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This article is about the Lebanese religious group. For the Christian Church, see Maronite Church. For Maronite Christianity in Lebanon, see Maronite Christianity in Lebanon.

The Maronites are an ethno-religious group situated in the Levant, mainly in the area of modern Lebanon. They derive their name from the Syriac Christian Saint Maron, whose followers migrated to the area of Mount Lebanon from their previous location of residence around the area of Antioch (an ancient Greek city within present day Hatay Province, Turkey), establishing the nucleus of the Maronite Church. Some Maronites argue that they are of Mardaite ancestry, but most historians reject such claims. Maronites were able to maintain an independent status in Mount Lebanon and its coastline after the Islamic conquest, keeping their Christian religion, and even the distinctive Aramaic language as late as the 19th century.

The Ottoman Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate and later the Republic of Lebanon were created under the auspice of European powers with the Maronites as their main ethnoreligious component. Mass emigration to the Americas at the outset of the 20th century, the Lebanese Civil War between 1975-1990 and the low fertility rate greatly decreased their numbers in the Levant. Maronites today form more than one quarter of the total population in the country of Lebanon. With only two exceptions, all Lebanese presidents have been Maronites. The tradition persists as part of the Lebanese Confessionalist system. Though concentrated in Lebanon, Maronites also show presence in neighbouring Syria, Israel and Cyprus, and a significant diaspora across the world.

The Maronite Church is in communion with the Church of Rome, known as the Holy See, and is therefore part of the Catholic Church.


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