Saint Maron (No. 110)
The inscription on the icon reads: 'Saint Maron the Syrian Hermit'. St. Maron lived as an anchorite in the mountain valley of the Orontus River towards the end of the 4th century. His admirable virtues are described by Theodoret who was elected bishop of Cyr in 423 AD. He said that on the mountains about the city the anchorites spread themselves out everywhere 'like bright stars that shone to the ends of the universe'. Theodoret was filled with admiration for the ascetical lives of the monks of his diocese. When in 444 he wrote his Religious History, he devoted nearly half of it to writing about his anchorites. Writing of St. Maron, he explains that St. Maron, living beneath the uncovered sky, was the initiator of a form of monastic life lived in the open air called 'hypethrism'. Theodoret describing the different modes of Syrian asceticism, says 'Many, whom I have mentioned, decided to have neither cave nor cavern nor barrack nor hut but exposed their bodies freely to the air enduring the different qualities of the seasons, now frozen by the rigours of the cold, then burnt by the fires of the sun'. Theodoret points out that St. Maron is initiator of this way of life in the open air, and the founder of this monastic movement. 'He it is who has planted for God, the spiritual paradise, this garden which flowers today in the region of Cyr'.