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Milestones in the History of the Lebanese Maronite order
Father Karam Rizk
Director of the Institute of History,
University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik

The Beginnings of the Lebanese Order and the Syriac Heritage

Clearly it is no easy undertaking to write the history of an institution which is already three hundred years old. What might be said then of trying to tell the story of its evolution in only a few pages and to give a description of all its varied activities and of all the complex relationships it has established for itself? What further complicates the task is that the sources used in our research belong to a distant and troubled past so that the documents required are few and far between. However, we have accepted this labour, taking advantage of the efforts deployed in this field by our predecessors Fathers Louis Bleybel and Maroun Karam, as well as by many others. We have also based ourselves on the earliest documents that we have been able to lay our hands on.

The Lebanese Maronite Order, founded in 1695, was the result of a renewal of monastic life which was the work of three young Maronites, Gabriel (Jibrayel) Hawwa, Abdallah Qaraali and Joseph (Yusuf) al-Bite, all from the city of Aleppo. They belonged to leading Maronite families with a reputation for piety. Having felt a call to the monastic life, they discussed the matter among themselves and then with their close relatives, who in order to reduce the risk of failure suggested that they should go to Lebanon in the guise of pilgrims or merchants. This they finally did.

As soon as they reached the Monastery of Our Lady of Qannubin, which since the year 1440 had been the seat of the Maronite Patriarchate, they presented themselves to Patriarch Stephen (Estefan) Dweihy (1670-1704) and disclosed to him the secret of their religious call. He questioned them closely, insisting on the austerity of the monastic life followed in places that had little to offer in the way of resources or safety from danger, whereas they themselves had grown up in a social class enjoying some ease and prosperity. The young men, however, told the Patriarch of their firm convictions and their strong belief in their vocation. His Beatitude thereupon gave his blessing and encouragement to their initiative and, on August 1, 1695, even went so far as to offer them the Monastery of Saint Maura (Mart Moura), at Ehden. This marked the very beginning of the Order.

How can we place these three founders of the Order in relation to the Maronite, Syriac and Antiochean monastic tradition?

Ever since its birth, the Maronite Church has been closely bound up with the monastic and community life which grew up around Antioch, the political and spiritual capital or “metropolis” of the Christian East. It was the only Church to have been actually nurtured in a climate of monastic life and it was to the activity of the monks of the Monastery of Saint Maroun that it owed its development and territorial extension.

The Maronite Church, having taken root in Lebanon in the seventh century, brought monastic life to flourish there in its early form, known to us thanks to Afrahat (†275) and Saint Ephraem († 373). They were the first to describe the ascetic existence of the anchorites as it was before monasticism became organized. A little later, Bishop Theodoret of Cyr (393-460) wrote an outline of the history of the great monastic current that developed around Antioch.

Some of the monks who followed the path of asceticism in search of Christian perfection withdrew to the hidden retreats to be found in the wilderness, places remote and hard to reach, while others took to the recesses of caves or the tops of stone columns. A certain number built primitive monasteries in which they took refuge. That they found enough to live on was due to the extreme austerity that they practiced, following the guidance of masters who were already far advanced in the spiritual life. They acquired great virtue and set n excellent example, without however following the sort of written Rule that organizes every minute of the existence of monks and brings them together by submitting them all day long to liturgical ordinances and practices. They were not living in communities under the authority of a local superior nor together with other communities under the authority of a superior general.

The Maronite monks followed this primitive style of Syriac monasticism2 more or less intermittently right up to the beginning of the twentieth century. The hermits from the village of Ehmej exemplified this sort of existence as recently as the nineteenth century. They offered the Order a waqf (property held in mortmain) known as Ruwayssat Annaya, making possible the construction there of the Monastery of Saint Maroun at Annaya. Their final adherence to the Order occurred in 1838.

What were the causes of the decline of monastic community life?

Perhaps the quarrels over theology and dogma, which intensified from the fifth century onwards, as well as the pressure exerted by the Arab invaders, who transformed Northern Syria into a battleground between themselves and the Byzantines, all tended to undermine the foundations of a system which throughout history has rarely been equaled. These same causes led candidates for the monastic life, rudely put to the test by these tribulations, to abandon a way of perfection that was giving way under the blows it was suffering° despite the solidity of its foundations and its wide extension even into the great empires of Asia, an extension known to us from the missionary results of the preaching and from the various manuscripts, writings and architectural vestiges which remain to us. These then are some of the external factors that can be considered responsible for the decline of monasticism.

If, on the other hand, we analyze the internal factors contributing to the form taken by the Maronite Church, we see that the Maronite monks abandoned their strict organization and their role as leaders, after having contributed greatly to creating and strengthening the Maronite Patriarchate. This institution was on a firm footing from the end of seventh century and became responsible for Maronite affairs in general, so perhaps the attachment of the monks to the patriarchate and the force of the patriarchal authority took the place of any formal law or monastic Rule.

When the three future founders reached Lebanon, they came to a Land where there was already a large number of monasteries, particularly in the regions of Jbayl Jibbet Bsharri, and even in Kesrouan, where they had become more numerous since the sixteenth century The Maronite patriarchs and Bishops, followed in due course by students from the Maronite College in Rome, had been living in monasteries around Jbayl and in North Lebanon ever since the Middle Ages. There can be little doubt that the young: men turned their eyes towards the monasteries of Mount Lebanon because of their comparative vigor. Bishop Joseph Simon (Yusuf Simaan) as-Simaani, like Patriarch Dweihy, noted the growing number of monasteries in Mount Lebanon in his famous letter written on March 1, 1735, to present the first regulations for monasteries, known as The Black Rules printed in Rome the same year. As-Simaani enumerated more than twenty-two monasteries already existing, mostly in the region of Jbayl and Jibbet Bsharri, as well as eight others in Kesrouan and parts of the Shouf. This invalidates the theory according to which the founders came to a country bereft of inhabitants. As-Simaani stressed the continuity of monastic life in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, including the Maronite. The letter of as-Simaani, as well as the very precise works of Dweihy, are rightly considered as an attempt in advance of its time to give an account of monasticism over the years preceding his own lifetime
and, as such, constitute very important sources of reference.

However, as-Simaani makes something of a mistake when he describes the Lebanese Order as Antonine, declaring that “God took a vine from Egypt, and it is thanks to his succor that the Order extended from Egypt to Greater Syria.”

Monastic life in Lebanon goes back a very long way. Its roots are to be found in the tradition described by Afrahat and Ephraem, the former in his Demonstrations and the latter throughout his writings, in particular Anasheed al-Ferdaws (Hymns to Paradise), Anasheed al-Imam (Hymns to the Faith), Maqalat Dudda al-Haratiqa (Articles against the Heretics), Manzumat Nsaybeen (Carmina Nisibena) and Anasheed al-Battuliyya (Hymns to Virginity). After one has read these works, no further explanation is necessary The Syriac version of the biography of Ephraem, relating how he spent eight years of his life among the Egyptian monks, is no more than the fruit of a vivid imagination depicting Egypt as the paradise of monks and as the source of all inspiration for the monastic schools. In point of fact, The Lausiac History, written within fifty years of Ephraem's death, makes no mention of any journey made by him to the land of Egypt.

What is more, none of the present specialists in Syriac studies is of the opinion that monasticism came to Syria from Egypt. Afrahat and Ephraem were both familiar with Antiochean eremitic life and brought to general notice the existence of the Brotherhood of the Sons and Daughters of the Covenant which had been at the heart of Syriac monasticism. These devotees formed “congregations” within the Church and consecrated their life to chastity, virginity and self-renunciation in order to bear witness to Christ. It is most likely that during the last years of his exile in Edessa Ephraem had made the acquaintance of a kind of monastic life that was organized. Indeed, when writing about this period of his activity, he makes reference to actual monasteries.

Sometime during the fifth century, the monk Rabboula drew up a collection of religious regulations arranged in twenty-five articles, the earliest work of its kind that has yet come down to us. Rabboula had received the monastic habit in the Monastery of Marcion (Marqiyanus) near Qinnisreen, before being appointed Bishop of Edessa. He was followed by others who added to his regulations, which were expanded and in due course translated into Arabic.

All that has just been said makes it perfectly clear that the Maronite form of monasticism is essentially of Antiochean Syriac origin. The exploits and apophthegms of the Desert Fathers appearing in the writings, authentic or otherwise, mostly attributed to St° Anthony (Mar Antonios) (251-356), were introduced into Syrian practice little by little, although it must be said that the Father of Monks left no formal written Rule. When Anthony (Antonios) became famous, thanks to the writings of Athanasius as well as to oral tradition, the rumour spread that it was he who had founded monasteries in Lebanon, including the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya. The credit given to St. Anthony for founding all the various orders, including the Lebanese Order, has two reasons, namely his personal fame on the one hand and the neglect of the Antiochean Syriac monastic tradition on the other. The founding of the Confraternity of St. Anthony (Sharekat Mar Antonios) and the widespread habit of wearing a so called St. Anthony's Amulet (Ketab Mar Antonios) to ward off danger both served to consolidate this belief. The Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya then acquired such great importance, both material and spiritual, that our Order was called the Order of Quzhayya. It was even said everywhere that if all the other monasteries of the Order were destroyed, but that of Quzhayya continued to prosper, then the Order would be in no peril. But if on the other hand Quzhayya were to be destroyed, no other monastery would be in a position to rebuild it.

