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Title: The Role of the Maronite Patriarch in Lebanese History: The Patriarch of Lebanon?
Other Titles: دور البطريرك الماروني في تاريخ لبنان: بطريرك لبنان؟
Authors: McCallum, Fiona
Keywords: Maronite Patriarch
Lebanese History
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: University of Balamand
Part of: Chronos
Issue: 15
Start page: 65
End page: 88
The office of Maronite patriarch has always enjoyed temporal authority to an extent rarely attained in other traditions. As a tribal chief as well as spiritual leader, the patriarch can be regarded as the leading communal actor. However, previous patriarchs have also made a significant contribution to the national politics of present-day Lebanon. The policies pursued by Patriarchs Hoyek and Arida influenced the development of the Lebanese state at key stages, namely securing the French mandate and supporting independence respectively. Due to this heritage, the Maronite patriarch is generally regarded as a national patriot by Lebanese from all confessions. This is illustrated by the actions undertaken by Patriarch Meouchi during the 1958 crisis. The Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) challenged the ability of the Maronite patriarchate to continue its national role. With the breakdown of national identity, each religious institution became associated with its specific community, hindering attempts to remain non-partisan. Under Patriarch Sfeir, the post-war era has witnessed the return of the patriarch as both the main civil representative of the Maronite community and also as a national figure in the Lebanese political arena. By examining the impact of the Maronite patriarchs at critical periods in Lebanese twentieth century history, namely the proclamation of the mandate, the struggle for independence, the 1958 crisis, the immediate years of the civil war and the post-war era, this article seeks to demonstrate that the holders of this office have played an influential role in national affairs to the extent that the head of the Maronite Church can be accurately described not only as the patriarch of the Maronites but also the "Patriarch of Lebanon" (Moosa 1986:2).
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Chronos

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