Sa Béatitude Elyās Buţros Al-Ḩwayek
(ou Hoyek, Hwayek, Huayek, Juayek, Hawayek)
"Elias Peter" ou "Élie Pierre"
(Primat de l'Église maronite)
né le 26 décembre 1843 à Helta (حلتا)
Cofondateur de la Congrégation des
Sœurs Maronites de la Sainte Famille (S.M.S.F.)
Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family (M.S.H.F.)
"Gloria Libani data est Ei"
"La gloire du Liban lui sera donnée"
Ésaïe 35 : 2 (Louis Segond)
"The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it"
Isaiah 35:2 (King James Version)
"Gloria Libani data est ei"
"سَتُعْطَى مَجدَ غاباتِ لُبنانَ"
(Arabic Bible: Easy-to-Read Version) 2:35 ﺃﺷﻌﻴﺎء
Le Patriarche Elias Hoyek (1843-1931)
1843 né à Hilta
1859 entre au séminaire de Ghazir
1866 est envoyé par le Patriarche Boulos Massad à Rome pour poursuivre ses études
1870 est ordonné le 5 Juin
1870 obtient son doctorat en théologie le 9 août et rentre au Liban
1872 est désigné secrétaire du Patriarche Massad à Bkerké
1875 l'idée de fonder une Congrégation religieuse féminine apostolique commence à germer dans sa tête
1889 est sacré évêque le 14 décembre, archevêque d'honneur de Araka et vicaire patriarcal
1892 est envoyé par le Patriarche à Istambul et le sultan le reçoit avec les honneurs dus
1893 représente le Patriarche à Rome lors de la célébration du jubilé du grand Pontife. Etablit à Jérusalem un siège patriarcal.
1893 rencontre Mère Rosalie Nasr à Kfifane
1895 fonde la Congrégation des Soeurs Maronites de la Sainte famille avec Mère Rosalie Nasr et Soeur Stéphanie Kardouche à Jbeil
1896 la nouvelle Congrégation s'établit à Ebrine.
1896 part pour la France en emmenant avec lui sa nièce, future Mère Joséphine, pour qu'elle y poursuive ses études
1897 prend la direction de l'Ecole Maronite à Rome à la demande du Pape Léon XIII.
1899 est élu Patriarche le 7 Décembre
1899 apprend l'assassinat de Mère Rosalie Nasr advenu la nuit du 22-23 août
1908 érige le sanctuaire de Notre Dame du Liban à Harissa le 3 Mai
1913 consacre la chapelle de la Sainte Famille à Ebrine
1915 rencontre Jamal Bacha à Sofar
1916 donne l'ordre d'ouvrir les portes des couvents et monastères aux affamés de la guerre
1919 représente le Liban dans la Ligue des Nations réclamant l'indépendance du Liban après avoir gagné la confiance de tous les libanais.
1920 en sa présence, le Général Gourot déclare l'Etat du Grand Liban le 1er septembre
1927 apprend le décès de la seconde supérieure générale, Mère Stéphanie Kardouche
1928 approuve les Constitutions de la Congrégation des Soeurs Maronites de la Sainte Famille
1931 fait paraître sa lettre apostolique « L'Amour de la patrie »
1931 repose en paix le 24 décembre, la veille de Noël
Quelques mois avant sa mort, il écrit dans sa dernière lettre à ses filles les religieuses « Béni soit Dieu Père de notre Seigneur Jésus Christ, Dieu de toute consolation, Dieu qui nous a consolés en établissant cette Congrégation et en la faisant croître sous son regard, en nous prodiguant le plaisir de la voir de nos propres yeux travaillant sans cesse à le satisfaire et à accomplir sa volonté ».
Homme de grande envergure, chef et pasteur attentif à son Eglise, sensible aux besoins de la société, constamment à l'écoute de son peuple, ainsi fut le Patriarche Hoyek dont le souvenir et la présence ne meurent jamais.