The Period of Reorganisation (1695-1742)

The Antiochean Syriac monastic tradition is a very rich one and is characterised by two tendencies, one towards the individual anchoritic life and the other towards the organised community life. When the three founders decided on the monastic life in Lebanon, the system of organised monasteries had lost much of its lustre. In his memoires, Qaraali describes his experience at the Monastery of Our Lady of Tamish, where there was a community of nine monks and also a group of nuns, without any superior, constitutions or vows, but living simply according to tradition. “In all innocence and simplicity”, he said, “They lived a life which was all very well for the good elements among them, but dangerous for the bad ones.”6 A hundred years earlier, Dandini had made a similar observation.

Basing themselves on these remarks, contemporary scholars have often concluded that the founders had decided to introduce a reform. But there is a world of difference between reform and renewal. Reform can be the occasion of a complete split or result in the creation of a different structure, whereas renewal is generally something occurring within a collectivity. The latter is typical of the great long-established Orders of the Church and the fact is that our founders were nowhere explicit about the real aim of their project.

It was on November 10, 1695, that the three founders received the hooded monastic habit, blessed by Patriarch Stephen (Estefan) Dweihy himself, at the Monastery of Our Lady of Qannubin. Ever since, this date has been considered to mark the founding of the Order and it is on this basis that it holds it, General Chapters. The St. Maura (Mart Moura) Monastery was chosen to be the Mother House. It was there that they were joined by Gabriel (Jibrayel) Farhat at the end of the same year. The founders set about organising their way of life and began to receive new vocations. They elected Gabriel (Jibrayel) Hawwa as Father General (1695-1699). Qaraali drew up regulations under twenty-two chapter headings, later reduced by him to fifteen. The foundations were established for General Chapters, for Special Chapters and for the order of precedence of Assistants. It was decided that a General Chapter would be held every three years and terminate with the election of representatives who would designate the superiors of the Order. It would seem then that the year 1698, when this was accomplished, was a year rich in achievement.

However, it was not long before discord raised its head, for in 1699 the founders disagreed among themselves about the purpose of the Order. Hawwa wanted an Order that was essentially missionary, with a Father General designated for life. Qaraali together with the majority of the members wanted an Order of monks living in community and carrying on an apostolate as circumstances allowed. Finally, it was the point of view of Qaraali that was adopted, and he was elected Father General by six successive General Chapters, from 1699 to 1716, the year in which he was appointed bishop of the diocese of Beirut. As for Hawwa, Patriarch Dweihy urged him to withdraw to the St. Maura (Mart Moura) Monastery to found his own religious order. Having failed in his enterprise, he went to Rome three years later with the intention of buying a printing press. He took up permanent residence there and did not return to the East until sent on a mission there by the Apostolic See. In 1723, he was nominated bishop of the Maronites in Cyprus.

In 1699, Gabriel (Jibrayel) Farhat, “suffering from dissatisfaction”, withdrew from the Order and settled for a time in Zghorta, busying himself with the education of children and the preaching of the Gospel. But he returned to it in 1705 and succeeded to Qaraali as Father General. He directed the Order with considerable wisdom and understanding for seven consecutive years (1716-1723), enriching it with his spiritual and literary writings, some composed by himself and some translated from various sources. In 1725, he was chosen to be bishop of the diocese of Aleppo.

Neither Qaraali nor Farhat sought ecclesiastical honors. It caused them great suffering to be obliged to leave the Order to which they were so deeply attached, and they took care of its interests even when they had assumed new responsibilities.

They confided the monastic covenant to those who formed a second generation and were worthy of their mission. The founders had given them a thorough preparation, which enabled them to face difficulties with firmness and resolution. Among these were two who were marked out by their tenacity: Michael (Mikhayel) Iskandar al-Ehdeni and Thomas (Touma) al-Labboudi al-Halabi. The first pioneers and their immediate followers worked hand in hand in order to find a coherent juridical formula capable of ordering all aspects of monastic life. In drawing up the Constitution, the founders relied on the experience, patience, sense of realism, and spiritual and psychological insight that they had gained over the years. They drew on the Syriac and Eastern tradition, as well as on the Constitutions of the Carmelite Friars and the Jesuits. Patriarch Dweihy in 1700 and Patriarch Jacob (Yaaqoub) Awwad (1705-1733) in 1725 put the seal of their approval on the result of these efforts. The latter introduced three new chapters concerning humility, patience and brotherly love. Finally, it was considered necessary to obtain authorisation from Rome, as the difficult problems which had affected the Maronite Church and also touched the Order itself during the rule of Patriarch Jacob (Yaaqoub) Awwad had convinced the legislators of the need to have the guarantee of the Apostolic See for their common enterprise. In 1727, following the suggestions of as-Simaani, Father General Michael (Mikhayel) Iskandar (1723-1735, 1741-1742) made the journey to Rome. In collaboration with Father Yuwassaf Dibsi al-Biskintawi and with the approval of his Council of Assistants, he drew up the rules in their final form. Pope Clement XII (1730-1740) confirmed them on March 31, 1732, by a papal bull and in 1735 they were printed in the Arabic language with Syriac characters “Karshouni” and in the Latin language by the press of Propaganda in Rome at the expense of the Order. The title given was The Constitution and Monastic Statutes of the Brotherhood of the Lebanese Order. This Rule, commonly known as the Black Rule, remained in vigor until 1938, when it was replaced by the Red Rule.

Monsignor as-Simaani, a learned specialist in Church matters and the principal author of the new Rule, kept the eighteen chapters, giving them the structure of the modern Western monastic Rules. These Rules gave the Order greater immunity against its detractors, allowing it better to defend itself. They formed a basis for the various Eastern religious orders and were a model of Maronite legislation. This body of law perhaps made it possible to know the features with which the Maronite Church should be endowed; further, it hastened the holding of the Lebanese Synod, which was the answer to a desire often expressed by the Lebanese Monks. This important synod was in session at the Monastery of Our Lady of Louaize between the end of September and the beginning of October 1736. The Lebanese Monks paid for much of the expense entailed and made an important contribution to the results. This keen attention to questions of organisation allowed the Order to have a large say in the decisions concerning the Maronite Church.

In addition to realizing these considerable achievements in matters of organisation, the Order continued developing and extending, with the number of vocations rising steadily. Further, in 1706 Qaraali had given it the name of Lebanese Order, retained until now in order to stress its steady growth in Mount Lebanon. In this way, a firm organic relationship, like an umbilical cord, was established between the Order and Lebanon.

Most of the Maronite monks in the pre-existing communities adhered to the new Order and entrusted their possessions to it without reserve. The diaries of the monasteries give detailed figures about the responsibilities that the Order assumed as a result. We see that monasteries were restored, new storeys were added, debts were cleared, taxes were paid and pastoral service provided for the people of the country around.

The vibrant dynamism of the new movement was soon to bear fruit. Nine monasteries adhered to the Order, in addition to those occupied at the outset of its existence, starting with St. Maura (Mart Moura) on August 1, 1695, and St. Elisha the Prophet (Mar Elisha an-Nabi) at Bsharri on April 1, 1696. In February of 1706, the Order obtained a foothold in the Shouf with the Monastery of St. John (Mar Yuhanna) at Rashmaya and in 1706 in Kesrouan, with the Monastery of Our Lady of Louaize. In the following year, it acquired the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Sier near Rashmaya, and on July 5, 1708, the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya. With no let-up in its activity, it built a monastery in 1710 dedicated to the Holy Virgin (Azra) at ad-Drayb, near Qbayyat, although this was subsequently abandoned. In 1712, it received the Monastery of Sts. Peter and Paul (Butrus wa Boulos) at Kraym at-Teen near Beit Shabab; in 1727, that of Our Lady of Tamish; in 1728, that of St. Elias of Shwaya; in 1734, the religious house in Trip; in 1736, the Monastery of Our Lady of Mashmoushe; and, in 1737, that of Our Lady of Hawqa.

In 1736, the Order founded the Convent of St. Elias ar-Ras, the first canonically erected house of Lebanese Maronite Nuns, thus respecting the regulations which had forbidden once and for all monasteries with members of both sexes. The result was a disagreement which had consequences that lasted until 1823, when Patriarch Joseph (Yusuf) Hobeish (1823-1845) put an end to them thanks to his firmness of principle.

In 1737, the Order opened houses in Cyprus and in Acre (Akka, North Palestine) in order to serve the Maronites in those areas. This provoked a conflict with the Latin-rite missionaries, who considered that they alone had the prerogative of ministering to the Maronites in these two regions, as well as in Beirut and Tripoli.

In order to meet the needs of the faithful and to honour its engagements, the Order rented several pieces of real estate, the most important of them at Baklik in Ain Baqara, and some others at Sibaal. In 1713 it paid the taxes imposed on the property of dhimmis (protected religious minorities) and in 1715 took possession of the mill of Abi Ali in Tripoli.

Growth, however, was not without its problems. A certain number of those who had made a vow to give their possessions to the Order took them back and then once again made a gift of them. The Order ran up debts and began distributing a part of the debt (18,327.30 piastres) among the individual monasteries, while the Mother House took responsibility for paying the rest.9 It seems likely that these debts did not include the six thousand piastres offered by the Lebanese Order as a contribution to the expenses of the Lebanese Synod. In 1739, Father General Thomas (Touma) al-Labboudi (17351741) estimated the interest to have reached six thousand piastres. This financial drift caused some concern to Qaraali and was the source of difficulties which were to have negative repercussions later on. By then, during its first forty years, the number of monks who had adhered to the Order had reached 210.

It was at this time that the form of the religious habit of the Order was decided upon. It was cut out from one whole piece of cloth without any opening in front, in order to distinguish it from the cassock of the secular clergy. It was woven from wool, of which there was plenty available locally and which was therefore much cheaper than imported cotton. The same applied to the small monastic hood, while the shirt was made of cotton. Al-Labboudi did his best to send some of the monks to the Franciscans in order to learn weaving, encouraged by promises of help from as-Simaani.

