• Casa: Jbail
  • Distance from Beirut: 56 km
  • Altitude: 950m – 1150 m
  • Access: Jbail – Amchit – Obaydat – Lehfed – Or Batroun – Mayfouk – Lehfed
General and Historical information

“Lehfed” has two meanings: the first one is based on its location in the mountains’ heart or quilt, and the second, religious meaning of “fear of God”. The monuments found in many places of the town of Lehfed confirm its long habitation by humans, dating it all the way to antiquity, even to the stone ages. In one of the caves in Mrah El Sheer, flint tools, knives and objects have been found. Huge human skulls and animal bones have been found in another cave, in the area of Mar Saba.

Monuments and sites to visit
  • Saydet Al Marj Church(Our Lady of the Prairie) (Deir Al Qollaya):

A convent accommodated  by four bishops, appointed by the Maronite Patriarch Youhanna Al Lehfedi, in the middle of the 12th century, and by bishop Yaacoub in the beginning of the 15th century. The convent was ruined and nothing was left except the church, which had been rebuilt in the mid19th century. The church has a rectangular shape, with two entrances from the north and the west. It has an eastern balled apse, separated from the apse’s base by a cornice stone topped with a drawing of the Virgin Mary. A stone altar is in front of the apse, resting on two refined stone pillars. The church has two crossing vaults; in the center of the northern entrance lintel engraved Cross parallel ribs, reviewed by lines comprise three crosses with a square shape. Vertical triangular ribs on the base, on both sides of the cross there is two decorative circles symbolizing the sun and the moon. Lintel in the north corner of the cross, there’s an inscription of an abstract cup, not easy to identify the symbol, but it is believed that it indicates the column of Saint Simon the Great, and the top of the cup is the terrace on which Saint Simon stood, and where he lived. Above the lintel is a panel composed of one slab, topped with a key, which contains a number of distorted geometric elements, including a glimpse of the form of the rising sun and the five-pointed star.

 On the north side of the window, in the middle of lintel, is engraved a cross with a triangular base and a summit similar to the base. Occasional Hall  ends in both sides with a triangular cross, and meet in the middle a diagonal cross  On the south side of the church, in the stone that is above the center of the window lintel, is an engraving of a 20 cm cross with balanced ribs. In the center of the western door lintel is engraved a cross with balanced ribs and a triangular base. Outside, the church is surrounded by a wide yard with old oak trees, beyond the age of one thousand years, some of the largest in Lebanon.

Near the church, there’s a cave named by the inhabitants “al Qollaya”. The elderly recalled it was the residence of the bishop at “Our Lady church”, who was also the assistant of the Patriarch Youhanna Al Lehfidi, who ranked the fountain called by his name. In this church, Brother Estephan Nehme of Lefhed was baptized. Contact Mr. Charbel Nehme for the key (09/ 725 305).

  • Mar Saba Monastery (St. Sabbas):

It can be reached by a pedestrian route that leads to a hill overlooking the road that connects Lehfed to Makra. The remains indicate that the monastery dates back to before the twelfth century and that this was where the priests of Lehfed celebrated the Mass. The residents of Lehfed celebrate the feast of Mar Saba on August 25, while the feast’s actual date is December 5. There are no remains of the convent besides a section of the church made of two aisles. The first altar holds the name of the Virgin, and the second of Mar Saba.

 

  • Mar Hawchib Church: 

It is a cave in “Sheer Al Aamiyyeh” (public valley), and the church is all that has remained of it. It can be accessed from the spring next to the Mar Elias Church, by a dirt road. Visitors on the road pass two stations: Fonts dugged in the rock, the remains of a leftover winepress, used by residents long ago and what is known the Stair of Liberty; a winding stair with difficult and tough stairs shaded by pine trees.

This convent looks like those of “The Valley of Qadisha”, and studies show that it is dated to the Byzantine era. Next to it is a well carved in the rock, where residents of the monastery used to collect water.

There are three hermits of the monastery:

  1. “The nun’s cave”, 6 m away from the west side of the church. It is said that a nun lived here in holiness and penitential practices, in the 12th century, until she died.
  2. A small hall built in the heart of the valley above the monastery, unreachable today. Maybe its residents could reach it through the monastery roof, which would mean that the convent was high and had several floors.
  3. Also in the heart of the valley, 200 m removed from the west side, but with only a ruined well carved into stone remaining.

 

  • Mar Estephan Parish Church (St. Steven/Stephan):

An old church in the middle of a square, located on top of a hill overlooking the town of Lehfed, believed to be built on the remains of a Phoenician temple, where a crusader citadel was built in the High Middle Ages. The current church is rectangular, with a single aisle with two crossing vaults, and an oriental curved meningococcal bend, connected to the marble altar and a large amphitheater delicately sculpted in a beautiful way strikethrough the Holy Sacrament. The apse’s curve is separated from its base by a stone frieze surmounted by a large painting of St. Stephen. Many surfaces on this church, particularly the facades and the lintels, have crosses engraved into the stone. Many of these have an interesting design, with triangular or semicircular bases, double crossbeams, or circular or octagonal borders. There is even a cross engraved on the lintel of the door you can see if you climb the stone staircase to the roof.) Contact Mr. Charbel Nehmeh for the key: (09/ 725 305).

