governor. This was at a time when only the Maronite clergy offered credible leadership.34 It therefore assumed full civil responsibilities for the Maronites, in addition to spiritual ones.

This did not protect the Christian communities of the Lebanon from persecution. To the estimated 100,000 murdered between 1900 and 1914 must be added the countless victims of the atrocities committed under the aegis of the Young Turks, which only came to an end with the arrival in September 1918 of General Allenby and the forces under his command. The Maronite Patriarch Buttus Elias Hoyek (1898-1931) travelled to the peace conference at Versailles to fight for an independent Lebanon, which had become part of the French mandate at the end of the war. Patriarch Hoyek was instrumental in ending France's direct administration of Lebanon. The Republic of Lebanon, under the French mandate, was declared on 23 May 1926. Following the occupation of Lebanon by British and Free French armies, Lebanon was granted full independence on 26 November 1941.

Lebanon's precarious balance of nations and religions has been tested throughout the twentieth century. At the forefront of the struggle to maintain an independent and unified Lebanon were the Maronite patriarchs, Antun Arîdah and his successor Bolos al-Ma'ushî, who played pivotal roles in the first decades of independence.35 Survival during the civil war of 1975-90 consumed the Maronite Church. Some 670,000 Christians became displaced by the conflict as compared to 158,000 Muslims; the social and economic consequences for all Christian communities were immense and led to widespread emigration. The failure of the state and of political institutions increased the importance and leadership role of the Maronite patriarch.36 Following this, Patriarch Peter Nasrallah (1986 to the present) has, with the permission of Pope John Paul II, led the Maronite Church along the path of a series of reforms which seek to eliminate some of the Latin practices of the Maronite liturgy, as well as to reorientate the church's pastoral and social ministries after fifteen years of civil war.37 A significant aspect of this programme was concern for the Maronites who had emigrated to swell the ranks of established communities in Europe,

34 R. van Leeuwen, 'The control of space and communal leadership: Maronite monasteries in Mount Lebanon', Revue des Mondes Musulmans etdelaMéditerranee 79-80 (1996), 183-99.

35 Including establishing close relations with the state of Israel, see L. Zittrain Eisenberg, 'Desperate diplomacy: the Zionist-Maronite Treaty of 1946', Studies in Zionism 13 (1992),

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