The Protocol, designating the order of precedence among the monks, was established by the Rule and consecrated by custom, the Father General having precedence over all the other monks. Like a bishop, he had the right to wear and carry pontifical insignia. After him came the assistants in order of grade: first, second, third and fourth. Then in order of precedence came the superior of the Monastery of St. John (Mar Yuhanna) at Rashmaya and that of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya, followed by the other superiors according to the date of their vows and their age. The proper salutations were also laid down.

The founders of the Order were particularly concerned about spiritual questions, which they considered to be the keystone for the continuity of the community. They composed several books intended to define the character of the Order, to develop and refine its spirituality, and to give guidance for the formation of the personality of its members. Their works had a great influence on the spiritual and intellectual life not only of the Maronites but also of the other peoples of the Middle East. They made it possible for subsequent generations to draw upon a source of Eastern spirituality which would never dry up and which would water the whole region.

The riches of this great heritage have not yet been sufficiently studied, whether on the spiritual level or on the level of the history of letters and of thought. Traditional historians have given only the scantest attention to the subject. Insofar as we are concerned here, while fully aware of the importance of this question and of its role as an integral part of the glorious history of our Order, we must content ourselves with a simple mention supported by some evidence, while promising a detailed study in the future that will take sufficient account of it. As for the formation of the monks and the personnel responsible, this is a subject that cannot be dealt with in these pages, even though we recognise its importance.

The spirituality of the Order shows itself through the various ascetic practices, the intellectual exercises, the writings of the founders, the reading matter, and the continued formation of those already professed.

Qaraali finished his explanation and interpretation of the Constitution of the Order in 1721. His work was entitled al-Misbah ar-Ruhbani fi Sharh Qanun al-Lubnani (The Monastic Lamp for the Explanation of the Lebanese Rule). It was widely used in all the monasteries of Lebanon and the Middle East, where several copies are still to be found. In particular, there is a copy at the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) in Rome, dated 1721, in the hand of the author himself and also a manuscript at the Maronite Bishopric of Aleppo, No 440, dating from 1727. In 1956, the Lebanese priest of the Aleppine, now the Mariamite, Order, George (Jerjes) Mourani, ha it printed by the Samya Press, Beirut. This book, with its variety of sources and wealth of content, was the daily bread of the monks, second only to the Gospels. The sections composed by Qaraali, namely the poems and the Ephraemiyot, made the round of churches and monasteries in 1727, touching a responsive chord in the spiritual sensibilities of the people, who took them to their hearts and showed their appreciation. However, they sown gave rise to a polemic, as the Maronite hierarchy considered them to be too modern and also to foreign to Maronite belief and religious ritual custom.

When Qaraali became bishop of the sea of Beirut, very delicate post at a period when the overwhelming majority of Maronites still inhabited the mountain fastnesses, he composed a book of thirty-two chapters entitled Mukhtasar ash-Sharia, or Summary of the Law, and a similar one entitled Fiqh Fatawa al-Lubnani, or Lebanese Jurisprudence. He did all this at the request of the authorities of the Maronite Church, who ever since the Middle Ages had been trying to put its legislation on a firm footing. These works of the bishop constituted the most complete collection yet made, for they contained the essentials of all the constitutions since the Romans, including those of the emperors Theodosius and Justinian and of the Arabs. Can there be found anywhere a work which is more open and all-embracing?

If we add to the collection of Qaraali the decisions taken during the General Chapters and Councils of Assistants, and all the contracts and property title deeds relating to mortmain and coownership, etc, we have a legal and socio-economic heritage unique of its kind. The scholar can find the manuscripts of the two works in the archives of Bkerke, the older one dating back to 1734. Peter (Butrus) Ghaleb edited extracts from The Summary in numbers 5 and 6, 1930 and 1931, of La Revue patriarcale. In 1959, Paul (Boulos) Massaad edited the complete text. As for Fiqh Fatawa al-Lubnani, it exists only in manuscript form. More recently, Father John (Hanna) Alwan analysed these two works in the thesis he presented at the Lateran University in 1985.

As for Gabriel (Jibrayel) Farhat, who emulated Qaraali and surpassed the latter in several domains, he wrote a number of works, the earliest of which are the following:

- Al-Muthallathat ad-Durriyya, or The Scintillating Triads, written at the Monastery of St. Elisha the Prophet (Mar Elisha an-Nabi) at Bsharri in 1706.

- The book, al-Khutab al-bihiyya, or Ecclesiastical Speaking, in 1707.

- Diwan Farhat, or Collection of Farhat, a masterpiece of science and literature running through several editions.

- Al-Kamal al-Massihi, or Christian Perfection, composed when Farhat was Father General.

- Al-Ihrab an lugat al-Ahrab, or Grammatical Analysis in the Arabic Language, going back to 1723. One copy of this work is to be found in the library of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, and two copies in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, numbered Par.ar. (4279, 4280). Rushayd ad-Dahdah had it printed in Marseille in 1849, not without some additions. He gave the book the title Ahkam Bab al-Ihrab an lughat al-Ahrab or Rules of Analysis in Arabic.

- The Synaxarion (martyrology) of the Saints, completed in 1724.

- Balug al-Arab fi Ilm-il-Adab or Eloquence of the Arabs in Literature. In this work, Farhat developed paranomasis and different figures of rhetoric.

There is one copy written in the hand of the author himself to be found in the library of the Maronite Diocese of Aleppo and another in the British Library under the reference ar.chr 34 (1699). Inaam Fawwal edited the first part, about paranomasis, published by Dar al-Mashraq, Beirut, 1990, in the series Texts and Studies (Nussous wa Durouss), 280 pages.

- Bahth al-Mataleb fl Ilmil-arabiyya, or Subjects Treated in Arabic Grammar. This is a valuable source of reference for anyone studying Arabic morphology, syntax and grammar and was for a long time used as a school manual in Lebanon. It has gone through several editions, the latest of which were published in quite recent times.

The works of Farhat hold a twofold interest: there is their mastery of the linguistic and literary forms in Arabic and there is the transmission of religious culture, the examples used for illustration being all taken from the Holy Bible and from the teachings of the Church Fathers. In the year 1725, the founders gave clear definition to the spirituality of the Order by setting up the Confraternity of St. Anthony (Sharekat Mar Antonios). We have already mentioned the influence which this saint had on popular Maronite piety13 and this was further reinforced by the founders when in 1727 they had his biography printed. At the same time, they fixed the periods of fasting and the cycle of religious feasts.14 In doing so, they brought into oriental piety certain elements of Western practice which they had been accustomed to in Aleppo. In 1727, they adhered to the Company of the Rosary and subsequently to the Confraternity of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. They declared the feast of Corpus Christi to be a holy day in the Order and from 1743 onwards the Passion of Christ was commemorated every Friday evening of Lent.

Such were the heroic beginnings of the Order, a period often known as the First Golden Age.

A Period of Trials (1742-1770)

It was not long after the deaths of the founders, Farhat in 1732 and Qaraali in 1742, that the former Father General, Thomas (Touma) al-Labboudi, was called to Rome to answer certain charges brought against him. In 1742, a most serious conflict arose within the Order that was to last more than a quarter of a century and which terminated in 1768 only by its division into the Lebanese, or Baladite, Maronite Order and the Aleppine Order, now called the Maronite Mariamite Order.

Historians have devoted long study to this period fraught with trials, publishing a great number of documents related to the partition. Their opinions vary. Father Louis Bleybel consecrated the second tome of his history to the affair and Abbot Peter (Butrus) Fahd, the fourth tome of his collection.

In our view, despite the upheaval resulting for the Order, the Maronite Church and the Lebanese mountain area, the whole affair should be relegated to the past.

We see then that after this conflict, from December 1744, there were two authorities in the Lebanese Order simultaneously. There were several efforts to bring about reconciliation and unification, but by 1748 they had all come to nothing and the division became final in the year 1753. Patriarch Joseph (Yusuf) Estefan (1766-1793) recognized this situation in 1768 and Pope Clement XIV (1769-1774) confirmed it by the bull of July 19, 1770.

At this time, the number of the Lebanese Monks had reached 190, of whom only one had come from Aleppo, while there were 61 Aleppine Monks, of whom 5 were Lebanese. It should be noted that most of the monasteries that had come to the Order during the period of conflict, such as St. Michael (Mar Mikhayel) at Bnabil (1756), St. George (Mar Jerjes) at an-Naameh (1757), and St. Moses the Ethiopian (Mar Moussa al-Habshi) at Duwwar (1757), passed into the hands of the Baladite (Lebanese) Order.

In 1766 Prince (Amir) Yusuf Shehab handed over to the Lebanese Baladite Order the administration of the monasteries and their properties in the regions of Jbayl and Batroun, thanks to the efforts of his two agents Sheikhs Saad Khoury and Simon (Simaan) Bitar. The Order took on full responsibility and, in this way, there was considerable development of the monastic and Christian presence in the whole area. Further, the taxes coming from the property were a welcome addition to the treasury of the Shehabite prince.

The Period of Development and Prosperity (1770-1832)

The Lebanese Maronite Order lost little time recovering from the disagreeable consequences of the division. It entered into a new period, lasting about 62 years, covering the latter part of the 18th century and the first part of the 19th. During this period, nearly twenty General Chapters were held, during which those monks who had shown themselves best fitted for administrative duties were appointed to the positions of greatest responsibility. The Order recovered the dynamism of its beginnings and once again played a pioneer role in the organization of the Maronite Church. It took part in the regional synods which confirmed the decisions of the Lebanese Synod of 1736 and put an end to the difficulties raised by the strange case of the nun Anne Hindiye Ujaymi (1720-1798).

