I may be one step closer to sainthood after Friday’s excursion with the Daraoun village ladies. But perhaps a saint with a wild undertone. What started out as a 7:30am rosary-chanting bus trip turned into a spectacle of belly dancing on our return down the mountains and through Friday’s home-time traffic. In between, a total of nine churches were visited. Some just out of interest, one for Mass, some for the veneration of saints, some to pray the rosary.
As an invitee of our village neighbour, who dresses like the Virgin Mary during the month of May, I joined the 40 ladies who started the trip off with baskets of kaak (Lebanese biscuits) being passed around. We visited the monasteries of Kfifain and then went down to the coastal village of Batroun.
The church of Saint Nohra, the healer of eye ailments.
The village neighbour praying next to the coffin of Nehme, a priest who died in 1938 and whose body is still intact. Next month he is being named one step closer to becoming a saint. (Lebanon already has three saints - Charbel, Rafqa and Naamtallah - and another priest who's on the same level as the one Nehme is going to.)
The mountains surrounding the monastery of Saint Rafqa.
Saint Rafqa's tomb lies behind a glass wall in the front of this church-like room. The village ladies were praying the rosary here.
Mar Estphen (which I think is Saint Stephen) church in Batroun.
The entrance to Saidet al Baher (Mary of the Sea) in Batroun, an Orthodox church. Note how it's joined to a village home's stoep.
Behind Saidet al Baher lies the Mediterranean Sea and an ancient Phoenician wall.