Name of one of the Uniat Churches scattered through Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, and the United States. Their name is said to have originated from Saint Maron, a Syrian hermit who, with a few disciples on the banks of the Orontes, remained faithful during the Monophysite heresy. Authorities disagree as to their history before the 16th century, some claiming that they succumbed to the Monothelite heresy (6th century) and were converted from it in the 12th century, others stating that they were governed by an unbroken line of patriarchs commencing with Saint John Maro (whose existence seems doubtful) and were never schismatical or heretical. From the time of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512 to 1517) the Maronites have been in permanent and uninterrupted communion with Rome. They use the rite of Saint James in the ancient Aramaic language, which was the language of Our Lord. See also patrons of Maronite Christians.