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Deir el Balamand, Anfeh & Deir Saydet el Nouryeh

Created with Sketch. Mount Lebanon
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Daily Tour

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Unlimited

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Overview

Balamand

Is an Antiochian Eastern-Orthodox monastery founded in 1157 in Balamand (Belmont), the Crusader County of Tripoli, now in the Koura District, in Northern Lebanon. It was originally started by Cisterian monks and maintained as such until the Mamluk conquest in 1289, then reestablished as a monastery by Greek Orthodox monks in 1610, after a poorly documented period of three centuries.

On the grounds of the monastery has been established the University of Balamand, founded by the Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch in 1988, though the university claims to

Anfeh or Enfeh (Infeh)

This is a little village on a narrow promontory in the shape of a nose – hence its name – some 500 meters long and 50 wide. It lies 70 kilometers from Beirut to the north of Shekka el-Hereh and 15 short of Tripoli, just five kilometers from the monastery of Balamand, the Bel Mont, or Beautiful Mountain of the Crusaders. Close by, the high road follows the coastal way.

Saydet El-Rih

Saydet El-Rih in Arabic, the oldest church of enfeh, was built in the Byzantine era. It is believed that sailors and fishermen from the village of Enfeh built the chapel so that the Virgin Mary would protect them as they sailed the Mediterranean. It has a vaulted nave that ends with an apse oriented toward the east. On the west side, the nave is preceded by a square vaulted room that corresponds today to the entrance of the church. This room was once part of a rectangular hall, which was part of a nursing home that used to be connected to the church. Even though the roof of the chapel has long collapsed, it still retains traces of remaining frescoes that are difficult to see. The old frescoes depict Saints George and Demitrios, the baptism of the Christ, and the Christ in His Glory with some of the evangelists.The frescoes on the south wall represent the Virgin Mary calming a storm.

Sayedt el Nourye

Saydet el Nourieh in Arabic nour, meaning light Our Lady of Light. It is believed that two sailors built the shrine in the 4th century. One winter night, on a very stormy sea, the two sailors found themselves in peril. They began praying, and the Virgin appeared to them as a light and guided them gently to the shore of Theoprosopon near modern-day Chekka in North Lebanon. The grateful sailors carved a cave in the cliff and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary, and called the shrine, Our Lady of Light. A Greek Orthodox monastery was built in the 17th century. The miraculous icon of the Theotokos has been venerated for centuries for having glowed with light to attract wayward ship.

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