Korma-jit) is a village in the north-western most of Northern Cyprus, inhabited by the
island's Maronite minority.
Click to listen to a Maronite
a Maronite-Cypriot girl taking the holy communion
Maronites are of Catholic Christian people of Arabic origin,
who came and settled into Cyprus 1200 years ago from Lebanon where the Maronite presence
is greater. They speak their native tongue a dialect Arabic, which is mixed with many
Greek and Turkish words.
Kormatiki as it is also called, has an impressive Catholic church in the village center.
The name of the village also derives from Koura, a town in Lebanon where the Cypriot
Maronites came from.
of the Holy Mother in the Maronite Church in Kormacit
Maronite Church is one of
the largest Eastern-rite communities of the Roman Catholic Church, prominent especially in
modern Lebabon; it is the only Eastern-rite church that has no non- Catholic or Orthodox
counterpart. The Maronites trace their origins to St. Maron, or Maro (Arabic
Syrian hermit of the late 4th and early 5th centuries, and St. John Maron, or Joannesn
Maro (Arabic Yúhanna Marún), the patriarch of Antioch in 685-707, under whose leadership
the invading Byzantine armies of Justinian II were routed in 684, making the Maronites a
fully independent people.
Though their traditions
assert that the Maronites were always orthodox Christians in union with the Roman see,
there is evidence that for centuries they were Monothelites, followers of the heretical
doctrine of Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, who affirmed that there was a divine but
no human will in Christ. According to the medieval bishop William of Tyre, the Maronite
patriarch sought union with the Latin patriarch of Antioch in 1182.
A definitive consolidation of the union, however, did not
come until the 16th century, brought about largely through the work of the Jesuit John
Eliano. In 1584 Pope Gregory XIII founded the Maronite College in Rome, which flourished
under Jesuit administration into the 20th century and became a training centre for
scholars and leaders.
Hardy, martial mountaineers, the Maronites valiantly
preserved their liberty and folkways. The Muslim caliphate (632-1258) could not absorb
them, and two caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty (661-750) paid them tribute. Under the rule
of the Ottoman Turks, the Maronites maintained their religion and customs under the
protection of France, largely because of their geographic isolation. In the 19th century,
Maronites had to fight against the Druzes, a neighboring mountain people in Lebanon, as a
result of which the Maronites achieved formal autonomy within the Ottoman Empire, under a
non-native Christian ruler. In 1920, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the
Maronites of Lebanon became self-ruling under French Protection.
Since the establishment of a fully independent Lebanon in
1943, they have constituted one of the two major religious groups in the country. The
government is run by a coalition of Christian, Muslim and Druze parties, but the president
is always Maronite.
The immediate spiritual leader of the Maronite church
after pope is the patriarch of Antioch and all the East, residing in Bkirkí, near Beirut.
The church retains the ancient West Syrian liturgy, even though the vernacular tongue of
the Maronites is Arabic. Contact with Rome has been close and cordial, but not until after
the second Vatican Council where the Maronites were freed of papal efforts to Latinize
their rite. French Jesuits conduct the University of St. Joseph, at Beirut. Maronites are
also found in Southern Europe [notably in France and Cyprus], and North and South America,
having emigrated in the 19th century. The émigrés keep their own liturgy and have their
own clergy, some of whom are married, but are subject to the local Latin-rite bishops.