'Maronites' is a term given to the early followers of Maron, a priest and a hermit. He followed the path walked by Peter and Paul, and spent his life teaching about the faith. After converting an old pagan temple into a church, he ministered to many people from there with the gift of healing and counsel.
In the year 687, the maronites arrived into Mount Lebanon where they elected John Maron as their first patriarch. This established Lebanon as their third geographical centre, as well as the full formation of the Maronite Church.
Maronites are Catholics, whose Mother Church is in Lebanon. Spread across the world are the daughter communities. Often the sons and daughters of Maron are referred to as Beit Maroun, (the house of Maron).
The Maronite Church integrates three fundamental traditions. Antioch, the centre which influenced the Maronite Churches biblical theology and use of the literal sense of scripture. Edessa, where St Ephrem lived, influenced the prayer and hymns of the Maronites. Lastly, Mount Lebanon, provided the base where the Maronite monastic life, worship and traditions begin.
The Maronite church has many saints including St Charbel, St Hardini and St Rafca. St Charbel (the photo above) is one of the most influential saints in the contemporary Maronite history.