Tag Archives: Maronite

Béshara Raï elected new Maronite Patriarch

Beshara Rai.jpegOnly 20 years junior to the out-going patriarch, His Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, the Maronite bishops elected today Bishop Béshara Raï, 71, as the new patriarch. He’s  77th patriarch of the Maronites; Raï takes up the See of St Peter (Peter’s first diocese before moving to Rome), adopting the name Peter. He will be known as “His Beatitude, Patriarch Béshara Peter Raï.

He succeeds Patriarch Sfeir after his 25 years of service. It is expected that Patriarch Béshara Peter will be enthroned on 25 March.
I am happy for His Beatitude’s new opportunity to serve the Church. I met him a number of years ago and he’s a wonderful person.
His Beatitude has been a priest for 43 years and a bishop for nearly 25 years and since 1990 he’s been bishop of Jbeil (Byblos). In Lebanon, the Maronite Christians number about a third of the 4 million population.

Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, retires as Maronite leader

Sfeir.jpgToday, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the petition of His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, cardinal, to retire from his pastoral leadership as the Father of Maronite Church.

The resignation was speculated a few weeks ago.
Here is the letter of Pope Benedict to His Beatitude (in French until an English translation is given).

Maronites remember founder, Saint Maron

St Maron2.jpg1600 years is a long time. But the Church never forgets. She especially never forgets a sainted monk who called together others to live the Gospel and to pray. Maronite Church who traces her foundation to a monk is remembering his good work and his death of so long ago. Several celebrations around the US mark the anniversary.

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour celebrated the Divine Liturgy in honor of Saint Maron and prayed for peace in the Middle East at his cathedral, Our Lady of Lebanon, Brooklyn, NY.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, presided at a celebration of the Liturgy in honor of Saint Maron and gave an address in which he reminded the Maronites to be custodians of the Christian gospel and tradition in the Middle East (and wherever they are. The celebration happened at the Maronite College in Rome.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell recently presided at the Maronite Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Waterbury.
Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing prays the Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Lansing, MI.
At the invitation of Chorbishop John Faris, His Eminence Daniel N. DiNardo with Bishop James Cunnigham of Syracuse presided during the Divine Liturgy at Saint Louis Gonzaga Church in Utica, NY.
A beautiful brief video “Saint Maron | 1600 years” is worth viewing even though it is narrated in Arabic.

Saint Maron

In honor of the 1600th anniverssary of the death of Saint Maron, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI blessed and unveiled a new statue of the saint at the Vatican basilica of Saint Peter’s.
For the past year, Maronites and others around the world have been observing a jubliee year called by His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasralla Peter Sfeir. In a letter to the Maronite Church around the world he said, in part, 
Our Church was not built after a name of a See or Apostle, but rather took its identity from the radiance of a man and a monastery: the Maronite Church, a Church of asceticism and adoration attached from the beginning to a solitary man, not a man of rank or a Church leader.
The faith lived out by the hermit Maron became the inner strength of a people’s history. As for the successive migrations from Syria (in the 5-10th centuries), the Maronites gave them one meaning, that is, giving up land, wealth and comfort in Syria moving toward a poor land where anxiety and austerity prevail, so they could preserve their faith and remain attached to their freedom … This event is not a simple historical fact among others …  it is the very beginning of a new history, the history of the Maronites.
The Jubilee Prayer

Lord, Jesus, You called Your chosen one, Saint Maron, to the monastic life, perfected him in divine virtues, and guided him along the difficult road to the heavenly kingdom.

During this jubilee year, commemorating 1600 years since the death of Your chosen one, Saint Maron, when he was called to the house of Your heavenly Father, we ask You, through his intercession, to immerse us in Your love that we may walk in Your path, heed Your commandments, and follow in his footsteps.
May his holy example resonate throughout our lives. With Your love, may we achieve that final distination reached by our father, Saint Maron, and carry Your Gospel throughout the world.
Through his intercession, may we attain the glory of the resurrection and everlasting life in You.
Glory and thanks are due to You, to Your blessed Father, and to Your living Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

The Maronites: The Origins of an Antiochene Church

For nearly 25 years I have had a significant attraction to the Eastern Churches with regard to their sacred Liturgy, ecclesiology, culture, food, and friendship shared as it is, and historically lived, in the Maronite Church. My introduction to the Maronite tribe of the universal Catholic Church is found in the good friends I have had through the years who first introduced me to their Maronite Church. I was happy to see that Cistercian Publications is publishing in February a book on one of the Churches that is close to my heart.

From the Website

The Maronites.jpg

The Maronite Church is one of twenty-two Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Pope of Rome. Her patriarch is in Lebanon. Forty-three bishops and approximately five million faithful make up her presence throughout the world.
The story of Maron, a fifth-century hermit-priest, and the community gathered around him, later called the Maronites, tells another fascinating story of the monastic and missionary movements of the Church. Maron’s story takes place in the context of Syrian monasticism, which was a combination of both solitary and communal life, and is a narrative of Christians of the Middle East as they navigated the rough seas of political divisions and ecclesiastical controversies from the fourth to the ninth centuries.

Abbot Paul Naaman, a Maronite scholar and former Superior General of the Order of Lebanese Maronite Monks, wisely places the study of the origins of the Maronite Church squarely in the midst of the history of the Church. His book, The Maronites: The Origins of an Antiochene Church, published during the sixteenth centenary of Maron’s death, offers plausible insights into her formation and early development, grounding the Maronite Church in her Catholic, Antiochian, Syriac, and monastic roots.

Abbot Paul Naaman is a Maronite scholar and former Superior General of the Order of Lebanese Maronite Monks.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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