The Order played host to the Synod of Mayfouq, held in July 1780 in one of its monasteries, and covered its expenses.17 It was consulted on the various questions concerning the Maronite Church, proving itself worthy of trust. Thus it was that in 1783 Cardinal Antonelli consulted Father General Mark (Morcos) Haddad al-Kifaai about the reliability of Patriarch Joseph (Yusuf) Estefan and in 1784 Patriarch Stephen (Este fan) himself called in the Order to help administer the Maronite Church.18 It took part in the Synod of Watal-Jowz in September of 1786, and sent a strong delegation to the Synod of Bkerke held on December 13, 1790. The Order was represented by Father General Emmanuel (Ammanouil) Gemayel (1790-1793, 1796-1799, 1802-1805, 1808-1810) and with him his assistants Mark (Morcos) al-Kifaai, Naamatallah Najjar and Emmanuel (Ammanouil) ar-Rashmawi, the latter also representing the bishop of Aleppo. It was during this synod that the father general was admitted in the Maronite hierarchy as coming immediately after bishops in order of precedence. The Lebanese Order allotted the Maronite Patriarchate a regular payment of money to be used as need arose, and this sum was increased with the passing of the years.

By participating effectively in the regional synods, the Lebanese Order hoped that there would be effective coordination between itself on the one hand and the Maronite patriarch and bishops on the other in matters relating to their mission of pastoral service in the country and education in the schools. Generally speaking, it was able to overcome the obstacles in its way, particularly in churches in the region of Jbayl and Saint Thecla at Mrouj. It acquired exclusive rights for the distribution of the so-called St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) books and the giving of indulgences. It was, however, unable to obtain the consecration of one of its monks as bishop, something which would have enabled it to have its own priests ordained at its own altars.

This was also a period of great activity in the field of printing, though it has to be admitted that the books published were only liturgical works giving the prayers used by the monks in their daily worship. As it had done once before, the Order acquired a printing press, which it first set up in the Monastery of St. Moses the Ethiopian (Mar Moussa al-Habshi) at Duwwar, and then in the early 19th century moved to the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya. Considerable sums were spent on further equipment and general upkeep, but the typographical procedures remained very traditional and primitive up to the second half of the 19th century, and the supply of books could not meet the demand. Spiritual works were still copied by hand and reliance continued to be placed on the presses of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith at Rome when a large number of copies was required. Ash-Shbiyyeh, the Collection of Prayers, the work of the brothers living in Rome, was printed in 1781; the Breviary and Diaconal were printed in the Monastery of St. Moses the Ethiopian (Mar Moussa al-Habshi) in 1789;21 and The Anaphora of the Mass was printed, for the first time in 1816, at the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya. However, Monsignor Joseph (Yusuf) Dibs, Bishop of Beirut, had the last named reprinted at the end of the 19th century.22 The Breviary also was reprinted, this time at Rome, where Father Athanasius ash-Shmuti was sent in 1828, staying until 1830. Mr. Matthew (Matta) Shehwan supervised the proofreading and Mr. Ghantous Kouba contributed to the cost.

There were no new works composed beyond some of quite secondary importance, hardly worth mention and not bearing comparison with the literary output of the early days of the Order.

As for economic development in this period, known as the Order's second golden age, there was appreciable progress. The Order consolidated itself in the centers where it was already established and set up new houses in areas where it had not previously been active. We give here a summary of its achievements in Mount Lebanon.

- In 1771, it rented a terrain on the slopes of Mount Toura from the Birrohs, notables of Kfarhouna, subsequently acquiring full ownership and attaching it to the Monastery of Our Lady of Mashmousheh.

During the same year, it began construction of the Church of St. Joseph (Mar Yusuf) at Baskinta.

As for the Order's extension into new regions, it should be noted that in 1771 the family of the Abillama princes (amirs), the feudal overlords of Zahleh, made the Order a gift of a piece of land there for the construction of a religious house (ontosh) and a church destined to serve the peasants who worked for them.

- In 1772, it reached agreement with the Hamadehs for joint exploitation of Kfarshilli Farm near Mayfouq.

- In 1773, the Monastery of St. Abda was founded at Maad and a school built there the following year.

- In 1781, half the land of St. Shina at Kfarzayna was bought from the sheikhs Daher29 and half the land at Mjaydel, Koura, was rented from Sheikh Ghandour Khoury and attached to the Convent of St. Elias ar-Ras. During the same year, a lease was taken on land at Bsarma belonging to Prince (Amir) Ali Shehab, payment being made of the taxes.

- In 1785, the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) an-Nabaa at Beit Shabab was received in mortmain from the Ashqar family.

- In 1786, fallow land was bought from a benefactor, Sheikh Kanaan Nakad, near the Monastery of St. George (Mar Jerjes) at an-Naameh, and in 1801, half of Jal al-Bahr was also acquired and attached to this monastery.

- In 1788, Prince (Amir) Yusuf Shehab left a legacy of land at Wadi Shahrour for the construction of a school for the children of those working there.

- In 1792, the Order was given the Church of St. Thecla at Mrouj.

- In 1800, property at Beit ash-Shaar and Frayke was given by the Ghossoub family in mortmain.

- In 1805, the Order received the pious legacy of Suzan (Suzanne) Germain, a property at Aashash. This gift brought with it certain complications and there was a lawsuit brought, but the whole affair was settled by gentleman's agreement in the year 1832.

- In 1806, property was received in mortmain at Ban for the construction there of a school.

- In 1811, Prince (Amir) Bashir Shehab offered Father General Ignatius (Ghnatios) Bleybel (1811-1832) a terrain at Maallaqat Zahleh, for the construction of a religious house (ontosh) and a church to serve the peasants. However, the prince imposed certain difficult conditions; for example, forbidding the Order to employ his peasants and workmen or to use their beasts of burden.

The arrival of the Order in these regions strengthened the Christian presence in the Beqaa Valley and in the regions overlooking it, at the same time confirming the links between this area and Mount Lebanon.

- As from 1814, the Monastery of St. Maroun was founded at Annaya and land bought at Kfarbaal was attached to it.

- The Order stepped up its presence on the heights above Jbayl. In 1815, it received in mortmain the property of the Monastery of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus (Sarkis wa Bacchus) at Qartaba, where it was decided to found a school for the benefit of the local inhabitants.

- The purchase of an orchard at Ajaltoun, in 1818, involved the Order in cer - tain difficulties. Thanks to Prince (Amir) Bashir II, in 1827 the Order was able to buy land situated around Laqlouq and attach it to the Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq. Father General Ignatius (Ghnatios) Bleybel concerned himself personally with these affairs, so contributing personally to the consolidation of the Christian presence in the areas affected.

- In 1831, the Order founded a school at Ras al-Matn, but because of the departure of the princes (amirs) of the Abillama family from the region, this was abandoned in 1898.

The Ottoman walis, or governors, never gave up harassing the Shehabite princes (amirs) throughout this period. They seized crops, extorted money, killed the inhabitants and seized property in the Mount Lebanon. Driven by their greed, they exploited the region according to their whims without a hint of pity for the population or concern for the good of the country. So did the despotism and exactions of the Ottoman tyrant Ahmet Basha go down in history.

Governors and feudal lords used the most far-fetched pretexts, or none at all, in order to extort taxes from the Order. Oppressed by this fiscal burden, the Order many times requested the authorities to review the official “cadaster” or land register in order to put an end to tyranny and injustice. The cadaster meant the survey of land in order to fix the boundaries of property, to estimate its productive capacity and then to decide what taxes should be paid on it.

The following examples may serve to show what this could imply. In 1787, Prince (Amir) Yusuf Shehab designated a commission to survey the lands belonging to the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya.44 In 1791, Prince (Amir) Bashir II imposed an exaction of thirty purses on the Order. Following the intervention of Father General Emmanuel (Ammanouil) Gemayel, the prince halved his demand, reducing it to the sum of 8,400 piastres. The Council of Assistants decided that the burden of payment should be shared among the different monasteries. In 1802, the sons of Prince (Amir) Yusuf Shehab made a survey of the lands of the monasteries Saints Cyprian and Justina (Qibriyanus wa Yustina) at Kfifan and Saint Elias ar-Ras. In 1812, Prince (Amir) Bashir II imposed an exorbitant tax on all the property of the Order in the regions of Jbayl and Batroun, but modified his demands at the request of Father General Ignatius (Ghantios) Bleybel.47 He had a new land survey made for the monasteries of Zawiye, at the request of Father General Bleybel, in order to put an end to the injustices committed against the Order.

Often the Order paid not only the taxes being exacted on its own property but also those imposed on the peasants using its land and on the poor. It considered this action to be a national duty, which would help ensure the stability and legitimacy of the Shehabite emirate and the autonomy of Mount Lebanon where it had imposed itself. Father General Ignatius (Ghantios) Bleybel, who was seven times elected head of the Order, administering it for approximately twenty-two years, deserves much credit for showing such understanding. In fact, there was a solid bond of friendship between Father Bleybel and Prince (Amir) Bashir II Shehab.

But Prince (Amir) Amin, son of Prince (Amir) Bashir, turned against the Father General for having refused to lend him the price of the farm at Majdel Agoura. The prince encouraged a group of monks who were in league against their superior, complaining of his long extended mandate that had exasperated the opposition against him. When the General Chapter met at the Monastery of Our Lady of Tamish in 1832, the majority of the monks present were inclined to renew the mandate of Bleybel yet again. However, the minority staged what would now be called a sit-in strike at the Monastery of St. Joseph (Mar Yusuf) at al-Bourj. The Maronite Patriarchate acted as mediator between the two parties and as a result of its action Father Bleybel gave up his position of Father General in order to avoid any danger of division in the Order. As a compromise, Benedict (Mubarak) Hlayhel was elected Father General (1832-1835).

