BLTC Press Titles

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Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour

Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

A journey from Aleppo to Damascus:

by John Green



Before the Heresies sprung up, which have divided the Church into so many different Sects, all the Christians inhabiting that vast Country which lies between Cilicia and Egypt, and extends from Euphrates and Arabia, to the Mediterranean Sea, were called by the general Name of Syrians.

But since the Time that most of those Christians were separated from the Body of the Greek Church, different Names hath been given them, indicating either their particular Belief, or the Head of the Sect which they have embraced. 'Tis in this Manner that the odious Name of Nestorian, and Jacobite, and the like, have been substituted in Place of their old original Name derived from their Country. : ''

The Mai onites, however, must be excepted out of this general Rule : For though their Ancestors always made a Part of the ancient Syrians subject to the Emperors of the East, and attach'd to the Greek Church, the changing of their Name proceeds from a very different Cause ; the Account whereof contains Matters of the greatest Importance in the History of the Maronites. ' \

Saint Maron, a Syrian Abbot, who lived in the Beginning of the fifth Century, and whose Life is written by

Theodores, Theodores, was one of the most remarkable Solitaries of the East. This holy Man was not content with training a great Number of his Disciples in the Perfection of the hermetic Life, and founding several Monasteries, but withheld many of his Countrymen from falling from the Religion of their Ancestors. He had moreover the Gift of Miracles for healing the most malignant Diseases, so far as to deliver Bodies possessed with the Devil: So that the People repaired in Throngs to him from all Parts of Syria.

». He kept upon the Top of a Mountain, where he had converted an ancient Pagan Temple into a Church. He sometimes retired into a kind of Cell; but commonly lived in the open Field, exposed to all the Rigours of the Weather. This austere Course of Life spread his Repu- " tation all over the East. Saint Cbrysojlom wrote a Letter (m) to him from the Place of his Exile, wherein he makes his Elogy, and recommends himself to the Merit of Pis Prayers.

This Letter fixes very nearly the Time when St. Maron lived ; which was at that Juncture («) when several Heresies made


(m) J!d Maronem Moxachum Cs? fresbyterum. Yfrst. S, Joan. Cbryscft. 36. {n) About the Year os Chrilt 400,

such a considerable Progress in Syria* DI* vine Providence, without Doubt, raised up this holy Person to be the Support of the Faith, in the Places where it was moil; in Danger.

The Death of the holy Abbot, bewailed by infinite Numbers of People, gave Occasion to a Dispute perhaps not to be paralled. The Inhabitants of all the circumjacent Places would needs have the Postestlon of his Corps ; and even came to a fort of Battle. Those, who in the End carried it off, built a beautiful Church where the Corpse was interred, and the Memory of St. Maron honoured every Year with a solemn Feast ; which falls on the 14th of February, according to the Grecian Calander. His Disciples, animated with the fame Spirit, built several Monasteries in Syria ; which were so many Schools of Virtue: Whither they flocked from all Parts as to a Sanctuary against Depravity and Error.

The most famous of all those Monasteries, was that which bore the Name of St. Maron : It was situated near Jlpamœa, on the Side of the Orontes. Thither all those retired who had not embraced any of the new Opinions, and were desirous of advancing in spiritual Courses. Thus a Christian Society, and strict Union, was formed between the Monks of St. Maron,


and those Syrians, who inviolably adhered to the Orthodox Belief. From this Union, the Name of Maronites was given to them all, even by the Heretics themselves; to distinguish them as Men instructed in the School of St. Maron, or his Disciples, who composed a separate Body in Opposition to all the Sects into which the Church was divided.

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