Pilgrim Tour (8 days / 7 nights)
DAY 01: ARRIVAL TO BEIRUT
Arrival to Beirut international airport, meet and assist. Transfer to the hotel in Harissa for dinner and overnight.
DAY 02: BEIRUT - ANNAYA - ANTLYAS
Breakfast. Start Beirut City Tour: The Pigeons Rock, the Coastal Avenue, and then the city center where you will find one of the largest reconstruction projects in the World. Continue to Annaya to visit the Mar Maroun Monastery (with possibility of arranging a meeting with the Patriarch of Antakya and the Whole Levant), the hermitage and tomb of Saint Charbel, who was born on May 8, 1828 in Bqaa Qafra in the region of the Cedars.
St. Charbel is today the object of veneration and his life is a supreme example of absolute devotion to God. Died on December 24, 1898. Beatified in 1965, he was canonized in October 1977. Then continue toward The Armenian Patriarchate to meet Mar Aram Al-Aoual the First Armenian Patriarch. Dinner and overnight in Harissa.
DAY 03: KOUBBA - EDDE - KFIFANE - JREBTA
Breakfast and drive few kilometers to the north, visit the Chapel of the Holy Savior at Koubba town built in 12th century, a beautiful structure still in an excellent state of preservation. Proceed to Edde town to visit the church of Mar Saba, a small medieval building of pale stone, still retains fragments of 13th century wall paintings. Drive after then towards the pilgrimage site of the Monastery of Saint Cyprien and Justinian in nearby village of Kfifane town where the Blessed Nematallah Kassab Al-Hardini is buried in this modest place.
An outstanding linguist, notably in the Arab and Syriac languages, Father Al-Hardini died on December 14, 1858 at the age of 48. He was canonized in 2004. Some distance from Kfifane and in the deep "wilderness" east of Batroun where Blessed Father Hardini lived, is the Monastery of Mar Youssef Al Dahr at Jrebta. Surrounded with ancient trees, the monastery lies at the heart of a lonely region notable for its savage beauty. It is here that the Blessed Sister Rafqa is buried.
Born on June 19, 1833 aspiring to total devotion to God. She died a saintly death in 1914 and her remains were moved to the tomb that still remains in the church and soon it became a place of pilgrimage. On November 17, 1985 she was beatified by the Holy See. Saint Rafqa was canonized on June 10, 2001. Return to hotel in Harissa for dinner and overnight.
DAY 04: BYBLOS
Breakfast and driving to Byblos located 36 km far from Beirut. Walking through the old city to discover its traditional Souq area where visitors can buy all sorts of Lebanese crafts and souvenirs. Also, visiting Saint John Marcus Church, its construction began in 1115, with additional structures added over time during the 12th-13th centuries.
Continue toward Sayyidat Al-Najat Church, which was built during the 12th and 13th centuries over the remains of an older Byzantine church. Many Roman architectural elements are reused in its structure. Finally, discovering The Byblos Wax Museum, which was built by the artist Shawqi Aby Hanna in 1967 and introduces the visitor to Lebanon's past, as it contains 129 wax figures representing the history and rural life of Byblos. This museum displays wax statues and life scenes from the Phoenician era to modern times. Dinner and overnight in Byblos.
DAY 05: TRIPOLI
Breakfast and drive to Tripoli to visit St. Elie (Mar Elias Orthodox Cathedral). It was constructed in El-Mina area by local fishermen I 1861 C.E. It is now part of the campus of the National Orthodox Colleague. Continue toward Church of St. John of the Pilgrims Mount, which is the only one of its kind in Lebanon, but resembles a similar church in Syria and another one in Jordan.
The name of the church was encountered in manuscripts dating back to the crusader times. Then visit St. George Orthodox Church. It is thought that this church was built sometime between 1862 - 1873 C.E., Most probably it was built in 1870 C.E., by the fisherman "Karam", who also devoted some neighboring lands to build his own grave.
DAY 06: BEIRUT - CHOUF AREA - DEIR AL-QAMAR
Breakfast and drive Chouf area to visit Barouk Cedar Forest (from outside), which includes more than 2000 of Cedar Trees, Lebanon's national emblem. Then going toward Beiteddine and visit the magnificent Palace of Emir Bechir where you can see the complex and its museum that reflexes the Traditional Lebanese architecture.
Then the next visit is to Moussa castle, which was built single-handedly by Moussa Abdel Karim Al-Maamari, taking 60 years of work, and he built the castle and handcrafted each of its stones and clay animated figures representing different scenes of the old Lebanese village life of the 19th century, making it a true work of a visionary and a masterpiece by all means.
Continue toward Deir Al-Qamar, the former capital of Mount Lebanon, that all of its inhabitants belong to Maroni church. Visit Sayyidat el Talla church, which it was a Roman heathen temple, gave Deir Al-Qamar its name.
DAY 07: BEIRUT - SIDON - QANA - TYRE - ZAREPHATH - MAGHDOUCHEH
Breakfast and drive to Beirut for a briefed Sightseeing Tour of the capital: The Pigeons Rock, the Coastal Avenue, and then the city center where you will find one of the largest reconstruction project in the World. Continue to the South to Sidon to visit the Sea Castle then continue to Qana, and discover the stone jars described in the Gospel, namely the ones that contained water and Christ turned into wine. Their volume corresponds to the one described in the New Testament: 80 to 120 liters.
Near the village of Qana, on a big isolated rock, there is a sculpture representing twelve persons and, in the middle of them, a thirteenth person of bigger height stands up, this probably symbolizes the twelve disciples and Christ. Proceed to Tyre (Sour), the first city that had its own church; on his way to Jerusalem in 57AD, St. Paul stopped by, discovered some disciples, and stayed seven days (Acts, XXI, 4).
Visit the vestiges of Tyre Crusader Cathedral. Drive to Sarafand, the biblical Zarephath (later known as Sarepta) that is famous for the miracle of Elijah who raised the widow's son from the dead and multiplied her olive oil and grain supplies (1 Kings 17). Proceed to visit Maghdoucheh, where the sanctuary of Saydet el-Mantara, or Our Lady of Care, dug in the rock. It is a chapel where the Virgin Mary waited for her Son while He was preaching on the Lebanese coastline. On September 8, feast of Virgin Nativity, people go on pilgrimage to the cave.
DAY 08: DEPARTURE
Breakfast. Transfer to Beirut International Airport for departure.