In this way, there ended a period which was to have important repercussions in the years to follow.

The Time of Transformation (1832-1913)

This period of change and upheaval lasted eighty-one years. Eighteen Father Generals succeeded each other in authority over the Order, some of them for more than one term, whether elected or appointed. Some, on the other hand, were unable to finish even one term, whether because of illness or because of death. Once during this time, in 1889-1891, there was a Vicar General, Father Yuwassaf Unaysi al-Jaji.

At the beginning of the period we are now dealing with, in 1834 to be precise, the number of monks rose to 573, of whom 211 were priests, 313 were coadjutor brothers and 49 were student brothers in the monasteries of Sts. Cyprian and Justina (Qibriyanus wa Yustina) at Kfifan, and St. Maroun at Bir Snein.

In 1908, the monks numbered nine hundred, of whom seven hundred were priests and two hundred were brothers. At the beginning of the mandate of Father General Martin (Martinos) Saba al-Ghostawi (1875-1889), the Holy See issued an order forbidding the noviciate to accept candidates for the monastic life. In 1884 the order was rescinded, with the restriction that novices could be received only at the Monastery of St. George (Mar Jerjes) at an-Naameh.

During this same period, a number of monasteries, centres and schools were founded, most of them detached from the former properties of the Order, as we shall show further on. A history covering these years has yet to be written. In point of fact, Fr. Louis Bleybel, the historian of the Order, stopped short at the year 1832. Fr. Maroun Karam, for his part, gives some general observations and some figures in his Qissat al-Mulkiyya (History of the Property) and Ruhban Dayitna (Monks of Our Village), but he neither analyses them nor does he describe their evolution.

We shall mention in brief certain external and internal factors, whose interaction in our society led to the breakdown of the traditional classes politically, economically and culturally, causing what we have described as a transformation marking the history of Lebanon as a whole, as well as of the monastic life of the country.

In the political sphere, conflicts opposing the European powers came out into the open in the regions that concern us here, undermining the foundations of the Shehabite emirate and leading to chaos and disaster. After the withdrawal of the Egyptians from Mount Lebanon in 1840, the Great Powers added fuel to the fire of the bloody sectarian clashes that opposed the Druze to the Maronites in 1841, 1845 and 1860. They installed weak regimes in the mountain area, namely the direct military government of the Ottoman Turks, the two caimacamates, or sub-prefectures, and the regime of Shakeeb Effendi, all of which were replaced in 1861 by the Mutasarrifate (governorate), the latter having on the whole the approval of the Lebanese.

The Order suffered terribly during these crises, as a result of which no less than thirty-six monks met their death. As for its property, there were losses estimated at hundreds of millions of piastres. Most of the monasteries in the Matn and the Shouf were pillaged and put to sack. The monks drew on their resources and made good their losses as best they could. With their habitual tenacity they set about carrying out repairs, making good the destruction and rebuilding what had been destroyed in order to ensure the continuation of their mission and to show their fidelity to authentic, active co-existence in the Mountain.

In the economic sphere, from 1830 onwards, the Industrial Revolution invaded the region, bringing it into the framework of international trade. European merchandise flooded the local market and sapped the very foundations of the rural economy. The commercial treaties concluded between the Great Powers and the Ottoman Empire in 1838 and 1861 defined the methods to be followed by the exchange, subjecting transport and Customs to taxes totally inadapted to the local forces of production and to the costs they incurred. Trade was stepped up year by year, increasing the demand for liquid currency. This encouraged the inhabitants to hoard money in order to meet the demands of the new kind of life and to pay the taxes.

The monks submitted to these new conditions with considerable reluctance. Like so many other Lebanese, they pushed ahead with the cultivation of mulberry trees and raised silkworms, since the production of silk responded to the commercial demands of the time. In this way, they were able to obtain the cash without which they could not procure the necessities of life, pay off their debts or pay the taxes. As far as was possible, they tried to build up this fragile sector of the economy, often affected by epidemics among the silkworms and by various fluctuating political and economic factors. At the end of the 19th century, they were obliged to purchase silkworm eggs directly from France. This activity remained their most important economic resource, to the point where the area of arable land was measured in the sums of money devoted to planting mulberry trees. Shortly before World War I, the Ottoman authorities imposed a blockade on the Mountain, stifling the silkworm farmer and his industry. After the war, silk production was replaced by new cultures, with the development of orchards of apples and other kinds of fruit. The silk-spinneries continued to function at a lower tempo until the sixties of the 20th century, witnesses of a more prosperous past, and then closed their doors for good.

During the second half of the 19th century, a new social class appeared, formed of commission agents and brokers who took over the culture of silkworms, taking advantage of the decline of the traditional aristocracy and of the readiness of the farmers to turn to them to ensure the sale of their produce. They made enormous profits and gained considerably in importance in Lebanese society. Even the monks made use of their services in order to find a market for their produce.

During the second half of the 19th century, the Order began to devote a part of its active forces to the apostolate, teaching in schools and serving in parishes. It was thus obliged to rely more and more on the labour of others to exploit its lands rather than on that of its own members. These people were either peasants associated in sharing investment and profit, or seasonal labourers. However, with the economic crisis growing ever more acute and the cost of living steadily rising, the former were increasingly obliged to concern themselves exclusively with their own business. The pool of seasonal labour steadily declined and the reduce number of workmen on the labour market led to a rise in salaries. For example, at the beginning of the century a day-labourer earned a half piastre per day, while at the end of it he was demanding two piastres, This sudden inflation resulted in an economic stagnation which cost the Order dearly, The largest monasteries, such as St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya and Our Lady of Mashmousheh, ran into deficit while others staggered under a crushing burden of debt.

This economic crisis drove the Order to rely to a greater degree on the system of sharecropping. This method of co-ownership worked well enough and with considerable regularity. The monks considered that backing the interests of their sharecroppers was an integral part of their humanitarian mission, and they considered both parties to be on an absolutely equal footing. The Order therefore put its possessions at the disposition of its associates, offered them seed and tools as well as more than half the crop, paid their taxes, assured them protection and educated their children.

However, the economic crisis grew steadily more acute, undermining the traditional close relationships. It gave rise to complicated economic and social problems, which began to raise their heads in 1861, when the inhabitants of Btiddeen al-Liqsh sued the Monastery of Our Lady of Mashmousheh. The Order won the case thanks to its lawyer Fr. Ignatius (Ghantios) Shukri, who advised Father General Laurence (Laurentius) Yammine ash-Shababi to put copies of the report of the case in the archives of the Mother House at the Monastery of Our Lady of Tamish and in those of the monasteries of Our Lady of Mayfouq and St. Anthony the Great (Mar Antonios al-Kabir) at Quzhayya, and also to send further copies to the Maronite Patriarchate and the other Orders, so that they would be in a better position if similar cases arose in the future. Events were to show that the lawyer-priest was farsighted, for the problem of opposition by the sharecroppers and local populace of Btiddeen al-Liqsh to the Monastery of Our Lady of Mashmousheh came to the surface again at the end of the 19th century and on the eve of the First World War (1914-1918). Inspired by charity towards the neighbours and a desire for good understanding and peace, the Order ceded its rights. Sharecroppers of al-Arbe brought up complaints against the Monastery of Quzhayya, but in this case the Order fought and won the case, thanks to Fr. Joseph (Yusuf) Raffoul, after having lost large sums of money.

The long-lasting economic recession brought about a large-scale emigration of the working force, including many of the sharecroppers exploiting monastery lands. These were in the habit of relying on the monasteries to look after the needs of their families, and in this duty the monasteries did not fail.

During the depression, the possessions of the Order, resources that the nation could fall back on and that were the fruit of centuries of toil, became the cynosure of jealous eyes and there were irresponsible individuals who called for their requisitioning and redistribution. Calumnies were spread repeatedly without any consideration of past history or concern for the future.

In later years, the State violated the principle of private property by carrying out public works on the Order's land without the least compensation. This happened in particular at the Karantina, where quarantine quarters and an isolation hospital were built together with a gas company. There was also the destruction of a religious house (ontosh) in the centre of Beirut to allow the widening of a road, again without compensation. The attitude of the Order was one of acceptance of the situation in view of the public interest. The same sort of situation exists now with the property at an-Naameh and Damour.

As far as culture and education were concerned, ever since 1830 Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox foreign missionaries had been stepping up their activities aimed at promoting education in our country. It should be pointed out here that by the time of the Mutassarifate, all the social classes in the country were demanding education.

Wishing to maintain its vanguard role in society, the Order remained in direct contact with the Lebanese population in which it had its roots, the mentality of which it was thoroughly familiar with, and which it had taken on itself to educate ever since its foundation. So it also developed its educational activity, founding a great number of schools scattered over all parts of the country. The most important were the schools of Beit Lahya founded in 1836, Ras al-Matn in 1831, ash-Shbaniye in 1839, Himlaya in 1849, Ain Zebde in 1853, al-Azra and Kfarheyal in 1854, al-Mtayn in 1866 (St. Joseph "Mar Yusuf ", restored). Jezzine Valley (Wadi Jezzine) in 1873, Ighbe in 1890, Beirut (for the seminarists of the Order) in 1891, Saqiy Rashmaya, Shqadeef and Baabdat in 1896, Batha in 1904 and Turzaya in 1932.

Some of these schools did not remain open very long. Nevertheless, their number indicates clearly the missionary path that the Order was following. Limiting themselves generally to the primary level of education, these schools contributed as far as it was possible to the elimination of analphabetism. As for the foreign missions, it was they who generally provided instruction at higher levels.

