Our History

1903 til Now

The History of St Maron's Church in Minneapolis

A Rich and Proud History since 1903


The Maronite Church is an eastern branch of the Catholic Church. It has its own liturgy, canon law, and patriarch. The Maronites take their name from the Hermit and Priest Maron who lived near the Orontes River in the fourth century. It is believed that he died around the year 410. The first Maronites were the direct descendants of the people who received the Catholic faith from the apostles. Their culture was influenced by their predecessors, the Phoenicians. Because of the heavy persecution against the Maronites, they were forced to flee into the mountain of North Lebanon in order to save guard their faith from the persecutors. Led by the first Maronite patriarch, St. John Maron, they sought refuge in the inaccessible mountains of Lebanon.

The Maronite liturgy is one of the oldest of the Catholic Church and it is based on the liturgy of St. James the Less, first bishop of Jerusalem. Our liturgical language is Syriac, the sister of the Aramaic language which Jesus spoke.

The Maronite Church, like its other sisters in the Catholic faith, enjoys its own music, art, tradition, and liturgical architect which gives it a uniqueness within the one Holy and Apostolic Church. The Maronite Church has its own head, the Maronite Patriarch, who resides in Lebanon, who is a member of the College of Cardinals in Rome. He has liturgical and spiritual power or authority over all the Maronites worldwide.

Today the Maronite Church spreads over the five continents with many diocese and Eparchies in Lebanon, Syria, Cypress, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Australia. The Maronites have two parishes in the Twin Cities: The Church of the Holy Family on 203 E. Robie Street in St. Paul and this Parish of St. Maron of Minneapolis.

A Chronological History Of Saint Maron's Church of Minneapolis:

The history of St. Maron of Minneapolis traces its origin to the late 1800 when many Lebanese Maronites immigrated into this great land of opportunity.

In 1903, a small house was converted into a church on 321 Main Street. On February 9th of the same year, Fr. Antoun Sleiman, celebrated the first Maronite Liturgy in Minneapolis.

In 1919, during the pastorate of Fr. Emmanuel El-Khoury, a small church was purchased on 625 Main Street.

In 1939, under the pastorate of Chorbishop Peter F. Assemani, a school was purchased at this present location and a church was built in 1948. Bishop James Byrne consecrated this church on July 11, 1948.

Another addition to St. Maron's was the shrine of St. Sharbel Makhlouf which was completed in 1981 under the pastorship of Fr. Michael Hitti.

In the mid eighties, during the pastorate of Fr. Michael Thomas, a renovation of the sanctuary and the rectory took place and a new office area was erected.

In the early 1990, under the pastorate of Fr. sharbel Maroun, another wave of renovation was done in the church and the hall. A new selection of stained glass windows from the Maronite tradition were added, painted by Fr. Joseph Akiki.

In 1994, two houses on second Street were purchased and their mortgage was burned in two years. Four other houses were purchased in 1996 and 1997 for future development.

From the St. Maron community there have come many community leaders, business and professional people. Among them, Chorbishop James Namie, Fr. Peter Victor Assad, and Sr. Lynn Margaret Basil.

The following are the priests who have served with diligence the Maronite community of Minneapolis since its start:

  • Anton Sleiman, 1903-06;
  • Louis Lotife, 1906-08;
  • Moubarack Bellemah, 1908-09;
  • Abdullah Torbey, 1909-10;
  • Dimmane Rumya, 1911-12;
  • Paul Rizk, 1912-16;
  • Emmanual El-Khoury, 1916-21;
  • Gabriel Malkoun, 1921-28;
  • Joseph Shabat, 1928-30;
  • Joseph Yazbac, 1930-32;
  • Peter Ashkar, 1932-34;
  • Silwanous Joudy, 1934-36;
  • Peter Assemani, 1936-57;
  • Wlademeer Akekee, 1957-67;
  • Michael Hitti, 1967-85;
  • Michael Thomas 1985-89;
  • sharbel Maroun, 1989-present.

The parish continues to grow under the guidance and providence of God.

May God who has given our community the privilege of inheriting this rich tradition allow us to preserve it and nourish it through our commitment and dedication toward its cause. May the faith of our Father St. Maron which has been passed on to us through our forefathers, and which has been written through the blood of the thousands of martyrs, be ours, that we may always be lights to the world and salt to all the earth. 

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