About Us

St John Paul II Monastery

Welcome to the Official Website of St John Paul II Maronite Catholic Monastery in Ryde NSW. The purpose of this website is to provide information regarding the future Monastery, Chapel and Community Centre. Regular updates will be posted regarding upcoming spiritual, social, fundraising events and building progress. St John Paul II is the Patron Saint of our monastery, and we are truly blessed that we have this great honour in founding the first monastery in His name. We pray that he supports us in our endeavors for the glory of God through his intercession. “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence” – St John Paul II We have been blessed with a beautiful parcel of land and homestead which will be the rock on which we will build a spiritual home for our local community, God willing. “This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern metropolis” - St John Paul II Please like our social media pages to stay updated, invite your family and friends and spread the word. Most of all, come and get involved however you can in your church. “The future begins today, not tomorrow” – St John Paul II Praise be to God.

The Maronite Order Of The Virgin Mary

Establishment of the Order

Prior to the seventeenth century, organised Maronite monastic orders, approved by the Holy See, did not exist as such. The monastic life in the Levantine Catholic Maronite Church originated as a way of living the Christian life in its perfection and began to evolve until the year 1694 when, through divine destiny, three young Maronite men who were endowed with knowledge, good character, superior management skills and humility, came to North Lebanon from the Syrian City of Aleppo. These young men were Gabriel (Jibrayel) Hawwa, Abdallah Qaraali and Joseph (Youssef) Al-Bite. They arrived at the monastery of our Lady of Qannoubine, in the holy valley which was the seat of our Maronite Patriarchs. In 1695, their compatriot Gabriel (Jibrayel) Farhaat, who was one of the pioneers of the Arabic renaissance, followed them. His Beatitude, Patriarch Stephen (Estefan) Doueihy welcomed them, gave them his advice and kept them at his place for some time in order for them to get acquainted with the monastic life which was already established in Mount Lebanon at that time and to see if they were fit for it, as stated by Fr. Abdallah Qaraali. These young men, then moved to the monastery of Saint Maura (Mart Moura) which was donated to them by the Patriarch in 1695. It is there, after deliberation, consultation and meditation, that they decided to establish an organised eastern monastic order without neglecting the old order that was known as the Order of Saint Anthony (Mar Antonios), the Great (also known as Anthony the Star of the wilderness). They decided to have only one Father General, four Advisors and various Superiors of individual monasteries and centres; all of them coming under the authority of Father General who has the power to move his monks from one monastery to another one, organise their affairs and give them general guidelines. Their main aim was to seek deprivation, to organise communal prayers, to meditate and to withdraw from the world without neglecting their apostolic ecclesiastical duties. They named their order The Aleppian Order (or Halabiyyah), but in the year 1706, the name was changed to the Lebanese Order as a reminder of its origin in Mount Lebanon. His Beatitude, Patriarch Doueihy accepted the Order with joy and gave it his blessing. Not long after, the founders moved to the monastery of Mar Lichaa because it was characterised by a mild climate and a warm winter. At Mar Lichaa, they established a school to educate young children, a policy which they later adopted in all monasteries. In the following year, they set to draw up regulations to govern their affairs. These written rules whose original transcript is kept at the museum of Louaize monastery was confirmed by Patriarch Doueihy in 1700. Patriarch Jacob (Yaacoub) Awad repeated its confirmation in 1725; following this, His Holiness Pope Clement XII gave it His approval in 1732. In its constitution, the Order decided to hold a General Convention once every three years (later changed to once every six years). In 1770, following various disagreements within the Order the Apostolic See issued a direction to split the Order into two: the Aleppian (Halabiyyah) and the Lebanese Maronite (Baladites). Our Mariamite Maronite Order (Halabiyyah, previously) thrived in the number of its monasteries, centres and missions; its monasteries were established in Lebanon and abroad, in addition to schools and universities. However, the seat of Father General is at the monastery of Our Lady of Louaize – Zouk Mesbah – Kisrouan where a Convention, known as the Lebanese Convention, was held in 1736 and another one, known as Louaize Convention was held in 1818 in order to implement the decisions taken in the previous Convention

Our Priest

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Praise be to God always. The Holy Spirit is the real caller, worker and manager for every new mission God has willed. God has called me to Australia, through the authority of both the monk order I belong to and the local church, to establish a convent in Ryde and name it after St John Paul II, the patron saint of youths and families. With the grace of God, I was blessed to buy a property on Victoria Road with a space of 4000 square-metre which will be transformed into a convent for the Marist Monks. The convent will contain a chapel that fits 100 people and a community centre which will be used for various activities to serve the church’s children from all ages in all their spiritual, social and humanitarian needs. Today, I find myself facing a big problem hindering the continuity of this project. The problem is the denial of access to a storm water easement in the neighbour’s property. The only solution is to buy the adjacent land at the back to secure access to the easement and open the way for cars to the street behind the property. I urge you my dear people, the children of the Maronite Church, to help me acquire that piece of land through your donations, and I ask the Holy Spirit, the advocate, to sow in your hearts the spirit of giving, as much and as generously as you can, to buy it, and I look forward to work for the church of God with you and for you. I ask God to bestow on you, with the intercession of St John Paul II, every heavenly gift and to make you the children of his kingdom.

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