defender of the 1736 reform, finally accepted the Latin text of the synod29 and in 1835 set about their implementation.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries we see a significant growth in the Maronite population, together with a southward movement ofMaronite communities from their traditional northern mountain domain. This was accompanied by both the construction of new monasteries30 and the conversion of several important Druze chiefs to the Maronite Church,31 culminating in that of Amir Bashir II al-Shehabi (1788-1840), which greatly strengthened the position of the Maronites. It was Bashir II who waged the first struggle for the independence of Lebanon from the Ottomans. Despite this, the mid-eighteenth century ushered in a period of turmoil both for Lebanon and for the Maronite Church, which was to last until the end ofthe nineteenth century. The Hindiyya affair, which pitted three patriarchs and the emirs of Lebanon against the Jesuits and the pope, delayed implementation of the reforms of the synod of Mount Lebanon.32 Stabilisation only came during the long patriarchate of Paul Mubarak Mas'ad (1854-90), who definitively established the Maronite Church within the Roman framework while retaining many of its distinctive elements. The reopening in 1893 on papal instructions of the Maronite College in Rome provided posthumous confirmation.33
Bashir's desire to see the benefits of western civilisation come to Lebanon, as well as his military alliance with Muhammad Ali of Egypt against the Ottomans, introduced the western powers into Lebanon. The relationship between Druze and Christian Maronites deteriorated after Bashir's death, degenerating into the destruction of Druze and Christian villages, which climaxed in the massacres of April-July i860. In response to these atrocities French troops occupied Lebanon, which brought the massacres to an end and led in 1861 to Ottoman recognition of the autonomy of Lebanon under a Christian
29 It was carefully translated into Arabic and published in 1900. See the recent critical edition, Elias Atallah, Le Synode libanais de 1736: 1, Son influence sur la restructuration de l'Eglise maronite; 11, Traduction du texte original arabe (Antelias and Paris: Centre d'etudes et de recherches orientales, 2002).
30 R. van Leeuwen, Notables & clergy in Mount Lebanon: the Khazin Sheikhs and the Maronite Church (1736-1840) (Leiden: Brill, 1994).
31 See R. J. Mouawad, 'Muslim Christians? The strange case of the white Maronites', Theological Studies (Beirut) 24 (2003), 3-18.
32 Avril M. Makhlouf,'Hindiyye Anne 'Ajeymi in her ecclesiastical and political situation', Parole de L'Orient 16 (1990-91), 279-87; Makhlouf,'Spirituality between East and West Christendom: the Maronite mystic Hindiyya Anne 'Ajaymi', in Eastern Christianity, 269-95.
33 It had been closed in 1808. In May 1917 Benedict XV created the 'Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches'; to this congregation were entrusted the relations between Rome and the Maronite Church: see G. M. Croce, 'Alle origini della Congregazione Orientale e del Pontificio Istituto Orientale', OCP53 (1987), 257-333.
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