Mère Rosalie Nasr et son mandat (1895-1899)
1840 Née Takla, fille de Hanna Nasr et Esther Touma Fleifel, à Kleiat- Kessrouan
1848 fait sa première scolarité à l'école du village
1850 est envoyée par un père lazariste chez les sours de charité à Beyrouth où elle continue ses études et est d'une aide précieuse pour Mère Gilas auprès des élèves
1860 entre chez les soeurs de Nazareth et fait son noviciat en France
1884 se joint à la Congrégation des soeurs du Rosaire à la demande du prêtre Youssef Tannous, leur fondateur
1893 rencontre le Patriarche Elias Hoyek à Kfifane
1895 s'adonne à la fondation de la Congrégation des Soeurs Maronites de la Sainte Famille à Jbeil
1896 déménage à Ebrine où elle commence les travaux de restauration de la future Maison Mère
1899 est assassinée au couvent de la Maison Mère à Ebrine, la nuit du 22-23 août à l'âge de 59 ans
Femme d'une trempe rare, Mère Rosalie Nasr a su joindre la douceur à la force, le réalisme à la spiritualité, la vision prophétique au courage de la réalisation.
Le Patriarche-Fondateur reconnaît en elle l'étoffe d'une fondatrice accomplie.
Prière quotidienne du Patriarche
Élie Pierre Hoayek
faites que je vive et meure dans
l'accomplissement de Votre bon plaisir.
daignez m'accorder la grâce de Vous plaire ;
cette grâce est mon bien, mon trésor,
ma gloire, ma vie, mon Espérance,
mon bonheur, mon but et tout pour moi.
Dirigez-moi, Seigneur, guidez-moi.
Éclairez mon intelligence
par la Lumière de Votre Sagesse infinie.
Car toute ma confiance est,
uniquement, en Votre Miséricorde.
Et tout ce que je désire,
c'est de Vous plaire.
Je ne désire rien d'autre.
Source : saintefamille.org
"Les Maronites - Chrétiens du Liban"
Ray Jabre Mouawad (éd. Brepols 2009, 268 p.)
"C’est en 1919, année où le patriarche Elias Hoayek a réclamé à la Conférence de la Paix de Versailles la proclamation de l’État du Grand Liban, que le destin des Maronites a pris une tournure exceptionnelle. Pour la première fois depuis des siècles, des Chrétiens d’Orient accédaient au pouvoir à part égale avec les Musulmans qui en avaient eu jusque-là l’exclusivité, et de l’Iran à l’Égypte, les regards se tournaient vers leur pays, le Liban, symbole d’un Moyen-Orient pluri-religieux et pluri-culturel. L’histoire des Maronites avait commencé au 7e siècle en Syrie lorsque les moines du monastère de Saint-Maron affirmèrent leur singularité en élisant leur premier patriarche au siège d’Antioche. Au 10e siècle, ils adoptèrent définitivement les montagnes du Liban et ses vallées pour y établir leur patriarcat et y vivre pleinement leur identité et leur vocation monastique.
"L’existence des Maronites fut désormais liée aux développements historiques et économiques qu’a traversés le Mont-Liban à l’époque des Croisades, des Mamelouks et des Ottomans jusqu’à la Première Guerre Mondiale. Au fil des siècles, ils ont dû leur survie à plusieurs facteurs, dont le plus spectaculaire est le maillage de leur territoire de monastères et d’ermitages. De nos jours encore, avec le clergé séculier, le moine et la religieuse maronites encadrent solidement les fidèles au Liban, en Orient et dans le monde. Parallèlement, la communauté maronite a pu constituer une société civile distincte de sa hiérarchie religieuse, dans un Orient où souvent les deux se confondent. Le patriarche y demeure cependant le véritable pôle de la communauté. Comme chez ses voisins druzes, cette autonomie précoce d’une société civile a été l’un des facteurs déterminants de la participation de la communauté maronite à l’Histoire. S’impliquant toujours dans l’événement, parfois au prix du martyre, ses options fondamentales sont observées attentivement aussi bien au Proche-Orient que sur le plan international. L’Église Maronite a su également établir des liens privilégiés avec l’Église catholique romaine dès l’époque des croisades, liens culturels qui ont mis deux mondes en contact à travers elle, celui de l’Orient syriaque et arabe auquel elle appartient et celui de l’Occident latin, plus tard francophone, vers lequel elle s’est constamment tournée. En témoignent les œuvres de ses orientalistes publiées dès le 16e siècle à Rome, et les nombreuses écoles et universités maronites du Liban. De nos jours, nombre de Maronites largement dispersés dans la diaspora vivent au rythme d’autres cultures, que ce soit en Amérique du Sud ou dans les pays anglo-saxons. Ils restent néanmoins fidèles à leur langue liturgique des premiers siècles, l’araméen syriaque, qui fut la langue du Christ. Sur un autre plan, l’un des principaux défis auxquels doit faire face la communauté est l’émigration et la dispersion de ses fidèles, ainsi que le relâchement de son rapport exclusif à la terre du Liban.
