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From Lebanon to the world: Maronites beyond borders

Aline Haddad

Friday, February 9, 2024

St. Maron and his disciples. Photo by Wikimedia Commons
Learn about the cultural and spiritual heritage of the Maronites, from their roots in Lebanon to the horizons of the world, shaping a rich and diverse history.
Who are the Maronites?
The Maronites have a rich and ancient history, rooted in the mountains of Lebanon in the Middle East. Their origin dates back to the first centuries of Christianity, and their name is derived from the monk St. Maron or "Maroun," a hermit who founded a monastery on the mountain of Nabo in the fifth century. He became the "Father of the Maronites," and today, we celebrate him on February 9.
Over time, followers of the faith of St. Maron organized themselves into a distinct community, the Maronites. They adopted a particular form of Eastern Christianity, strongly influenced by Syriac and Antiochian traditions but in communion with the Roman Church. The Maronites went through tumultuous times, often facing political and religious challenges in the Levant region. Despite these difficulties, their attachment to their faith and cultural roots has endured, shaping Maronite identity over the centuries. Today, it extends well beyond the borders of the Middle East, with significant expansion in North America, especially in Canada.
The Maronite community around the world
Although the Mother Church of the Maronites is in Lebanon represented by the Maronite Patriarchate, Maronites also live in Syria, Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries.
Maronites have established vibrant communities all over the world, in America, Australia, Europe and Africa with a significant presence that continues to grow over the years.
In Canada, the Maronite community has experienced remarkable growth, reflecting the phenomenon of expansion that has seen many members of this religious tradition settle across this vast country. The first waves of Maronite immigration to Canada date back to the 19th and 20th centuries, when families fled political and religious unrest in the Middle East. 
Over time, these communities prospered, erecting churches and community centers that became pillars of Maronite life in Canada. Canadian Maronites have devotedly maintained their cultural and religious identity, organizing annual celebrations, cultural events and charitable activities that strengthen community bonds.
Canadian Maronites
New generations of Canadian Maronites are increasingly involved in the social and economic life of the country, while maintaining a strong link with their country of origin. Maronite churches, scattered across Canadian provinces, are essential gathering points, providing a place of worship and space to maintain traditions. In addition, educational and cultural initiatives have emerged to transmit Maronite heritage to younger generations, thus guaranteeing the continuity and vitality of this community in the multicultural fabric of Canada.
Young Maronites meet once a year at a convention that brings them together from coast to coast. This year, this convention will take place in Ottawa from May 17 to 20 under the theme: “Rooted in Christ and in our traditions.”
The Maronites in North America, and especially in Canada, continue to prosper by building a bridge between their ancient past and the opportunities offered by their new homeland. To learn more about the Maronites in Canada visit their website:
To see the celebrations of the feast of St. Maron and the activities of this community, click here.

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