Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Le Synode Libanais De 1736. Tome One: Son Influence Sur la Restructuration De l'Eglise Maronite. Tome Two: Traduction Du Texte Orginal Arabe

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Le Synode Libanais De 1736. Tome One: Son Influence Sur la Restructuration De l'Eglise Maronite. Tome Two: Traduction Du Texte Orginal Arabe

Article excerpt

Le Synode Libanais de 1736. Tome One: Son influence sur la restructuration de l'&Eglise maronite. Tome Two: Traduction du texte orginal arabe. By Elias Atallah. (Paris: Cero-Letouzey & Ane. 2002. Pp. xii, 308,388. euro44.) The Synod of Mt. Lebanon of 1736, held under the auspices of a papal legate and approved in 1741 by Pope Benedict XIV informa speciflca,was one of the most important events in the life of the Maronite Church. It was the culmination of several papal missions sent to the Maronite Church beginning in the sixteenth century. Their purpose had been to assure Rome of the doctrinal integrity and liturgical correctness of the Maronites, and also to lend support and encouragement to this Eastern Catholic church. There were a number of reasons for the convoking of the Synod of 1736. The Church of Rome desired to implement the teachings of the Council of Trent among the Eastern churches. There was a need to clarify liturgical practice and to codify particular law for the Maronite Church. In previous decades serious tensions had arisen between the patriarch and the bishops. Indeed, at this time, considering the monastic origins of the Maronite Church, the patriarch possessed almost absolute authority, with the bishops serving as his vicars or auxiliaries. There were no delineated dioceses or episcopal residences, the bishops for the most part residing at the patriarchal residence or in monasteries.

Joseph Simon Assemani, the famous Orientalist, was appointed papal legate to the synod and prepared a text in Latin for the synod before leaving Rome. An Arabic translation was made and given to the Maronite patriarch and bishops shortly before the opening of the synod. The synodal fathers offered changes and amendments to the text during three days of sessions and gave final unanimous approval on October 2,1736. After the closing, the patriarch and some of the bishops had second thoughts about the conduct of the synod and its implementation and challenged its validity to Rome. After a thorough investigation, the Holy see recognized the synod and its decisions.

In succeeding decades, it became apparent that Rome and the Maronite Church were interpreting the synod from two separate versions, one in Latin and one in Arabic, which contained some important differences. …

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