Identity, Vocation and
1. Ever since our
2. It must not be remiss in the minds of the sons and daughters of the Maronite Church, as they seek to throw light upon the elements of their identity, that their Patriarchal Church is, before all else, the realization of the mystery of the One, Universal, Holy and Apostolic Church in the special environment in which they were called to bear witness to their Apostolic faith and to their evangelical values, and consequently not willing to be led, in their endeavor, into mere cultural, national or political considerations. For them, the Church is the salvific work of God the Father through His son Jesus Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit, as they proclaim, chanting during the Sunday liturgy of the Renewal and Consecration of the Church, “Glory be to the Father who founded the Church from of old. Adoration to the Son who has given her his Body for the forgiveness of sins; and thanksgiving to the Spirit who descends, settles on and sanctifies; He is the hidden and unfathomed Mystery. Glory be to Him”.
3. In trying to discover the constituent elements of the identity of the
4. There is no doubt that the phenomenon of the extensive Maronite emigration from Lebanon and neighboring countries to other countries of the world has contributed to making the issue of the identity of the Maronite Church a Synodal priority. It was essential for this Church, wherever her sons and daughters settled, to highlight the fundamental elements of her identity, the foundation of her vocation and mission, working to update them, to make them compatible with the culture of the people whom her sons and daughters joined, so as to curb their scattering or their dissolution, to preserve their unity for the sake of consolidating the special Christian mission entrusted to them.
5. In the light of the foregoing, the text introduces the essential elements of the identity of the Maronite Church and it becomes apparent that she is firstly, an Antiochene Syriac Church, with a special liturgical heritage; secondly, a Chalcedonian Church; thirdly, a Patriarchal Church with an ascetic and a monastic aspect; fourthly, a Church in full union with the Apostolic Roman See; fifthly, a Church incarnated in her Lebanese and Eastern environment, and the Countries of Expansion. Since the
6. Before embarking on the presentation of these elements, we must remember that the name Maronite derives from Saint Maron, who died around 410, and to the monastery built and named after him, soon after the Council of Chalcedon (451) in the region of Apamea, in Syria Secunda, according to the Roman organization of
Chapter One: A
7. The Maronite Church developed within the
8. Since her inception, the
9. Many local Churches sprang up in
11. This Episcopate Synodal System is at the root of the patriarchal system that is still prevailing in the East and also at the base of the Episcopal assembly whose spheres are spacious enough to encompass the
12. Our Maronite Antiochene Church belongs to the family of Churches of Syriac heritage in its “Western and Eastern” branches. This division refers to Syriacs living in regions west or east of the
13. Our Synod lauds all the efforts and the many important accomplishments made during recent decades, in
Chapter Two: A
14. By declaring that our Church is Chalcedonian, we mean that she perseveres in being faithful to “the mystery of the plan of salvation,” as it was professed and witnessed to by the monks of Saint Maron’s monastery, the cradle of our Church, in accordance with the Creed defined by the Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon in 451. This Creed teaches that Christ has two full distinct natures, divine and human, united in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the distinctiveness of these two natures is maintained after that unity. This is confirmation of the humanity of Christ our Lord and of the reality of the incarnation and salvation.
15. The Fathers of the Council, in their definition, relied upon the letter of Pope Leo the Great, addressed in the year 449 to Flavius the Patriarch of Constantinople (446-449), in which he condemned the monk Eutyches’ for saying that Christ had only one nature after the Incarnation, which would lead to the dissolving of the human in the divine and would consequently empty the Incarnation event from its real salvific meaning. The Fathers considered this Papal letter to be “conformal with the great declaration of Peter as a common pillar against those with erroneous opinions”. The firm commitment of Saint Maron’s Monastery to the Chalcedonian “Creed,” in the context of Pope Leo’s letter, was undoubtedly one of the most important elements that later consolidated the full communion of the Maronite Church with the Roman Apostolic See (No. 29). Our Maronite liturgy eloquently expresses the effects of the mystery of the Incarnation in the life of the people, when we repeat daily during the Divine Liturgy: “You have united, O Lord, your divinity with our humanity, and our humanity with your divinity, Your life with our mortality and our mortality with Your life. You have assumed what is ours and you have given us what is yours, for the life and salvation of our souls. To You, O Lord, be glory for ever.”
