QADISHA VALLEY (Not Completed Yet)

 

 

One of the deepest and most beautiful valleys in Lebanon, is indeed a world apart. At the bottom of this wild-sided gorge runs the Qadisha River whose source is in the Qadisha River at the foot of the Cedars. And above the famous Cedar grove stands Qornet es Sawda, Lebanon's highest peak, it is a ravenous narrow valley, made of tall cliffs that reach from the crests where the cedars grow to the shores of the blue blue Mediterranean.

 

The word "Qadisha" comes from a Semitic root meaning "Holy" and Wadi Qadisha is the "Holy Valley" since it served as a refuge to the Maronite Monks and their Patriarch through many centuries, and many invasions, whenever religious persecution increased and threatened their existence. Filled with caves and rock shelters inhabited from the 3rd Millennium BC to the Roman Period, the valley is scattered with cave chapels, hermitages and monasteries cut from rock. Since the Early Middle Ages generations of Monks, hermits, ascetics and anchorites found asylum here. These religious men, who belonged to the various confessions that grew out of medieval controversies over the nature of Christ, included the Nestorians, Monophysites, Chalcedonians and Monothelites. Even Moslem Soufis were found in this valley. They prayed in many languages: Greek, Arabic, Syriac and Ethiopian.

 

Caves

In this 1000 meters deep valley you feel attracted by its depth and the strength of its seduction. On this high cliff which can only be reached by the birds, according to terms of a European traveler, the Maronite Patriarch sat next to a rock and there guided his herd as made it Mo´se in the ancient Will for his people. Down there you feel a hidden power that carries you to pray and meditate, to work and the clasp of initiatives.

You can clearly hear the sound of earth "Remember men, you are dust and to dust you shall return.", the sound of the wind "In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth. However the earth was empty and wave, darkness covered the abyss, God's mind whirled on waters (Gen 1/1)." and the sound of the sky "I know your conduct, you are not cold nor hot, that you are not one or the other! so since there you are tepid, nor cold nor hot, i am going to vomit you from my mouth. (Apocalypse 3/15-16)".

 

Monasteries of the Valley

 

Deir Mar Lichaa (Monastery of Saint Eliseus)

Built into a shallow cave where the hermits' cell were fashioned, this hermitage was known to travelers in the 17th and the 18th centuries. The church is set in a cliff, and include four small chapels fitted into the rock. Beneath the church is the tomb of a local Capuchin, Father Francois de Chasteuil, who died in 1664. While the Monastery cannot be dated precisely, it is known that a Maronite bishop lived there in the 14th century and that it was here that the Lebanese Maronite Order was founded in 1695.

 

Deir Mar Semaan

Deir Mar Assya

Monastery of Saydet Quannobine