The Shrine of Deir el Qamar Cross
The hill of Deir el Qamar Cross is a historical one, rich in monuments and landmarks, located around a thousand meters above sea level with a distance of about 85 km away from Beirut. The hill overlooks the sea and most of Lebanon’s mountainous and coastal villages in Shouf and Metn areas. The hill used to be called Tyre Citadel, perhaps because it overlooks Tyre city.
After the Cross was erected on our Lady of the Sea Church – Jal El Dib in 1927, Abouna Yaacoub wanted to put up another Cross on a high mound in Deir el Qamar, which is one of the most magnificent mounds in Lebanon…
The idea occurred to Abouna Yaacoub in 1929, after he discovered a burial ground where martyrs of the 1860 massacres were buried, because he wanted to construct a cross memorial in memory of these martyrs.
After obtaining permission from his superiors, and after donations were provided, Abouna Yaacoub began work on the summit above a piece of land with an area of around eight thousand square meters offered by Bishop Boustany, Pastor of Sidon and Deir el Qamar at the time. Work was completed in the summer of 1932, and the road was paved from Deir el Qamar to the shrine, which was inaugurated in September 13 of the same year in a majestic ceremony attended by around ten thousand people coming from everywhere, praying and glorifying the Lord… In that day, Abouna Yaacoub wished that the Cross day will become a national holiday for all the Lebanese…
Today, after being restored as a result of what happened to it because of the latest wars and the flow of armies on this strategic hill, the shrine has become a base of cement with a geometric shape of four inclined pillars interconnected with semi-arches of a height of eight meters, on top of which rises an iron Cross of ten meters holding the crucifix from a French making. The face of the crucifix is oriented to the brotherly towns of Druze, to the town of Baaqline in particular, as if it is calling its residents and the neighborhood to love, be united and live in the heart of the Mount like in the heart of God.
The shrine, Cross and base, is electrically lighted, and gazers at night see it like a radioactive mass as if it is a star hanging in the sky.
Surrounding the shrine, and on the outskirts of the yard in particular, we find the stages of the fourteen stations of the Cross, which need to be renovated today, and the Congregation is preparing a study for the rehabilitation of the hill.
To the south, lies the church, which bore the name of Abouna Yaacoub, following his beatification in 2008, which is an old cellar with a length of around thirty meters and a width of about five meters, that was in the past warehouses for supplies and water, used by Saint Francis Order for Laymen as a place to rest during their long nights of meditation.
Three major celebrations take part annually at the shrine including masses and processions, which are February 1, the anniversary of the birth of the Blessed Abouna Yaacoub; June 26, the anniversary of his death; and the eve of September 13, the Ascension of the Holy Cross.
In these three occasions, thousands of believers and participants flock from the region and the neighborhood to take part in the event, just as one day Abouna Yaacoub wished that raising Deir el Qamar Cross will revive the spirit of faith in the hearts of Christians of these regions.