Saint Maroun was born in the fourth century in Cyrrhus, a small town near Antioch. He is the Father of the Maronite Catholic Church.
We have three available sources regarding St Maroun’s Life. The first and most detailed source is from his biographer, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who wrote “A history of the Monks of Syria” in the fifth century. The second is from St John Chrysostom, the “Golden Mouth”. The third is the Maronite Liturgy, passed down for generations.
Maroun was a priest who later became a hermit, living in a mountain of Taurus near Antioch. Maroun embraced a life of solitude in the north of Aleppo. Maroun lived on the top of Mount Nabo, near Antioch. He lived in the open air, exposed to the rain, wind, storms and many more of nature. He is known for converting a pagan temple into a Church and converting the pagans and teaching them about prayer. Maroun drew many people to him who sought to not only live like him but desired to seek his advice on spiritual matters. He also drew people who came to witness his miracles of healing the sick. Maroun spent most of his time in prayer and detached from the physical and material world. He would often spend the whole night standing in prayer and also practiced other penances and fasted for weeks. Maroun was passionate about spreading the message of the Lord and preached it to all he met and he also sought to cure physical conditions that people were suffering from. Maroun was also zealous about the healing of ‘lost souls’ whether Christian or not.
Saint Maroun begun in the mountains of Syria and his ministry spread to Lebanon. Today there are Maronites all over the world, including Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Canada, America, France, Australia and many more countries. His disciples continued his mission after his death, a monastery was built in 452AD which they named Beit Maroun, his followers were called Maronites.
In the sixth century more than 350 Maronite Monks were martyred. The first Patriarch was elected in 685AD, St John Maroun was affirmed by Pope Sergius I, who highlighted that the Maronite Church was in Communion with Rome.
In 938 Beit Maroun was destroyed and the Patriarch fled to the Mountains of Lebanon. Persecution in Syria, resulted in many Maronites migrating from Syria to the mountains of Lebanon. The Maronite Church flourished in the mountains of Lebanon. In 1440 the Maronite Patriarch moved to Wadi Qannoubine, a valley in Lebanon where they could escape persecution.
Under Ottoman rule, many Maronite villages, monasteries and churches destroyed and by 1915 the war had many Maronites migrating out of the Middle East. Today the Marontie Church is spread around the world, this has allowed the it to grow and blossom. Today, many Maronites are not necessarily Middle Eastern. Saint Maroun’s influence has spread to many other cultures and it is important that as Maronites we preserve our uniqueness, but invite others to share in it. We must not preserve it only for the Lebanese people as Maroun sought to bring everyone to Christ.
We pray that like Saint Maroun, we are inviting and welcoming, showing the love of Christ to all so that they may be inspired by Him and also seek to be Christ like.
Read more about St Maroun and the Maronites here.
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