Skip to comments.BISHOP BECHARA RAHI installed as new Patriarch for the Maronite Catholic Church
Posted on 03/26/2011 11:40:14 AM PDT by NYer
BISHOP BECHARA RAHI (Name Translation: Bechara=Annunciation and Rahi =Shepherd) became our Shepherd on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm Lebanon Time)
(Picture taken by Fr. Antonio Elfeghali on March 25, 2011)
"We will live together this communion through charity in Lebanon whose glory is in its mission... The motto "the Glory of Lebanon is given to him" is taken from Isaiah. It is given to the Patriarch and his church as long as they commit to build the communion and to witness to love. The Glory of Lebanon is diminished when closed in and isolated. But it grows and goes high through openness to the other, to the East and to the world... The nation is not for a sect or a party or a group. No one will monopolize it, because monopolizing it by a group is a scorn to all of us and a loss to this glory, whose greatness is in its diverse spiritual families and its richness" (Patriach Bechara Rahi, March 25, 2011)
The head of the Maronite Church is the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, who is elected by the Maronite bishops and resides in Bkerké, close to Jounieh, north of Beirut (the Maronite Patriarch resides in the northern town of Dimane during the summer months). The current Patriarch (since March 2011) is Bechara Boutros Rahi, while Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir is Patriarch Emeritus. When a new patriarch is elected and enthroned, he requests ecclesiastical recognition by the Pope, thus maintaining their communion with the Holy See. As an Eastern patriarch, the patriarch is usually created a Cardinal by the Pope in the rank of a Cardinal Bishop; he does not receive a suburbicarian see, since he is a head of a sui iuris Church.
Maronites share the same doctrine as other Catholics, but they retain their own liturgy, theology, spirituality, discipline and hierarchy. Strictly speaking, the Maronite church belongs to the Antiochene tradition and is a West Syro-Antiochene Rite. Syriac is the liturgical language. Nevertheless, they are considered, along with the Syro-Malabar Church, to be among the most Latinized of the Eastern Catholic Churches although there have been moves to return to Eastern practices.
Cardinal Sfeir's personal commitment accelerated liturgical reforms in the 1980s and 1990s, bearing fruit in 1992 with the publication of a new Maronite Missal. This represents an attempt to return to the original form of the Antiochene Liturgy, removing the liturgical Latinization of past centuries. The Service of the Word has been described as far more enriched than in previous missals, and it features six Anaphoras (Eucharistic Prayers).
Celibacy is not strictly required for Maronite deacons and priests outside of North America with parishes; monks, however, must remain celibate, as well as bishops who are normally selected from the monasteries. Due to a long-term understanding with their Latin counterparts in North America, Maronite priests in that area are expected to remain celibate. The bishops who serve as eparchs and archeparchs of the eparchies and archeparchies (the equivalent of diocese and archdiocese in the Roman Catholic Church) are answerable to the Patriarch.
Images from the Installation
Worshippers attend a ceremony for the newly elected Christian Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai at the the patriarchate church in Bkerki, north of Beirut, March 25, 2011. Lebanon's Maronite Church Christian community held an official ceremony to assume the new Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai in his new post on Friday held at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerki .
Lebanon's Christian Maronite Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir (L) blesses the newly elected Christian Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai during a ceremony at the patriarchate church in Bkerki, north of Beirut, March 25, 2011.
Newly elected Lebanon's Christian Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai looks on during at the the patriarchate church in Bkerki, north of Beirut, March 25, 2011.
This is a list of the Maronite Patriarchs of Antioch, the primate of the Maronite Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches. After becoming patriarch, they assume the name "Peter," after the first Bishop of Antioch, St. Peter, who was also the head of the Apostles. The official title that the Maronite Patriarch assumes is "Patriarch of Antioch and All the East."
For the Patriachs of Antioch before John Maron, see List of Patriarchs of Antioch.
A famous list of Maronite Patriachs of Antioch was published by Giuseppe Simone Assemani, which follows the Series of Maronite Patriachs written by Patriach Estephan El Douaihy in the 17th century, but it is incomplete for the first centuries. Besides the Assemani's list, an other list more detailed was written in Bejjeh in 1766 by Georges Saad..
