Friday, 4 October 2013

The term "Syro-Maronite"

Apparently there are some Maronites who are "concerned" when another Maronite dares to use "Syro-Maronite" as an identification. The motivation behind this "concern" intrigues me. What spurs this "concern" is probably fear, but fear of what? Do these people fear the qualifier "Syro" because they fear the Syriac language? Do they fear the ethno-cultural connection? Do they fear any association with anything that even resembles the Orthodox? Or is it that they they fear the re-introduction of authentic tradition in the Maronite Church? Maybe a combination of all four things? 

Wherever the reason for the fear lies, it seems to me to display a lack of understanding from a historical perspective and total ignorance of tradition. Whether they like it or not, we are the Syro-Maronite Church of Antioch. This isn't a designation that has "suddenly appeared" but rather something that has been around for centuries on end. Whether they like it or not, our ancestral language is Syriac. It's not Arabic. It's not English. It's not anything else. It's Syriac! And whether they like it or not, and irrespective of where our people may live, our ecclesiastical roots are in the Levant. Those roots are not American, or Australian, or anything else. They're Levantine! If not for the Syriac & Levantine connection that those people so incessantly revile, we would have no patrimony. No history. No traditions. No spirituality. We would have nothing. 

Those same people also seem to think that the Maronite Church is some kind of freak, claiming it developed "unique" practices that just happen to mirror what the Latin Church has come to know as the Novus Ordo, some 1500 years before anyone ever knew there would be a Novus Ordo! Well, sorry. Those folks can blather on and on about it as much as they want, but it just isn't true. And they know it isn't true. But, as with the proponents of the Novus Ordo, they will do and say anything to rationalize in order to further their agenda. Leaving specific discussion of the "liturgical commission" and current liturgical practices for another time, suffice it to say for the moment, at least, that the day we sever our Syriac and Levantine roots and become totally "American" or "Australian" or whatever, is the day we will have no choice but to be subsumed into the Latin Church.

Our patrimony is shared with both the West Syriac Churches (Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic) and the East Syriac Churches (Chaldean and Assyrian/Ancient Church of the East). The shared root for both branches of Syriac Christianity is Edessa. For the West Syriac branch, what developed in Antioch was, itself, a development of what came from Edessa. The two are not mutually exclusive, but are, rather, complimentary. Unfortunately, far too many people, both in the "Patriarchal Territories" as well as in the diaspora, (and it's interesting to note that those same people tend to spurn the word "diaspora" too, but that's a discussion for another time), see only what they want to see. Or maybe it'd be better said that they see what they want to see only through Novus Ordo-colored glasses. That's perhaps more to the point. 

In sum, the designation "Syro-Maronite" is not going away. It's here to stay. 

5 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying these posts! Half the time I have no idea what you're talking about but that just makes me feel like I'm learning! :)

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  2. I love this quote:

    "Those same people also seem to think that the Maronite Church is some kind of freak, claiming it developed "unique" practices that just happen to mirror what the Latin Church has come to know as the Novus Ordo, some 1500 years before anyone ever knew there would be a Novus Ordo! Well, sorry. Those folks can blather on and on about it as much as they want, but it just isn't true. And they know it isn't true. But, as with the proponents of the Novus Ordo, they will do and say anything to rationalize in order to further their agenda."

    It is so sad that many Maronites are ashamed of the solemn traditions handed to them by their ancestors which were developed by the work of many saints under the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

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  3. Thank you for alleviating my ignorance on Eastern Catholicism. Is there an eastern Catholic dating website that I can use?

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  4. Hello There! While looking back for my Syro-Maronites roots I came across this blog which I really like and I highly appreciate the dedication and time given to develop such valuable content. Though in this specific article and as a general view I think the aggressiveness is not likely to be, within a christian title and surroundings for this blog to be fit for purpose! WE ARE Syro-Maronite and alot of people are searching back for their genuine roots and I can see your mission has great value in this regard just avoid this kind of approaches. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. bshayno wu Bshlomo Charbel.

      Firstly, I would like to say how pleased I am that you have found our blog. Let us never forget what St Nimetallah al Hardini (St Charbel's teacher) once said

      "Syriac ... is your identity, your ancestors, your spirit, your love of God, your truth"

      In terms of the aggressiveness not being "within a Christian title and surroundings" I must disagree. The Syro-Maronite identity has descended to such a level that the author (who is generally one who wants to restore this identity) has every right to be angry (although I am not saying that he actually is angry).

      Let us never forget, that our Lord himself was aggressive when he kicked out the merchants from the temple.

      May St Ephrem, St Maroun, St Nimetallah and St Charbel pray for you always!

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