As a consequence, there was a dynamic cultural movement in Lebanon, which gave it a leading role in the Arab world, and a new class of intellectual workers appeared. These people devoted themselves to the liberal professions, such as teaching, medicine, journalism and law. Public administration absorbed a large number of highly competent people who found no outlet in economic development. It will be seen, therefore, that this cultural movement had some negative repercussions on the country when it resulted in an excessive drift of the work force towards teaching and other professional careers. The rudimentary methods of formation in the more practical crafts then prevailing did not allow any progress in agriculture, nor did they permit the development of a thriving industrial sector. Neither the local authorities nor the Ottoman Empire were concerned with making good the deficiencies from which the economy suffered. As far as literary inventiveness is concerned, scholars have found no works of value from this period. Translation was at a standstill and printing was limited to liturgical books, to some theological translations and to certain books considered to have historical value. In 1856, the Order bought a printing press which it installed in the Monastery of Our Lady of Tamish. Manuscript production continued.

As a result of the disorder prevalent in the region, there was a deterioration in the internal situation of the Order. The superiors and the monks of the various monasteries withdrew into purely local interests, neglecting to attend the periodical meetings for coordination and concertation. This resulted in a progressive intervention of Rome in the affairs of the Order. One example may be seen in the fact that the vicars apostolic, who were the bishops for the Latins and at that time represented Rome to the local Church (translator's note), were obliged to designate the Father General of the Order. Fr. Saba Kraydi al-Aqouri was the first to be designated in this fashion, in 1845, followed by Fr. Laurence (Laurentius) Yammine ash-Shababi in 1850 and again in 1856, following the so-called Synod of Shwadih. Ash-Shababi extended his authority over most of the monasteries in the region of Jbayl and Hadath al-Jibbe. Those of the Matn and the Shouf put themselves under Fr. Arsenios an-Nihawi, who had been elected. Ash- Shababi and an-Nihawi were reconciled in 1859 shortly before the decease of the latter and the Order became united once again under ash-Shababi, who remained the elected Father General until 1862.

In order to ensure the continued unity of the Order, Rome had recourse to the system of apostolic visitation, with which task Monsignor Joseph (Yusuf) Geagea, Archbishop of the Maronite Diocese of Cyprus, was charged between 1857 and 1874. Fr. Ephraem Geagea of Bsharri was at the head of the Order from 1862 to 1874.

Afterwards, the vicar apostolic, a man of Italian origin, Ludovici Piavi (1875-1889), was appointed apostolic visitor. His stormy temperament rendered him unable to use his authority to settle problems without having recourse to violent methods. He replaced the Arabic text of the Lebanese Synod of 1736, which safeguarded the autonomy of the Maronite Church and the attributions of the Patriarchs, by the Latin version and even tried to make the choice of patriarchs and bishops subject to investiture by the Ottomans. He ignored the regulations of the Lebanese Order and tried to win the favour of Rustum Basha (Turkish Pasha, governor), and so provoked increasing opposition from within the Order, supported by the patriotic movement led by the popular hero from Ehden, Yusuf Bek Karam. This angered the vicar apostolic, who together with the ruling power tried to suppress this resistance.

It happened by chance that at that moment Mutassarif Rustum Basha was on a visit to Ehden. There, he convoked the monks of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios at Quzhayya, who were harassed and humiliated. While a number of them were being led by the soldiers to the prison of Beit ad-Dine and were passing along close to Batroun, some of their brethren from the monasteries around Jbayl and Batroun tried to come to their rescue. However, a force composed of gendarmes arrived and seized the would-be rescuers. Once they had arrived at the prison of Beit ad-Dine, the monks were submitted to forced labour and, as a result of this treatment, some of them died. It was the first time that such an incident had happened in the Ottoman Empire. The Council of Assistants of the Order thereupon decided on certain measures, by virtue of which some of the monks of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya were transferred to nearby religious centres, to which some of the lands were at the same time attached.

The successive apostolic visitations limited the field of action of the General Chapters of the Order. The last ten years of the 19th century were marked by calls for reform. All eyes were on Fr. Benedict (Mubarak) Salameh al-Mtayni, formerly at St. Joseph's University, run by the Jesuits in Beirut. During his term as Father General from 1891 to 1895, Father Benedict (Mubarak) did all in his power to restore normality, but, because of the complications mentioned above and because of the short time he was in office, he was unable to attain his objectives. In 1893, a Jesuit, Fr. Martin (Martinov), drew up an outline for the first project of reform which was revised by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and then presented to the monks. A letter addressed to the monks by Father General Martin (Martinos) Shemali (1895-1899) presented the same considerations and Patriarch Elias Hwayek (1899-1932), for his part, made similar recommendations.

Subsequently, Vicar Apostolic Duval took over the apostolic visitation. This time, Rome took care to ensure the participation of Patriarch Hwayek. This particular visitation lasted from 1898 to 1907 and was marked by abusive interference in the affairs of the Order by bishops close to the Patriarch.

Father General Joseph (Yusuf) Raffoul (1904-1910) set about defending the Order with a courage, sang-froid and skill which recall the qualities, enthusiasm and zeal of the monks of the first generation, particularly Thomas (Touma) al-Labboudi. Indeed, Raffoul and al-Labboudi both shared the same fighting spirit, intelligence and, to a large degree, the spirituality of Qaraali and Farhat. Raffoul attached all the documents deemed necessary to the secret report, which he addressed to the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda at the Apostolic See, with the result that this particular visitation was wound up in 1907.

This, however, meant only the beginning of a new apostolic visitation covering all three Maronite orders, with which three Latin-rite monks were charged. Two of them later withdrew and the duty was confided to Fr. Galland. With the support of Fr. Raffoul, Fr. Louis Bleybel, the historian of the Order, waged a virulent underground press campaign against the visitation, obtaining the blessing of Patriarch Hwayek, who saw in the visitation a diminution of his prerogatives. The newspaper al-Munazer (The Correspondent) of Naoum Labaki al-Baabdati described the ups and downs of this campaign, which was also backed by al-Bashir (The Messenger). A stop was put to the visitation during the First World War, but it was resumed in 1922.

The proper approach to the various problems became clearer thanks to Fr. Galland, who himself analysed the shortcomings and stated them in a long report concerning the three orders made in 1911. A series of short studies was drawn up with a view to treating each order separately, but these studies were not rendered public. It was at this time that Fr. Louis Bleybel began writing his history of the Order. Father General Raffoul presented a most valuable study of its laws and regulations, emphasising his long experience in the matter of their application. He attached to it an economic survey in which he evaluated the resources of the Order between 1904 and 1907, putting them at 2,763,790 piastres. From this sum the expenditure of the various properties necessary for their maintenance was subtracted. The average daily outlay for each member of the Order, which counted some eight hundred monks, nuns and novices, was three piastres and five baras. This covered all expenses for the monk, “who used it to cover the cost of unforeseeable but necessary building work, shared it with his guest and his servant (from whose hands it passed to those of people greedy for gain) and also drew on it to face natural catastrophes.” Fr. Raffoul's remarks are comparable to those made by Fr. Labboudi one hundred and fifty years previously; also, he was the first person to establish a relationship between the number of monks and the volume of their production. From the productive labour force he excluded novices, students and the aged. This calculation gives us some idea of the state of agriculture early in the 20th century in a Lebanese institution engaged in agriculture as its principal resource.

It should be mentioned here that the apostolic visitation continued until 1952 and was restarted in 1991.

Father General Genadius Sarkis (1910-1913) tried to put the economy on a firm footing, following up the initiatives of Father General Joseph (Yusuf) Raffoul. He organised the Department of the Econom-General, charged with running the business side of the Order. He addressed a letter to all the superiors of houses, urging them to pay attention to maintaining the archives of the Order and advising them on how they should organise the records, diaries and ledgers of each monastery. He sought to have the Monastery of St. Elias at Kahlouniye set aside for those wanting to lead a strictly cloistered life. He also began to apply the distinction between simple or temporary vows and solemn or permanent vows. However, the uncertainty preceding World War I (1914-1918) prevented the full realisation of these projects.

It may be said that the second half of the 19th century ended on an optimistic note. It had been a period of much building activity, with new monasteries and schools as mentioned above and new centres of activity made independent of the old monastic houses.

Here is the list:

- In 1840, the Monastery of St. Jacob (Mar Yaaqoub), al-Hosn, near Douma. Its property was detached from that of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Houb, to serve the Maronites of the region.- In 1845, the Monastery of St. Rock (Mar Roukoz) at Mrah al-Mir. Its property was detached from the Mother House of the Order at Nahr as-Saleeb and Ajaltoun, in order to help the service of souls.

- In 1847, the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Jdaydeh, and the Monastery of St. George (Mar Jerjes) at Aashash. Their property was detached from the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya.

- In 1847, the Monastery of St. John Maroun (Mar Yuhanna Maroun) at Qubbayaa. Its property was detached from the Monastery of St. Elias at Kahlouniye.

- In 1847, the Monastery of St. Artemius (Mar Shallita) at al-Quttara. Father General Laurence (Laurentius) Yammine ash-Shababi took charge of its construction in 1851.

- In 1851, the Monastery of St. George (Mar Jerjes) at Deir Jannin, in a state of ruin when the Order received it from Bishop Paul (Boulos) Kassab.

- In 1854, the Monastery of Saints Peter and Paul (Butrus wa Boulos) at Azra.- In 1855, the religious house (ontosh) of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Jaffa.

- In 1858, the religious house (ontosh) of Our Lady (Saydeh) at Baalbek.

