The Maronite Church-Part One
The Maronite Church-Part Two
The Maronite Church-Part Three
Icon of Saint Maron
The Maronite Church is an Eastern Church, which is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. One of the distinctive features of the Maronite Church is that in its origin and development it was closely bound up with those living a monastic life in the region.
For this reason, in introducing the Maronite Church, one should begin by speaking of Saint Maron (known also as Saint Maroun) after whom the Maronite Church is named. St. Maron was a 4th century Syriac Christian hermit whose life and example inspired many followers and a monastic movement.
This movement became the nucleus around which the Maronite Church developed, and the Maronite Church has always remained close to its monks, nuns and hermits.
The Maronites are headed today by Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi (elected in 2011), whose Patriarchal See is in Bkerke, a village north of Beirut, Lebanon.
The Maronite Church is officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch. This title manifests the Maronite Church’s liturgical heritage (Syriac) and its connection with the ancient Christian See of Antioch where St. Peter was first Bishop before going to Rome. The Syriac-Aramaic language that was actually spoken by the earliest Christians remains the main liturgical language of the Maronite Church today.
Pope Francis with Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi
The founding of the Maronite Church is due to three historical events, as Chorbishop Seely Beggiani stated in his book “Aspects of Maronite History”: the life and deeds of St. Maron, the establishment of the Monastery of Bet Maroun (“the House of Maron‟), and the organization of the Maronite Patriarchate. These events shaped the character of this church for centuries.