saint John Maron, patriarch of Antioch
John was born in the village of Seroom, nearby Antioch. His father Agaton and his mother Onohamia were devout Christians, who brought him up according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, and secured him the best education available in Antioch, then in Constantinople at the seventh century. After his parents died, John turned back to Antioch, and from there to the monastery of Saint Maron by the banks of the Orontes River (Al’asi نهر العاصي), where he became a monk and took the name Maron after the monastery’s patron, then he got ordained a priest. John Maron was famous for his zeal to bring people to the true faith in Christ, and guard the faithful from the heresies of his time. He is known for his book wherein he explains and promotes the Catholic teaching that Jesus has two natures: 1) divine, & 2) human, and two wills, and that the Lord is fully human and Divine.
In the year 676 John Maron was ordained a bishop by the Pope’s mandate John from Philadelphia , and assigned the cathedral of Batroon in Mount Lebanon. In 685, John Maron was the first Maronite Patriarch to be elected by the bishops and people of Mount Lebanon. And according to our Maronite tradition, he went to Rome asking for the Pope’s blessing, which he got from Pope Sergius who welcomed him and granted him “a high leadership honor badge”. It was under the leadership of our first Patriarch that we got to be known as The Maronites after Saint Maron and thanks to the many monks that served the Maronite people especially in Mount Lebanon and kept them faithful to the Chalcedonian Catholic teaching. Saint John Maron’s first Cathedral was in the monastery of Yanooh in Jebeil’s mountains between Al’Akoora and Qartaba. According to the tradition, Saint John Maron established the monastery of Saint John Maron in KefarHay, Batroon, and got the skull of Saint Maron transferred there.
And when the pest disease spread out in his Church, Saint John used to visit the sick in person and heal them with his prayers. And it was then, that he wrote down the Maronite Anaphora that carries his name. Thus, he kept the good work serving his people with great zeal, taking special care of the sick and poor, raising up churches and monasteries, and confirming them in their Catholic faith, until he got called by his Lord to our heavenly home in February 2nd 707. May his prayers be with us always. Amen.