- In 1863, the Monastery of the Holy Saviour (al-Mukhalles) at Bhannin.

- The Convent of St. Simon Stylites (Mar Simaan al-Amoudi) at al-Qarn, Aytu. In 1863, the Order accepted it from Bishop Paul (Boulos) Moussa so that it could serve for looking after the affairs of the nuns.

- In 1876, the Monastery of Our Lady of Deliverance (Saydet an-Najat) at Bsarma. Its property was detached from the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Quzhayya.

- In 1879, the Monastery of Our Lady of Victory (Saydet an-Nasr) at Ghosta, founded as a school for young people entering the Order; it incarnates the magnificence of monastic
architecture of the time.

- In 1894, the Convent of St. Maroun at Qnaytra, built for the benefit of the Lebanese Maronite Nuns.

- In 1897, the Convent of St. Joseph (Mar Yusuf) at Jrebta, likewise built for the nuns.

- In 1907, the Monastery of St. Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Nabatiye. Its property was detached from the Monastery of Our Lady of Mashmousheh.

This present introduction is necessarily too brief to allow any discussion of the motives behind the construction of the various monasteries and religious centres.

In addition to the direction towards the apostolate taken by the Order during this period, the reader will observe the tentative beginnings of reform. Father General Saba Kraydi al-Aqouri had sent a first group of monks to follow studies at the college of the Jesuit Fathers at Ghazir, hoping that at a later date they would be able to run the schools belonging to the Order.

Father General Benedict (Mubarak) Salameh al-Mtayni maintained this agreement when the Jesuit Fathers moved to Beirut and there founded St. Joseph's University, which comprised a faculty of philosophy and theology. In 1891, the Father General paid Elias Mhawesh, a Maronite of Beit Meri, a sum of one thousand French gold pounds for a residence in Abd al-Wahab al-Inklizi Street near St. Joseph's, intended for the students studying at the University. In this way, the Order returned to Beirut and is still installed there. The graduates of St. Joseph's devoted themselves to educational and scientific questions in the Order. Then, in 1950, the University of the Holy Spirit was founded at Kaslik, a dream long cherished, and took over the intellectual formation of the young monks.

Nobody is likely to forget the face of St. Sharbel, the hermit of Annaya, who shed his light over his century before giving his soul to God in 1898. The news of his miracles spread around the whole world and he was canonised for the whole Church in 1977.

St. Sharbel and his many brother monks, living in religious communities or alone in hermitages, incarnate an authentic spiritual heritage still very much alive, which is the very essence of monastic life and guarantees the continuity of the Lebanese Maronite Order, despite the internal crises and the outside upheavals which have affected it.

This spirituality springs from attachment to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the observance of the teachings of the Gospel, the strict observance of the Constitution, and the practice of prayer, fasting and self-sacrifice. The daily striving after sanctity refines the personality of the Lebanese monk, marks his conduct with distinctive signs and makes the Order a school of Christian perfection which teaches the road to Heaven. St. Sharbel, the Venerable al-Hardini, Blessed Rafqa and many others have simply been witnesses to the Christian ideal. They put an indelible mark on their society by the simplicity of their convictions and they affirmed immutable values and virtues. The faithful strive to imitate them, while imploring their intercession and visiting their tombs. This spiritual dimension is the leaven in the dough for society and still attracts vocations to the monastery.

The Period of Opening out and Expansion throughout the World (1918-1995)

The 20th century has been a time of radical change, both in Lebanese society and in the world at large. All this has imposed important educational, social and national obligations on the Order, obligations which it had a duty to shoulder and of which it had to bear the cost, for the State was not yet ready to assume responsibility for all the transformations that were taking place. The factors making for change have multiplied. Worldwide conflicts have arisen, overturning political and economic systems and, as a result of the fighting, transforming the demographic structures. Peoples have become intermingled and the rate of emigration has risen sharply. Inventions and discoveries have followed each other in quick succession, with repercussions on the level and quality of the organization of work. The worldwide network of ground, sea and air communications has made giant progress. Family life, and indeed the very conception of it, has been radically altered, largely because of the new conditions in people's homes following the introduction of electro-mechanical household appliances once undreamed of. Quite ordinary families have refrigerators, washing machines, telephones, radio sets and TV receivers, and now personal computers and the fax.

The Order has not been left behind in this progress of our country Lebanon and has contributed to it insofar as its principles, its means and its possibilities have allowed and the situation permitted. It had long become used to accepting burdensome responsibilities, most of all in critical times. When the First World War broke out, when tens of thousands of Lebanese perished, when many more suffered from famine and when uncounted numbers had to endure the blockade and every sort of injustice and loss of ordinary liberties, the Order joined forces with the Maronite Patriarchate so as to ease the people's sufferings and misfortunes. Father General Ignatius (Ghnatios) Dagher (1913-1929) mortgaged all the Order's possessions with the government of France for a sum of two million gold francs, which were devoted to relieving those in dire poverty and need.

There was a similar drama during the Second World War (1939-1945). Once again, the Order played the Good Samaritan and opened the doors of its monasteries, in particular the Monastery of St. George (Mar Jerjes) at an-Naameh, to the refugees and people in desperate straits. The civil authorities awarded Father General Basil Ghanem (1938-1944) the Gold Medal as a token of thanks for the sacrifices willingly made by the Order.

Father General John (Yuhanna) Andari (1944-1950) followed the example of his predecessors in 1948 by opening the monastery doors to the refugees from Palestine. Father General Moses (Mousses) Azar (1950-1956) took special care of the victims of the earthquake that struck Lebanon in 1956. From its general funds, the Order allotted considerable sums in compensation for damage.

When the war of 1975 broke out in Lebanon, uprooting tens of thousands of Christians from their homes, their villages and their lands, Father General Sharbel Qassis (1974-1980) mobilised all the resources of the Order in order to come to their aid. It was he who founded the Lebanese Front, cornerstone of the Christian Resistance, and so brought the Lebanese Cause into the mainstream of contemporary history.

Father General Paul (Boulos) Naaman (1980-1986) followed this national line, putting it on a firmer foundation. He conducted discussions at the highest level with the political forces in order to find a solution for the problem of Lebanon. He gave his attention to the displaced persons, the forgotten people of the war. In 1984, he had three buildings constructed for them on the lands f the Monastery of Our Lady of Succour (Saydet al-Maounat), overlooking Jbayl.

Father General Basil Hashem (1986-1992) gave help and encouragement to the free school of Blessed Rafqa, which operated until 1993 with six hundred pupils spread over the primary and complementary classes. In addition, the Order encouraged charitable works, and its monks made every effort to serve the displaced persons who had fled from Damour and other localities, giving them the pastoral services they needed. Some members of the Order set up special restaurants where those clients who were now poor and needy could obtain their meals free. Other members did their best to remedy the evil consequences of the war by forming an organisation to look after sick people who had fallen victim to drug abuse.

These various initiatives made some contribution towards easing the lot of those who had suffered from the dramatic situation resulting from the war. However, the Order did not perform acts of charity only during times of trial, but also sought to ease the suffering endured by people under conditions of ordinary existence. In 1949, it founded the Hospital of Our Lady of Succour (Saydet al-Maounat) in Jbayl and in 1973 transferred it to its present site on a hill directly overlooking the town. It did all in its power to equip it with the most modern laboratories and material, as well as with a medical staff chosen from among the very best specialists, so that now the hospital ranks as one of the most important in the country.

As the whole region between Jbayl and Tripoli was without any medical centre, in 1964 the Order built the St. Sharbel Hospital at Batroun, ceding it in 1972 to the Lebanese government. The year 1964 also saw the construction of the orphanage and hospice of Our Lady of Lebanon (Saydet Lubnan) at Harissa. It now shelters hundreds of children, providing them with the conditions necessary for a decent education, and takes care of the elderly, assuring them all the services they need.

The Order has been purposefully gaining experience in every field, particularly in teaching and the apostolate, and is therefore in an excellent position to serve Lebanese society, which is now evolving rapidly and aspiring to progress in the modern ways of life. In point of fact, it has been active in education ever since its foundation, for the Lebanese Synod gave strong encouragement to education and approved decisions making it obligatory and available free for boys and girls alike. For those times, such measures could be considered revolutionary.

The Order was determined to put these decisions into practice, and its primary schools have always accepted pupils belonging to all different social classes and religious communities. At the beginning of the 20th century, the need for complementary and secondary education became more urgent, which explains why, in 1919, when there were sessions at the Conference of Versailles devoted to the future of Syria and Lebanon, particular attention was given the question of education. The Lebanese called on the Father Generals to provide instruction and the Order answered the successive appeals and demands by founding colleges in most areas of Lebanon, particularly in the rural areas in order that the inhabitants should not be tempted to leave them for the city. These colleges had classes for all levels of schooling, primary, intermediate junior high) and secondary (senior high). As for the ordinary schools, in relation to the 19th century their number went down. But as the influx of pupils increased and more members of the Order became involved in teaching, and as management became more complex and organised, the remaining schools had to be separated from the monasteries one after the other, and to be given their own independent premises and budgeting. New institutions were founded in conformity with the requirements of modern education and equipped with the necessary material. The school programmes were adapted to the teaching methods then being introduced. These schools and colleges bore comparison with the leading scholastic establishments in the East and even with those in Europe. They transformed their milieu and made a reputation for themselves thanks to the efforts of their teachers, the assiduity of their pupils, and the confidence and satisfaction shown by the people. They operated in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, had good relations with foreign embassies, and organised yearly scientific and sporting events, with trips in Lebanon and abroad serving cultural purposes and at the same time providing enjoyment. By 1944 these colleges were becoming so important that the Order found itself obliged to institute a new post of Director General of Schools in its General Authority for their supervision. The first to occupy this position was Fr. Joseph (Yusuf) Torbey, later Father General (1962-1968).

