"The Maronites, in turn, with their traditional spirit of moderation and openness...."
Oh, that's rich! The Maronites are just about the toughest bunch of cookies ever. Centuries of suspicious isolation in their mountains surrounded by Mohammadens and earlier Orthodox Christians who thought them heretics, made them the antithesis of of an open and moderate people. But that has served them well for rather more than 1000 years. Its only in our lifetimes that the Mohammaden wave has pretty much overwhelmed them and they have left Lebanon in droves. Just this weekend a Maronite buddy of mine came to our festival. He commented as he stood by the grills I was supervising that the Maronites, like the Orthodox and the Melkites in Lebanon are finished. They are quite simply being and have been outbred. As he put it, when Mustapha can have 4 wives and 20 kids, its not much of a contest. In the meantime when the Mohammadens get mad at the Israelis, the Christians get whacked, and when the Israelis get mad at the Mohammadens, the Christians get whacked. Not much of a future for people in that sort of situation.
To whom? The Orthodox Church? I must have hit a nerve.
And what do you mean by "suspicious"? There is nothing mysterious, much less suspicious, in the fact that the followers of St. Maron followed him into the mountainous regions of Lebanon where they practiced their faith.
Very little is known, though, about the Maronites in Lebanon between the time of their being established there in the seventh and eighth centuries and the coming of the Crusades in the eleventh century. During this period the Maronites and the region were dominated by the Abbasids, whose rule was often severe and who persecuted and decimated the Maronites. When the first Crusaders arrived in Lebanon in 1098, they were surprised and pleased to find fellow Christians who welcomed them with hospitality. We are told that the Maronites were of great assistance to the Crusaders both as guides and as a fighting force of 40,000 men known for their prowess in battle. The Franciscan F. Suriano, writing some time later, described them as "astute and prone to fighting and battling. They are good archers using the Italian style of cross-bowing". The Crusaders not only passed through Lebanon on the way to the Holy Places, but established themselves in the country and built fortresses in a number of areas, the ruins of which remain to this day. Close relations were also established between the Latin Hierarchy that accompanied the Crusaders and the Maronite Church. With the coming of the Crusaders, it would seem that the Maronites made a conscious decision to seek the support of the West. Prior to this time, the Maronites lived and thought on a provincial level. Their major concerns were to defend themselves against local heretics (a struggle based not only on a religious plane, but also on ethnic and cultural levels) and to attempt to establish a Modus Vivendi with Arab rulers. With the coming of the Crusaders they began to look to the West for assistance. Ties with the Holy See became closer, Western practices were adopted, and Latin influence and changes in the Maronite Liturgy took place. source
He commented as he stood by the grills I was supervising that the Maronites, like the Orthodox and the Melkites in Lebanon are finished. They are quite simply being and have been outbred. As he put it, when Mustapha can have 4 wives and 20 kids, its not much of a contest.
Your friend attends a Greek Orthodox festival - what do you expect he is going to say? And you believe him. K, that's truly surprising, coming from you.