Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Saint Elias Maronite Catholic parish

While western Virginia is a bit of a Catholic backwater, we are blessed to have, in addition to the common Roman rite parishes, a Maronite Catholic church - Saint Elias (at 4730 Cove Road, just off Peters Creek Road):

St. Elias Catholic Church is located in Roanoke, Virginia. The church belongs to the Maronite Rite, which evolved from the Antiochene Tradition of Catholicism.

The Maronite Rite takes its name from a holy hermit called Maron, who lived in the 4th and 5th centuries near Antioch, in Northern Syria. He was a staunch defender of the Catholic faith. His disciples followed in his footsteps. It has been said that their history "is the story of a people who were continually willing to shed their blood and sacrifice their lives and possessions for religious convictions and human liberties."

The Maronite Church became a formal entity with the institution of the Maronite Patriarchate of Antioch and the Whole East in the 7th century. The first Patriarch was St. John Maron chosen in 685 C.E. The residence of the Maronite Patriarch is now in Lebanon.

The Maronite Church professes the same faith and beliefs of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It also administers the seven sacraments instituted by Christ, and obeys all the rules and ordinances issued by our Holy Father the Pope, the successor of Saint Peter in the Vatican.

The only difference between the Maronite Church and the Roman Church is in the Divine Liturgy.

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