16. However, from the beginning, the Chalcedonian “Creed” met with stiff opposition, for theological and non-theological reasons, to the point of rejection by most Eastern Christians in our East, who form what is now called the community of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Their position was mainly a refusal of the distinctiveness between the two natures after the Incarnation, in order to preempt any split between the divinity and the humanity of Christ, thus safeguarding the unity in the person of Jesus Christ, as was decreed by the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus in 431. Our Church must be thankful to God for the positive results of the theological discussions, formal and informal, concerning the mystery of the Incarnation, which has taken place between the Catholic Church and the community of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. These results have proven that faith in this mystery is one in essence and yet varied in expression. This diversity is seen no longer, as was the case in the recent past, a sign of division and separation between the Churches which would weaken the Christian testimony, but rather, a rich and common heritage, where merely one expression is incapable of grasping this great mystery or enveloping it in an exclusive and definitive form.
17. In this context, even if this diversity afflicts utterances and expressions without infringing on the essence, we can still maintain that it has contributed in crystallizing the patterns of a differing, yet integrated ecclesial life, which has affected the spirituality of our Churches and their mission in their environment. In the light of her long history, the
Chapter three: Patriarchal Church with Monastic and Ascetic Features
18. The Syriac Antiochene Maronite Patriarchate came into existence in the bosom of Saint Maron’s Monastery, at an unspecified date, between the close of the 7th century and the first half of the 8th century, within religious, cultural, political, and social circumstances, in which some of its features have not yet come to light. In their totality, these circumstances led to a chasm in the Melkite Antiochene See between the “Maronites” and the “Greek”. Our Synod depends upon those specialized in ecclesiastical history to clarify the history of the Maronite Church during that delicate phase, that it may be an introduction to the writing of a common and “ecumenical” history of the Antiochene See, bearing in mind the Apostle Paul’s saying: “living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Since the 8th century, the Maronites have emerged as an independent ecclesiastical body within the Antiochene See, along with the Orthodox Syriac Church on the one hand and later, the Greek Orthodox Church, on the other hand. This founding event had a great impact imprinting the
19. The ascetic and monastic origin of the Maronite Patriarchate does not mean that our Church is the result of an independent monastic movement within the Antiochene See. The Monastery of Saint Maron was integrated in the structure of the
20. In this context, and according to an old tradition conveyed to us by Patriarch Stephen Doueihy (1670- 1704), our Church considers Saint John Maron, who was first a monk and then the superior of the Monastery of Saint Maron, the first Antiochene Patriarch of the Maronites and the Church celebrates his feast day on March 2. John Maron was the first of a series of monk-patriarchs that continued uninterrupted till the 17th century. During that period, the monastic state was tied to the Episcopal or patriarchal ministry in our Church. In fact, after their ordination as bishops, the monks would continue to live the monastic life they had embraced. This means that the monastic state was pastoral as much as it was evangelical in its beginnings and objectives.
21. These strong ties between the monastic and the Episcopal states started changing when, under the influence of the Roman Church, (conveyed through the Maronite School of Rome (1584)) the Episcopal or patriarchal function was assigned, as in the West, to those who are in a state of celibacy, regardless of their diocesan or monastic state. Despite this change, the Maronite “Ash-Shartounia,” that is, the Book of Ordinations has kept, to this very day, these traditional ties, since he who is chosen to the episcopate dons the monastic cowl if he is not in the ranks of the monks.
