Citizens, as the second installment of our week of holy breads, we turn now to the Qurban bread used by the Syriac Maronite Church. Unlike most host breads in the Catholic faith, this one is extraordinarily perfumed with spices and incense, and redolent of orange and rose water essences.
Saint Maron, a fourth-century monk, is considered the founder of the spiritual and monastic movement now called the Maronite Church. This movement has had a profound influence in Lebanon, and to a lesser degree in Syria, Jordan and Palestine. Saint Maron spent his life on a mountain in Syria, generally believed to be “Kefar-Nabo” on the mountain of Ol-Yambos, becoming the cradle of the Maronite movement.
The Syriac Maronite Church (Arabic: الكنيسة المارونية) is an Eastern Catholic branch church of the Catholic Church. It came in communion with the Pope, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches by the Patriarch of Antioch, Bechara Boutros al-Rahi in 2011.
Officially known as the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch (Latin: Ecclesia Syrorum Maronitarum; Syriac: Īṯo Suryoiṯo Morunoiṯo d’Anṭiokia; Arabic: الكنيسة الأنطاكية السريانية المارونية) al-Kanīsa al-Anṭākiyya al-Suryāniyya al-Mārūniyya), it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.
The six major traditions of the Catholic Church are Alexandrian, Antiochene, Armenian, Chaldean, Constantinopolitan (Byzantine), and Latin (Roman). The Maronite Church follows the Antiochene Tradition.
A Roman Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at an Eastern Catholic Parish. That is, a Roman Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest since all belong to the Catholic Church.[
Maronites who do not reside within a convenient distance to a local Maronite Church are permitted to attend other Catholic churches while retaining their Maronite membership.
The Maronite Patriarchal Assembly (2003–2004) identified five distinguishing marks of the Maronite Church:
- It is Antiochene.
- It is Chalcedonian, in that the Maronites were strong supporters of the Council of Chalcedon of 451.
- It is Patriarchal and Monastic.
- It is faithful to the See of Peter in Rome.
- It has strong ties to Lebanon.
Traditionally, the Maronite Church ministers to the Levant, particularly around Mount Lebanon, where Bkerke, its headquarters, is located. However, due to emigration since the 19th century, approximately two-thirds of church members are now located outside “The Antiochian’s Range” and live within the worldwide Lebanese diaspora in Europe, the Americas, Australia and Africa.
Although reduced in numbers today, Maronites remain one of the principals ethno-religious groups in Lebanon, with smaller minorities of Maronites in Syria, Cyprus, Israel and Jordan. More than 3,198,600 Maronites practice the faith.
Qurbān is usually a word used for the sacrifice of a livestock animal during the Islamic festival of Eid-ul-Adha, but has a very different meaning in the context of the Maronite Church, where it refers to a sacred Host bread.
This bread is called qurban in Lebanese, pronounced as the letter “k” followed by “urbane”. This bread is most commonly used at the 40-day anniversary of a passed away family member and is handed out during mass. It is typically stamped with a special seal that can be purchased online or from your local Church.
Qurbān is related to the Hebrew qorbān “offering” and Syriac qurbānā “sacrifice”, specifically referring to “a way or means of approaching someone” or “nearness”.
This is a unique bread that is well worth making regardless of your faith, Citizens – it is spiced to my especial preferences and is absolutely authentic!
Battle on – The Generalissimo