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(mâr`ənīts), Lebanese Christian community, in communion with the pope. By emigration they have spread to Cyprus, Palestine, Egypt, South America, and the United States and now number about one million. Their liturgy (said mainly in liturgical Syriac) is of the Antiochene type, with innovations taken from the Latin rite. Their ecclesiastical head, under the pope, is called patriarch of Antioch; he lives in Lebanon. As in other Eastern rites, the parish priests are usually married. The Maronites have been a distinct community since the 7th cent., when they separated in the doctrinal dispute over MonotheletismMonotheletism
or Monothelitism
[Gr.,=one will], 7th-century opinion condemned as heretical by the Third Council of Constantinople in 680 (see Constantinople, Third Council of).
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; they returned to communion with the pope in the 12th cent. In the 19th cent., massacres of Maronites by the DruzeDruze
or Druse
, religious community of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, with important overseas branches in the Americas and Australia. The religious leadership prefers the name Muwahhidun (Unitarians).
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 brought French intervention; this gave France a hold in Lebanon and Syria. Besides the Maronites there are two other groups in Syria in communion with the pope—the MelchitesMelchites
or Melkites
, members of a Christian community in the Levant and the Americas, mainly Arabic-speaking and numbering about 250,000. They are in communion with the pope and have a Byzantine rite much like that of Constantinople but in the Arabic language.
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 and the Syrian Catholics.


See D. Attwater, The Christian Churches of the East, Vol. I (1947).



adherents of the Maronite Christian Church. They reside for the most part in Lebanon (about 600,000 in 1971), with small groups in Syria, Egypt, North and South America, and Cyprus.

Maronite religious communities arose in the fifth to seventh centuries in northwestern Syria during the schisms in the Eastern Christian Church. Mar Marun is the legendary founder of the Maronite Church. In the 13th to 16th centuries the church recognized the supremacy of the Vatican, having preserved the old Eastern ritual and service in the Syrian (Aramaic) language; the Maronite service is also performed in Arabic. Since 1954 the head of the church has been appointed by the Vatican, with his residence in Lebanon. In accordance with the National Pact of 1943, the president of Lebanon, several ministers, and about one-third of the parliamentary deputies must be Maronites.


Sovremennyi Livan. Moscow, 1963.
Dib, P. Histoire de l’eglise maronite. Beirut, 1962.
References in periodicals archive ?
Khoury wrote that maintaining the schism within the Christian Maronite community threatens to grant other religious communities the decision to choose the suitable candidate for assuming the Lebanese presidency, which is headed by a Christian Maronite in accordance with the 1989 Taif Accord which ended the 1975-1990 civil war.
The Cypriot Maronite Arabic Language is the second language the Republic has earmarked for protection under the Charter.
In 1958 the Maronite community purchased a former Congregational church in Carlton and on 16th August 1959 it was consecrated as the Church of Our Lady of Lebanon.
BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai called on Syrian Christians to hold on to their faith and their land during this difficult time, on his second day to a pastoral visit to Syria.
We pray for ending the wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen through diplomatic methods and establishing peace in Palestine, the holy lands and the rest of the middle East countries,"al- Rahi said during opening the activities of the Maronite Patriarchal Synod at the patriarchal edifice in Bkirki in Lebanon.
For the first time in nearly a century, the Maronite Catholic Church in the United States is ordaining a married priest in a ceremony at the ornate St.
Selected candidates will undergo online sessions (e-learning sessions) that will build their knowledge about Lebanon and the Maronite Heritage.
Maron of Montreal as bishop of the Maronite Catholics of Canada, was born in Lebanon.
Syria: Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai will visit Damascus on Sunday to attend the enthronement of Syria's Greek Orthodox leader, Yuhanna X Yazigi, the Lebanese church said.
The Maronite Patriarch Cardinal arrived here earlier in the day to attend a Mass marking Saint Maron's Feast Day at the Maronite Church in Damascus.
Patriarch Rai was enthroned the 77th Maronite Patriarch on March 25, 2011.
Commenting on the statement issued Wednesday by the Maronite Bishops' Council after its monthly meeting, which backed Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai's position on Syria and Hizbullah's arms, Rajeh Khoury, a political analyst with the opposition newspaper AN NAHAR, said in his column on Friday: "When it took the Maronite Bishops' Council four hours of discussions to issue a statement calling for confidence in the leadership of Patriarch Beshara Rai and to rally behind him, this means that there are strong differences in the clergymen's viewpoints and assessment of the statements [Rai] made during his visit to France and the positions that he declares concerning the status of Christians in Lebanon and the region.