of  SYRIA (d.c.410)


 St. Maron, 19th c. Russian Icon




The Following is adapted from: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. Cross, Livingstone; (OUP, 1983).

MARON, fourth-century Syrian monk, traditionally regarded as a friend of St. John Chrysostom, whose disciples shortly after his death founded the monastery on the Orontes that now goes by his name: according to their tradition, the modern Maronites derive directly from this foundation. Their origin as a separate community, however, goes back to the Monothelite controversy of the 7th and 8th cents., when they rejected the teaching of the Third Council of Constantinople that in the Person of Christ there are two wills, the one human and the other Divine. Their monastery on Mt. Lebanon was destroyed by the Arab invasion at the beginning of the 10th  cent.  Since their union with Rome in the 12th cent. (again, Maronite tradition maintains a continuous relation with Rome) relations with the West have been continuously maintained. In 1584 Gregory XIII founded a Maronite college in Rome, which was later the home of the Assemani and several other notable scholars. In the 19th cent. they suffered severe treatment at the hands of the Turks and the Druses. Today they constitute the largest single religious body in the Lebanon.




REFERENCES to St. Maron are found in Theodoret and, less reliably, in a letter attributed to St. John Chrysostom:




by T



Tr. R.M. Price, (Cistercian Studies 88) Cist. Publ. 1985.



AFTER him [Acepsimas] I shall recall Maron, for he too adorned the godly choir of the saints. Embracing the open-air life, he repaired to a hill-top formerly honored by the impious. Consecrating to God the precinct of demons on it, he lived there, pitching a small tent which he seldom used. He practiced not only the usual labors, but devised others as well, heaping up the wealth of philosophy.

16.1 Μάρωνος μετὰ τοῦτον μνησθήσομαι· καὶ γὰρ οὗτος τὸν θεῖον τῶν ἁγίων χορὸν κατεκόσμησε· τὸν ὕπαιθρον γὰρ ἀσπασάμενος βίον͵ κορυφήν τινα κατέλαβεν ὑπὸ τῶν πάλαι δυσσεβῶν τιμωμένην· καὶ τὸ ἐν ταύτῃ τῶν δαιμόνων τέμενος τῷ θεῷ καθοσιώσας͵ ἐν αὐτῷ διέτριψε͵ σκηνήν τινα βραχεῖαν πηξάμενος μέν͵ ὀλιγάκις δὲ ταύτῃ χρησάμενος. Πόνοις δὲ οὐ τοῖς εἰωθόσιν ἐχρῆτο μόνοις͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ ἑτέρους ἐπενόει͵ τῆς φιλοσοφίας συναθροίζων τὸν πλοῦτον.

The Umpire measured out grace according to his labors: so the magnificent one gave in abundance the gift of healing, with the result that his fame circulated everywhere, attracted everyone from every side and taught by experience the truth of the report.

16.2 Ὁ δὲ ἀγωνοθέτης τοῖς πόνοις τὴν χάριν ἐμέτρησεν· οὕτω γὰρ αὐτῷ πλουσίως ὁ μεγαλόδωρος τὸ τῶν ἰαμάτων ἐδωρήσατο χάρισμα ὡς πανταχοῦ μὲν τούτου τὸ κλέος διαδραμεῖν͵ πάντας δὲ πάντοθεν ἐφελκύσασθαι καὶ τῇ πείρᾳ διδάξαι τῆς φήμης τὸ ἀληθές·

One could see fevers quenched by the dew of his blessing, shivering quieted, demons put to flight, and varied diseases of every kind cured by a single remedy; the progeny of physicians apply to each disease the appropriate remedy, but the prayer of the saint is a common antidote for every distress.

ἦν γὰρ ἰδεῖν καὶ πυρετοὺς σβεννυμένους τῇ δρόσῳ τῆς εὐλογίας καὶ φρίκην παυομένην καὶ δαίμονας δραπετεύοντας καὶ τὰ παντοδαπὰ καὶ ποικίλα παθήματα ἑνὶ φαρμάκῳ θεραπευόμενα. Ἰατρῶν μὲν γὰρ παῖδες ἑκάστῳ παθήματι τὸ κατάλληλον προσφέ ρουσι φάρμακον͵ ἡ δὲ τῶν ἁγίων προσευχὴ κοινόν ἐστι παθῶν ἁπάντων ἀλεξιφάρμακον.

He cured not only infirmities of the body, but applied suitable treatment to souls as well, healing this man’s greed and that man’s anger, to this man supplying teaching in self-control and to that providing lessons in justice, correcting this man’s intemperance and shaking up another man’s sloth.

16.3 Οὐ μόνον δὲ τὰς σωματικὰς ἀρρωστίας ἰᾶτο͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ ταῖς ψυχαῖς τὴν πρόσφορον θεραπείαν προσέφερε͵ τούτου μὲν τὴν πλεονεξίαν͵ ἐκείνου δὲ τὸν θυμὸν ἰατρεύων͵ καὶ τούτῳ μὲν τὴν περὶ σωφροσύνης διδασκαλίαν προσφέρων͵ ἐκείνῳ δὲ προστιθεὶς τὰ τῆς δικαιοσύνης παιδεύματα καὶ τοῦ μὲν τὴν ἀκολασίαν κολάζων͵ τοῦ δὲ τὸ νωθρὸν διεγείρων.

Applying this mode of cultivation, he produced many plants of philosophy, and it was he who planted for God the garden that now flourishes in the region of Cyrrhus .

Ταύτῃ χρώμενος τῇ γεωργίᾳ πολλὰ φυτὰ φιλοσοφίας ἀπέφηνε καὶ τὸν νῦν ἐν τῇ Κύρρου χώρᾳ τεθηλότα παράδεισον αὐτὸς τῷ θεῷ κατεφύτευσε.

