For Westerners, who don’t often hear “Arab” and “Christian” mentioned in the same breath, it may be strange to hear about one Arab Christian—Charbel Makhlouf—who is also a canonized saint.
Charbel was a nineteenth-century monk who lived and died in Lebanon, in the mountain region where the country’s famous cedars grow. Like most Lebanese Christians even today, he was a Maronite Catholic—a member of one of the great Eastern churches, which has been in union with Rome since its beginnings in the late fourth century.
St. Charbel lived as a hermit with a rigorous austerity that reminds us of the ancient desert fathers. This radical asceticism, too, may strike us as strange. But as Pope Paul VI explained in his 1977 canonization homily, however unusual Charbel’s life may seem, God raised him up as “a paradoxical artisan of peace.”
An Intercessor for All. Lebanon especially needs peace, for it is a wounded nation, scarred and disfigured by a civil war that tore the country apart from 1975…
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