Deir Qannoubine served as a fortress palace for the Maronite Patriarchs from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

The monastery’s church, half built into the rock, is decorated with frescos from the 18th-19th centuries. The eastern apse has a Deisis (a representation of Christ between the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist) with St. Stephanus taking the place of St. John the Baptist. Another small apse shows St. Joseph holding the Child in one hand and a saw in the other. In a second apse is the figure of the prophet Daniel in the lions’ den. On the northern wall a fresco represents the coronation of the Virgin by the Trinity, with nine miter-capped Maronite Patriarchs looking on.

At the entrance of this church is a cave where a naturally preserved body can be seen, mistakenly believed by the local population to be that of Patriarch Youssef Tyan. Not far from here is the chapel of Mar Marina, famous saint of the valley, where 18 Maronite patriarchs are buried. Interestingly, the Patriarch Tyan is listed among those buried here.

How to get there

The monastery can be reached by foot from Blawza or Diman, a walk of several hours that gives an idea of what the journey was like for early pilgrims and patriarchs.

A shorter way is by the path that begins at the bottom of the valley. When you reach Kadisha electricity power station at the bottom of the valley, you should take a 4X4 bus to reach Abou Joseph Restaurant. And then you should hike for another 15 minutes to reach knnoubine Monastery.