A Christian community that arose in 7th-century Syria, claiming its origins in St. Maro, a Syrian hermit of the late 4th and early 5th centuries. It is one of the largest Eastern-rite communities of the Roman Catholic Church, being particularly popular in modern Lebanon, and it is the only Eastern-rite church that has no non-Catholic or Orthodox counterpart. In 680 the Maronites were condemned for their supposed Monothelite beliefs: accepting the heretical doctrine of Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, who stated that Christ had divine but no human will. The Maronites, however, assert that they have always been orthodox Christians. Communion with the Roman Catholic Church was begun in 1182 and was further solidified in the 16th century with aid from the Jesuit community. After the pope, the spiritual head of the Maronites is the "patriarch of Antioch and all the East," residing in Bkirki, near Beirut. Over the centuries and under various ruling bodies, the Maronites have managed to preserve their freedom, religion, and folk customs. The church retains the ancient West Syrian liturgy, even though Arabic is the vernacular language of the Maronites. Fearful of persecution, Maronites in the 19th century emigrated to southern Europe and North and South America where they can still be found today.