22. No doubt this ascetic and monastic origin of the Maronite Patriarchate turned the Maronite Church, throughout her long history, primarily into a big monastic community, it is the “Patriarch’s Parish,” a parish centered on the monastery of the Patriarchal See. It saw in the patriarch “a father and a head,” and the protector of her unity. This foundation had a huge effect on the ecclesiastical organization of the Maronites and remained very much alive until the Lebanese Synod convoked in 1736. Throughout that period, they constituted one congregation, with the patriarch singularly watching over its affairs even if he was sometimes assisted by some leading figures in managing temporal affairs, and, by auxiliary bishops, who living with him in the monastery or in neighboring ones, aided him in the pastoral affairs. He also delegates them to carry out pastoral visits on his behalf. Despite the sporadic opposition to the absolute authority of the patriarch, this system remained nevertheless a living testimony of an on-going Episcopal, Synodal assembly centered on the constant monastic life communion whose mainstay was prayer of the divine office, meditation on the Bible, manual work, and fasting.
23. These methods of practicing that Episcopate Synodal System have changed since the Fathers of the Lebanese Synod (1736) issued the law concerning the distribution of eparchies and ordered bishops to reside in their own eparchies. Despite the urgent pastoral need for this eparchial reform, it became apparent, that for a long while, such reform was met by cautious acceptance or even refusal on the part of some groups, perhaps for reasons of safeguarding the unity of this sizeable “monastic congregation” around its shepherd. As for today, almost three centuries after the Lebanese Synod, the experience of the Episcopate Synodal System, according to “the monastic rhythm,” still remains entrenched in the Maronite memory, especially during times of hardship, in what it represents by way of genuine ecclesiastical communion between the patriarch and the bishops, a rhythm able to inspire and strengthen the practice of the Episcopate Synodal System nowadays.
24. Simultaneously with this change, whereby the monastic state no longer accompanied that of the episcopate, another change befell the canonical status of monastic life in our
25. This change won acceptance at the time by the Maronite Patriarchate. The explanation to that is the mounting awareness of the sons and daughters of the
26. There is no doubt that these transformations have, over the years, altered the traditional monastic character which has distinguished our
27. Our Patriarchal Synod realizes that concern for the recovery of the ascetic and monastic character of our Church does not stop at that level of coordination between bishops and the religious orders. If monastic life is the “soul of the Eastern Churches,” as Pope John Paul II says, (Lumen Orientalis, The Light of the Orient, 9) for us it is a founding evangelical gift (“charisma”) that molded our
28. In this context, concern for the recovery of the ascetic and monastic character of the
Chapter Four: A Church in Full Communion with the Roman Apostolic See
29. Communion with the Roman Church represents an essential and deep rooted element of the identity, mission and vocation of our
30. This communion with
31. However, the experience of communion between the Maronite Church and the Roman Church led the Maronites, at the beginning of the 15th century, into the concept of a Church which is in fact a complicated mixture of a patriarchal system, typical of Eastern Churches throughout the first millennium, and a Roman hierarchical system for the Catholic Church, which has unilaterally developed since the start of the second millennium. As already stated in the text above (No. 25), the Maronites have become part of the Church headed by the Bishop of Rome, while retaining a large portion of their liturgical rituals and ecclesiastical organization. Our Patriarchal Synod appreciates the many positive aspects that adorned the history of communion between the
32. To reveal the history of communion between the Maronite Church and the Roman Church in its various dimensions, our Synod relies on those with expertise to carefully review the fundamental stages that constituted that history, giving special attention to the Council of Florence (1439), especially with regard to its vision on Church unity between East and West; the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and its affirmed effect in the founding of the Maronite College in Rome (1584); the Maronite synods that were held under the presidency of the Apostolic Delegates, Eliano and Dandini, (1578-1579; 1580-1582; and 1596); and, the Lebanese Synod (1736) and the issue of its acceptance in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was common knowledge that the laws of that Synod, in their majority, were derived from the reform canons of the Council of Trent.
