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Relic heralds ‘new chapter’ for Maronites


About 500 members of the local Maronite community gathered to welcome and venerate a precious first-class relic of their patron and founding father, Saint Maroun, on February 18.

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In what was a solemn occasion, members of the congregation processed the reliquary along a short stretch of Goodwood Road and then into St Maroun’s Church. Joining the procession were the Maronite Bishop of Australia Antoine-Charbel Tarabay of Sydney, local Maronite priest Fr Louis Saad and Monsignor Rob Egar.

Following Mass, parishioners took the opportunity for veneration and prayers before the relic was moved the following morning. Members of the community also celebrated the special event with a traditional Lebanese lunch and family day.

Bishop Tarabay said the arrival of the relic was a significant occasion for the Maronite community.

“This is the first time there has ever been a relic of St Maroun in Australia, so it is a unique event. From the banks of the Assi River to the shores of Australia, we welcome the relic,” he said during his visit to Adelaide.

The relic is a portion of bone from the saint’s skull. It is featured in the centre of the cross which is part a cedar sculpture designed to symbolise the life and journey of the Maronites through history.

In a message to members of the Maronite Church, Bishop Tarabay thanked Bishop Mounir Khairallah, who brought the relic to Australia, and members of the clergy and the Maronite Catholic Society who had worked tirelessly over the past year to organise the arrival of the relic.

“It is our hope that the presence of the relics of our father and patron St Maroun is a new chapter in the history and the life of our Maronite community here in Australia,” he wrote.

“It will reconnect us more and more to our spiritual roots and sacred Eastern traditions and it will help us to continue bearing strong witness to our faith in God with zeal and loyalty.

“May this be an occasion for all the Maronites, old and young, to take great pride in their traditions, spirituality and identity and may it be a new opportunity to meet with each other and to live the true Maronite values, spirituality and faith in this beloved land.”

The reliquary.

St Maroun, who died in 410, was a Syriac Christian priest who later became a hermit. He embraced the quiet solitude of the mountain life, living in the open air, exposed to the forces of nature such as sun, rain, hail and snow.

He converted a pagan temple and its followers into a church and spent his time praying in solitude, fasting and working. He was known for his missionary work, healing and miracles, and teachings of a monastic devotion to God.

The relic was transported to Sydney from Lebanon in time for the celebration of St Maroun’s feast day on February 9. Following a tour of churches in Australia it will be housed permanently in St Maroun’s Cathedral, Redfern.




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