Ray Jabre Mouawad est professeur à la Lebanese American University de Beyrouth et chercheur au Centre d’Études des Civilisations Antiques et Médiévales, Louis Pouzet (Université Saint-Joseph). Ses recherches sur la littérature syriaque et arabe chrétienne et sa vie au Liban contribuent à sa connaissance approfondie de la communauté maronite.
"Malgré la complexité de l'histoire du Proche-Orient, cet ouvrage réussit à offrir une excellente présentation de l'Église maronite, essentielle et claire, où l'on trouvera une mine de renseignements."
(D. Attinger, Proche-Orient Chrétien 60/1-2, 2010, p. 230)"
Elias Howayek (Patriarch 1899-1931)
"Elias Hoyek was born at the village of Helta, Batrun, in December 1843. He did his primary and elementary studies in the Seminary College of St. John Maron, in Kefar-Hay near Helta. He was admitted to the seminary of Ghazir, run by Jesuit, priests, in October 1859. There he studied French, Arabic, Syriac, Latin, Greek and Philosophy.
In November 1866 he entered the College of Propaganda in Rome, where he studied theology. He was ordained priest in Rome in 1870 and returned to Lebanon. His father had died when he was in Rome. He spent sometime at home to take care of his mother and his young brothers. He spent two years teaching theology at the Seminary of St. John Maron. In 1872 he was appointed patriarchal secretary and moved to the patriarchal residence. Of great integrity and fearless character, he was revered and respected by all. He was consecrated Archbishop of Arqa and Patriarchal Vicar on December 14th, 1899.
He left Lebanon on May 8, 1890 for Rome for the purpose of reviving the Maronite college there, destroyed by Napoleon in 1799. This task made great demands on all his qualities of initiative, courage, perseverance and diplomacy. He met Pope Leo XIII in the Vatican on June 15th, July23rd, August 2nd, and August 10th of the year 1890. During these visits the Pope and Archbishop Hoyek elaborated plans to reactivate the Maronite College in Rome.
On August 12th 1890, archbishop Hoyek left Rome for France, bearing a letter of recommendation from Pope Leo XIII, in order to collect contributions for the college. He spent nine months in France (August 24th, 1890- May 24th, 1891), where he visited the minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Republic, the speaker of the Parliament, the speaker of the Senate, the Minister of Defense and many Cardinals and archbishops. He travelled all over France, spending his energy day and night for the realization of his project. He acquired in Paris a church and a community center for the Maronite Community in the street " rue d’Ulm". Furthermore, he obtained from the French government subsidies for the education of eight Maronite students at the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris. He visited Poitiers, Lille, Grenoble, Limoges, Rouen, and other cities, preaching in churches, mobilizing friends, and persuading various societies and institutions to help his undertaking. Finally he returned to Rome with the necessary money. From Rome he went back to Lebanon via Austria, where he met Emperor Francois-Joseph, and Istanbul, where he met the Sultan, the Prime Minister and many prominent figures. With the Sultan and the Turkish government he succeeded in settling many problems concerning Lebanon and the Maronite community. He showed an apostolic fervour and a readiness to face the highest authorities in Europe and Turkey.
He combined diplomacy with zeal, integrity and practical sense. He landed at Beirut on May 13, 1892. He left Lebanon again on April 28, 1893, for Rome via Jerusalem and Alexandria. He met the Pope on June 8, and July 9, 1893. He spent two months searching for a suitable site for the future new Maronite college. Finally he bought the building at 18, Via Porta Pinciana, on August 17, 1893.
The new college was opened on January 1st, 1894, to receive twelve students from the Maronite dioceses of Besharry, Aleppo, Tripoli, Gebayl-Batrun, Ehden, Ba’albeck, Damascus, Cyprus, Beirut, Tyre and Sidon. Thus were rewarded years of gigantic efforts and sacrifices.
