Russian Orthodox icon of Saint Maron
Kafr Nabu, Ol-Yambos, Syria Prima province, Byzantine Empire
|Venerated in||Catholic Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
|Major shrine||Syriac Maronite Church|
|Feast||February 14(Eastern Orthodox Church)
February 9 (Maronite Church)
Maron, also called Maroun or Maro, (Syriac: ܡܪܘܢ, Morōn; Arabic: مارون; Latin: Maron; Greek: Μάρων) was a 4th-century Syriac Christian hermit monk in the Taurus Mountains whose followers, after his death, founded a religious Christian movement that became known as the Syriac Maronite Church, in full communion with the Holy See and the Catholic Church. The religious community which grew from this movement are the modern Maronites.
Saint Maron is often portrayed in a black monastic habit with a hanging stole, accompanied by a long crosier staffed by a globe surmounted with a cross. His feast day in the Maronite Church is February 9.
Maron, born in the middle of the 4th century in Lebanon, was a priest who later became a hermit, retiring to the Taurus Mountains in the region of Cyrrhus, near Antioch. His holiness and miracles attracted many followers, and drew attention throughout the empire. John Chrysostom wrote to him around AD 405 expressing his great love and respect, and asking Maron to pray for him. Maron and Chrysostom are believed to have studied together in the great Christian learning center at Antioch, which at the time was the third largest city in the Roman Empire.
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Maron's way was deeply monastic with emphasis on the spiritual and ascetic aspects of living. For Maron, all was connected to God and God was connected to all. He did not separate the physical and spiritual world and actually used the physical world to deepen his faith and spiritual experience with God. He was able to free himself from the physical world by his passion and fervour for prayer and enter into a mystical relationship of love with God.
He lived his life in the open air next to a temple he had transformed to a church. He spent his time in prayer and meditation exposed to the forces of nature such as sun, rain, hail and snow. Theodoret of Cyrrhus wrote that this was a new type of asceticism that soon enjoyed wide acceptance in Syria and Lebanon. His Religious History, written about 440, mentions fifteen men and three women who followed this practice, many of them trained or guided by Maron.
Saint Maron was a mystic who started this new ascetic-spiritual method that attracted many people in Syria and Lebanon to become his disciples. Accompanying his deeply spiritual and ascetic life, he was a zealous missionary with a passion to spread the message of Christ by preaching it to all he met. He sought not only to cure the physical ailments that people suffered, but had a great quest for nurturing and healing the "lost souls" of both non-Christians and Christians of his time.
This missionary work came to fruition when in the mountains of Syria, Saint Maron was able to convert a temple into a Christian church. This was to be the beginning of the conversion to Christianity in Syria which would then influence and spread to Lebanon. After his death in the year 410, his spirit and teachings lived on through his disciples.
His burial place is a debated issue. Some Lebanese sources, such as Giuseppe Simone Assemani and Maronite bishop Yusef al-Dibs believe he was buried in Arethusa or modern-day al-Rastan along the Orontes River in Syria, while others, like Jesuit priest Henri Lammens, claim he is buried in Brad village to the north of Aleppo.
The Maronite movement reached Lebanon when Saint Maron's first disciple, Abraham of Cyrrhus, who was called the Apostle of Lebanon, realized that there were many non-Christians in Lebanon and so he set out to convert them to Christianity by introducing them to the way of Saint Maron. The followers of Saint Maron, both monks and laity, for emphasizing the mia-thelite union of Christ's will with God's, were accused by Byzantium of monothelitism. However, Maronite historians argue that they have always remained in full communion with Rome. Saint Maron's feast day is celebrated on February 9.
- The town of Volperino in Italy. After being brought to Sassovivo Abbey in Foligno, Saint Maron's relics were kept for a long time in the tiny village of Volperino, before being transferred to Saint Felicianus Cathedral church in Foligno.
- The Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn
- The Eparchy of Saint Maron of Canada - Montréal, Canada - Official Website
- The Eparchy of Saint Maron of Australia.
On 23 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI unveiled a statue of Saint Maron on the outer wall of Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican and imparted his Apostolic Blessing. The 15 feet tall statue was commissioned by the Maronite Church to the Spanish sculptor Marco Augusto Dueñas. The saint appears in the sculpture holding a miniature, Maronite style church; the sculpture also features an inscription in Syriac reading: The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon. The statue occupied the last available niche in the outer perimeter of Saint Peter's Basilica.
In June 2012, an impressionist painting of Saint Maron, as well as several icons based on images from the 5th-century Syriac Rabboula manuscript including the Crucifixion, the Marian icon of the "Mother of Light" and the Evangelists, was donated, installed and was solemnly attended by Cardinal Donald Wuerl at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C, and was formally dedicated on September 23, 2012.
- "The Divine Office for Lent". World Digital Library. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "Life of Saint Maroun".
- (in Greek) Menaion of Venice, 1889
- (in Greek) Ορθόδοξος Συναξαριστής
- "Saint Maroun, Father of the Maronite Catholic community". Saint of the Month Archive. International Catholic Stewardship Council. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
- "Who is Saint Maron?". St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
- Saint Maroun. Opus Libani. Retrieved on 2008-02-15. Archived August 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Saint Maroun, Father of the Maronite Catholic community", International Catholic Stewardhip Council
- El-Hāyek, Elias. "Struggle for Survival: The Maronites of the Middle Ages", Conversion and Continuity, (Michael Gervers and Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi, eds.), Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1990 ISBN 9780888448095
- Moosa, Matti. The Maronites in History. Gorgias Press LLC, 2005. ISBN 1593331827.
- 'Monks and Monasteries of the Near East', Jules Leroy, 2004, p.106
- Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
- "St. Maron, Healer of Bodies and Souls", Institute for Traditional Medicine
- "St Maroun - The gift of blessing and curing", Maronite history Project
- Rome Reports news agency staff (February 24, 2011). "New Statue in Saint Peter's includes words in Syriac, blessed by Pope". Rome reports. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
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