Maronite Church

Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church of the Catholic Church
(Redirected from Maronites)

Maronites (Arabic: الموارنة, romanized: Al-Mawārinah; Syriac: ܡܖ̈ܘܢܝܐ, romanized: Marunoye) are a Christian ethnoreligious group[21] native to the Eastern Mediterranean and Levant region of West Asia, whose members traditionally belong to the Maronite Church, with the largest concentration long residing near Mount Lebanon in modern Lebanon.[22] The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the pope and the rest of the Catholic Church.[23][24]

Total population
c. 7–12 million[1][2][3][4][5][6]
Regions with significant populations
 Lebanon 1.4 million (2006)[7]
 Brazil3–4 million (incl. ancestry)[8]
 United States1.2 million (incl. ancestry)[8]
 South Africa20,000[11]
 Egypt6,350[nb 1][9]
 Côte d'Ivoire2,250–3,000[12]
Jerusalem and  Palestine504[9]
Lebanese Aramaic (Historical and native)[16][17]
Classical Syriac (Liturgical)[18][19]
Christianity (Maronite Catholic Church)
Related ethnic groups
Other Lebanese Christians[20]

The Maronites derive their name from Saint Maron, a Syriac Christian whose followers migrated to the area of Mount Lebanon from their previous place of residence around the area of Antioch, and established the nucleus of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church.[25]

Christianity in Lebanon has a long and continuous history. Biblical scripturesTemplate:Specify state that Peter and Paul evangelized the Phoenicians, whom they affiliated to the ancient patriarchate of Antioch. The spread of Christianity in Lebanon was very slow where paganism persisted, especially in the mountaintop strongholds of Mount Lebanon. During the 5th century AD, Saint Maron sent Abraham of Cyrrhus, often referred to as the Apostle of Lebanon, to convert the still significant pagan population of Lebanon to Christianity. The area's inhabitants renamed the Adonis River the Abraham River after Saint Abraham preached there.[26][27]

The early Maronites were Hellenized Semites, natives of Byzantine Syria who spoke Greek and Syriac,[28] yet identified with the Greek-speaking populace of Constantinople and Antioch.[29] They were able to maintain an independent status in Mount Lebanon and its coastline after the Muslim conquest of the Levant, keeping their Christian religion, and even their distinct Lebanese Aramaic[30] as late as the 19th century.[25] While Maronites identify primarily as native Lebanese of Maronite origin, some wish to identify as Arab Christians.[31] Others identify as descendants of Phoenicians. Some Maronites argue that they are of Mardaite ancestry, and other historians, such as Clement Joseph David, Syriac Catholic archbishop of Damascus, reject this.[32][33]

Mass emigration to the Americas at the outset of the 20th century, famine during World War I that killed an estimated one third to one half of the population, the 1860 Mount Lebanon civil war and the Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1990 greatly decreased their numbers in the Levant; however Maronites today form more than one quarter of the total population of modern-day Lebanon. Though concentrated in Lebanon, Maronites also show presence in the neighboring Levant, as well as a significant part in the Lebanese diaspora in the Americas, Europe, Australia, and Africa.

The Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church, under the patriarch of Antioch, has branches in nearly all countries where Maronite Christian communities live, in both the Levant and the Lebanese diaspora.

The Maronites and the Druze founded modern Lebanon in Ottoman Lebanon in the early 18th century, through the ruling and social system known as the "Maronite-Druze dualism" in the Ottoman Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate.[34] All Lebanese presidents, with the exception of Charles Debbas and Petro Trad, have been Maronites as part of a continued tradition of the National Pact, by which the prime minister has historically been a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of the National Assembly has historically been a Shi'ite.


