The Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great (Mar Antonios al-Kabir) is situated at a height of 950 meters above sea level in the celebrated Valley of Qozhaya, ” the Living Treasure “. The pine trees and oak trees cover the great hills surrounding it. Fruit trees of every description grow all along the valley which extends into the Valley of Qannubin to form the great Qadisha Valley, thus bearing witness to the history of eremitic life and the quest for holiness in Lebanon.
Historians and scholars suppose that this Monastery was first built and began to be occupied by hermits at the beginning of the fourth century. It was several times looted, set on fire and razed to the ground,
According to certain sources, it was during the time of Patriarch Sergius ar-Rezzi that in 1584 the first printing press was introduced into the East, and the psalter was printed the first time in 1585. A second printing press was in Qozhaya in 1610, and the library of the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik conserve a copy from the psalter printed in that year .
WHAT TO SEE IN QOZHAYA
a) The Monastery: A Place of Pilgrimage
The Monastery of Qozhaya has special significance for both Christians and Muslims, who come from all regions seeking cures, divine grace and peace of mind. It is the Monastery for the pilgrims.
b) The Cave
The Cave of Qozhaya, which burrows into the mountainside, is supposed to extend to Ehden. It is a popular place for miracles, especially for those who are mentally ill. It is famous throughout Lebanon and the Middle East for the miraculous cures which have taken place in it.
c) The Church
The Church of the Monastery is located in a cave. It is the product of the joint endeavor of man and nature. Its facade is beautiful in its simplicity. Its pink stones are joined with lead instead of mortar. In the upper part, a series of arches is supported by twelve pink pillars, which rest upon copper sills. On the top, there are three bell towers. It is to be noted that the central one, out of which three arches have been sculpted, is monolithic (constructed from a single piece of rock).
d) The Printing Press
Saint Antonios Kozhaya hostel
Tel: +961 6 995 507-8, +961 3 577235