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Who are Maronite Catholics?
Southern-fried Catholicism ^ | 03/16/2011 | Brad Noel

Posted on 03/16/2011 7:41:14 AM PDT by DogwoodSouth

Bishop Beshara Rai was elected as the 77th patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church today. He takes over after the retirement of 91-year-old Nasrallah Sfeir, who had served as the Maronite patriarch for 25 years. A patriarch is the highest-ranking bishop in a particular Church. Maronites were once the most important political bloc in Lebanon but since the 1960s, high emigration rates have reduced the community's size in the country. They still make up more than 20% of the Lebanese population and, according to an agreement enshrined in the country's constitution, the president of Lebanon must always be a Maronite.

This news brings up an important consideration for we Catholics who are so used to thinking only in terms of "Roman" Catholicism. We don't often think about it, but the Catholic Church really is big. Within her, there are actually 23 autonomous "Churches" throughout the world, all in union with the Pope -- the successor of St. Peter and the living sign of visible Christian unity. Besides the Latin Church (the one most of us think of when we think of "Roman Catholics"), there are 22 Eastern Catholic Churches that are also part of the universal Catholic Church. One of these autonomous Churches is the Maronite Church of Lebanon.

Who are Maronite Catholics? ....

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: catholic; maronite; patriarch

1 posted on 03/16/2011 7:41:17 AM PDT by DogwoodSouth
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To: DogwoodSouth

Brigitte Gabriel, for one.

2 posted on 03/16/2011 7:48:13 AM PDT by Scanian (i)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: DogwoodSouth; NYer

Bump and ping

4 posted on 03/16/2011 4:18:21 PM PDT by redhead ("I think I'm the best fish filleter in the whole third grade." --Piper Palin)
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To: DogwoodSouth; netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...
This is quite an excellent article!! As more christians flee from the Middle East, it is so important for all of us to understand the roots of our faith which they have maintained over these 2000 years.

The rest of the article

Who are the Maronites?

Maronite icon of St. Maron in prayer
Christianity's history in Lebanon really is fascinating. Like most of the Middle East, Lebanon was once solidly Christian in a time when all Christians were in union with the Pope. Up until the fifth century, Christians there considered themselves a part of the Church of Antioch, an ancient city which was an important center of early Christianity. The Lebanese Christians revered St. Maron (d. 410) as their founder. He was a monk who moved from Antioch to a mountain in Syria to be a missionary and to lead a life of asceticism. St. Maron's disciples moved into present-day Lebanon in the early fifth century and spread the Gospel throughout the region. Christians in Lebanon, then, were referred to as Maronites.

After the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the patriarch of Antioch rejected the Council's decisions on the nature of Christ while the monks and faithful in Lebanon were strong supporters of the Council. The Church of Antioch then separated from the Catholic Church (the birth of "Oriental Orthodoxy" - the first large-scale schism in Church history) and the Maronite Catholics in Lebanon were persecuted for adhering to the decisions of the council and they suffered hardships at the hands of anti-Chalcedon Christians. During the Muslim conquest of Syria in the first half of the seventh century, most Maronite Catholics fled to the mountains of Lebanon. Under Muslim rule over the next 400 years, the Maronites in Lebanon existed in a precarious state: they were largely cut-off from the rest of the Christian world -- so much so that the Roman Catholic Church did not even know that they still existed. During those years, starting in the year 637, the Maronites established their own line of patriarchs to lead their Church. The Maronite Church remained isolated for over four hundred years.

During the 12th century Crusades, Christian soldiers passing through Lebanon were shocked to be greeted by a local, indigenous Christian community: the Maronites. During the Crusades, the Maronite Church assisted the Crusaders and affirmed their loyalty and union with the Pope, the Successor of St. Peter. In fact, the Maronite Church is one of only three Eastern Churches that have never in their history been outside of communion with the Bishop of Rome. (The other two are the Italo-Albanian Church in southern Italy and Sicily, and the Syro-Malabar Church in southwestern India - a community which traces its roots all the way back to the first century missionary activity of the Apostle Thomas!)

St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church in Birmingham, Ala.
Today, Maronite Catholics are still the largest Christian group in Lebanon, making up about 22% of the country's total population. This is, by far, the largest concentration of Christians in the Middle East. There are approximately 200,000 Maronite Catholics in the U.S., but most American Maronites assimilated into Roman Catholic parishes through the years because there were not very many Maronite Catholic parishes and priests in the U.S. There are currently two Maronite eparchies (the equivalent to dioceses) in the U.S.

A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.

Please freepmail me if you would like more information on the Eastern Catholic Churches.

5 posted on 03/17/2011 12:53:29 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

Gorgeous church!

6 posted on 03/17/2011 10:16:52 PM PDT by Melian ( See Matt 7: 21 and 1 John 2: 3-6)
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To: Scanian; DogwoodSouth; NYer

Francis G. Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, is another one.

His Father, Francis R. Slay, was the long time manager of The Cedars banquet hall at St. Raymond Maronite Cathedral in St. Louis. Mr. Slay died Wednesday of congestive heart failure.

May his soul rest in peace.

7 posted on 03/18/2011 7:32:44 AM PDT by rwa265 (Christ my Cornerstone)
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To: rwa265; Scanian; DogwoodSouth
Not sure if the purpose of the thread was to post names of better known American Maronites but, FWIW ...

Ralph Nader
Danny Thomas
John Zogby
Tony Shalhoub - Monk!!!
Jamie Farr - Mash
Kathy Najimi

... to name only a few.

8 posted on 03/18/2011 1:46:16 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

My personal favorite: Brigitte Gabriel

Not only does she tell it like it is about Muslims, she’s a pretty fair belly dancer.

9 posted on 03/18/2011 2:40:15 PM PDT by Scanian (i)
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To: Scanian; dangus; Carpe Cerevisi; Lorica
Not only does she tell it like it is about Muslims, she’s a pretty fair belly dancer.

Up until I joined a Maronite Catholic Church, my view on belly dancing was ... well, quite opinionated. I considered it scandalous. After 7 years with these people, I continue to be amazed at their devout faith balanced with a veritable zeal for life. They come to church dressed in their finest and NEVER miss those annual events with music, fanfare and .... belly dancers. Two years ago, I attended one such event and was surprised to see one of the grandfathers, who had recently suffered a heart attack, up there on the dance floor, throwing dollar bills at the belly dancer. He and his sons are VERY generous supporters of local charities, especially the NICU at Albany Med. Perhaps it is a throwback to their Phoenician ancestors but I absolutely love the Lebanese who know how to party and pray :-)

10 posted on 03/18/2011 3:02:47 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer

Don’t feel too badly. What you describe sounds exactly like the Greek Orthodox in a neighboring town—Tarpon Springs, FL.

They support their church, observe all the holidays and feasts, support what might be America’s most famous Epiphany celebration...and support the local belly dance clubs.

I must say that what goes on in them is nothing indecent. And I’ve seen films of Gabriel and she doesn’t do anything embarassing either.

Good, clean fun if you ask me. No harm done at all.

11 posted on 03/19/2011 3:03:25 AM PDT by Scanian (i)
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To: NYer

My intent was to acknowledge the passing of a man who along with his family has meant so much to the Maronite community in St. Louis.

12 posted on 03/19/2011 8:57:57 AM PDT by rwa265 (Christ my Cornerstone)
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