In the list here below the names shifted on the right are not included in the incomplete Assemani's list and derive from the Bejjeh's list.
The followers of Jesus Christ first became known as "Christians" in Antioch (Acts 11:26), and the city became a center for Christianity - especially after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. According to Catholic tradition, the first Bishop was Saint Peter before his travels to Rome. The third Bishop was the Apostolic Father Ignatius of Antioch. Antioch became one of the five original Patriarchates (the Pentarchy) after Constantine recognized Christianity.
St. Maron, a fourth-century monk and the contemporary and friend of St. John Chrysostom, left Antioch for the Orontes River to lead an ascetic life, following the traditions of Anthony the Great of the Desert and Pachomius. Many of his followers also lived a monastic lifestyle. Following the death of Maron in 410 AD, his disciples built a monastery in his memory and formed the nucleus of the Maronite Church.
The Maronites held fast to the beliefs of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. When 350 monks were slain by the Monophysites of Antioch, the Maronites sought refuge in the mountains of Lebanon. Correspondence concerning the event brought papal and orthodox recognition of the Maronites, which was solidified by Pope Hormisdas (514-523 AD) on February 10, AD 518. A monastery was built around the shrine of St. Maro after the Council of Chalcedon.
The martyrdom of the Patriarch of Antioch in 602 AD left the Maronites without a leader, a situation which continued because of the final and most devastating ByzantineSassanid War of 602628. In 687 AD, the Emperor Justinian II agreed to evacuate many thousands of Maronites from Lebanon and settle them elsewhere. The chaos and utter depression which followed led the Maronites to elect their first Patriarch, John Maroun, that year. This, however, was seen as a usurpation by the Orthodox churches. Thus, at a time when Islam was rising on the borders of the Byzantine Empire and a united front was necessary to keep out Islamic infiltration, the Maronites were focused on a struggle to retain their independence against imperial power. This situation was mirrored in other Christian communities in the Byzantine Empire and helped facilitate the Muslim conquest of most of Eastern Christendom by the end of the century.
After they came under Arab rule following the Muslim conquest of Syria, the Maronites experienced an improvement in their relationship with the Byzantine Empire. The imperial court, seeing its earlier mistake, saw an advantage in the situation. Thus, Byzantine Emperor Constantine IV provided direct ecclesiastical, political and military support to the Maronites. The new alliance soon coordinated devastating raids on Muslim forces, providing a welcome relief to besieged Christians throughout the Middle East. Some of the Maronites relocated to Mount Lebanon at this time and formed several communities that became known as the Marada. That is from the view of 17th century Patriarch Estephan El Douaihy (also known as Stephane Al Doueihi Arabic: أسطفان الدويهي, The Father of Maronite History and the Pillar of the Maronite Church).
Another view is of Ibn al-Qilaii, a Maronite scholar from the 16th century who proposed that Maronites fled Muslim persecutions of the Umayyads in the late 9th century AD.
The most widely accepted theory postulates that the Maronites fled Jacobite monophysite persecution, because of Monothelite heresy as advanced by Sergius of Tyr, a scholar of the 10th century AD. It is most probable, because nearly all the sects became Monothelite after that it was introduced by Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople. The Maronite migration to the mountains took place over a long period, but its peak must have been during the 7th century.
Around AD 1017, a new Muslim sect emerged calling themselves the Druze. At this time, the Maronites, as dhimmi, were required to wear black robes and black turbans, so as to be easily identified; they were also forbidden to ride horses.
It was late in the 11th century when the Crusaders made their way to the lands of the Levant to overthrow Islamic rule; on their way, they passed through Lebanon, where they came across the Maronites. The Maronites had been largely cut off from the rest of the Christian world for around 400 years. The Church in Rome had been unaware that the Maronites were still in existence. The crusaders and Maronites established ties and from this point provided each other with mutual assistance.
After AD 637, the Maronites were effectively isolated from Christians of the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe. As a result, they appointed their own Patriarch, starting with John Maron, who had been a bishop of Batroun, Mount Lebanon. Through him, the Maronites of today claim full apostolic succession through the See of Antioch. Nonetheless, controversy surrounds this claim as some Maronites have been accused of having fully adopted the Monothelite heresy; this led to a number of civil wars (e.g. 1282 and 1499 AD).
