Historical Evolution of the Maronite Church and the Dynamism of Enculturation
First: A Historical Interpretation of the First Millennium
1. The Syriac Dimension
During the first Christian centuries, The Maronite Church was predominated by the Aramaic-Syriac character. Despite the diversity of cultures, the Maronites in Lebanon and Syria were set apart from the Byzantine Roman society. They were distinguished from the Christians of the big cities by holding their faith to the monks of Saint Maron and their principles. The Syriac dimension is mentioned in the ritual books which represent an essential reference to the genuine Maronite heritage. It was important for the maronites to keep the syriac language until recently because they were really attached to this culture.
2. The Antiochene Chalcedonian Dimension
The Maronites were extremely attached to their Christianity by sticking to the the chalcedonian policy. Asceticism, a characteristic of the spirituality of our Church, is not a rejection of what life offers in physical and material dimensions, however it is the participation of these dimensions in man’s spiritual journey in directing it toward its Creator. Via the virtues of the Chalcedonian doctrine, the Maronite became convinced that through his relationship with his fellow human beings and nature, is able to elevate to meet his Creator. As such, the work of the Maronite person on the land became part of his prayer, and an expression of his eagerness to fulfill his encounter with his Savior.
3. The Lebanese Dimension
The Christian religion existed in Lebanon since its beginning. It developed suddenly when the inhabitants of the Lebanese mountain discovered Christianity at the hands of St. Simon the Styli through the merits of the evangelization campaign launched by the disciples of St. Maron headed by Abraham of Cyrrhus. This people preserved their characteristics, rituals and distinctive customs which did not...