The Maronite community in Sydney have welcomed to their home city a precious first-class relic of their patron, St Maroun, who died in the 5th century.
The relic was transported to Sydney from Lebanon, arriving in time for the celebration of St Maroun’s feast day on 9 February.
“It is our hope that the presence of the relic of our father and patron, St Maroun, is a new chapter in the history and the life of our Maronite community here in Australia,” said Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, the Maronite Bishop of Australia.
The Maronite Catholic Society of Australia has been working tirelessly over the past year to secure the first class, which is a fragment of bone from the saint’s skull.
“May it reconnect us more and more to our spiritual roots and sacred Eastern traditions and help us to continue bearing strong witness to our faith in God with zeal and loyalty,” Bishop Tarabay said.
The relic will be officially welcomed at a solemn Mass on the Feast of St Maroun at St Maroun’s Cathedral in Redfern, where the relic will be housed.
St Maroun was a hermit and priest who lived on a hillside in Syria, not far from Antioch. He converted the people of the Syrian countryside to Christianity. In the lead-up to the feast day, Bishop Tarabay invited the faithful to pray a novena to the saint.
“Through the presence of this relic, we will constantly be reminded of the greatness of our faith and our connection to our history and tradition because, here in this land, we have the honour and privilege of guarding a significant relic of St Maroun,” Bishop Tarabay said.
“The relics of the saints help us to focus upon the God whom the saints loved, the virtues which they lived, how they overcame sin, and to appreciate, with an unusual vividness, that they are now in heaven, and that we should aim to imitate them in this world, and strive for the beatific vision of God in the next.”