Kannoubine Valley is a world apart, and one of the most amazing places in Lebanon and the world. The beauty and the holiness of this place are incomparable to any place we had ever visited before. Our hike today is to Hawqa Monastery to visit the Father Dario Escobar, the Colombian hermit.
Our Lady of Hawka Monastery, a 13th century shrine built into the side of the valley’s red sandstone cliffs and one of the region’s last functioning hermitages.
We took a rambler walking far along a rocky, steep trail in the region’s lush glades from the village of Hawqa. We needed about 20 minutes to reach there, the hike was so rough but definitely worth it.
Father Dario, a 79 year-old Colombian priest, took up residence at Hawka 14 years ago, becoming one of just three hermits left in Lebanon.
“Here I find an inner peace which I would not give up even for the greatest of fortunes,” the hermit says, his eyes smiling as he speaks.” I woke up every day and I see a different view of the valley, the valley is never the same. I just live in paradise.”
” I’ve been here since 14 years, I’ll be 80 on the 7th of July.” I promised him to come on that day . “Don”t bring cake with you, we will only pray togehter” he replied
Father Dario have an extreme sense of humor and speaks French fluently with a lovely Spanish accent. He used to be a lecturer in theology, psychology and Biblical Greek but now, “as a hermit, I live in absolute poverty and I am happy like that. No newspapers, no telephone, no television, no radio and of course no internet or Facebook”.
“Once they offered to give me a motor for electricity, I said how can I be a hermit and have a motor???? ” says while laughing.
His daily routine, involves 14 hours of prayer, three of cultivating his garden, two of reading mystical books and five of sleep.
Dario Escobar left his monastery since 2 years because of his illness. He lives now in Saint Boula monastery in Hawqa.