The founding of the congregation of the Holy Family: Great as was the triumph of Monsignor Hoyek in completing the new Maronite college in Rome, his activity did not stop in reaching this goal. He was always launching new undertakings. He was not one to be satisfied with the exterior pomp of his office and with preaching & presiding ceremonies. Inspired by the examples of the apostles Peter and Paul he led a life of self denial for the building of the kingdom of Christ. Once the Maronite churches and community centers in Paris and Jerusalem, and the Maronite college in Rome, successfully completed, he engaged in a yet another major project, that of the creation of a new religious order for nuns, the Congregation of the Holy Family with the help of mother Rosali Nasr who first joined the French Congregation of the sisters of Nazareth, and then founded the Congregation of the Holy Rosary. She met Monsignor Hoyek in Lebanon in the summer of 1895 and they decided together to found a congregation of nuns for the Christian education of village girls in Mount Lebanon. The nucleus of the new congregation consisted of Mother Nasr and two other nuns, Estephany Kardush and Orsella Lahud. The new congregation was launched at Jebayl-Byblos in that same summer of 1895. In 1896 the motherhouse moved to ’Ebrine near Batrun.
During his episcopate Mgr. Hoyek was animated by two main desires the solid Christian education of the young Maronites for the strengthening of the family, and the education of priests. The first ambition was embodied in the creation of the congregation of the Holy Family and the second in the revival of the Maronite college in Rome and in the support given to many clerical institutions.
Hoyek undertook a third journey to Rome to inspect the running of the Maronite College. He remained in Rome from April 1897 to January 1899. Within ten years then, Hoyek undertook three journeys from Lebanon to Rome and back in order to found and administer the Maronite College, at a time when travelling between Lebanon and Rome was an exhausting ordeal. To get the necessary support, he visited Italy, France, Belgium, Austria, Istanbul, Palestine, Egypt and other countries of the Orient and Occident.
Such was his devotion and self-denial as apostle of Christ, and his Holy Church. The Episcopal and patriarchal honor spurred him to act with greater zeal rather than to rest on his laurels.
Patriarch Yuhanna el-Haj died on December 24th, 1898; Mgr. Hoyek left Rome for Lebanon on December 27th, and reached Bkerke in January 5th, 1899. On January 6th, he was elected Patriarch. Thus started a new era for Lebanon and the Church.
In his private life as Patriarch Mgr. Hoyek practiced both the ascetical and contemplative aspects of the spiritual life.
Patriarch Hoyek’s apartment in Bkerke was simple and austere, consisting of three rooms, one serving as a bedroom and office, the second as a reception room, and the third as a chapel. In this chapel he used to say Mass early in the morning and to spend many hours every day in prayer and meditation. He fasts every Saturday his whole life through, even in time of illness. His favorite books for meditation were the New Testament, the confessions of St. Augustine, the eternal Maxims and the Imitation of Christ. He strictly followed his routine of spiritual exercises, whenever and wherever he was, and he was an example to all in the way he carried out his duties as pastor, priest patriarch and national leader.
PASTORAL AND SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY OF PATRIARCH HOYEK
Patriarch Hoyek was born and raised in Helta- Kefar-Hay Batrun in the vicinity of the headquarters of the first Maronite Patriarch, Saint John Maron whom Patriarch Hoyek resembled with his strong and energetic character, his ardent apostolic zeal, his intellectual power, his solid evangelical virtues and his wise leadership.
His strength and sympathy were reflected in his keen gaze and leonine face.
The Maronite Patriarch is the successor of the chief of the Apostle, Saint Peter, as head of the church of Antioch, including historically and canonically the entire Roman province of the Orient. To his own name, the Maronite Patriarch adds that of St. Peter, to signify that he is the successor of St. Peter, the first Apostle, founder and first Bishop of Antioch.
Thus the complete name of Patriarch Hoyek is "Elias (personal name) Butros (St. Peter) Hoyek, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East".
In fact, his zeal for the Kingdom of Christ made Patriarch Hoyek a worthy success of St. Peter. He was an active pastor, visiting his patriarchal diocese regularly, promoting its spiritual life and progress and providing for its needs, examining the situation of the priests, churches, monasteries and convents, giving encouragement and helping the sick, the orphans and the poor. He organized regular yearly spiritual exercises for every parish of the Patriarchal diocese. He encouraged such western institutes as the Jesuit order, the Brothers of the Christian schools, the Marist Brothers, the Lazarists and others to open new schools in his diocese.
