I would like to say that the Maronite Church is the only one in the Middle East and especially in Lebanon to hold a principal role in politics and moral support for the people since its early 7th century roots.
The Maronite Patriarch is the President of the Assembly of all Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon and the Middle East. He is also the President of the Middle East Assembly of Catholic and Orthodox Patriarchs. Being the main religious leader in the region, the Patriarch who is also a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church resides in Bkerke, Lebanon. The Patriarch is the most trusted and well respected leader in the area whose voice and opinion are valuable to both Christians and Muslims. Consequently the Christians in the Middle East observe and look to the Maronite Church for guidance.
Recently, the Russian Church who is now trying to play a role in the protection of Christians in the Middle East, has been in direct dialogue with the Maronite Patriarch.
Finally it has been noted by observers that the Christian communities in the Middle East and Lebanon are the common denominator for interactions between the Sunni and Shia Muslims. Therefore they play a vital role in keeping the peace.
Fr Andre Y-Sebastian Mahanna,
PASTOR ST. RAFKA MARONITE CHURCH
2301 WADSWORTH BOULEVARD
LAKEWOOD (DENVER)COLORADO 80214, USA
Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, Office of Ecumenism and Inter Religious Dialogue Director. President USA Apostolic Union of Clergy.
The Maronite Church and its principal role in the Middle East
by Fr. Andre
Fr. Andre Mahanna, known simply as "Abouna" to the people of his parish, is a recognized Middle East thought-leader on the historical, religious, social, and cultural complexities of the many regions that comprise the Middle East. Specifically, Father Andre speaks to the phenomenon of ISIS and their stated mission: To destroy Christianity in the Middle East and beyond. Their Jihad is reality as we witness a Christian holocaust in the very regions where Christianity first began and thrived.
Father Andre is uniquely qualified to speak to the topic of ISIS and its hand on the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. He grew up in war torn Lebanon. As a boy accompanying his father on government trips to Muslim and Christian regions, he heard stories of religious-based crimes by both Muslims and Christians. At 10, his family (along with 25 other families) escaped Christian massacres by living in caves in Mount Lebanon. His bed was a Phoenician tomb. By age 12, he had decided to become a monk. It was then that visions of precisely what the world is experiencing now – famine and the massacre of women and children – gave him the resolve to address ecumenical understanding and devote his life’s work to being an instrument of peace.
Today, Father Andre is also an interfaith communicator. He is Director, Office of Ecumenism and Inter- Faith Relations, www.eparchy.org; Founder and Director, Mission of Hope and Mercy for Christians in the Middle East, www.savechristianmiddleeast.org; and Director, Vatican Associated Office of Apostolic Union of Clergy, USA, and Pastor of St. Rafka Maronite Church, Denver, CO.
He served on the Vatican’s 2010 Synod on the Middle East, and in 2012 was appointed head of the Apostolic Association of Ordained Ministers. He has authored many articles focused on the unity of Christians, religious freedom, and the Biblical foundation of Judeo-Christian values and traditions.
Father Andre is fluent in seven languages and understands twelve. Educated in Italy and the US., he addresses the hard realities of Middle East crisis: the unspeakable horrors of millions of refugees today and how this impacts the US. Most importantly, how critical it is to understand ISIS’s Jihad in relation to Christianity as a value to world peace and religious freedom and that it must be protected at all costs.
For appointments or interview inquiries contact:
Mercy And America
Meet Father Andre YS Mahanna - a.k.a Abouna
Reverend Father Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna, Special Patriarchal Delegate and Director of the Office of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue for the Maronite Church, Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles. U.S.A. President for the Apostolic Union of Clergy
and Director of St Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy to Save Christian Middle East