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- The history shows that syriac was not only the language of the church but also the language of the maronite people who had his own nation and identity.
- That’s why the maronite people wrote the imported foreign language arabic in syriac letters calling it Garshouni which means foreign. These maronite saints and heroes fought for their nation and identity against invaders which could not defeat nor convert them.
- They laid the base of our present Lebanon, constituting the majority of its population.
HISTORY OF THE MARONITES:
- Aspects of Maronite History: http://www.maronite-heritage.com/Aspects%20of%20Maronite%20History.php
SAINT MARON: MOR MOROUN:
- http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=Saint Maronp
Saint Maroun, born in the middle of the 4th century was a priest who latter became a hermit, retiring to a mountain of Taurus near Antioch. His holiness and miracles attracted many followers, and drew attention throughout the empire. St John of Chrysostom sent him a letter around 405 AD expressing his great love and respect asking St Maroun to pray for him.
The Maronite Movement:
St Maroun is considered the Father of the spiritual and monastic movement now called the Maronite Church. This movement had a profound influence on Northern Syria and Lebanon. Saint Maroun spent all of his life on a mountain in the region of Cyrrhus in Syria. It is believed that the place was called “Kefar-Nabo” on the mountain of Ol-Yambos, making it the cradle of the Maronite movement.
The Maronite movement reached Lebanon when St Maroun’s first disciple Abraham of Cyrrhus who was called the Apostle of Lebanon, realised that paganism was thriving in Lebanon, so he set out to convert the pagans to Christians by introducing them to the way of St Maroun. The followers of St Maroun, both monks and laity, always remained faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
St Maroun’s way was deeply monastic with emphasis on the spiritual and ascetic aspects of living. For Saint Maroun, all was connected to God and God was connected to all. He did not separate the physical and spiritual world and actually used the physical world to deepen his faith and spiritual experience with God.
St Maroun embraced the quiet solitude of the mountain life. He lived his life in open air exposed to the forces of nature such as sun, rain, hail and snow. His extraordinary desire to come to know Gods presence in all things, allowed St Maroun to transcend such forces and discover that intimate union with God. He was able to free himself from the physical world by his passion and fervour for prayer and enter into a mystical relationship of love with God.
St Maroun was a mystic who started this new ascetic-spiritual method that attracted many people in Syria and Lebanon to become his disciples. Accompanying his deeply spiritual and ascetic life, he was a zealous missionary with a passion to spread the message of Christ by preaching it to all he met. He sought not only to cure the physical ailments that people suffered, but had a great quest for nurturing and healing the “lost souls” of both pagans and Christians of his time.
This missionary work came to fruition when in the mountains of Syria, St Maroun was able to convert a pagan temple into a Christian Church. This was to be the beginning of the conversion of Paganism to Christianity in Syria which would then influence and spread to Lebanon. After his death in the year 410 AD, his spirit and teachings lived on through his disciples.
TIMELINE CHRISTIAN HISTORY:
LIST OF PATRIARCHS:
- Patriarch Bechara Raii:
PATRIARCHS WHO MARKED SYRIAC MARONITE HISTORY:
- Saint John Maron – Mor Youhanna Maroun:
- John Maron (628 – 707), was a Syriac monk, and the first Maronite Patriarch. He is revered as a saint by the Catholic Church, and celebrated on March 2
- Early life: John was born in Sarum, a town located south of the city of Antioch. He was the son of Agathon and Anohamia. He was called John the Sarumite since his father was governor of Sarum. His paternal grandfather, Prince Alidipas, was the nephew of Carloman, a Frankish Prince, and governed Antioch. John was educated in Antioch and the monastery of Saint Maron studying mathematics, sciences, philosophy, theology, philology and scripture. He became a monk at the monastery of Saint Maron, adding the name Maron to his own John studied Greek and patrology in Constantinople. Returning to Saint Maron’s, he wrote on such diverse topics as teaching, rhetoric, the sacraments, management of Church property, legislative techniques, and liturgy. He composed the Eucharistic Prayer which still bears his name. As a young priest he engaged himself in ecumenical debates with the Monophysites. Noted as a teacher and preacher, he explained Catholic dogma of the Council of Chalcedon (which focused on the nature of Jesus as both God and human), wrote a series of letters to the faithful against Monothelitism, and then travelled Syria to explain the heresy. He was consecrated bishop in 676, but assigned to Mount Lebanon with a mission to oppose heresies, keep the Maronites united with the Church, and support the faithful in an area being invaded by Arabs. He travelled extensively in the areas involved in combat, preaching, conducting Mass, tending to the sick, and sheltering the homeless. It was during this terrible period that he was given the gift of healing, curing many praying over them.The first Maronite Patriarch
- The Maronites made up the bulk of the Maradite army, the so-called “Brass Wall” that shielded Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire from Arab expansion. In 686 the Maradites used their power and importance to choose John Maron, one of their own, as Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. John received the approval of Pope Sergius I, and became the first Maronite Patriarch of the oldest See in Christianity
- Gabriel II of 7ajoula: Patriarch martyr (1357-1367) lived at Sainte Ilij convent. The Mamalik burnt him by fire in Tripoli where he is buried.
