We, the faithful men and women of the Maronite Church, are called
upon to consecrate ourselves to a preservation of our
identity, both in and out of Lebanon, with a common theme of perpetuating
the practice of the faith and the cohesiveness of all Maronites.
Further, it is imperative that each and every Maronite, unite in
full support under the leadership of the Patriarchy as an institution.
The voice of the Patriarch is the symbolic and real sound of the
Maronites in pain and suffering and in joy all over the world. Without
the united support of the Maronites of the world, his voice will
be stilled and the sound forever silenced.
Unity in purpose, unity in action, and unity in support must be
the primary objective of the Church and this Foundation that supports
it. The primacy of the Patriarch as the single most important
spokesman for the interests of the Maronites, and those issues which
affect them, is the Foundationís goal. Right or wrong, the
spiritual leader of the Maronite Church is, indeed, our leader.
All Maronites must unite under his leadership.
The term "unity" has many definitions. For our
purposes, we speak of unity as a condition of harmony or accord:
continuity without deviation or change in purpose or action, focused
specifically on the issues pertaining to the Maronites, their leadership,
and those conditions that affect them. All Maronites must lay aside
their personal experiences and/or allegiance to specific movements,
causes or individuals in order to develop a Maronite cohesion in
support of our common goals.
It has always been our contention that what unites us is singular
and not debatable. We are not a political party: we are members
of a church. The only choice we have is to be Maronite or not to
be Maronite. Faced with this stark reality, it is our choice to
work within the system of the Church or to go outside thereby losing
the right to the label Maronite. This may be frustrating but
in this simple choice lays the core of our strength. Enlightened
leadership by the Patriarch with strong support by the laity will
give Maronites the structure of "unity" we desperately
It becomes much easier to accept the proposal for unity if we remember
our history of centuries of sacrifice by countless numbers of people.
Our efforts should be directed to the reasons for their sacrifice:
our faith. We must address and acknowledge what has
gone before. Many in recent years have labored, fought and died
under this banner. This is part of our history that we should readily
acknowledge and accept. But if we are to go on we must not internalize
this experience to the extent that it paralyzes our work.
We are fully aware of the pain, suffering and bloodshed of the past.
But as a people of faith concerned about our community we must bind
up our wounds and move on to create a future of universal religious
and political fulfillment.
It is from our history, as a people of triumphs, losses, successes
and failures, that we must learn as we plot our future course at
this unique point in our history. We stand at the threshold
of a new era with the potential for a lasting peace
in the Middle East following decades of war, domination, and occupation
in our ancestral homeland, Lebanon. Will the Maronites have
a role in Lebanon? This paper reviews that history in an attempt
to answer this question.