Feast day February 9
The Maronite Church owes its name to an important monastery, Saint Maroun, who received the name in homage to the anchorite Maroun.
The monk Maroun was born in the fourth century. After renouncing the world, he led one of the most austere ascetic lives, in his hermitage and very often in the open air.
Monastic life existed from the beginning of the Church. It is called the "way of Christian perfection".
The monk Maroun was an ardent follower of Christ, and consumed with enthusiasm for Christian perfection. He renounced the world and its attractions, and hid on one of the mountains in the diocese of Cyr, where he lived in the ruins or an ancient pagan temple, transforming it into a place of prayer and meditation. His reputation soon attracted all those who, equally enthused by Christian perfection, sought a model and an experimented spiritual guide. His disciples were very numerous and his ascetic school was one of the most prosperous. Many people visited him in his hermitage asking help both for corporal as well as spiritual diseases and they were taken care of.
Saint Maroun died in the beginning of the fifth century, and as far as we know, in the year 410. After he died, his body was the object of dispute among the inhabitants of the various cities of the region because of the miracles he had performed. The inhabitants of the most populous and strongest place took the body for themselves. They deposited it in a temple built especially for it and dedicated to his memory.
The sanctuary did not take long to become a place of pilgrimage for the faithful coming from every region. In the year 452, the Emperor Marciano commanded that a large monastery be constructed for the Saint's disciples, the Maronite monks. This monastery of Saint Maroun was the birthplace of the Maronite Church.
After the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedony which was convoked in 451 and declared that Our Lord Jesus Christ is "Truly God and Truly Man", the Maronite monks proved to be the strongest defenders of this true doctrine of the Church. At this time, the importance of the Monastery of Saint Maroun became ever greater, so that its superior became in a short time both spiritual and temporal leader of the region. The influence of the monks over the faithful applied themselves to imitating the monks in the manner of praying eating, fasting and sleeping.From the Lebanese Maronite Saints ©1999
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