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History of the Maronite Church 1. Maronite History: Antioch Antioch has always been a city of openness, dialogue, and bold initiative. It was converted.

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Presentation on theme: "History of the Maronite Church 1. Maronite History: Antioch Antioch has always been a city of openness, dialogue, and bold initiative. It was converted."— Presentation transcript:

1 History of the Maronite Church 1

2 Maronite History: Antioch Antioch has always been a city of openness, dialogue, and bold initiative. It was converted to Jesus Christ by the preaching of certain of his disciples, and the believers were strengthened in their faith, thanks to the labors of the apostles Paul and Barnabas. 2

3 Maronite History: Antioch The apostle Peter himself, the head of the Christian Church, was its bishop until he set out for Rome. Subsequently, the Church of Antioch prospered and extended its territory, finally becoming one of the great original patriarchates, namely Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. 3

4 Maronite History: Antioch Another division affected the Church of Antioch, leaving three groups of Christians, the Syriacs, the Maronites, and the Melkites, and this division has continued down to the present day. The Church of Antioch had originally been one church encompassing the whole of Asia and the East, but finally became several churches. 4

5 The Maronites and Lebanon The Maronites are those Christians who gathered round a certain priest by the name of Maron and adopted his pattern of life. St. Maron 5

6 The Maronites and Lebanon Maron left the city and made his abode on a mountain, intending thereby to leave behind the theological strife and to worship God in solitude. But in his retreat, Maron found that his true vocation was to live with others, so he resumed his parish duties and set about teaching the true doctrine. His disciples increased in number, and they began to call themselves Maronites after their teacher. St. Maron 6

7 The Maronites and Lebanon Maron died in the year 410, but his disciples carried on his mission. In 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, they held to the clear teaching that Christ was both God and man, having two natures, one divine and one human. Afterwards the Maronites were loyal defenders of the decrees of the Council. In the upshot, the opponents of Chalcedon showed themselves bitter enemies of the Maronites, who started moving to Lebanon in successive waves after 350 of them had been martyred. 7

8 The Maronites and Lebanon Near the end of the fifth century of the Christian era, the inhabitants of Mount Lebanon had been converted by the disciples of St. Maron and had become Maronites themselves. 8

9 The Maronites and Lebanon These now welcomed their brethren arriving from Antioch and the two groups, now mingled, pursued their mission together. When the Arabs finally dominated the area, and any regular contact with the patriarchate of Constantinople became impossible, the Maronites had to appoint in 687 their own Patriarch, who was Saint John-Maron. 9

10 The Maronite Catholic Church Throughout the World As Christians went forth from Jerusalem they encountered different traditions, cultures, customs and languages, soon the Church became a communion of Churches united in love with each other, looking to the See of Peter in Rome as the first among them all. The Gospel of Christ has reached the four corners of the world. 10

11 The Maronite Catholic Church Throughout the World The Catholic Church, comprised of twenty-one Eastern Churches and one Western Church, is a communion of Churches, with the Pope as the visible head, “gathered in the one spirit, breathing as though with two lungs - of the east and of the west - and burning with the love of Christ in one heart - having two ventricles” (Sacri Canones; Pope John Paul II). 11

12 The Maronite Catholic Church Throughout the World One of the Eastern Catholic Churches is the Maronite Church. She has Her own hierarchy composed of a Patriarch who is Her father and head, and over forty Bishops who shepherd the many Eparchies (Dioceses) in Lebanon, the Middle East and throughout the world 12

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14 Five Distinguishing Marks of the Maronite Church First and foremost Maronites are Antiochene – where Christ’s followers “were called Christians for the first time” (Acts 11:26). Maronites share an historical, liturgical and spiritual heritage with all the other Catholic and Orthodox Antiochene Churches. Maronites are also heirs of Syriac cultural and religious heritage, whose language, poetry, and hymnody were the means used to express the mystery that God is beyond all descriptions yet has come close to us in Christ. 14