A product of his planting was the great James, to whom one could reasonably apply the prophetic utterance, ‘the righteous man will flower as the palm tree, and be multiplied like the cedar of Lebanon’, and also all the others whom, with God’s help, I shall recall individually.

Τῆς τούτου φυτουργίας ἔργον ὁ μέγας Ἰάκωβος͵ εἰς ὃν εἰκότως ἄν τις ἑλκύσειε τὴν προφητικὴν ἐκείνην φωνήν· Δίκαιος ὡς φοῖνιξ ἀνθήσει· ὡσεὶ κέδρος ἡ ἐν τῷ Λιβάνῳ πληθυνθήσεται· καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι δὲ ἅπαντες ὧν ἰδίᾳ σὺν θεῷ φάναι μνησθήσομαι.

Attending in this way to the divine cultivation and treating souls and bodies alike, he himself underwent a short illness, so that we might learn the weakness of nature and the manliness of resolution, and departed from life.

16.4 Οὕτω δὲ τῆς θείας γεωργίας ἐπιμελούμενος καὶ ψυχὰς ὁμοῦ θεραπεύων καὶ σώματα͵ ἀρρωστίαν ὑπομείνας βραχεῖαν ἵνα καὶ τῆς φύσεως τὴν ἀσθένειαν καὶ τῆς προαιρέσεως καταμάθωμεν τὴν ἀνδρείαν͵ αὐτὸς μὲν ὑπεξῆλθε τὸν βίον͵

A bitter war over his body arose between his neighbors.

πόλεμος δὲ περὶ τοῦ σώματος τοῖς γειτονεύουσι συνέστη σφοδρός.

One of the adjacent villages that was well-populated came out in mass, drove off the others and seized this thrice desired treasure [‘Saint Maron wished to be buried with the hermit Zebinas’]  building a great shrine, they reap benefit therefrom even to this day, honoring this victor with a public festival. We ourselves reap his blessing even at a distance; for sufficient for us instead of his tomb is his memory”.

Κώμη δέ τις τῶν ὁμόρων πολυάνθρωπος πανδημεὶ παραγενομένη τοὺς μὲν ἄλλους ἐσκέδασε͵ τὸν δὲ τριπό θητον ἐκεῖνον ἥρπασε θησαυρὸν καὶ σηκὸν οἰκοδομησάμενοι μέγιστον τὴν ἐκεῖθεν μέχρι καὶ τήμερον ὠφέλειαν καρποῦνται δημοτελεῖ πανηγύρει τὸν νικηφόρον ἐκεῖνον γεραίροντες. Ἡμεῖς δὲ καὶ ἀπόντες τὴν εὐλογίαν καρπούμεθα· ἀρκεῖ γὰρ ἡμῖν ἀντὶ τῆς θήκης ἡ μνήμη.










TO MARON, presbyter and monk:

Μάρωνι πρεσβυτέρῳ καὶ μονάζοντι

We are bound to you by love and interior disposition, and see you here before us as if you were actually present.

 Ἡμεῖς τῇ μὲν ἀγάπῃ συνδεδέμεθά σοι καὶ τῇ δια θέσει͵ καὶ ὡς παρόντα σε ἐνταῦθα οὕτως ὁρῶμεν.

For such are the eyes of love; their vision is neither interrupted by distance nor dimmed by time.

Τοιοῦτοι γὰρ τῆς ἀγάπης οἱ ὀφθαλμοί· οὐχ ὁδῷ δια κόπτονται͵ οὐ χρόνῳ μαραίνονται.

We wished to write more frequently to your reverence, but since this is not easy on account of the difficulty of the road and the problems to which travellers are subject,

Ἐβουλόμεθα δὲ καὶ συνεχέστερον ἐπιστέλλειν τῇ εὐλαβείᾳ σου͵ ἀλλ΄ ἐπειδὴ τοῦτο οὐκ ἔνι ῥᾴδιον διὰ τὴν τῆς ὁδοῦ δυσκο λίαν͵ καὶ τὴν ἀπορίαν τῶν ὁδοιπόρων͵

whenever opportunity allows we address ourselves to your honour and assure you that we hold you constantly in our mind and carry you about in our soul wherever we may be.

ἡνίκα ἂν ἐξῇ προσαγορεύομέν σου τὴν τιμιότητα͵ καὶ δῆλόν σοι ποιοῦμεν͵ ὅτι διηνεκῶς ἐπὶ μνήμης σε ἔχομεν͵ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ περιφέροντες͵ ὅπουπερ ἂν ὦμεν.

And take care yourself that you write to us as often as you can, telling us how you are, so that although separated physically we might be cheered by learning constantly about your health

Δήλου τοίνυν καὶ αὐτὸς ἡμῖν συνεχέστερον τὰ περὶ τῆς ὑγιείας τῆς σῆς͵ ἵνα καὶ τῷ σώματι κεχωρισμέ νοι͵ μανθάνοντες συνεχῶς τὰ περὶ τῆς ῥώσεως τῆς σῆς͵ εὐθυμότεροι γινώμεθα͵

and receive much consolation as we sit in solitude. For it brings us no small joy to hear about your health. And above all please pray for us”.

καὶ πολλὴν ἐν ἐρημίᾳ καθήμενοι δεχώμεθα τὴν παράκλησιν. Οὐ μικρὰν γὰρ ἡμῖν εὐφροσύνην κομίζει τὸ ἀκούειν περὶ τῆς ὑγιείας τῆς σῆς. Καὶ πρὸ πάντων εὔχεσθαι ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν πα ρακλήθητι.


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