Mar Sharbel of Edessa was the chief of the pagan priests who used to offer sacrifices to the gods of Edessa, a city in Turkey now called Urfa. Converted to Christianity together with his sister Babai, he was tortured under the Roman emperor Decius (236-250 A.D.) and then had his head cut off. His sister Babai, who was present at his execution, then took up some of his blood in her robe, saying, “May my spirit be united with yours in the presence of Christ, whom you have known and in whom you have believed.” She in turn suffered martyrdom at the very same spot where she had soaked up her brother’s blood. Their death is commemorated on 5th September.
The church, which belongs to the diocese of Jbeil, stands on older remains, of which the most ancient traces belong to a pagan temple; on these a Byzantine church was built during the 5th or 6th century, one that was destroyed a little before the year 800 and rebuilt under the Crusaders in the 12th or 13th century. Made a ruin again in 1615 A.D. under the Ottomans, it was again rebuilt by a Maronite priest and the people of Maad in 1723. Repairs were carried out towards the end of the 19th century, a door was opened on the north side and windows were pierced on both the northern and southern sides.