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Welcome To St Joseph Maronite Catholic Church
On the mountains of Lebanon, in this mystical land, in these deep valleys, among these white mountains,in the land of honey and milk, in the nation of the Cedar and the Alphabet, in the Phoenician land, there the Maronite Church, the smallest of all the churches, has grown like a mustard seed and became a tree,so that several churches and denominations have come to be sheltered in its branches. The history of the Maronites was sealed by persecution and martyrdom for the sake of Faith, Freedom, and Independence.
Who are the Maronites? What is the Maronite Church?
The Maronites are those Christians who gathered around a monastery called Bet Moroon or the House of Maron built in 452 on the Orontes River, after the Council of Chalcedon and the request of Pope Leo. Those Christians who defended their faith in Jesus Christ, human and divine, were called Maronites after a hermit priest, St. Maron, who was a great saint in that region of Syria.
St. Maron lived on the mountains of Cyrrhus, near Antioch, in the 4th century AD, in the open air. God bestowed on him the gift of healing, which made his fame spread in the entire region. St. Maron died around the year 410 AD. His disciples continued his mission. Abraham the hermit, the apostle of Lebanon, converted the Phoenician inhabitants of the mountains of Lebanon. Jebbet Bsharre and Mnaytra adopted Christianity. The Phoenician pagans became Maronite Christians.
In 451, the fathers of the Church held a meeting at the Council of Chalcedon. They clarified the teaching of the Church concerning the person of Jesus Christ. They proclaimed that Jesus Christ was both human and divine. The Maronites strongly defended the Council of Chalcedon, which made the Monophysites their bitter enemies. Pope Leo requested to build a monastery for the disciples of St. Maron on the Orontes River. The monastery was called Bet Moroon. The conflict between the Maronites and the Monophysites led to a strong persecution that left 350 martyrs and many refugees in 517. The Maronites informed Pope Hormizdes about their struggle for the sake of faith and their martyrs. The pope of Rome sent them a letter to strengthen the Maronites describing the Maronite martyrs as soldiers of Jesus Christ and members of his Living Body.
St. John Maron
Around 685, the Maronites appointed a Patriarch, St. John Maron, who became the first Patriarch on the Maronite Church, which made the Byzantine Emperor furious about that. The appointing of the Patriarch was a very important event in the history of the Maronites, which led to another persecution that left 500 martyrs. The monastery of Bet Moroon was damaged. Many Maronites left their lands in Syria and joined their brethren in the mountains of Lebanon. In the valleys of Lebanon, the Maronite Church began to grow.
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