Among the churches that he helped build by generous financial contributions, let us mention those of the Cedars, Belaouza, Douma, Shatine, Tannurine, Mejdel ’Aqura, Ram, Batrun, Bejjeh, Kefar-Seghab, ’Aqura, Qartaba, Ehmej, Abdelly, Qenat, Bar-Halyun, Mughr-el-Ahwal, Torza, Caïfa, Hasbaya, Khartum in the Sudan and Larnaka, Famagosta and Nicosia in Cyprus.
One of his greatest achievements was the erection in cooperation with the apostolic Delegate, of the church, statue and center of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, in 1906-1908, in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration by the Holy see of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception Mary Mother of Christ. The statue of the Blessed Virgin erected on the hill of Harissa, is one of the most striking statues in the world, erected on the top of one of the most beautiful hills.
Patriarch Hoyek showed special solicitude for the seminaries for clerical education, such as Deir-al-Koraym, ’Ain- Warqa, Mar’Abda Her-Haraya, Rayfun, Qolai’at, St. John Maron, and the Roman College. The monastic foundations too received an important share of his attention.
The Maronite College in Rome remained the object of his unflagging concern and he succeeded in doubling the number of its students. The building of the college, consisting of three floors and thirty rooms was completed in 1903 and it was inaugurated on February 7th, 1904.
HOYEK and the diasporia
Plans were made for the creation in Egypt of a Patriarchal Vicariate to care for the spiritual, social and material welfare of the Maronites in Egypt and for the expansion of Maronite missionary activities. Archbishop Hoyek drew up these plans when he visited Egypt in 1894-1895. But the plans were realized when he was Patriarch in 1904.
In 1902, Patriarch Hoyek delegated the Rev. Shikralla Khury and Rev. Butros Shebly to visit the Maronites of Cyprus. They visited the Maronites of Limassol, Larnaca, Nicosia, Kurmagit, Karpacia, Gamblin, Merkin, Asomathos, Aya Marina, Mar-Romanos (Qono), Mar Antonios (Kefryat), Varucia, Mersine, Adana and Tarsus. During their visit, the Patriarchal delegates spent a considerable amount of money in helping needy Maronites and their institutions in the island. They presented the Patriarch with an exhaustive written report about the situation of the Maronites in Cyprus from the spiritual, social and material standpoints.
In 1920, Patriarch Hoyek sent a delegation to visit the Maronites in the United States of America, in Argentina and in other parts of the New World.
Following this visit, Patriarch Hoyek took the necessary steps to create independent dioceses for the Maronites of North and South America.
Patriarch Hoyek in Rome.
The Patriarch left Bkerke for Rome on May 20th, l905, going via Jaffa in Palestine, where he blessed the foundation stone of the building of Saint Anthony’s Maronite church. In Alexandria of Egypt he exchanged visits with the Orthodox Coptic Patriarch. He reached Rome on June 9th, and resided at his beloved Maronite College. His audiences with Pope Pius X took place on June 15th and July 11th. He spent the summer with the students of the Maronite College. While in Rome Patriarch Hoyek reviewed and settled the financial situation of the Maronite College and dealt with administrative matters.
In both finance and administration, he obtained relative independence for the college, strengthening its links with the Maronite hierarchy and its Maronite liturgy and traditions. A Maronite priest was appointed as rector instead of a Latin one. Another Maronite priest, Fr. Elias Shedid, was appointed as financial administrator.
Patriarch Hoyek in Paris.
He left Rome on September 18th, 1905, for Paris, which he reached two days later. In Paris he exchanged visits with the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Richard, the President of the Republic, Mr Lobe, and the prime minister Mr. Rouvier. They dealt with matters concerning Lebanon, the Maronites and the Orient.
Patriarch Hoyek in Istanbul.
Patriarch Hoyek left Paris for Istanbul and passed through Munich, Vienna and Budapest. He reached the Ottoman Capital on October 17th, and remained there from October 17th to November 2nd, 1905. In dealing with the Sultan and Turkish authorities he was assisted by two prominent Maronites, Selim Pasha Malhame and his brother Nagib.
Selim was the minister of agriculture in the Turkish government, and was highly esteemed and favored by the Sultan and the government. The Patriarch had an audience with Sultan on October 20th, and 31st. He succeeded in obtaining from the Sultan and the Turkish authorities many improvements in the handling of Lebanese affairs and in the administration of the country.
It was imperative in these days for the Patriarch and the Maronites to maintain a certain wise balance in their relations between France on one hand and those with Turkey on the other. Turkey was the ruling power in Lebanon, while France provided protection and help. Thus it was necessary while maintaining friendly relations with France not to excite Turkish suspicion, jealousy or anger. Patriarch Hoyek with his wisdom was providential for Lebanon in such circumstances.
