Maron of Syria
Our venerable and God-bearing Father Maron of Syria (also Maro and Maroun) was a 5th century hermit who lived near the Orontes River at Cyrrhus (in the Levant). His feast day in the Church is February 14.
The brief extant account of St. Maron's life was written by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in his Historia Religiosa XVI.
He lived generally in the open with no shelter. When he found a pagan temple, he dedicated it to God and made it his oratory. He spent his nights standing in prayer. He was known to have the gift of healing, both physical and of vices. He founded monasteries and trained monks in Syria and Lebanon. He was a friend of and greatly revered by St. John Chrysostom.
He reposed peacefully in 435 and was buried between Apamea and Emesa, where a monastery was founded at his tomb in 452, called Bet Maroun, which came to be the chief monastery in northern Syria. Two centuries after Maron's death, the community which grew up around the monastery, embracing Monothelitism, rejected the teaching of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, separating from the Orthodox Church. The resultant body, eventually entering into union with Rome in the 12th century, became what is known today as the Maronite Catholic Church.
The Maronites (mainly centered in Lebanon today) take their name from this saint via that of their founder, John Maron, who named himself for the Syrian hermit. He is the patron saint of all Maronite Catholics and the city of Volperino, Italy.
- Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, p. 305
- The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed.), pp. 1040-1041