Report by Hasna Jeitani
Translated by Aline Aoun
NNA - Qozhaya monastery is located in Wadi Kadisha from Ehden's side; it is a place for pilgrimage, tourists and believers at the same time.
Qozhaya or the "living treasure" is a monastery in which for the first glance you think it is hanging between the earth and the sky in an area considered the first place for Maronites in Lebanon and their expansion throughout the country.
This monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Lebanon. Hermits who are still living there do not appear before the people, unless in big religious occasions.
This monastery was established in the early fourth century, according to researchers and has been subjected several times to looting, arson and destruction.
The manuscripts points that it was built through the drilling of a Church in nearby rocks to the cave which is said it extends from Qozhaya to Ehden, but no one was able to explore it till this time.
The monastery was a school for the upbringing of the monastic, especially hermitage Mar Bishai and hermits who wish to live in isolation.
The monastery receives citizens who come either to fulfill a promise or to get closer to God, confess to the hermits or monks, baptism or marriage.
In the monastery also there is the first printing press in the Middle.
In 1998 the monastery was listed as part of the Sacred Valley on the "World Heritage List".
Today the monastery is in the custody of Father Mikhael Fenianos.
In 2008, a small inn was opened that consists of three floors under the name of "Oasis of Qozhaya".
The monastery is located amid a vast area of greenery surrounded by hills and hermitages.
Historical information indicated that from Qozhaya monastery, the monastic had grown and expanded throughout Lebanon.
Natural disasters destroyed the monastery. During the First World War (1914-1918), the monastery was a shelter to all individuals who had no place to resort to. While in the 1926 the monks decided to demolish the old monastery, but kept the church and the large basement that is changed today into a museum that includes the printing press, pots, manuscripts, pottery and gift from the King of France Louis IX.
Monastery Qozhaya today is one of the oldest monasteries in Lebanon and is a shrine to all who wish to learn the road to sainthood.