

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. [43] A Maronite community of about 10,000 lives in Cyprus [43] that speaks Cypriot Maronite Arabic. [44] [45] A noticeable Maronite community exists in northern Israel (Galilee), numbering 7,504, [43] famous for its preservation attempts of the Aramaic language and Aramean ethnic identity.

Diaspora

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. [12]

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. [12] 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, [46] South Africa, Canada and Argentina. [43]

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[ by whom? ] that in 1896, the first Maronite and Lebanese immigrants arrived in Durban, Cape Town, and Mozambique, and congregated around their local Catholic churches.

Other

See also

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Bibliography

Further reading

Maronite hierarchy

Eparchies

Maronite Church Religious Orders

Coordinates: 33°58′04″N35°38′02″E / 33.9678°N 35.6339°E / 33.9678; 35.6339