1. The Maronites: Their History
Instructor: Father Jad Kossaify (Lebanese Maronite Order)
Click HERE to get the text written in Arabic by Father Kossaify.
History Brief of the Maronite Church
Translation edited for clarity purposes.
During the first quarter of the fifth century AD, in the region of Cyrrhus, located between Aleppo and Antioch (actually north of Syria), known during the Roman Byzantine epoch by the name “first Syria”, died a hermit monk and priest called Maroun. He was of Aramean affiliation, speaking the Syriac language.
Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus in Syria, wrote about the priest and hermit Maroun in his book, The Religious History (“Historia Religiosa"): “Maroun’s activities were not limited to usual hermitic activities; he added to them what his rich wisdom dictated to him; his blessings calmed down fevers, and his prayers, his only medicine, defeated devils and healed various diseases…”
Saint Maroun never formed either a church or a monastic order, nor did he leave behind any liturgical or philosophical books. All he did was that he lived his dedication to Jesus Christ in a unique way. Hence, many devoted friars and sisters followed him and became his disciples.
Due to the fact that Saint Maroun died before the year 423 AD, when Theodoret became bishop of Cyrrhus (or Khoros), his disciples, the friars and hermits, had to wait about a quarter or third of a century after the death of their spiritual Master to assemble and organize in a convent in a monastery located on the Assi river in Syria, which will be called after him: Saint Maroun’s Monastery.
After his thoughts prevailed at the council of Chalcedon held in the year 451 AD, Theodoret endeavored to set up a monastery for the friars/hermits, disciples of Saint Maroun, who supported his dogmatic and liturgical thinking which aimed at unifying the church’s doctrine.
The monastery was established in 452 AD following the orders of the Byzantine emperor Marcianos, and it became, in a short time, a solid fortress for the Orthodox Catholic Chalcedonian doctrine in the region of “first Syria.” According to Abbot Boulos Naaman, “This monastery was not limited to prayer and activity; it was also the fortress of a doctrine and the origin of a mission.”
Effectively, in his book, The Religious History, Theodoret considered real Maronitism as a spiritual hermetic movement and an institution of intellectual liberation which has affected history; it is what he called, as he was talking about Saint Maroun and his disciples, “A philosophy of bare life in open air.”
Some documents relative to the period of the Maronite church’s emergence indicate the existence of some relationship between the friars of Saint Maroun monastery near Assi river in Syria and the Pope of Rome. What might enhance this assumption is the exchanged correspondence between them, such as the letter addressed by Pope Leo to Bishop Theodoret in April 452 AD and, later on, the letter addressed by Saint Maroun monastery friars to Pope Hormisdas in the aftermath of the massacre of 350 friar victims near the locality of Chirz in 517 AD.
It seems that communication between Rome and the Maronites is not only recent history; it might have been intermittent due to political and geographical factors, but it was without interruption … Perhaps this relationship between them has spared the Maronites fanaticism and seclusion, enabling them, at a later stage, to be open to the intellectual and liturgical development in the west.
Saint Maroun monastery developed and grew to become the center of several derivative monasteries in the Cyrrhus region. The large number of believers in its mission and doctrine made this monastery evolve to become a church which safeguarded apostolic continuation in Antioch upon the vacancy of the Patriarchal See at the beginning of the XVIIIth century, when the city fell in the hands of the Arab Muslims. The bishops and Saint Maroun monastery friars were then up to the responsibility and elected John Maron (Youhana Maroun) as Patriarch.
Council of Chalcedon
GRADING SCALE FOR EACH SECTION OF EACH SESSION
0 ; 1 ; 2 ; 3
0 (Not Submitted);
1 (Poor: little effort; little work done; not very relevant -- Good, but Late)
2 (Good: good effort; answered questions appropriately; relevant -- Very Good, but Late)
3 (Very Good: great effort; answered questions very well; answers based both on text and on relevant (listed) outside sources,
and they demonstrate higher order thinking skills)
TOTAL: 100 Points
20 %: Session 1 || 20 %: Session 2
20 %: Session 3 || 20 %: Session 4
20 %: Participation [Engagement and Motivation],
Attitude, & Aspirations
(Interactions on Facebook Group + Page play a big role)