The Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church is depicted as a Cedar of Lebanon. She is founded on Christ (the cross) who is the cornerstone of all churches and she is nourished by God’s Word as found in both Testaments of the Bible. Her roots are based in Jerusalem (the mother of all Churches), Antioch, Edessa and Nisibis, and Lebanon, the See of the Maronite Patriarch.
For the Maronites, the Cedar of Lebanon represents Mary. In the Maronite Marian litany we find, “O Cedar of Lebanon pray for us.”
The cross represents Jesus, the Son of God, who freely accepted death on the cross between two thieves and was vindicated and resurrected by His Father.
The Maronite Church embraced Mary as her mother following Jesus’ words to his beloved disciple “Behold, your mother.” And as “from that hour the disciple took her into his home,” the Maronite faithful took Mary into their own homes. Wherever the Maronite Patriarch’s See ended up Mary was at its heart. She is the Patron Saint of every Maronite Patriarch’s chapel.
Maronites should return to their Syriac Heritage which is biblical. “Save me, O Lord, from the poison of the Greeks (i.e. philosophy)” uttered Saint Ephrem. The Syriac Fathers used typology in interpreting the Bible. The image of the Cross of Christ was evoked in their mind every time they read a reference to trees and wood in the Old Testament. Therefore, the Cedar of Lebanon refers to the cross.
The Maronite Church is a universal Church with roots extending in all continents. Her branches embrace the world as a mother embraces her children without distinction and discrimination. Let us not forget the parable given by Christ, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches” (Mt. 13:31) The same parable is being evoked. A cedar tree, however, is used instead of a mustard tree.