The most important schools run by the Order are as follows:

The School of Our Lady of Mayfouq founded 1922
The School of Our Lady of Mashmousheh founded 1922
The School of St. Maroun, Bir Snein founded 1936
St. George's School, Aashash founded 1945
The Lebanese College, Beit Shabab founded 1945
St. Anthony's School, Shikka founded 1947
St. Sharbel's School, Jiyye founded 1949
St. Anthony's School, Hamana founded 1951
St. Joseph's School, al-Mtayn founded 1951
The School of Our Lady of Tamish founded 1951
The Central College, Jounieh founded 1966
St. Elias's School, Kahlouniye founded 1967

These schools were highly successful in giving instruction to their pupils and forming their character. Former students acceded to the most important posts in the public and private sectors. But they could not be economically self-sufficient. The salaries of the teachers and other employees rose with the cost of living. At the same time, there were poor and needy parents who were unable to pay the school fees in full. The government for its part provided no subsidies, although its own schools were unable to absorb the growing number of youngsters of school age. The Order therefore allocated large sums of money for these schools and many of its priests were employed in running them. It supported them thanks to the produce of its monasteries, sometimes finding itself obliged to sell some of its property in order to sustain the effort. During the nineteen-seventies, the Order entrusted some of its schools to the government for a minimal rent. The recent war (1975-1990) resulted in the destruction of a number of them, such as St. George's (Mar Jerjes) School at Aashash, where three monks had their throats cut in 1975, St. Joseph's (Mar Yusuf) at al-Mtayn, St. Elias's at Kahlouniye, St. Maroun's at Bir Snein, and St. Sharbel's at Jiyye, the last-mentioned being the only one so far to have reopened its doors, in 1991. The Order has as yet received no compensation for its losses.

In 1976, after one year of war in Lebanon, the Order felt that the handicapped victims had a right to a decent existence and deserved the self-sacrifice and devotion of others. It therefore transformed the college at Beit Shabab into a hospital for them, while letting its other schools continue to play their part in the education of Lebanese society.

The primary aim of the first members of the Order had been to lead the life of anchorites and hermits. However, this did not prevent it keeping the apostolate at the centre of its preoccupations, without in so doing hurting anybody's susceptibilities. The founders followed this line and so did the succeeding generations. Monsignor as-Simaani encouraged such a course and the Lebanese Synod provided it with a framework. As a result, many of the monks went off to work in such difficult regions such as Akkar, the mountains of Lattakieh, the Beqaa, Akka, Cyprus and Egypt.

The apostolate of the Order ran up against many legal obstacles and human interference because of the presence of Western missionaries, the attitude of the Maronite hierarchy and the problems arising from the enforced contact between the monks and the ordinary people. However, thanks to their praiseworthy conduct and their energy, the monks overcame all these difficulties. During the 19th century, they widened their field of action. In point of fact, there were few villages where the monks did not preach during Lent, strengthening the faith of the inhabitants and promoting Christian living and prayer. so it was that they gained the people's trust, entering into their consciences and their secrets, sharing their troubles and worries and also their joys, helping to solve their problems, accompanying them in their devotions and providing them with the support of their advice and their guidance.

It is impossible to give a complete list of all the monks who were engaged in this spiritual activity or to make a quantitative estimate of the results of their efforts. The most concrete evidence that we have is in the records of the Father General's office, where we find innumerable demands made by the faithful asking for services, even in the heart of the region of Kesrouan. The apostolate of the Order was not confined within the geographical frontiers of Lebanon; it was carried to wherever there was need and to every country where there were Lebanese immigrants. The sacrifices accepted by the Order for the Diaspora resulted in a work of great national and spiritual value.

The following is a chronological and geographical table of the missions of the Order outside Lebanon:

The Monastery of St. Elias, Mtoushi. Cyprus founded 1737
The Dakkar Mission, Senegal founded 1949
The Mendoza Mission, Argentina founded 1952
The Sao Paulo Mission, Brazil founded 1954
The Abidjian Mission, Ivory Coast founded 1954
The Bamako Mission, Mali founded 1959
The Mexico City Mission, Mexico founded 1960
The Tucuman Mission, Argentina founded 1960
The Sydney Mission, Australia founded 1972
The London Mission, United Kingdom founded 1983
The Montreal Mission, Canada founded 1984
St. Sharbel's House, Suresnes, France founded 1987
The Caracas Mission, Venezuela founded 1988

In view of the scale of its missionary work, in 1955 the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches, presided by Cardinal Tisserand, decided to proclaim the Lebanese Maronite Order a missionary order.

The previously mentioned radical transformations of Lebanese society occurring in the course of the 20th century have not prevented the Order from paying attention to its purely internal affairs.Ever since Father Ignatius (Ghnatios) Dagher was Father General, the Order has concerned itself with the process of the beatification and canonisation of its saints. The Order considered that the sanctity of its sons was the living proof of the depth and richness of its spiritual heritage, as sanctity was the ultimate goal of those adhering to it and the sure guarantee of its future. We all know that St. Sharbel was canonized in 1977. As for the causes of Blessed Rafqa and the Venerable Naamatallah Kassab al-Hardini, these are being followed up. Many others wait to have their virtues made known.

Turning to another matter, we observe that the Order has always sought to renew its Constitution, in order to be more in harmony with the times.

It was during the term of Father General Martin (Martinos) Torbey (1929-1938) that a commission was formed with the purpose of studying it.

Father General John (Yuhanna) Andari reactivated this commission. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches verified the authenticity of the Constitution resulting from its labours and confirmed it in 1960, during the term of Father General Ignatius (Ghnatios) Abi Sleyman (1956-1962). It was applied for a trial period of ten years. Its study was taken up again during the mandate of Father General Peter (Butrus) Azzi (1968-1974) and the commission finished its work in 1974. Great efforts were made under succeeding mandates to amend it.

At the beginning of the mandate of Father General John (Yuhanna) Tabet, February 4, 1993, the General Chapter Extraordinary put the last touches to the texts of the Constitution and monastic statutes so that they could be published in their definitive form. Their confirmation is expected soon.

The joint studies and regular meetings within the Order favor an atmosphere of dialogue and democracy, showing that the Order is an institution that has every possibility of continuing along the path now being followed.

During this recent period, the Order has paid particular attention to its younger members, concerning itself with every stage of their formation. It chooses qualified educators and learned and exemplary monks to train them. Centers have been chosen which assure them all the conditions of religious community life. In 1939, the category of postulants was introduced to take in those of twelve years and over whose thoughts were turning towards the monastic vocation. The candidates for the Order, with the exception of those doing the noviciate, were then accommodated in the seminary at Kaslik. So the Order reaped the harvest of what it had sown and nurtured, giving education and spiritual formation to sons who would carry on its work and administer its resources.

The University of the Holy Spirit at Kaslik, founded in 1950, is the outcome of many years of endeavor on the part of the Order in the fields of learning and instruction. It inaugurated a new era of an outlook directed towards man, towards the world and towards contemporary problems, The Order also sends some of its monks to the universities of Europe and America to complete their specialization. On their return, they work in education, in research and in administration in the institutions of the Order, particularly the University at Kaslik.

The University of the Holy Spirit at Kaslik has eight faculties, including the Pontifical Faculty of Theology, and three institutes. Its evolution and development continue without break. It acts as a leaven in society, thanks to the learning and abilities of its former students and its intellectual output, which is taken into account in the citadels of scholarship around the world.

The University of the Holy Spirit at Kaslik has distinguished itself by fostering a liturgical and musical renaissance in conformity with the decision of Vatican Council II and with the needs of the Maronite Church. The collection of liturgical books, which form much of the output of its publishing house, expresses the influence of this renaissance among the faithful. Apart from the past and present production of the University, the present phase has been marked within the Order itself by the composition and translation of works too numerous for us to mention here. Much of this literature has been printed on the presses operated by the Order, which has in addition produced other publications for disseminating information, in particular the reviews Al-Mina (The Port), As-Sanabel (The Ears of Wheat), Awraq Ruhbaniyya (Monastic Leaves), Kalimat ash-Sharq (Word of the East), Biblia, etc.

The Order has launched the series Tariq al-Mahabbat (The Path of Love) to teach the Christian religion by modern methods. It also produces religious programmes on radio and television, etc. No mission can be carried on without the inspiration of the Cross of Christ. The sacrifice of oneself and of one's worldly possessions is the most striking witness to the sanctity of one's mission. This is the witness that the Order has given in company with the Lebanese people during the recent disturbances in Lebanon (1975-1990). Three of its sons fell martyrs at the Monastery of St. George (Mar Jerjes) at Aashash, the two priests Fathers Anthony (Antonios) Thamineh and Peter (Butrus) Sassine and Brother John (Hanna) Maqsoud, on September 8, 1975. Then there were Fathers Joseph (Yusuf) Farah and George (Jerjes) Harb at the Monastery of St. George (Mar Jerjes) at Deir Jannin, on January 18, 1976. Finally, there was Father Francis Daher Abu Antoun at St. John Maroun's (Mar Yuhanna Maroun) Monastery at Qubbayaa, on June 29, 1982. Eight monasteries were looted and destroyed in the Shouf and the Matn, while their monks suffered the terrors of siege, persecution ion and expulsion.

The Order has returned to these regions, striving to rebuild the monasteries and centers which were destroyed and to re-establish good relations with the various Lebanese religious communities. The grace of God has given it the strength to refuse all compensation for the extensive losses suffered. It therefore looks forward to another centenary with intense faith, burning love and well- grounded hope.

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