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 Mar Mema Church – Ehden

The Mar Mema church Ehden was erected in 748 on the ruins of a pagan temple built by Macedonians and dedicated to the god of the sun.

It is one of the oldest Maronite churches in Lebanon and it contains a main aisle and a lateral one. On its walls there are crosses and inscriptions, some of which are in Greek, in addition to a date 494 after the time of Alexander the Macedonian. The baptismal font takes the shape of a big jar inlaid in the church wall.

Mar Mema (260-275) is the patron of shepherds and nurses; he was executed at Caesarea Cappadocia, at the age of 15 during the persecution of the Roman Emperor Aurelian.

10. Saint George Church – Ehden

According to ancient historical references, this church is one of the oldest and most magnificent churches in Lebanon. According to Father Henri Lamens , it goes back to the “era of Justinian or architects who adopted his style of construction”. Stones taken from pagan temples were used to construct this church. It contains three ancient scriptures. The first one in Greek is ambiguous except two lines that say “built in 584 by the age of Alexander, or by 272 of our era”. While the other two are in Syriac language. Over the remains of this church, the inhabitants of Ehden built a new one in 1855. Habib Beik Karam, who was in charge of the church properties at that time, proposed that new project. Construction was suspended during the events of 1860 before resuming in 1870 and be completed in 1880. Its dome rises to a height of 16 meters above the level of the church was built by artisan Boulos, son of Deacon Gerges Yammine in 1898.

Saydet el-Hosn (our Lady of the Fortress) – Ehden

In the north eastern part of Ehden and on a very high hill that overlooks most of North Lebanon and a few Syrian lands, the ancient inhabitants of Ehden built an indomitable fortress crowned today with two Maronite churches, an ancient and a modern one, dedicated to Virgin Mary “our Lady of the Fortress“.

    1. The ancient church of “our Lady of the Fortress”

The inhabitants of Ehden built a sanctuary dedicated to Virgin Mary, their patron, to be their fortress and refuge. The Mamlukes pulled down the fortress and the church in 1283. The inhabitants of Ehden rebuilt the church using the stones of the ancient fortress. They rebuilt it again after the earthquake in 1705. They renovated it in 1836 after a destruction that was mentioned by French traveler and poet Lamartine when he visited the region in 1833.

     2. The New Church of “our Lady of the Fortress”

This imposing Marian shrine adjacent the old church was inaugurated in 1989, its architecture is not at all traditional: a large round church surmounted by a cone crowned by a huge white statue of Virgin Mary with open arms (made in Italy). She is miraculous and the statue attracts visitors and worshipers who come to obtain graces and blessings in particularly during the first week of September until the 8th of this month (Birth of the Virgin Mary).

 Monastery of Mar Mora – Ehden

It is the cradle of the Lebanese Maronite Order located in the lowest part of Ehden above the village of Ain-toura. Its construction dates back to 1339 (as mentioned in the margin of a gospel that was found in the Church of Bejjeh in the region of Jbeil during the times of Patriarch Doueihi). It was restored in 1695 by the founders of the Order Gebrayel Hawwa, Abdallah Qaraali and Youssef El-Bitn and was surrounded by a wall turning it to a the first seat of the Superior Order.

Management convent was rotated among the founding until 1701 , when they gave up. Fallen into disrepair, it remains today in two adjacent caves feature stone arches. Traces of cells built by monks in 1695 are still visible. In order to preserve the monastic presence in the region, the Lebanese Maronite Order was taken January 17, 1995 ( the feast of Saint Anthony the Great ) with the agreement of the Patriarchal Maronite bishopric ( Vicariate of Zgharta ) in order to restore the ancient monastic heritage.

 Mar Sarkis and Bacchus Monastery (Deir Ras el-Nahr) Monastery of Saint Sergius and Bacchus) – Ehden.

Pride of the Antonin Maronite Order, it is a large monastery, one of the largest in Lebanon. Its history and its importance are closely related to the great Patriarch Estephan Doueihy.

Formerly known as Mar Sarkis Ras -en- Nahr, or Monastery of St. Sergius “Start of the river” the source, or torrent for its proximity to the source of Mar Sarkis. Its construction dates back to before 1473, death year of Bishop Peter of Ehden, according to the writings of Patriarch DOUAIHY. Nothing remains of the convent except the ruins of two ancient churches on the east side of the ground floor. Patriarch Estephan Douaihy undertook its restoration seen that he received his priestly sacraments there after his return from Rome. He was known for having declined all offers of foreign universities or abandoning the Lebanese Maronite and Syriac heritage for the Latin heritage. Fouad Ephrem Al Boustani cites that “he preferred Lebanon to Italy, Ehden to Rome, and the village school to major universities in the world, the stone benches under the oaks and cypresses to university chairs.” After his ordination as a priest, he opened a school in the monastery of St. Sarkis Ras Year – Nahr.

In 1739, the monastery was given to the congregation of Saint Anthony after one flow was added to it. Today, the monastery contains documents and manuscripts that inform about its history and about the history of patriarch Douaihy and his accomplishments.

Saint Jacques Monastery, Ehden