Shrine of Christ the King and Grotto of the Virgin Queen
In 1950, Abouna Yaacoub purchased the hill located to the right of Nahr el-Kalb river, and started the construction of the convent and the church. On December 1, 1952, the hill was crowned by a statue of Christ the King, with a height of 12 meters, the width of its open hands reached 10 meters, and it weighed 75 tons, which was designed by the Italian artist Ernesto Pallini. Thus, the old dream came true after about fifty-eight years!
The statue of Christ the King is now erected on the hill called “The Ruins of Kings” in Zouk Mosbeh, Keserwan district, Mount Lebanon Governorate. Jesus refers with his right hand to Virgin Mary, in the temple of Our Lady of Lebanon, and with his left hand to the righteous educator, in the convent of Saint Joseph of The Tower, as if he is reuniting the Nazareth family here again! While all those kings and greats whose names are carved on those rocks are lost in the unseen and oblivion! They are all gone, and Jesus is staying as is, yesterday, today and forever.
Christ the King home is approximately 13 km away from Beirut and rises 90 meters above sea level. You can reach it via Beirut-Tripoli highway, passing through Nahr el-kalb, upwards towards Jeita.
A yard of ample shadows exists in front of the convent overlooking the sea and Nahr el-Kalb valley with its picturesque view. The visitor heads to this yard to reach the church of Christ the King and from there to the base of the statue at a height of 57 meters, through elevators, one of which is panoramic, or on a staircase for pedestrians.
At the bottom wall of the convent towards the sea, workers discovered a natural grotto and told Abouna Yaacoub who shouted with joy: “This is for the Queen, the King doesn’t exist without the Queen“. He then made it a shrine to honor the Virgin Queen of the Universe and brought her statue especially from Paris.
The administration of the Sisters of the Cross Congregation embarked on an extensive workshop for the rehabilitation of the home of the priests whereas it meets all the conditions which guarantee providing the best types of service to the priest who wants to spend his third age in it in comfort and dignity.
Here, it is worth noting that one of the main objectives of the workshop in the convent of Christ the King is rehabilitating it so that, in addition to the many humanitarian services it will provide, it becomes an international shrine which meets all qualifications of shrines with international classifications to attract visitors, believers and crowds and offer them the services which complement the spiritual side.
Therefore, the engineers and contractors seek to provide external courtyards in the vicinity of the convent to receive visitors in large numbers, and to develop its interior yard to become a fruitful garden that shines with its trees and flowers and gets moistened with the water fountains, helping to create a favorable environment for meditation and prayer, and a space for public masses in the open air, in a complete union between the people of earth and the people of heaven without any separator.
The tower of the statue of Christ the King will be supplied, in addition to the stairs, with a panoramic glass elevator, which allows the visitor using it to praise God, especially when it rises high, contemplating the view of the sea, the river and the snow crowning the summit of Sannine in a unique natural harmony.
Close to the base of the statue, a hall containing photographs and paintings related to the Blessed Abouna Yaccoub and inspired by his life, will be extended, emitting meditation and reflection of its viewers.
After visiting the statue, the visitor will be able to visit the church of the convent and admire the mosaic made by the Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik, and enter a Capella that will be established north of the church holding the name of Abouna Yaacoub, in which a daily mass will be held. Beside the first Capella, a second one will be established for permanent prostration, and to the right of the church, there will be salons and reception halls.
Moreover, the workshop will dedicate a hall to display documentaries, which are mostly related to the spirituality of Abouna Yaacoub, and a second hall for seminars and lectures, as well as a place to sell souvenirs.
Furthermore, the future planning of the shrine includes the introduction of a new entrance to the Grotto of the Queen of the Universe, while the distance between the outside and inside of the grotto will be named the Path of the Spirit.
The convent receives visitors daily, providing to them masses and spiritual services.
Christ the King Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of October, and the Virgin Queen of the Universe Day on the last Sunday of May.