Caza: Batroun

Distance from Beirut: 53- 58 km

Altitude: 400-650 m

Access: Al Madfoun- Rachana- Smar Jbeil- Jran- Kfifane

General and Historical information:

The name of Kfifane derives from a Syriac word meaning “the small holy place”. Kfifane was named so because of its old structures and buildings. It is the home of various archeological sites, including several wells and sarcophagi carved into rocks, and roman inscriptions dating to emperor Hadrian’s era, located in the valley of Kour in Kfifane. On the east side of the village are a group of wells that were once surrounded by an ancient wall whose remains are still visible today. Next to the wall stands an observation tower in a cave carved into the rocks. An old mosque preserved inside a new mosque structure can be seen in the town.

Monuments and sites to visit

Mar Qobriyanos wa Youstina Monastery, sanctuary of St. Nehmetallah ElHardini and Beatified Estephan Nehmeh (Sts. Cyprian and Justina):

Located at 450 m altitude, it was probably established before the 7th century. In 1230, this convent held the name of two martyrs Cyprian and Justina and became the Patriarchal seat after Yanouh. Qobriyanos was a magician from Antakia who wanted to use his magic to influence the Christian young girl Yustina, but failed and admitted that “she was a simple, weak Christian girl who overcomes the devil just by the sign of the cross, what is then the power of the Crucified himself?” So, he was converted and baptized, and martyred with Yustina in 304. In 1766, the Lebanese Maronite Order took over the management of this convent, as well as that of Our Lady of Mayfouk Convent and St. Anthony of Hboub Monastery. The monks restored and renovated the Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, finishing to 1895.  In 1965, a new series of works were undertaken. In 1808, this monastery was transformed into a school for new monks, where all the novices were gathered for the first time; hundreds of priests including St. Nehmetallah El-Hardini and St. Charbel were ordained priests here. In 1898, despite this change, the convent pursued its cultural activities as a public school where hundreds of internal and external students were enrolled. In 1899, the convent was constantly declared an official Monastery for monks only. Since 1977, however, the convent continued to form and prepare monks. The mortal remains of St. Nehmtallah El-Hardini and that of Canonized Brother Estephan Nehmeh exist in the convent.

Contact: (06/ 720 304/5); www.kfifanemonastery.com, Fb: Kfifane monastery

Saint Nehmetallah El Hardini biography:

Born in Hardeen in 1808, in the highlands of Batroun, and named Youssef (Joseph). He joined St. Anthony’s Monastery in Qozhayya as a novice, and took the name Nehmetallah. In 1830, he took his ceremonial vows and was ordained a priest in the monastery of Kfifane. In 1848, he was appointed an agent of the order at the Annaya Monastery. In 1853, he taught in the monastery of Kfifane, where St. Charbel Makhlouf was one of his students. He died in 1858 in the monastery of Kfifane, where his reputation for sainthood spread all over the Lebanese regions, and he became known as the “Saint of Kfifane” or “Al Hardini”. Many miraculous healings took place through his intercession. On May 10, 1998 Pope St. John Paul 2 declared him blessed, and on May 16, 2004, he declared him a Saint.

Places to visit in the Monastery:

St. Nehmetallah El Hardini’s tomb, brother Estephan’s tomb, the museum (in this museum is the chalice that St. Nehmetallah used, in addition to manuscripts preserved in the archives and some agricultural tools used by Brother Estephan), a souvenir shop, and the monastery’s products.