- Mar Estephan Boutros Douwayhi: We owe him our motto: “After our faith, our doctrine is the land of Lebanon” (Botar haymonutan:ar3o dlevnon hi qyomo dilan). He confirmed the identity and the nation of our people.
MARONITES SAINTS WHO SPOKE AND PRAYED IN SYRIAC:
- Saint Charbel:
- http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=Saint Sharbel
- Saint Rafqa:
- http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=Saint Rafqa
- Saint Nimutallah Hardini:
- http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=Saint Nimatullah Hardini
- Abouna Yacoub:
- http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=Bouna Yacoub
- Brother Estephan Nehmé:
- http://www.maronite-heritage.com/LNE.php?page=Brother Estephan Nehme
SAINT EPHREM: Harp of the Holy Spirit:
Venerated by catholics (maronites, syriac,melkites), syriac orthodoxes, greek orthodoxes, slavonic, romanian, ukrainian churches.
St. Ephrem The Syrian or Mor Afrem Suryoyo was born in c. 306 A.D. in Nisibis, (The modern Turkish town Nusaybin, on the border of Syria). He was ordained a deacon at thirty two and served the Bishop of Nisibis. He is regarded as the great Poet Saint of the Syriac speaking churches writing exclusively in Syriac in the Edessene Aramaic dialect as he settled in Edessa after the cession of Nisibis to Persia in 363 A.D. He wrote over five hundred hymns and his poetry survives in two genres, “madrashe (hymns) and memre (verse homilies). Famous works which were arranged into hymn cycles are those on Faith, which include “On the Pearl”, “On Paradise” and “On Nisibis”. His legacy was to leave a profound effect of the hymnography of the Greek and Syriac Churches where he is honoured as “The Lyre of the Holy Spirit”. He died on June 9th 373 A.D. and is celebrated in the Syriac Orthodox Church on the first Saturday of the Great Lent.
Prayer of St. Ephraim
O Lord and Master of my life,Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, meekness of mind, patience and love to Thy servant.
Yea O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art thou unto ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion (Tone 2)
Ever forseeing the hour of reckoning thou didst bewail thy sins with tears of compunction O Ephraim and thou wast active in works as a teacher O Saint. Therefore O father of all the world thou didst rouse the indifferent and easy-going to repentance.
SAINT JACOB OF SEROUGH:
He is especially famous for his metrical homilies in the dodecasyllabic verse of which, says Bar Hebraeus, he composed over eight hundred known to us. Only a selection of them have been published in modern translations, e.g. on Simeon Stylites, on virginity, fornication, etc., two on the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the chariot of Ezechiel, and in the ongoing series of texts with English translations being published by Gorgias Press in the series, which has also republished the 5-volume publication of homilies by P. Bedjan with a supplemental sixth volume of additional homilies collected by S. Brock. He wrote his earliest homilies in his early twenties: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_of_Serugh
HOLY HISTORICAL SITES:
- Monastery of our Lady of Qannoubine which was the official See of the Maronite Patriarchate since AD 1440 until the first quarter of the 19th century.
- Kfar7ay :Monastery built around the year AD 676 by Patriarch Youhanna Maroun who moved over the relics of “the Head of Saint Maroun” into it. So the monastery becam the first See of the maronite patriarchate. It was destroyed by wars and persecution till patriarche Youssef Estephan renovated it at the 18th century. Last restauration works in 1996 By Bishop Boulos Emil Saadé who returned the relics of the “Head of Saint Maron” from Italy where it was taken earlier.Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir sanctified the restauration works.
- Yanou7: between 750 and 1277 , 23 patriarchs successors of Patriarche Youhanna Maroun resided there. Under the crusades there was 35 churches in Yanou7. In 1276 under Mamluks persecution the Maronite Patriarchate moved from Yanou7 to Saint Ilije. In the 15th century, Yanou7 and its surroundings were occupied by Shiites.
- Saint Ilije Monastery-Mayfouq: 16 patriarchs lived in this monastery which was considered the most prominent See of the Maronite Patriarchate in Lebanon. Among those Daniel Hadchiti who bravely confronted the Mamluks and died a martyr in 1282.