33. In the twentieth century, a new chapter in the history of communion between the
34. One of the achievements of Vatican II is that it has set up a theological concept for the communion-Church, which, in its fundamental facets, is a retrieval of a common biblical and patristic tradition that has prevailed in the East and the West during the first millennium. In this context, our Synod urges all Maronite clergy, monks, nuns and laity to delve into the mystery of communion and to discern its practical significance, either on the level of our
Chapter Five: A Church Incarnated in its Lebanese and Eastern Environment and in the Countries of the Expansion
35. While our Synod is in search of the identity of the
36. If the legal boundaries of the Maronite Church is the Antiochene Patriarchal Domain which nowadays includes the region of the Middle East in general, it has been willed for Mount Lebanon, and thereafter Lebanon in its present borders, which is a part of that domain, to enfold the majority of Maronites ever since the Maronite Antiochene Patriarchate moved in, from the 10th century until this very day. However, the Maronite presence is no longer limited to the Antiochene Patriarchal Domain, but, went beyond it, extending rapidly and astonishingly to become a worldwide presence. This expansion was the result of the movements of emigration and dislodgement that forced Maronites and others, from the second half of the nineteenth century up to the present, to leave their homeland and take up residence in other host countries, which soon after have granted them citizenship.
37. This phenomenon of emigration evoked a series of central queries concerning the relationship between the Church and her environment on the one hand, and the way to preserve the unity of the
38. Regarding the link between the majority of the Maronites of the Patriarchal Domain and
39. To bolster the mission of our Maronite Church in the context of the Gospel, our Synod calls upon all Maronite believers to renew their faith through the apostolic dimension of the Church. This requires all of us to constantly return to the deposit of faith of the mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ, as we have received it from the Apostles and the early Church and that we witness to it trustworthily within the environment God has willed us to settle. The apostolic mission of the Church pours forth from the “mystery of the plan of salvation” that is the work of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, for our sake and for our salvation. Christ who rose from the dead said to his disciples when he appeared to them, as stated in the Gospel of John: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:21- 23). So, the disciples set out on their apostolic mission after receiving through Christ the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to them. The Spirit is “The Consoler,” “the Spirit of truth” who will teach them everything and remind them of all that Jesus Christ told them (John 14:15- 16, 25; 16:7). Christians are aware that through their baptism “in water and Spirit” (John 3:5), they are like the disciples, sent into the world, equipped with the power of the Spirit, reviver of the Church and her living memory, to carry to the world the message of salvation in Jesus Christ.
40. The sons and daughters of our Maronite Church realize that their Antiochene roots pull them in a special way to the Good News which the city of God, Antioch, embraced, ever since Peter, the Head of the Apostles, along with Paul, Barnabas and other preachers, announced it. They have made this city a living model of reconciliation between the Jews and the Gentiles who are united in their faith in Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior (Acts 15:22-35; Galatians, 2:11-21). It pleases our Synod to remind Maronites that the conversion of many Syrian and Lebanese to Christianity during the Roman era occurred at the hands of preachers motivated by apostolic zeal, and foremost among them were monks, disciples of Saint Maron of Cyrrhus, Saint John Chrysostom, and Simon Stylites. This indicates that the monastic life of following Christ and dedicating oneself to him is apostolic par excellence. In this context, our Synod urges monks, nuns and laity in the parishes and in the ecclesiastical institutions to persevere in their apostolic testimony, through complete dedication in the service of the Gospel, in the light of the founding charisma specific to their congregations, orders and associations.
