History of the Maronite Church by The Most Reverend Pierre Dib Bishop of Cairo Translated by Very Reverend Seely Beggiani, S.T.D. Rector, Maronite Seminary Washington, D.C. (Published at the Imprimerie Catholique in Beirut, Lebanon, November 1971)

Preface

We have published in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique (vol. X, col. 1-142) a history of the Maronite Church. We have since prepared an edition of the above work which has been revised and enlarged, and especially, completed with new documents. Two volumes have been published by Letouzey et Ané: the first appeared in Paris and deals with the origins up to the Middle Ages; and the second, published at Beyrouth, treats the civil history of the Maronites under the Ottomans (1516-1918). It remains for us to publish the religious history of this period. In the meantime, we have been urged to re-publish in a single volume the article which appeared in the Dictionnaire in order to give a brief view of the Maronite Church, which has written glorious pages in the history of the Church, and, notably, in the history of the movement for Christian unity in the East.

We have tried to draw an accurate picture of the Maronite people throughout the centuries, and particularly, at their origins, and to show their unalterable attachment to the Holy See. Yet, we have presented nothing without proof. We have re-enacted events in their historical setting, reconciled and brought facts together, and compared documents in order to separate truth from falsity. It is easy to isolate the sense or distort the meaning. In studies which concern the orthodoxy of the Maronites, it is necessary to guard against supporting conclusions on simple elements of detail. It is only the totality of documents which have been compared and evaluated which can cast sufficient light and allow us to draw a proper conclusion.

In our work, we have studied successively the origins and expansion of the Maronite people from the fifth to the twelfth century, their relations with the West and their historical evolution under the Crusaders and the Mamlukes from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, their civil and religious life under Ottoman domination from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, and finally, their present ecclesiastical organization.

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