Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Maronites Were Not Always Orthodox

MYTH
The Maronites were always in communion with Rome and never succumbed to heresy

Unfortunately, the claim that the Maronites have always been in communion with Rome cannot be sustained. That the Maronites were, for a long time, Monothelites is proven from the liturgical books of the Maronites themselves, the testimony of Catholic writers, and the testimony of heretical writers. By "Maro," the below witnesses mean not the wonderworking monk St. Maron (†423) who corresponded with Archbishop St. John I Chrysostom the Great of Constantinople (a Church Doctor), but the enigmatic figure John Maron (†707), the alleged Patriarch of Antioch and first Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church.
Catholics
1. Patriarch St. Germanus of Constantinople, On the Heresies and the Councils (735): "There are some heretics who, rejecting the Fifth and Sixth Councils, nevertheless contend against the Jacobites. The latter treat them as men without sense, because, while accepting the Fourth Council, they try to reject the next two. Such are the Maronites, whose monastery is situated in the very mountains of Syria."{1}
2. Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (Doctor of the Assumption; 676-12/5/749), On the Trisagion Hymn 5: "We shall be following Maro, if we join the Crucifixion to our Trisagion."{2}
3. Melkite controversialist Theodore Abukara (†820).{3}
4. William of Tyre, On Holy War 20:8: "After they [the nation that had been converted, in the vicinity of Byblos] had for five hundred years adhered to the false teaching of an heresiarch named Maro, so that they took from him the name of Maronites, and, being separated from the true Church had been following their own peculiar liturgy [ab ecclesia fidelium sequestrati seorsim sacramenta conficerent sua], they came to the Patriarch of Antioch, Aymery, the third of the Latin patriarchs, and, having abjured their error, were, with their patriarch and some bishops, reunited to the true Church. They declared themselves ready to accept and observe the prescriptions of the Roman Church. There were more than 40,000 of them, occupying the whole region of the Lebanon, and they were of great use to the Latins in the war against the Saracens. The error of Maro and his adherents is and was, as may be read in the Sixth Council, that in Jesus Christ there was, and had been since the beginning only one will and one energy. And after their separation they had embraced still other pernicious doctrines."{4}
5. Pope Innocent III of Rome.{5}
6. Pope Pius II of Rome (1451), Letter to Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror.{6}
Jacobites
1. Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Michael I the Great of Syria (1126-1199), who also cites Dionysius of Tell-Mahré, says in his Chronicle that Maronites were the staunchest defenders of the Monothelite Ecthesis of Emperor Heraclius, and that in 727 orthodox Chalcedonian Maximists (followers of our anti-Monothelite father among the saints Maximus the Confessor of Constantinople) disputed with the Chalcedonian heterodox Maronites, who were Monothelites.{7}
2. Jacobite theologian Habib Abu-Raïta of Takrit (†828).{8}

Nestorians
1. Nestorian Patriarch Timothy I (727-823) faults the Maronites for denying more than one will and one energy in Christ.{9}

The Maronites Themselves
1. In 1059 Metropolitan Dawud did an Arabic translation of the Syriac Book of Direction, of which the 1402 Vatican manuscript 133 is the oldest copy.{10} This Maronite book says, "Now if we hold this belief of Him, then, we do not anymore maintain that He is two persons, two Christs, two wills, or two actions (operations). Never! We believe that He is one Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who for us became man, one person with two rational essences, one will, and one operation."{11}
2.

Notes & References
{1} Labourt, Jérôme. "Maronites." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 29 Dec. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09683c.htm>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Moosa, Matti. The Maronites in History. Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2005. pp. 223-225.
{6} Labourt, Jérôme. "Maronites." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 29 Dec. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09683c.htm>.
{7} Ibid.
{8} Ibid.
{9} Ibid.
{10} Moosa 196.
{11} Moosa 197.
{12}

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