41. It is the destiny of our Maronite Church, as for the other Eastern Churches, to witness to the Apostolic deposit of faith in the midst of a religiously diverse society since the emergence of Islam at the beginning of the 7th century, which developed such that it became the religion of the overwhelming majority of peoples in the Middle East. Even though the number of Christians in this part of the globe has decreased, the Maronites have not forgotten that the Church, being apostolic, is not self-centered. Then, our
42. For the
43. Indeed, if the attention of our Church is centered on providing for the needs of her sons and daughters in the Antiochene Domain and in the Countries of Expansion, she also finds solace in the dedication of some of her children, outside these domains, to apostolic work through Western apostolic associations with an international character. Our Synod looks on with satisfaction at all the initiatives undertaken in past years by some eparchies, monastic orders and lay apostolic movements that send priests, monks, nuns and laity, for limited periods of time, to some African and Asian countries, the Arab region and elsewhere so as to foster apostolic cooperation with local particular Churches. Our Synod urges the continuation of the journey in this direction in collaboration with “the Episcopal Commission for Apostolic Coordination among Churches” appointed by the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in
44. This Blessed Synod asserts that the apostolic mission of the Church is inseparable from her ecumenical mission. On the eve of his Passion, Christ prayed to his Father for his disciples before sending them out into the world that they may all be one, as he and the Father are One, so that the world may believe that he is sent from the Father to all people (John 17:21), and that he is the “way” that leads to Him (John 14:6). The relationship between the apostolicity of the Church and her unity is fundamental and organic such that the Christian message is weakened and constricted if it is not embraced and committed to by the Churches of God. These churches have a communion with each other based on unity in the apostolic faith, in the love of God, and in the love of neighbor, and these are the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:34-40). To the degree that fraternal love is the statute of the children of the New Covenant in word and deed, to that degree the ecclesiastical partnership between them deepened and the unity thrives, and so, they come to know God who is Love (1 John 4:7-8). His love for us was made manifest through the Incarnation of His Son as expiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). Now that God has upheld us as witnesses to the Incarnation of His Son in this Eastern spot and in the Countries of Expansion, we are confident that our testimony is alive and efficacious in its environment, provided we are true stewards of that love.
45. With such faith our Maronite Church looks ahead today at the series of divisions that have split the Church of Christ, one and diverse like the Holy Trinity, in the East and the West, especially in the Patriarchal Domain from the fifth century till this very day. This Synodal text alludes to some of them (Refer to paragraphs 14-17, and 29-30). With that same faith she also asserts that these divisions, no matter how high their walls may rise, will never detract from the mystery of her unity and of her uniqueness, as we declare in the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed: “We believe in One, Holy, Catholic and
46. The Maronite faithful find the seeds of their ecumenical mission in the essential elements that constitute their ecclesiastical identity and this text has sought to manifest it in its broad outline. Our Synod hopes that amongst themselves they will continue to seriously research these elements seeking to uncover the practical requirements on the missionary and ecumenical levels, always taking into consideration Catholic principles for the ecumenical work as brought forth in the documents of Vatican II, specifically, the Dogmatic Constitution: Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic constitution on the Church), and Decree: Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree On Ecumenism - Chapter 1). Since anxiety to regain the visible unity of the Church is of concern to the whole Church, shepherds and faithful, each according to his means (Refer to Decree on Ecumenism, No. 5), our Synod presents some suggestions and recommendations in this matter, hoping they would contribute to organizing and energizing ecumenical work in our Church, in the Patriarchal Domain and in the Countries of Expansion.
47. Based on this hope, our Synod urges all those in charge of faculties and institutes of theology and religious studies to devote special attention to ecumenical formation such that courses in theology and in religious studies may be given to priests, monks, nuns, and laity in an “ecumenical spirit,” training them to seriously search for the truth with objectivity and love for the Church, taking into consideration the most important results attained by the various ecumenical dialogues, formal and informal, especially those related to our Eastern Churches. These faculties and institutions are the ones that train those who will one day assume pastoral duties and provide catechism in the Church and those who will be selected to participate in local, regional, and international theological dialogue committees, after completing their educational formation. In this regard, the synod acknowledges the distinctive ecumenical role performed by the Association of Theology Institutes in the Middle East (ATIME), which operates in coordination with the Middle East Council of Churches toward activating academic cooperation among deans, faculty and students. Because of the merit of this association, these institutions are transformed into oases of research and dialogue to reinforce the common concerns between churches and to resolve the subjects of contention among them. This leads to the crystallizing of a local common ecumenical vision contributing to cementing the Christian presence in the
48. Our Synod also charges the stewards on the institutes of theological formation in our Church to continue working on reclaiming the common Antiochene heritage that it may be the primary source for the theological, spiritual, and liturgical renewal of our sons and daughters in the Patriarchal Domain and in the Countries of Expansion (Refer to Nos. 12-13 above). The Maronite faithful must not forget the positive ecumenical dimension tied to this renewal, as is indicated more than once in the Apostolic Exhortation: A New Hope for Lebanon (Nos. 42, 77, 86). The heritage in question is the common root among the Antiochene; they return to it as they would to the springheads. There is no doubt that in going back to that heritage, they contribute to the enriching of theological thought and this enriches the ecumenical dialogue on the local, regional and international levels between the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches and the Eastern Orthodox considering the distinctiveness and authenticity of that heritage. In relation to our Maronite Church and to the other Antiochene sister Churches, which are directly concerned with this dialogue in which they are partners, this matter is a blessed step towards reclaiming full communion between all the churches.