 

  • Mar Elias Church (St. Elijah):

In local parlance, this is “the monastery of St. Elias”. It was a Patriarchal Chair where Patriarch Youhanna AL Lehfedi lived in the mid-twelfth century, between 1251 and 1254. What remains of the monastery is the church located on a hill, next to an old oak tree, next to the remains of a Phoenician temple. The stone church has a bell dome on its south-west corner, and in the middle of the lintel of the west door, an inscription of a cross in a square, with equal ribs, and in the lintel of the northern door, an inscription of a cross where its vertical rib longer than its horizontal one. At the bottom of the northern side of the north door, an inscription for a bird, which could be from the remains of the ruins of a Phoenician temple, where birds were offered as sacrifices to the gods.

 

  • The House of the Blessed brother Estephan Nehmeh:

Brother Estephan was born in Lehfed, in 1887, from two saintly parents, Stephan Bou Haykal and Khristina Al Badawi Hanna Khaled Nehme. He entered the monastery as a novice in 1905 in Kfifane, when he was 18 years old, full of wise, deep meekness and solid virtue built on the rock of faith. After eight days, he wore the holy novice’s robe, and started working, laboring and struggling, rising on the stairs of virtue day after day. In 1907, he made his monastic vows. He served the order for 31 years in piety and faith, giving a good example in all he did. He repeated often, “God sees me”. He himself discovered the “Ghrayr spring” next to his house in 1903. He died in the odor of sanctity on August 30,

 

1938, and is now buried in Sts. Cyprian and Justine monastery in Kfifane, Batroun. People from all over the country visit his tomb and he was distinguished by the numerous miracles God allowed him to do, as many patients have testified. On June 29, 2009, a statement was issued by the Holy Synod of the Vatican, on behalf of His Holiness, approving his beatification.

 

  • Mar Semaan Church (St. Simon):

 

Built in natural carved rock. Today it is almost destroyed, and all that is still visible is the entrance and some stone structures.

 

  • Mar Challita Shrine (St. Arthemus):

 

It was built on the site of an old parish church, carrying the name of St. Challita, demolished in 1865. It is located in the middle of the village and surrounded by a lawn, surrounded by an old oak tree, with a park on the side.

 

  • Mar Semaan Shrine (St. Simon):

Locally called “Qamou’ St. Simon”. This is a metaphor for a stone pillar erected in place of an old church not currently in use.

 

  • Modern Churches:

Sts. Peter and Paul’s church, St. Joseph church, church of Our Lady of the River, St. Rafqa church (the Jbeil Maronite Archbishopric summer residence).

Local agriculture and products

Local cultures : Olives, grapes, apples, vegetables, honey, alcohol.

Local productions: Mallow (collard greens/mouloukieh), olives products (olives, oil, soap), Lebanese jams, thyme, pickles, kishik.

Dairy products

Honey products: Contact Mr. Raymond Nehmeh (70/ 211 800) or Mr. Ragheb Sader: (09/ 725 065)

Rural activities and services

Hiking trails: Mar Saba trail (10 minutes walking), Mar Hawchab trail

  • 7 minutes walking).Mrs. Antoinette Nehmeh (09/725 148- 71/771 567)

 

Lehfed Agricultural Cooperative:

There is an annual summer production exhibition in the cooperative.

Local food processing “Mouneh workshop” (jams, pickles, blueberry syrup, kishik, thyme…);

Fruit and vegetable picking  activities

Mrs. Antoinette Nehmeh (09/725 148- 71/771 567)

Touristic and services activities

Food and Beverages
 

Mar Challita Park: A place for camping, and picnics, with a playground. Mrs.Antoinette Nehmeh (09/725 567- 71/771 567)

Lehfed Country Club: Lebanese restaurant, with space for camping.

Fb: Lehfed Country Club; Contact Mr. Tony Saadeh: (03/324 202)

Al Saadeh park (pastries, grilled chicken): Mrs. Noelle Daou (70/501 156)

Bakery Abi Khalil (pastry and grocery store:  Mrs. Souad Abi Khalil (03/118 200)

Farhat restaurant (Lebanese meze and barbecue):

Mrs. Raymonda Farhat (03/271 438).

Elio park and restaurant: (71/719 731- 03/ 398 644).

Al Aailat restaurant (A family restaurant): Mr. Salim Ziade (03/596 327).

Lodgings

The center of Pope Paul 6: it is the summer residence for Jbail Maronite Archbishopric and also a social and cultural services center.

Mr. Roni Sfeir (09/725 070)

Lehfed Country Club: camping space and restaurant:

Fb: Lehfed Country Club, Mr. Tony Saadeh: (03/324 202)

Mar Challita Park: camping, picnics, playground

Mrs. Antoinette Nehmeh (09/725 148 – 71/771 567)

Local guides

Mrs. Antoinette Nehmeh: President of Lehfed Agricultural Cooperative

(09/725 148- 71/771 567)

Ms. Mira Khaled (71/797 621)

Additional information

Lehfed charitable dispensary  (09/725 127)

Gas station: Mr. Raymond Abi Khalil (03/307085)