20 Facts About Maronites


Maronites are a Christian ethnoreligious group native to the Levant region of the Middle East, whose members traditionally belong to the Maronite Church, with the largest concentration long residing near Mount Lebanon in modern Lebanon.

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Maronites derive their name from the Syriac Christian saint Maron, some of whose followers migrated to the area of Mount Lebanon from their previous place of residence around the area of Antioch, and established the nucleus of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church.

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Early Maronites were Hellenized Semites, natives of Byzantine Syria who spoke Greek and Syriac, yet identified with the Greek-speaking populace of Constantinople and Antioch.

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Some Maronites argue that they are of Mardaite ancestry, though some historians reject this claim.

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Maronites derive their name from Maron, a 4th-century Syriac Christian saint venerated by multiple Christian traditions.

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In 451 AD, the Maronites followed the Council of Chalcedon, rejecting miaphysitisim and maintaining full communion with the then united Orthodox Catholic Church.

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Since the mountains offered no attraction to them so the Maronites continued to find refuge from colonial empires in the Mountains of Lebanon, especially Qadisha Valley.

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Maronites raided the newly Arab towns after the conquest of 637 AD and were later joined by the Mardaites in repelling the Arab army.

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In 685 AD, the Maronites appointed a Patriarch for themselves, St John Maron, who became the first Patriarch on the Maronite Church.

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In 694 AD, Emperor Justinian II sent an army to attack the Maronites, destroying their monastery in the Orontes valley and killing 500 monks.

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The Maronites followed up by leading their army against the Byzantines at Amioun and defeated the Byzantine army in a crushing victory that cost Constantinople two of its best generals.

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Maronites managed then to become "civilly semiautonomous" where they settled and kept speaking Western Aramaic in daily life and Syriac language for their liturgy.

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Maronites welcomed the conquering Christians of the First Crusade in 1096 AD.

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The Maronites have had a presence in Cyprus since the early 9th century and many Maronites went there following the Sultan Saladin's successful Siege of Jerusalem in 1187 AD.

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The community historically spoke Cypriot Maronite Arabic, but today Cypriot Maronites speak the Greek language, with the Cypriot government designating Cypriot Maronite Arabic as a dialect.

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In Europe, some Belgian Maronites are involved in the trade of diamonds in the diamond district of Antwerp.

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Lebanese Maronites are known to be specifically linked to the root of Lebanese Nationalism and opposition to Pan-Arabism in Lebanon, this being the case during 1958 Lebanon crisis.

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Many Maronites consider themselves the descendants of Arameans who lived in the Levant.

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Maronites were persecuted historically and continuously during the period of Arab conquests of the Middle East and under the rule of the Ottoman Empire.

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The Maronites experienced mass persecution under the Ottoman Turks, who massacred and mistreated Maronites for their faith, disallowing them from owning horses and forcing them to wear only black clothing.

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