49. With this faith and this hope, our Synod exhorts Maronites, clergy, monks, nuns and laity, to use all available resources in seriously pursuing the quest for their ecclesiastical identity and for its essential components as presented in its broad outline in this text. In fact, the more attention they give to this issue, the clearer becomes their calling and their mission in the Patriarchal Domain and in the Countries of Expansion. Thus, they would witness more faithfully to Christ according to the gifts of their own Church and contribute to the furtherance of his kingdom wherever they dwell. At the onset of this third millennium, our Synod asserts that the identity of our Church, its calling and its mission are, like the Church, the body of Christ, in a process of growth, interaction, and purification until she reaches her perfection in Christ at the end of time. Christ is the head of this body, and the foundation of our ecclesiastical identity. He is what the Book of Revelation states: “the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation: 1:8; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13). As we invoke the Holy Spirit to accompany us on our Synodal journey, we place our
TEXT RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION MECHANISMS
1. Revival of the Antiochene Syriac Heritage.
1. The Maronites belong to the Antiochene Syriac heritage in which the rest of the Antiochene churches and the Syriac family of churches participate in, a heritage for the
1.a: Maronite universities, and especially their faculties of theology, are to embrace this project in conformity to the recommendations of the Apostolic Exhortation New Hope for Lebanon (Nos. 42, 77, and 86), and in cooperation with other universities and the specialized individuals in the other Antiochene churches in Lebanon and the countries of the expansion. This is accomplished:
Firstly, through a scientific research of this heritage and its promulgation and translation;
Secondly, through the incorporation of this heritage in the educational curricula of the faculties of theology.
1.b: Maronite monastic orders and eparchies are to strive to dedicate whomever exhibits promising signs of educational competence to specialize in this field.
2. Producing a Book on the History of the Maronites.
2. Since knowledge of ecclesiastical history is one of the fundamentals of authentic pastoral renewal, and since our Maronite Church up till today is lacking its own history book in which to present events and essential constants in a form all Maronites agree on, the synod recommends that serious effort be expended to produce such a book in a scientific, simplified and attractive form to be within reach of Maronites in the Patriarchal Domain and the Countries of Expansion; thus, it would be a prelude to a common and “ecumenical” edition with the rest of the Antiochene relating the history of the Antiochene See.
2. The Patriarchate, in cooperation with Maronite universities in
3. Fostering Communion in the Patriarchal Church.
3. In the light of the concept of communion and the theology of the
3. Organizing seminars to discuss the theology of the
With regard to relations between the Maronite monastic orders, and the Patriarchal See and the eparchies, it is a must to support the function of the Patriarchal Curia to coordinate between the bishops and the monastic orders (Refer to Text 8).
4. Ecumenical Commitment.
4. In view of the importance of ecumenical commitment in strengthening Christian presence in Lebanon and the Middle East in the spirit of the Gospel and the service of man, and in view of the unique position of the Maronite Church in the Antiochene family and her full partnership with the Roman Apostolic See, the synod recommends fostering this commitment on all spiritual, theological, pastoral and social levels.
4. This commitment is manifested through:
4.a: Operating under the direction of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (
4.b: Effective participation in the work of the Council of Middle Eastern churches and its activities, and the Association of Theological Colleges and Institutes in the
4.c: Contributing along with the experts in the preparation of ecumenical catechetical books and promulgating them as the need dictates.