  1. Dagher, Carole (2000). Bring Down the Walls: Lebanon's Post-War Challenge. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 9. doi:10.1057/9780230109193. ISBN 978-0-312-29336-9. [E]stimates vary between 16 million émigrés of Lebanese descent and 4 million. But they all agree on the fact that Christians amount to between 65 percent and 70 percent, among whom Maronites alone represent roughly 48 percent of this diaspora, and are thus the largest 'Lebanese' community abroad
  2. Gemayel, Boutros. "Archbishop of the Maronite Church in Cyprus". The Maronite Research Institute. There are reportedly over seven million Maronites alone living in Brazil, the United States of America, South America, Canada, Africa, Europe and Australia.
  3. Moussa, Gracia (22 September 2014). "Maronites: the face of Christians in the Middle East". L’Associazione The number of Maronites abroad is estimated to be 8 million.
  4. "The Maronite Church "A bridge between East and West"". Christian Media Center. 10 June 2016. There are more than 10 million Maronites around the world
  5. Bejjani, Elias (10 February 2008). "St. Maroun & His followers the Maronites". Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council. Archived from the original on 17 May 2023. Every year, on the ninth of February, more than ten million Maronites from all over the world celebrates St. Maroun's day.
  6. Hugi, Jacky (15 March 2013). "Aramaic Language Project in Israel Furthers Recognition of Maronites". Al-Monitor, LLC. There are 12 million Maronites in the world today.
  7. Burger, John (10 September 2020). "Christians in Lebanon: A short history of the Maronite Church". Aleteia. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tu, Janet (17 November 2001). "Maronite Mass gets trial run at Shoreline parish". The Seattle Times. Today there are about 7 million Maronites worldwide, most of them in Brazil (with 3 million or 4 million) and the United States (with 1.2 million Maronites, and 83 Maronite churches).
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 "Current Maronite Dioceses". Catholic Hierarchy. David M. Cheney. 2023.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 "Statistics". Maronite Heritage. Fr. Antonio Elfeghali. 9 February 2011.
  11. "The Struggle Of The Christian Lebanese For Land Ownership In South Africa". The Marionite Research Institute. Archived from the original on 2015-05-12.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Parishes". annunciation-eparchy. Maronite Eparchy – Africa. 2023.
  13. Cite error: The named reference Cyprus was used but no text was provided for refs named (see the help page).
  14. Judith Sudilovsky (2012-06-22). "Aramaic classes help Maronites in Israel understand their liturgies". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  15. Daniella Cheslow, (2014-06-30) Maronite Christians struggle to define their identity in Israel, The World, Public Radio International. Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  16. Hitti, Philip (1957). Lebanon in History. India: Macmillan and Co Ltd. p. 336. Being largely mountaineers and still Syriac-speaking the Maronite community was evidently looked upon as a minority ethnic group rather than a separate denomination.
  17. Schulze, Kirsten E; Stokes, Martin; Campell, Colm (1996). Nationalism, Minorities and Diasporas: Identities and Rights in the Middle East. Magee College: Tauris Academic Studies. p. 162. ISBN 9781860640520. This identity was underlined by Christian resistance to adopting Arabic as the spoken language. Originally they had spoken Syriac but increasingly opted to use "Christian" languages such as Latin, Italian, and most importantly, French.
  18. Iskandar, Amine (27 February 2022). "About the origin of the Lebanese language (I)". Syriacpress. The Lebanese have never spoken Ktovonoyo, but it was and is the liturgical language of the Syriac Maronite Church. This language was taught in their schools until 1943 and it is the only language they wrote and the one they still sing in the form of hymns. It is the language taught in schools that defines the identity of the people and their land.
  19. Iskandar, Amine (26 November 2021). "Syriac Identity of Lebanon part 13: The Three Syriac Scripts". Syriacpress.
  20. Haber, Marc; Gauguier, Dominique; Youhanna, Sonia; Patterson, Nick; Moorjani, Priya; Botigué, Laura; Platt, Daniel; Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth; Soria-Hernanz, David; Wells, R; Bertranpetit, Jaume; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Comas, David; Zalloua, Pierre (28 Feb 2013). "Genome-Wide Diversity in the Levant Reveals Recent Structuring by Culture". PLOS Genetics. 9 (2): e1003316. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003316. PMC 3585000. PMID 23468648.
