John Maron

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Saint John Maron
Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
Born 628
Sirmaniyah or Sarmin, present Syria
Died 707
Kfarhy, near Batroun, Lebanon
Venerated in Maronite Church
Roman Catholic Church
Canonized pre-congregation
Feast March 2

John Maron (Arabic: يوحنا مارون‎‎, Youhana Maroun; Latin: Ioannes Maronus) (born in 628 in Sirmaniyah or Sarmin, present Syria – died in 707 in Kfarhy, Lebanon), was a Syriac monk, and the first Maronite Patriarch. He is revered as a saint by the Maronite and Roman Catholic Churches, and is commemorated on March 2. He died and was buried in Kfarhy near Batroun, in Lebanon, where a shrine is dedicated to him.

Early life[edit]

John was born in Sarum, a town located south of the city of Antioch.[1] He was the son of Agathon and Anohamia. He was called John the Sarumite since his father was governor of Sarum. His paternal grandfather, Prince Alidipas, was the nephew of Carloman, a Frankish Prince, and governed Antioch. John was educated in Antioch and the Monastery of Saint Maron, studying mathematics, sciences, philosophy, theology, philology and scripture. He became a monk at the monastery, adding the name Maron to his own.

John studied Greek and patrology in Constantinople.[1] Returning to Saint Maron's, he wrote on such diverse topics as teaching, rhetoric, the sacraments, management of Church property, legislative techniques, and liturgy. He composed the Eucharistic Prayer which still bears his name. As a young priest he engaged himself in ecumenical debates with the Monophysites. Noted as a teacher and preacher, he explained the doctrine of the Council of Chalcedon (which focused on the nature of Jesus as both God and human), wrote a series of letters to the faithful against Monothelitism, and then travelled Syria to explain the heresy.

He was consecrated bishop in 676, and assigned to Mount Lebanon with a mission to oppose heresies, keep the Maronites united with the Church, and support the faithful in an area being invaded by Arabs.[1] He travelled extensively in the areas involved in combat, preaching, conducting Mass, tending to the sick, and sheltering the homeless.

The first Maronite Patriarch[edit]

The Patriarch of Antioch, Anastasius II was martyred in 609. With the ongoing Byzantine–Sasanian War and general unrest in the area, Constantinople began to appoint a series of titular patriarchs.[2] The Maronites made up the bulk of the Mardaites army, the so-called "Brass Wall" that shielded Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire from Arab expansion. They used their power and importance to have John Maron, one of their own, chosen as Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. Maronite sources give the date of his election as 685.[2] John received the approval of Pope Sergius I, and became the first Maronite Patriarch.

The Byzantine emperor Justinian II feared the growing power of the Mardaite army, and was angered that his approval had not been sought for the appointment of John as Patriarch. In 687, as part of an agreements with Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, Justinian send 12,000 Christian Maronites from Lebanon to Armenia,[3] in exchange for a substantial payment and half the revenues of Cyprus.[2]

In 694 Justinian sent his army to defeat the Mardaites and capture John. They managed to win battles against the Mardaites, overrun Antioch, and destroy the monastery there, killing 500 monks in the process. John, led his people to the remote Qadisha Valley in Lebanon. When Justinian's army followed, the Mardaites, under the leadership of John's nephew Ibrahim, defeated them decisively. John then founded the monastery of Reesh Moran (head of our Lord) in Kefer Hay, Lebanon, and moved his see to Mount Lebanon.[4] The Maradites sealed themselves off from the outside, and founded their own national and religious identity, though still part of the Catholic Church, with John seen as one of their great founders.

John Maron died probably in 707.


John Maron works are in Syriac:

  • On Faith
  • Questions to the Monophysites

See also[edit]



  • Michael Breydy: Johannes Maron. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Band 3, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-035-2, Sp. 480–482.
  • Siméon Vailhé, «Origines religieuses des Maronites», Échos d'Orient, t. IV, 1900-1901, n° 2, p. 96-102, et n° 3, p. 154-162.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Maronite Patriarchs of Antioch
Succeeded by