Tag Archives: Maronite

Maronite Patriarch said ready to resign

Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir.jpgPatriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, 90, the 76th head of the Maronite Church is said to have submitted a resignation a few months ago to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. The Daily Star has stated this move of Sfeir’s, but the paper has several facts wrong, so the reliability of specifics is questionable.

His Beatitude will be 91 on May 15 and has led the Maronite Church since 1986: he’s been a priest for 60.5 years, a bishop for 49.5 years and patriarch for 25 years. Sfeir is also a cardinal of the Church since 1994.

Christ our Light

Head of the Redeemer GBellini.jpg

In the days
since Christmastide mysteries of faith many theological matters come to mind in
knowing Jesus. All of the spiritual masters tell us that it’s crucially
important for us to come to personally know Jesus Christ, our Lord, in his true
light. The image of Christ as a light is reinforced in the baptismal rites
where we talk about the sacrament bringing us into inexpressible light. It is
also recalled in the Creed. Our enlightenment into the mystery of Jesus’
divinity continually needs our reflection, especially when the gospels of the
Transfiguration and the Resurrection are proclaimed. As Jesus is transfigured
and resurrected, so us: are Children of the Light. We know that Jesus really
lives in the light of the Trinity. There, the ultimate grace given by God the
Father is having Jesus revealed to us in his true Light. The recognition
(awareness) of this grace can only be given to those who are willing to ask for
it: “ask and it will be given to you,” the Lord says. 

The Maronite Church
proclaims the joy Christmas and the belief in Christ as Light of the Cosmos at
the Sedro for the Sundays of Epiphany: 

You have clothed us with your baptism:  the robe of glory and the seal of the
holy Spirit. You have called us to be spiritual children through our second
in baptism.

May the Light of Christ, the Risen Lord, continue to be the Light
of our lives every day
;  May it
never leave any corners of darkness in us untouched; May the forgiveness and
healing his Light brings fully transform us; That we too, the children of the
Church, may truly become the Light of Christ for the world, as we pray before
the altar at the end of our Eucharistic Celebration.

The Cross of Christ prepares us for the final judgment

Heavenly Jerusalem Maronite.jpgAutumn is upon us with its mix of weather: recent days
there’s been warmth and coolness, rain, clouds and sun. The earth is adjusting and so are we, at least liturgically. Judging by the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church we are
near the end of the liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent only a few weeks away. Some churches, like the Maronites in
particular, mark this time of the liturgical year by counting weeks after the
Exaltation of the Cross in a time called the Season of the Cross. This particular season of the Maronite liturgical calendar prepares us to account for our lives by looking to our personal final victory through prayer, fasting, waiting, and conversion of life. The rich liturgical theology of the Maronite Church ought to draw us more closely to the glory of the Lord’s right side in an attitude of gratitude for all things in life.

You’ll hear Maronite liturgical theology speak of
Jesus’ Cross as “the Cross of Light,” the symbol -the reality– par excellence of
the victorious Son of Man and Son of God. The cross of is that primary sign by
which Jesus Christ, Our Lord, becomes for us the victor over death and opens
the gates of heaven for our entrance into blessedness with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The Maronite Church
prayed today: When you shall appear on the last day the sign of the cross shall
shine brighter than the sun, enable us, your worshipers, to enter your kingdom
of light, and glorify and thank you, O Christ, with your father, and your Holy
Spirit, now and forever.

Archbishop Francis Mansour Zayek, RIP

Archbishop Zayek & Bishop Shaheen.jpgWith great sadness word was received today of the passing to the Lord of His Excellency, Archbishop Francis Mansour Zayek, 90, emeritus archbishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, on the 14 September 2010, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Archbishop Zayek is pictured on the left with Bishop Robert Shaheen.

Archbishop Zayek was a dear friend for many years and I recommend him to your Masses and Prayers. He was really a beautiful person always attuned with the Lord and His Church.
Bishop Gregory Mansour’s letter regarding the death of Archbishop Zayek gives testimony to this great man. Read: Letter on + Francis Zayek RIP.pdf
UPDATED: The October 2010 issue of the Maronite Voice is dedicated to the Archbishop.

A closer look at the promise of the Assumption

Assumption Maronite icon.jpg

Christianity holds forth a surprising happiness and promise of joy. It describes and offers a mystery of life that is full and forever. The magnificent Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on August 15 proclaims the deepest and most profound of these Christian mysteries and promises. Virgin Mary–  the Bearer of God who was the first and best disciple of her Son– lived a long life in the presence of God. She experienced a resurrection after falling asleep in death (called Dormition) and a transport to Heaven (called   Metestiseen, Assumption). Remarkably, this is the joy that lies in wait for all other disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ whose bodies will rise at the end of time and be with God in Heaven forever.

Let us examine the details of the Assumption of Our Blessed Virgin Mary in the tradition and legend of the event of her falling asleep and transport to Heaven as found in the icon and liturgy of the ancient Church. At the beginning, understanding that God entered into the human realm to stamp out death and bring life without end to humanity, we see this believing young Hebrew mother as the first person since Adam and Eve to experience realization of God’s full life … herself receiving life without end both physically and spiritually in unity with God the Creator, a glory forever and ever.At the end of time, all those judged to be living in the presence of God, who is Life Eternal, will also receive this remarkable eternal gift.  


The spiritual powers receive her with honors due to God, and she who is truly the mother of Life departs unto life, the lamp of Light which no man can approach, the salvation of the faithful and the hope of our souls. (The Feast of Dormition, Great Vespers, Lete, Tone 2*). 

Cry out, O David, and tell us, what is this present feast about which you sang in the book of Psalms? And David says, “Christ has carried up into the heavenly mansions her who bore Him without seed. I sang of her in the Psalms calling her ‘daughter, bride of God and virgin’. Therefore, mothers, daughters and brides of Christ, rejoice and call out, “Hail to you, O Lady, who have been translated to the Kingdom on high.” (Orthros [Morning Prayer], Sessional Hymns after the First Reading from thePsalter, Tone 4*).  


Wherefore, O most pure Mother of God, forever alive with your Son, the Source of Life, do not cease to intercede with Him that He may guard and save your people from every trouble, for you are our intercessor. (Vespers, Tone 8 before the Entrance*).

Father Stephen Bonian, S.J.

A Maronite Jesuit priest serving the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon

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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