4.d: Working with other churches to crystallize a common pastoral policy especially in the domain of mixed marriages between Christians, in the light of the Ash-Shurfa Agreement (1966), such that this does not contradict with Catholic ecumenical principles.
4.e: Arranging common spiritual and biblical seminars in parishes and among the apostolic organizations.
4.f: Cooperation at the level of social witnessing.
5. Commitment to the
5. Since the missionary dimension is a constituent of our Christian faith, and openness to the mission is an element of local ecclesiastical renewal, the synod recommends the fostering of initiatives already undertaken by eparchies, monastic orders and lay apostolic movements, through dispatching priests, monks, nuns and laity to some African and Asian countries and those in the Arab region and elsewhere, for the purpose of realizing missionary cooperation with the local particular churches.
5.a: Coordination in this domain with “the Episcopal Committee for Missionary Cooperation between Churches”, of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in
5.b: Incorporation of Missionary Theology as a subject in the curricula of faculties of theology.
5.c: Formation of priests, monks, nuns and lay persons on the missionary dimension in the Church.
. Refer to Albeit Ghazo al-Marouni Add 14.701 (1263 AD), Volume I. Introduced and translated by Abbot Youhanna Tabet, Institute of Liturgy USEK publications, series Al-Masadir al-Liturgia al-Marounia (Maronite Liturgical Sources), No. 1, Kaslik, Lebanon, 2000, p. 47.
. Refer to Saint Maron’s biography in the book of Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrhus, Tareekh Asfia’ al-Laah (History of God’s Chosen) translated from the original Greek by Archimandrite Adrianus Shaccour, Paulist Press, 1987, pp. 145-146. Some Archeological researchers are of the opinion that Fort Kalota on Mt. Simon, some 30 kilometers from Aleppo, is probably where St. Maron practiced his ascetic way of life and that his relics were placed in the nearby city of Barad.
. Refer to Rasa’il Ra’awia (Pastoral Letters), Second Century, translated and introduced by George Saber; the series Al-Ousoul al-Maseehia ash-Sharkia (Eastern Christian Origins), 1,
. We cite extracts from the Chalcedonian Creed: “Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity…. the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division and separation. The distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union…” Al-Kanisa al-Catholikia fi Wathai’qiha (The Catholic Church in Her Documents), Dentzinguer-Honerman, Part 1, Series Al-Fikr al-Masihi bain-al Amss wal-Yaoum (Christian Thought Between Yesterday and Today), No. 27, Paulist Library Publications, Jounieh, 2001, pp. 104-105.
. Ibid, p. 104.
. This family encompasses the Copts, Syriacs, Armenians, Ethiopians, Eritrean, and Orthodox Malankar.
. These discussions were held under the auspices of the World Council of Churches (
. The Syriac Orthodox used to be known as the Jacobites, after Bishop Jacob Baradaeus (+578), the organizer of this Antiochene Church that was against the Council of Chalcedon.
. In the 18th Century, because of the very active movement of union with
10. The function of an exarch emerged in the 6th century of Emperor Justinian (527- 565) law 133 concerning dealing with the life of monks and nuns.
11. Refer to the life of Saint John Maron in Patriarch Doueihy’s book, Ash-Sharh al-Mukhtasar fi Asl al-Mawarina (Brief Explanation of the Origin of the Maronites), published by Father Antoine Daou under the title, Asl al-Mawarina (The Origin of the Maronites), Ehden, 1973.
12. These monk-bishops were in line with what Theodoret of Cyrrhus wrote in the early life of Abraham the Hermit, a disciple of Saint Maron, after he became the bishop of
13. Concerning the matter of the partitioning of eparchies, refer to Thail al-Majmaa’ al-Lubnani (Appendix to the Lebanese Synod), chapter 41, “On the Appointment of Maronite Bishops’ Sees and their Boundaries,” translated by Bishop Youssef Najem, Al-Arz Press, Jounieh, 1900, pp. 180-182. Refer to what the Fathers of the Synod said about the Antiochean Patriarchate in Part III, Chapter 4, No. 8, pp. 350-361.