Following the conquest of Eastern Christendom outside of Anatolia and Europe by the Muslims, and the establishment of secured lines of control between Islamic Caliphs and Byzantine Emperors, little was heard from the Maronites for 400 years. Secure in their mountain strongholds, it was not until the crusader Raymond of Toulouse on his way to conquer Jerusalem in the Great Crusade that the Maronites were re-discovered in the mountains near Tripoli, Lebanon. Raymond later returned to besiege Tripoli after his conquest of Jerusalem and relations between the Maronites and European Christianity were re-established.
During the Crusades in the 12th century AD, Maronites assisted the Crusaders and affirmed their affiliation with the Holy See in 1182 AD. Consequently, from this point onwards, the Maronites have upheld an unbroken ecclesiastical orthodoxy and unity with the Catholic Church. To commemorate their communion, Maronite Patriarch Youseff Al Jirjisi received the crown and staff marking his patriarchal authority, from Pope Paschal II in 1100 AD. In 1131, Maronite Patriarch Gregorious Al Halati received letters from Pope Innocent II in which the Papacy recognized the authority of the Patriarchate.
It was in the 17th century AD when Western religious groups started settling in Lebanon. The migration began in 1626 with the Capuchins, followed by the Jesuits. The groups moving at this time did this in order to serve the Lebanese, opening schools for the Maronite people until there was a school next to each church. This made it possible for the Maronites to acquire a formal education. The Maronites were on the forefront of the cultural Renaissance in the Middle East.
However, connection to Rome was arduously maintained and through diplomacy and maneuvering, European powers helped keep the Maronite community from destruction. Eventually, a Maronite College was established at Rome on July 5, 1584. From this college, the Maronite community obtained some valuable assistance in maintaining their Christian identity. In 1610, the Maronite monks of the Monastery of Saint Anthony of Qozhaya imported one of the first printing presses in what is known as the Arabic-speaking world; however that press was printing in the Syriac language and not Arabic. The monasteries of Lebanon would later become key players in the Arabic Renaissance of the late 19th century as a result of developing Arabic, as well as Syriac, printable script.
Following the defeat of the Mamelukes by the Ottoman Empire, and to reward their new Druze ally who fought with them in the battle of Marj Dabek (1516), the Ottomans rewarded Prince Fakher el Din al Maani I, with the Principality of Lebanon, where he established a Druze-Maronite alliance lasting for hundreds of years; this prosperous principality would be the base of the modern Lebanese Republic.
The Maronites were partners in governing the new principality; often the post of Moudabbir (roughly Prime Minister) and the post of Army Commander were given to a Maronite, usually a Khazen or a Hobeich of Keserwan. During this period (1516-1840), the Maronites started returning to southern Mount Lebanon, where they had lived before they were almost exterminated by the Mamelukes in 1307. Thus, the historic Keserwan and all the Druze mountains were repopulated. It was this love and affection between the Maronites and Druze that helped establish the Lebanese identity.
On July 15, 1584, a Maronite college was established in Rome, with Pope Gregory hosting the grand opening.
Fakhr-al-din II, who was said to have been brought up by a Maronite el Khazen family, fought for Lebanese independence for over 50 years. In the mid-16th century, 25,000 Ottoman troops launched an attack on Lebanon. During the ensuing battles, Fakhr and three of his sons were captured; they were subsequently executed in Istanbul on the 13th day of April 1635.
In 1638, France declared that it would protect all Catholics within the Ottoman Empire, including the Maronites.
In 1997, Pope John Paul II visited Lebanon to give hope to Lebanese Catholics. He said, "Lebanon is more than a country, it is a message."
This is a glorious weekend! Blessings to the new batrak!
Our Lords Prayer
Aph alara hab lan
Wa’sboq lan hawbayn
Aykana d’aph hnan
wa’la ta’lan l’nesyona
Ella passan men bisha
Metul d’dilaki malkutha
Wa’hayla wa tishbokhta
Beautiful rendition of that prayer on You Tube.
Ping! I recall you used to visit the DC parish to pray the Novena to St. Charbel.