Lebanon and its capital Beirut have been known for hosting different communities from various ethnic and religious backgrounds. Although, the country has been shaken by political conflicts stemming from contrasting sectarian identities, it was once a safe haven for peaceful coexistence.
The valley of Kadisha is a perfect example of Lebanon’s cosmopolitan history. In the ancient Aramaic language, Kadisha means ‘sacred’ and the valley is considered to be one of the most sacred places in Christianity, for there are many churches in the valley.
Located in 110 km north of Beirut, the Kadisha valley is visited by thousands of Arab Christians every year, as it is believed that The Virgin Mary stayed in the valley to hide from Roman soldiers who wanted to kill her.
The Virgin Mary and the early Christians escaped to Syria after their stay in the Kadisha valley. The legend goes on to say that they passed to Anatolia. It may be fairly argued that hiding in the Kadisha valley became common for early Christians in the following decades, as many of them had to flee from persecution, and thus found a safe place to conceal themselves in the Kadisha valley.
Today, the valley is accepted as one of the sacred places for Christians all over the world, due to its historical importance. For centuries, the valley has been serving pious Christians, priests and monks. Apart from them, those who suffer from serious illnesses come to the valley seeking to be healed. Not only Christians, but also reclusive Muslims come to the Kadisha valley to run away from daily routines and seclude themselves in order to lend an ear to their hearts.
For centuries, the prayers of people seeking to purify their souls have been echoing around the valley in a variety of languages, including Arabic, Greek and Aramaic.
Caves used to be monastery
Despite the number of permanent residents in the valley being minimal, large crowds of visitors rush to the valley, either for touristic or religious reasons. With some additional reservations, the caves used for reclusiveness have turned to monasteries. One of them, the St. Alisha Monastery, sheds light on the lives of saints who have passed through it.
After many centuries, the valley still serves as a place of meditation for souls in search of inner-peace and serenity.
Kuzey News AgencyLast Mod: 22 Kasım 2013, 16:42