14. Refer to the letter of Pope Clement XII on the confirmation of the canons of Syriac Maronite Monks known by the name of the Lebanese Monks of Saint Anthony the Great (1732), in the Thail al-Majmaa’ al-Lubnani (Appendix to the Lebanese Synod), No. 16, p. 44-49.
15. Concerning patriarchal Churches, refer to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Chapter four, laws 55-150; concerning monks, refer to Chapter 12, laws 410- 572 (law 412, concerning Pontifical Orders).
16. Refer to the book, Al-Quddass bi Hasab Taqss al-Kanisa al-Antakia Ass-Siryania al-Marounia (The Qorbono According to the Rite of the
17. The expression between quotation marks is the title of the teachings of Majma’ Muasasaat al-Hayat al-Mukarrasa wa Jami’aat al- Hayat ar-Rasoulia (The Council of Institutes for the Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life Associations), May 16, 2002; it concerns the renewed commitment to the consecrated life in the third millennium.
18. Concerning the Maronite College in Rome, refer to Nasser Gemayel’s, Les Echanges culturels entre les Maronites et l’Europe (Cultural Exchanges between the Maronites and Europe), 2 volumes, Beirut, 1984.
19. Concerning the Maronite Synods refer to Joseph Feghali’s, Histoire du Droit de l’Eglise Maronite (History of the Law of the Maronite Church), volume 1, Ed. Letouzey et Ané, Paris, 1962.
20. Concerning the Lebanese Synod, refer to Elias Atallah’s, Le Synode Libanais de 1736 (The Lebanese Synod of 1736), 2 volumes, co-Ed. CERO- Letouzey et Ané, Antélias (Lebanon) Paris, 2001.
21. Refer to Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir’s letter, in The Maronite Patriarchal Synod, 2003, p. 11.
22. Refer, in this context, to the text of the document, in French, signed by the seven Catholic Patriarchs of the East, which they dispatched to the Roman authorities, entitled: Relations Between the Catholic Patriarchal Churches and the Roman Apostolic See, in Father Elie Haddad’s book, Al-Majma’ia Al-Usqofia fil-Kanai’ss Ash-Sharqia (The Episcopal Synods in the Oriental Churches) (The Experience of the Melkite Catholic Church), publication of the Higher Institute for Religious Sciences, Saint Joseph’s University, Beirut, 2003, p. 257- 273.
23. Refer to the speech delivered by Pope John Paul II in La Documentation Catholique, no. 2192 (1998), pp. 951-953.
24. Concerning the transfer of the Patriarchate to Lebanon, refer to Stephen Doueihy’s, Tareekh al-Azmina (History of the Times), a study by Abbot Boutros Fahed, the series Al-Khizana at-Tareekhia (Historical Chest), 3, Lahad Khater Publications, Beirut, pp. 50-51 (no date). In saying that, we do not mean that the arrival of the Maronites in
25. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter to All Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Situation in
26. To accompany this preaching effort, refer to Youhanna Sader’s book, Croix et Symbole dans l’Art Maronite Antique (Cross and Symbol in Ancient Maronite Art), collection Héritage et Patrimoine, n. 1, Ed. Dar Sader, Beirut, Lebanon, 1989, pp. 235-253: Conversion of the Lebanese through the Intercession of Saint Simon Stylites; and, pp. 261- 265: John Chrysostom and the mission into Phoenicia.
27. For more information on the history of these divisions, see the Fifth Pastoral Letter of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs That They may be One (Easter 1999), Chapter one: “Wealth in the Diversity of our Heritage, and the Tragedy of our Divisions”, Nos. 7-22, particularly Nos. 9 -16.
28. The “Ecumenical Movement” in its present form emerged in the midst of some Protestant missions in Africa and
29. Concerning ecumenical formation, refer to: Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism (1993), Part III, Nos. 55-91.
30. The expression between quotation marks is taken from the Common Pastoral Letter issued by the Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the East entitled: The Christian Presence in the East, Testimony and