15 Five Distinguishing Marks of the Maronite Church Second, Maronites are Chalcedonian, meaning they were staunch supporters of the Council of Chalcedon, convened in 451 A.D., which taught that Jesus was true God and true man. In this formula, Maronites found a balance and way of life that placed them forever in the communion of the universal Church. 15

16 Five Distinguishing Marks of the Maronite Church Third, the Maronite Church is Patriarchal and Monastic. Saint Maron was a hermit-priest. The first Maronites were monks, priests and laity associated with the monasteries of Saint Maron in the 5th - 8th centuries. Her first Patriarch, Saint John Maron, was chosen from among the monks. Maronites have a cherished history known for an ascetical life of sacrifice and devotion. 16

17 Five Distinguishing Marks of the Maronite Church Fourth, the Maronite Church is known for Her love and devotion to the See of Peter in Rome. This relationship has allowed Maronites to fully express the Catholic faith held from the beginning, and at the same time be part of the balance between East and West. 17

18 Five Distinguishing Marks of the Maronite Church Fifth, the Maronite Church is tied to Lebanon, Her spiritual homeland and the land of Her Patriarch and people. 18

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20 Our Maronite religion began with St. Maron, who was born in Syria. St. Maron was a very simple man who heard the voice of God and accepted the challenge to follow that voice. He chose to live a life of solitary prayer and devotion, far removed from the commotion and distractions of the spirit that a more ordinary life would have afforded. 20

21 St. Maron achieved a level of commitment and devotion that few others have attained, and he found that his godliness could be a tool to help others. The Holy Spirit worked through St. Maron to perform miracles and to touch many who had wounds that traditional medicine could not cure. 21

22 St. Maron touched those who came to him and taught them what he himself had found to be essential in living a Christian life: passion, temperance, justice, chastity, and hard work. We are the legacy of St. Maron, and our commitment to our faith and our church attests to our strong sense of tradition, history and religious conviction. 22

23 Youssef Makhlouf was born on May 8, 1828. He was raised a devout Catholic and felt drawn to follow God. He left home at the age of 23 to join the Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouk north of Jebayl. 23

24 Youssef was eventually transferred to the Monastery of St. Maron at Annaya to continue his religious training and took his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience after two years. At the time he chose the name of Sharbel from among the Oriental martyrs. 24

25 He was ordained in 1859 and returned to the Monastery of St. Maron where he remained for 16 years. In 1875, his superiors permitted Sharbel to retire to the hermitage of St. Peter and St. Paul in Annaya. He lived in the hermitage for 23 years. 25

26 As a result of the exemplary nature of his life, the miracles attributed to him, and the circumstances following his death, St. Sharbel was beatified by Pope Paul VI on December 5, 1965. He is considered the patron saint of Lebanon. 26

27 Saint Rafqa El-Shabq is the most recent Maronite Saint to be canonized by Pope John Paul II on June 10, 2001. Born as Bouterseye El-Shabq on June 29, 1832 in Hemlaya near Bikfaya, she was an only child. She was raised by faithful parents but lost her mother at the age of seven. Her father was forced to send her into the workforce to serve the family of a friend due to financial hardship. She returned to her father at the age of fourteen. Though she had many suitors she was not interested in marriage. 27

28 She yearned for a religious life but had never received the education required to be accepted into Mariamite order. She was accepted into the Convent of Our Lady of Deliverance in Bikfaya in 1861 in order to receive an education. She professed her vows of obedience, purity and poverty in 1862 after serving as a novice at the convent in Ghazir. She was a missionary for the Mariamite Order for many years, teaching young girls. In 1871 she joined the Convent of Saint Simon in Al-Quarn to lead a monastic life. 28

29 Saint Rafqa’s health began to deteriorating after she joined the Lebanese Maronite Order. She had developed an eye disease that blinded her, experienced sever pain in her body that crippled and paralyzed her. She imitated Christ in all his Stations of Suffering and was known to have the “Sixth Wound” just as Christ carried the cross on his shoulder, Saint Rafqa experienced the same “wound” or suffering on her shoulder. 29

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