FIRST WORLD WAR
The first world war was an opportunity for the Turks to venge themselves without restraint on the Christians: A million and half of Armenians were killed by the Turks in the first years of the war, for no other reason than their Christian religion and superior education and ability in the sciences, arts, industry, commerce and other fields of the civilization; but Lebanon had its share of Turkish cruelty during the war.
Turkey entered the war on October 28th, 1914 on the side of Germany; on the same date, the Constitutions of 1860-1864 guaranteeing Lebanon’s autonomy were abolished by the Turkish government, and on November 28th, 1914, the Turkish army entered Mount Lebanon, mistreated the Lebanese people and expelled them from their homes, exposing them to exceptionally severe winter weather. Houses were occupied by Turkish soldiers.
Because of the Turkish blockade, a third of the Lebanese population died of famine and starvation. Very many people, were sent into exile or killed because they were suspected by the Turks, often with no justification, of relations with France and the allied nations. Jamal Pasha was appointed military governor of Lebanon. He attempted to exile Patriarch Hoyek, but failed in his attempt:
On July 13th, 1915, Jamal Pasha requested the Patriarch to meet with him in Sawfar. The Patriarch was then at the residence of Dimane, one hundred and fifty kilometers away; at that time the Patriarch was seventy years old and there were no automobiles in Lebanon; thus the journey was long and exhausting; but the Patriarch complied with the desire of the military governor, in order to avoid any vindictive measures on the part of Jamal Pasha against the Lebanese people.
The meeting between the Patriarch and the Pasha took place at Sawfar on July 21st, 1915. The Turkish governor criticized the Patriarch’s friendship withFrance. The Patriarch replied that France was the Maronites benefactor and that it was natural and fitting that they should be grateful to her and maintains consistent good and friendly relations with her. Furthermore France had been the friend of Turkey since Francois I (1494-1547).
Jamal Pasha repaid the visit on July 31st, 1915.
In the second half of 1915, the stocks of food and vital necessities were exhausted in Mount Lebanon and exceptionally large swarms of locusts consumed the crops. This in addition to the blockade deprived the population of every means of subsistence.
The Patriarch spent all the money that belonged to him personally and to the Patriarchal treasury helping and feeding the poor. The patriarchal residence was thronged day and night with huge crowds coming to eat and take food from the Patriarchal provisions for themselves and their families. The situation remained unaltered until the beginning of 1919. The Patriarch got some financial help from the Lebanese emigrants and the French government sent through the commander of the French army on the island of Arwad, General Trabot. A courageous priest, Father Boulos ’Aql (later made Bishop) took it upon himself to serve as a courier between the French army in Arwad and the Patriarch. His was a most periculous task in those days, because he was suspected of spying by the Turkish authorities; and the journey between the island and the coast was within the reach of Turkish guns. Jamal Pasha and Patriarch Hoyek.
Jamal Pasha directed a second invitation to Patriarch Hoyek to meet him in Beirut in May 1916 and the patriarch complied with the governor’s request.
The Turkish governor to the Patriarch addressed A third invitation, this time for a meeting at Behamdoun in July 1917. Further, Jamal Pasha asked the Patriarch to stay for some time in Behamdoun. The Patriarch accepted. A few days later, the Pasha requested the Patriarch to leave Behamdoun for Sawfar. The patriarch accepted once again, and stayed at Sawfar from July 25th to August 14th, 1917.
The Pasha again addressed a letter to the Patriarch, requesting him to leave Sawfar and to join him at Zahle in the Beka’. It is clear that the intention of Jamal Pasha was to induce the Patriarch to move gradually from one place to another in the direction of Damascus or some other city out of Lebanon and to keep him in exile there. The Patriarch, when he received Jamal’s invitation to join him in Zahle, presented excuses on account of his health, and proposed placing himself at the disposal of the governor at the Residence of the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus in Qornet Shehwan. The governor accepted and released the Patriarch after the intervention of the Vatican and the Emperor of Austria.
Jamal Pasha was dismissed from his office of governor of Lebanon, Syria and the Arabian countries at the beginning of 1918.