Saydet Al Ramat Church (Our Lady of the Vineyard):

It is dated to the Crusader era. It belongs to the monastery of Mar Qobriyanos wa Yustina. It is an old church with simple architecture, and doesn’t have a belfry. There’s no engraved printing left in the church, Ernest Renan has mentioned in his book the existence of a Syriac inscription “Mr. Grigorios Aboun, left this world in the year…”

Saydet Al Zourou’:

Also known as Saydet Al Hosh Church (Our Lady of the Harvest):

A small church situated on a little hill east of the village of Kfifane, belonging to the monastery of Sts. Qobryanos wa Yustina. Constructed in 1838, according to a Karshouni inscription engraved on two stones that form part of the western wall above the door lintel. The inscription reads, “he who venerates the Virgin shall not perish”. Above the inscriptions, we can observe a stone bearing engravings of different symbols: the Crusader rising above two snakes, to the right, and a chalice above two intertwined roses, to the left, between them an ornamented cross and an empty circle. Judging by the inclusion of massive stones in the construction of this church, we believe that the church of Our Lady of the Harvest was built on the ruins of an old Christian temple dating back to the first Christian generation. To get the key contact the monastery (06/720 304/5)

Mar Abda Church (St. Abdon):

According to tradition, it was standing before the settling of the new Maronite families in Kfifane. Its name was unknown, so the inhabitants dedicated it to St. Abdon, one of Maad’s patron saints, after they rebuilt it. The key is with Mr. Tony Sakr (71/205039), from the endowment committee.

 Saydet Al Nasr Monastery (Our Lady of Victory):

Built in 1837. The school was successful and remained as such until the eruption of World War 2 in 1939. Its teachers included the author Maroun Abboud, Father Youssef Al Haddad, Father Youssef Abi Saab and Father Hanna Tannous. Inside the church, the stem of the apse bears two frescoes, each inside an ornamented circle:

The left fresco represents St. Peter carrying the key. The right fresco represents St. Paul, the founder’s patron, looking like Jesus, carrying his epistles in his left hand, while in his right hand, which has flaked away, seems to have been carrying some kind of pen or sword. The church holds a unique, ancient painting of the Virgin Mary carrying her Divine Child on her left arm. The painting was lost in 1977 during the Lebanese War, when armed militias took over the church and the school.

The key is with Father Rizk Rizk (03/660 846)

Mar Roukoz Parish Church (St. Rock):

built in 1877 A.D

Old wells and pits carved into the rock

Old tombs carved into the rock

Kfifane Historical Mosque

Local products and agriculture

Local agriculture:

Olive, figs, almonds, tobacco, fruitful trees.

Local products:

Olive products (oil, olives, soap), pickles, thyme, local drinks and syrup.

Local activities

Grape harvest:

thyme (zaatar), carob, around Sts. Qobriyanos Wa Yustina monastery. Contact Father Botros Ziadeh (06/ 720 304/5)

A visit to “Adiyar” winery:

Father Botros Ziadeh (06/ 720 304/5) fb:Adyar

A walking trail from the monastery’s square toward the hermitage

Local feasts

Feast day of Brother Estephan:

August 30, 5-8 days (prayers, recitals, zajal, shows) in Mar Qobriyanos wa Yustina Monastery –

Father Botros Ziadeh (06/720 304/5).

Feast day of St. Nehmetallah:

December 14, as well as one week of spiritual celebrations May 10-16 at Mar Qobriyanos and Yustina Monastery-

Father Botros Ziadeh: (06/ 720 304/5)

Food and beverages

Al Deir Restaurant: (06/720 304/5)

Istirahat Kfifane: (03/ 650 454)

Al Hilim restaurant: (06/ 580 245 – 06/ 580 550)

Al Jisr restaurant: (06/ 720 677 – 70/ 990 301)

Al Khaymi restaurant: (03/ 559 783)

Mgharat  Al Wadi restaurant: (03/ 888 218)

Al Asrar restaurant: (03/ 407 341)

Abou Elie restaurant: (03/ 729 305)

Lodging places

Al Hilm Hotel: (06/ 580 245- 06/580 550)

House of prayer, “Maison de priere”:

Contact sister Armanse Tohme (06/ 720 301); rooms for rent, like camping (sleeping bags)

Local guide

Mrs. Samira Habchi: (70/370 663)

Additional information

Civil defense Center : 125 or (06/720 825)