    • Fattouh, Emily Michelle (2018). "Adaptive Leadership and the Maronite Church". M.A. In Leadership Studies: Capstone Project Papers. Digital USD. The continuation of the presence of the Maronite Christian Church in the United States connects people to a larger ethnic community, and most importantly, helps preserve cultural, social, and religious traditions.
    • "Maronites - Minority Rights Group". Minority Rights Group International. 2021.
    • "Maronites, Christians of the Middle East". St. George Maronite Catholic Church. 2021. Maronites started their own churches wherever they settled in the United States, a sign of their attachment to their ethnic and religious identities.
    • Ghosn, Margaret; Engebretson, Kath (2010). "National Identity of a Group of Young Australian Maronite Adults" (PDF). Crucible Journal. Their religious identity was part of an ethnic identification that was rigorously maintained as a result of the turmoil surrounding the history and current status of Maronites in Lebanon.
    • Demosthenous, Areti (2012). "The Maronites of Cyprus: From ethnicism to transnationalism". GAMER. I (1): 61–72. If we take as an example the Maronite community of Cyprus, it is considered as a minority by all international standards and they match perfectly the definition for national and ethnic minorities adopted by the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
    • Mavrides, Mario; Maranda, Michael (1999). "The Maronites of Cyprus: A Community in Crisis". Journal of Business & Society. 12 (1): 78–94. The Maronite ethnic identity is centred on their religion and on a historical sense of being a distinct group.
    • Labaki, Georges T. (2014). "The Maronite Church in the United States, 1854–2010". U.S. Catholic Historian. 32 (1): 71–85. doi:10.1353/cht.2014.0001. JSTOR 24584748. S2CID 153455080. Many petitioned the patriarch to assign Maronite priests to serve in the U.S., stressing the importance of preserving Maronite spirituality and traditions and the urgent need to convey faith, language, and ethnic traditions to the children of immigrants.
  21. Hagopian, Elaine C. (October 1989). "Maronite Hegemony to Maronite Militancy: The Creation and Disintegration of Lebanon". Third World Quarterly. 11 (4). Taylor & Francis, Ltd.: 104. doi:10.1080/01436598908420194. JSTOR 3992333. Retrieved 25 April 2022 – via JSTOR.
  22. Moubarak, Andre (2017). One Friday in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Israel: Twin Tours & Travel Ltd. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-9992-4942-0.
  23. Malone, Joseph J. The Arab Lands of Western Asia, Prentice-Hall, 1973, Page 7
  24. 25.0 25.1 Mannheim, I (2001). Syria & Lebanon handbook: the travel guide. Footprint Travel Guides. pp. 652–563. ISBN 978-1-900949-90-3.
  25. El-Hāyek, Elias (1990). Michael Gervers and Ramzi Jibran Bikhazi (ed.). Conversion and Continuity: Indigenous Christian Communities in Islamic Lands. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. pp. 408–409. ISBN 0-88844-809-0. ISSN 0228-8605.
  26. AbouZayd, Shafiq (1993). Iḥidayutha: A Study of the Life of Singleness in the Syrian Orient, from Ignatius of Antioch to Chalcedon 451 A.D. Oxford: Aram Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies. p. 304. ISBN 9780952077602.
  27. Dr. Amine Jules Iskandar (9 June 2020). "Syriac Identity of Lebanon – part 4: Why is Spoken Lebanese a Syriac Dialect?". Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  28. "Lebanon in Crisis: Who Are the Maronites?". CNEWA. 13 August 2020.
  29. Dr. Amine Jules Iskandar (27 February 2022). "About the origin of the Lebanese language (I)". Retrieved 16 November 2023. Surien (West Syriac from Canaan) The third form is also part of West Syriac but is located further west
  30. Williams, Victoria R. (24 February 2020). Indigenous Peoples: An Encyclopedia of Culture, History, and Threats to Survival [4 Volumes]. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 706. ISBN 9781440861185.
  31. Moosa, Matti (2005). The Maronites in history. Gorgias Press LLC. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-59333-182-5.
  32. SUERMANN, Harald (2002-07-01). "Maronite Historiography and Ideology". Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. 54 (3): 129–148. doi:10.2143/jecs.54.3.1071. ISSN 0009-5141.
  33. Deeb, Marius (2013). Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah: The Unholy Alliance and Its War on Lebanon. Hoover Press. ISBN 9780817916664. the Maronites and the Druze, who founded Lebanon in the early eighteenth century.

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