The famine continued during 1917 and 1918, causing the death of many thousands of Lebanese. The patriarch sent priests to distribute food and money throughout the patriarchal vicariates and other regions of Lebanon, to alleviate the misery of his people.
In the afternoon of September 29th, 1918, a terrific earthquake that caused extensive damage and claimed many victims shook Lebanon. At the same time the British army entered Damascus and the Turkish and German forces fled from Lebanon and Syria.
Thus ended four hundred and two years of Turkish cruel oppression in Lebanon, and the triumph of the allies marked the dawn of a new era for Lebanon and the whole of mankind.
A temporary governing body was appointed for Lebanon by the allied British and French occupation Forces, the advice of the Patriarch being always respected.
The Patriarch at the Peace Congress in Versailles (1919):
The Lebanese people delegated patriarch Hoyek to express Lebanese aspirations and defend Lebanon’s interests before the Peace Congress in Versailles, and before the French government. The main danger to Lebanon came from King Faisal son of the Hashmit Sherif of Mecca, who was attempting to create an Arab kingdom including in one state: Lebanon, Syria, Irak, Palestine and the Arabian Peninsula. The Lebanese people saw its independance threatened and opposed the project of Faisal in so far as Lebanon was concerned.
Lebanon was now free from the Muslim Ottoman Empire and had no desire to become part of another Muslim Empire, an Arab one. Arab and Ottoman empires were in practice forms of one and the same thing, the Muslim Empire ruled by harsh, rigid and discriminatory Islamic laws.
In the face of this threat the Administrative Council of Lebanon representing all Lebanese communities formulated Lebanese aspirations as follows:
The extension of the frontiers of Lebanon to include the cities of Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, Tripoli and the districts of ’Akkar, Beqa’, and Southern Lebanon. These cities and districts were natural parts of Lebanon and had been unjustly separated from it by Turkey.
The recognition of Lebanon’s full independence and of its natural rights to exercising self determination and choosing a suitable form of government.
The institution of a Parliament to represent the different communities.
The assistance of France in consolidating Lebanon’s independence. Patriarch Hoyek was delegated by the representatives of the Lebanese communities to obtain from France and the Peace Congress of Versailles the recognition of Lebanon’s independence from Faisal’s Arab Kingdom and from any other Arab state, and their assistance in achieving Lebanon’s independence according to the four principles stated.
Patriarch Hoyek left Lebanon for France and met President Clemenceau on October 5th, 1919; on October 27th he presented the assembly of Peace Congress with a memorandum in fifteen pages demonstrating the right of Lebanon to independence and its ability to exercise national sovereignty. The claims of the Patriarch were recognized and approved by Clemenceau in an official document issued and delivered to the Patriarch on November 10th ,1919.
Finally the efforts of Patriarch Hoyek were crowned with success when General Gouraud, in the name of France, proclaimed on September 1st, 1920, an independent Lebanon including the entire territory bounded by Ras-al-Naqurah in the South, by Nahr-el-Kabir in the North, by the summits of Anti-Lebanon in the East and by the Mediterranean in the West.
In brief, Patriarch Hoyek, a man of strong and courageous personality, deep spirituality and original mind, exerted a real personal influence on the events of his time. Unlike some prelates, he was not a passive observer of events but sought to influence their course.
Patriarch Hoyek was well aware of the cynicism engendered among the faithful by religious leaders who repeat pious platitudes and expressions of personal grief before tragic events and remain helpless and inactive. He dealt vigorously with the problems of his people in times of disaster, instead of wringing his hands, referring to the example of Christ who cured the sick and did not merely express pity.
When sections of the Maronite community were torn by dissension, he was always able to reconcile protagonists. When Lebanon was in danger of being absorbed by King Faisal and the united Arab kingdom, Patriarch Hoyek obtained unanimity first among the Maronites themselves and then between the Maronites and the other Lebanese communities. Strengthened by this united stand, he persuaded France and other nations at the Peace Congress of Versailles to favor the Lebanese cause. With the military defeat of Faisal by Gouraud at Maysalun near Damascus, the independence of Lebanon was materialized.
With Fakhr-ad-Din II the Great, Bashir II the Great and Yusif Bey Karam, Patriarch Hoyek must be considered one of the four founders of independent Lebanon. He left this world on December 24th, 1931, not possessing any money, but owing the Rev. Boulos To’me the sum of three pounds. His house in his native town Helta Batrun, is compared by visitors to the Grotto of Bethlehem, on account of its poverty."