Praying with Balai of Qenneshrin

Your loving-kindness shall be sad upon seeing my stains, yet may it petition Your justice lest I be cast out altogether.ܬܶܟܪܶܐ ܠܛܰܝܒܘܽܬܳܟ ܆ ܡܳܐ ܕܚܳܙܝܳܐ ܠܟ̈ܘܽܬܡܳܬܝ ܆ ܘܬܰܦܺܝܣ ܠܟܺܐܢܘܽܬܳܟ ܆ ܕܠܳܐ ܐܶܫܬܕܶܐ ܠܰܓܡܳܪ ܀
Although there are no deeds, save me because of my faith. Save me because of one thing alone, because of Your loving-kindness.ܘܐܳܦܶܢ ܥ̈ܒܳܕܶܐ ܠܰܝܬ ܆ ܐܰܚܳܢܝ ܒܗܰܝܡܳܢܘܽܬܳܝ ܆ ܒܰܚܕܳܐ ܚܕܳܐ ܒܰܠܚܘܽܕ ܆ ܐܰܚܳܢܝ ܒܛܰܝܒܘܽܬܳܟ ܀
Lift me up, the lowest of all, and make the weakest of all to understand. Let your compassion, Lord, gush forth toward me because of Your loving-kindness.ܘܥܰܠܳܢܝ ܒܨܺܝܪ ܡܶܢ ܟܽܠ ܆ ܘܣܰܟܶܠ ܡܚܺܝܠ ܡܶܢ ܟܽܠ ܆ ܢܶܫܦܰܥ ܚܢܳܢܳܟ ܡܳܪܝ ܆ ܨܶܐܕܰܝ ܒܛܰܝܒܘܽܬܳܟ ܀
Glory be to You, Christ, the hope, for Whom all sinners have waited and to Whom they pray.ܠܳܟ ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܆ ܣܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܠܶܗ ܣܰܟܺܝܘ ܆ ܟܽܠܗܘܽܢ ܚ̈ܰܛܳܝܶܐ ܆ ܕܠܶܗ ܗܘܽ ܡܶܬܟܰܫܦܺܝܢ ܀

My Vision of the Maronite Church

  • 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.
The Family of Maron
  • 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.

Growth of the Maronite Church in the United States – Five Necessary Components


The Great Commission

I am excited and privileged to be at the forty-seventh Maronite Convention. “The Identity of the Maronite Church” and “Welcoming Non-Maronites into our Faith and Heritage” are two very important topics that are dear to my heart. Instead of treating them separately I would like to address them in the context of the growth of the Maronite Church in the United States – if I may say, “Looking at the whole forest rather than individual trees.”

The Maronite Church in the United States has definitely grown in the last three decades. There is a high probability that this growth is largely due to the influx of immigrants who left their homelands seeking a better life in this country. Thank God for immigrants! Their contribution has been tremendous to our nation and Church, yet the Church’s growth cannot only depend on the waves of immigrants coming from the Middle East. After all, we, as a Church, are called to abide by Christ’s Divine Commission “to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20). The growth of the Maronite Church in this country might have been limited in part because our congregations have been integrating mostly – if not almost exclusively – (Middle Eastern) immigrants. However, there are many other reasons why the growth of the Church was limited. My objectives are not to enumerate or examine them all, but rather to propose five necessary components that will Lead to the growth of the Maronite Church in the United States.

Catechetical, Liturgical, and Biblical Implications of the Hoosoyo in Contemporary Maronite Tradition

Written by Fr. Anthony Salim, Pastor of  St. Joseph Maronite Church, Olean, NY and author of Captivated by your Teachings

When Professor Miller asked me to consider presenting a paper at this symposium, he told me that he wanted to have a living witness to the ideas in the papers of the other presenters. I genuinely think that the current liturgical tradition of the Maronite Church fits the bill. Thus, the purpose of this paper will be to demonstrate how a central liturgical form of the Antiochene West Syriac Tradition, namely the hoosoyo, has come to be understood as a both an effective catechetical tool on passing on the Faith and a source for Maronite interpretation of the Bible.

To Be a Maronite, to Be a Maronite in the United States


Short Biography

Seely Beggiani

Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, S.T.D. was Rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary from 1968 to 2013, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America from 1967 to 2014. He has researched and written on a variety of subjects including systematic theology, Maronite Church history, Maronite liturgy, Syriac theology, and Eastern Christian Spirituality.

His doctoral dissertation at The Catholic University of America in 1963 is entitled: The Relations of the Holy See and the Maronites from the Papacy of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585) to the Synod of Mount Lebanon in 1736. His book, Early Syriac Spirituality: with special reference to the Maronite Tradition, was published by Catholic University Press in 2014. Among his published articles during the past 50 years are: “A Case for Logocentric Theology,” Theological Studies 32 (1971): 371-46, “Theology at the Service of Mysticism: Method in Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite,” Theological Studies 57 (1996): 201-23, “The Typological Approach of Syriac Sacramental Theology,” Theological Studies 64 (2003): 543-557, and “The Incarnational Theology and Spirituality of John the Solitary of Apamea,” Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 21.2 (2018):391-421. In retirement, Chorbishop Beggiani is preparing a manuscript for publication entitled: “A Thematic Introduction to Syriac Spirituality.” He continues to offer courses in Maronite and Syriac studies at the Maronite Seminary and to offer lectures to various audiences.

Maronite Seminary

To be a person of faith involves several dimensions. Religious faith is the conviction that all of reality, despite the many aspects of life that seem to go wrong, is radically good and has an ultimate purpose. Faith arises from an encounter where God offers us his unconditioned love and awaits our response. For the Christian, faith is the choice to see God, the world, and ourselves through the eyes of Jesus Christ, and the decision to live our lives according to His teachings and His way of life. Faith is embodied in liturgical worship, creeds, a code of morality, and commitments to action especially against injustice.

Catholic Religious Formation: it’s not Just for Kids

Written by Fr. Anthony Salim, Pastor of  St. Joseph Maronite Church, Olean, NY and author of Captivated by your Teachings

Fr. Anthony SalimWhen Jesus taught the people, he taught simply. The Evangelist Mark remembered this way, in the 33rd verse of his Gospel’s 4th chapter: With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.

In one of those parables, Jesus compared the Kingdom to that of pearls, for which, if one was willing to do the important work to discover them, this discovery would be worth more than any other treasure. As Matthew recalled: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it (13:45-46).

Indeed, one of the greatest Teachers of the Syriac Church Tradition, out of which much of our own Maronite Tradition flows, compared the teaching of the Church to a fine, yet hidden, pearl. If we wish to discover it, we must be willing to pay the price. That price, of course, can be paid in joy and enthusiasm; if so, we will enjoy the results all the more.

Religious education is one way that our common Catholic Tradition uses to discover the precious pearls of Christian wisdom that help us discover what is truly meaningful for our lives and our Syriac-Maronite Church is no exception. Under the guidance of the teaching office (teaching responsibility) of the bishops of the Church, known as the “Magisterium,” under the watchfulness of the Bishop of Rome, the truths revealed by God from Jesus and found in the Bible and in the Tradition of the Church are made known to us.