LEBANON – Balamand, Nourieh, Kaftoun, Etc (final)

Finally, some pics to round out my 2017 tour of Lebanon. Previous posts may be accessed here.

Balamand Monastery with the abbot, Fr Romanos

I never realized that seminarians at the Balamand could day dream whilst staring off into the Mediterranean.

The Metropolitan PHILIP athletic complex at the Balamand.

Med view from the School of Theology, Balamand.

Main entry to the St John of Damascus School of Theology, Balamand.

Fr Bassam Nassif was my tour guide for the day around Hamat, Nourieh, etc.

Our Lady of Nourieh Monastery

That’s Tripoli in the background; me at Nourieh.

Hamatoura Monastery, from a distance.

Ha! An iWitness to the Annunciation?

At St Phocus Church, about 20 minutes from Balamand, where Fr Bassam Nassif is the pastor.

Icon of St Phocus.

St Phocus Church, where iconographers from Russia were beautifying the Temple.

With Fr Bassam in Koura.

The dean of the School of Theology/Balamand, Fr Porphyrios.

Our Lady of Kaftoun Monastery.

You can listen to a podcast of my spring 2017 tour of Lebanon HERE.


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Anfeh, Lebanon – Day 7

Having toured Lebanon in May, I have no good excuse for these final pics appearing here so late. But, if you don’t finish what you start you’ll never get anything done! So here’s some shots from Anfeh. For previous pics, go here.

You can listen to the podcast of my trip HERE.

Our Lady of the Winds – Anfeh, Lebanon

Weathered icons in Our Lady of the Winds – Anfeh, Lebanon

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Baalbek, Lebanon – Day 5

Day One. Days Two-Three. Day Four – Jeita Grotto & Harrisa; Byblos.

DAY FIVE – Back in April, when I was at Antiochian Village for some meetings, I snapped some pics of old photographs of Lebanon from the walls of the Conference center and Whatsapped them to Mary Catherine in Beirut. One of them was of Baalbek from the late 19th century. She replied that, hopefully, we would go there when I came.

Everyone, here & in Lebanon – and I mean EVERYONE – said, “No. You can’t go to Baalbek. It’s not safe.”

But, my daughter’s a pretty head-strong gal and I knew that, one way or another, she was going to Baalbek before leaving Lebanon. So, you know … DAD!

Yameen, our driver picked us up at 10 … traffic was cray! A couple check points, etc. The ruins of Baalbek are MAGNIFICENT! We had a tour guide who reminded us of Bishop Thomas (of Charleston) with a few more years on him. (Many years, Sayyidna 😉

Baalbek. I’ll let these images speak for themselves:

The shrine of the temple of Jupiter in Baalbek was the largest sanctuary in the Roman world, but little survives, except for six Corinthian columns on the south side, which are still carrying their entablature (the horizontal beams). While I was there, they were receiving a bit of a “shore up”.

Although it is sometimes called “the small temple”, it is larger (and better preserved) than the Parthenon in Athens. The Lebanese temple is one of the largest of Antiquity, but still, it is dwarfed by the temple of Jupiter next to it.


Our guide (see mention above). Just sayin …

Forgive the “uniform” — but, prolly best to travel in mufti in Baalbek.

Listen to the Orthodixie podcast of my tripHERE.

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Metropolitan Joseph Urges Prayer and Practical Assistance in the Wake of Harvey

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings to you and your families as we prepare for the beginning of a new Church year.

We have all witnessed with a heavy heart the catastrophic destruction and massive flooding in Southeast Texas (and now Western Louisiana) as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Some of the scenes of suffering have been beyond words. I have been in constant contact with our clergy and the parishes of the area and am waiting for an assessment from them in order to help in any way we can. Although things are still unfolding, we want to be proactive in our appeal to all of you so we can respond as quickly as possible.

As people of God and the Church of Christ, we feel compelled to help our brothers and sisters in need. Therefore, I am asking every parish and mission of the archdiocese to appeal to their faithful and hold special collections throughout the month of September so that we can alleviate a little of the pain and suffering the good people of that area are enduring. Immediately after the last Sunday of September, please send your offerings to the archdiocese and put in the memo of the check “Hurricane Harvey Appeal”. Once we have assessed the needs of our parishes and their faithful who have suffered losses, we will distribute your offerings to them on your behalf.

If there are funds remaining after our distributions to our parishes in need, we will forward them to IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) to help with their work in that area as they are already on the ground helping all Texans on behalf of the Orthodox Church.

Please be as generous as possible so that we are able to help those in need as much as we can.

Wishing you all a blessed beginning of the new ecclesiastical year and praying that God’s healing hand will touch the people who have suffered as a result of this destructive hurricane,
I remain,

Your Father in Christ,

Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America

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Harvey Relief Fund – East Texas Deanery

Dear to Christ:

With the blessing and encouragement of METROPOLITAN JOSEPH a “Harvey Relief Fund” has been established to receive alms to assist the parishes and people of our East Texas Deanery impacted by former-Hurricane-now-Tropical Storm Harvey.

FATHER JOSEPH HUNEYCUTT (orthodixie@aol.com), the Dean of East Texas, announced this afternoon that an account has been established through his St Joseph Church in Houston, TX.   A separate spread sheet of donations to this account will be maintained and no monies will be dispersed from the account until proper protocol is established by the Deanery in consultation with the Archdiocese.

Donors may use the parish’s PayPal account for making immediate donations (by clicking on the DONATE icon on the parish’s web site http://www.saintjosephorthodox.org/) or may send checks (payable to “St Joseph Church” and earmarked on the memo line “Harvey Relief”) to:

St Joseph Orthodox Christian Church
10644 Hammerly Boulevard
Houston, TX 77043

Your forgiveness and prayers,

+Bishop Basil
Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

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