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The Monastery of Mar Sarkis & Bakhos, known also as Mar Sarkis Ras Al Nahr, is an old monastery whose church was built on the remains of an old Canaanite temple in the course of the 8th Century AD. For a long period, it was the residence of the Bishop of Ehden before being handed over to the Lebanese Antonine Order in 1739. It is located to the East of Ehden in the region of Nabeh Mar Sarkis.(1).

The relations between the Monastery and Kfarsghab do not seem as old and intimate as those developed with the Monastery of Qozhaya. Mar Sarkis belonged traditionally to Ehden, and specifically to the Douaihi family. Geographically and economically, it was out of the sphere of influence of Kfarsghab as well as that of Morh Kfarsghab. Also, the Antonine Order did not have the same attraction and prestige of Qozhaya for the recruitment of young Kfarsghabis. The oldest document at our disposal dates to 1854 where Jabbour Karam and Tannous Ibrahim from Kfarsghab were witnesses in a purchase transaction between the Monastery and a family from Ehden (2).
Mar Sarkis Monastery
It seems that young Kfarsghabis did not start joining the Antonine Order before the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It was in January 1874 that Brother Toubiyya (Tobias) from Kfarsghab started his trial in Mar Sarkis, to be transferred 9 months later to the Mar Ishaia Monastery by the order of the then Patriarch Boulos Massaad. Brother Toubiyya took his vows in this Monastery on the 17 October 1874 under the ministry of the Father Superior of the Order Youssef Labaki Al Baabdati (3). It was also in Mar Ishaia that Brother Nasteer Abbood Al Khouriyeh from Kfarsghab took his vows on the 1st of July 1877 under the ministry of the Father Superior Emmanuel Obeid (4). And we can find in the records of the Monastery of Mar Sarkis for the years 1910-1913 the presence of the two Monks from Kfarsghab: Brother Nasteer (Nestor) Moussa Abbood and Brother Toubiyya (Tobias) Hanna Lahood. Brother Nasteer died on the 3rd of June 1918 and is buried in the graveyard of the Monastery. Brother Toubiyya was still present in Mar Sarkis records in 1922. (5)

Other than the vocations, relations were economic. Some Kfarsghab families rented the land owned by Mar Sarkis or worked as partners. The example of the Monastery vineyards exploited by Kfarsghabis between 1908 and 1910 proves those relationships. In the previous example, the partners were : Shallita, the widow of Sleiman Al Basha and her Son Mikkhail, Gerges Barakat, Nakhoul Al Bahri,  Maroun Sleiman, Simaan Al Basha, Boulos Sassine, Tannous Soufia and Tannous Aajab. The presence of Kfarsghabi monks in the Monastery at that time must have facilitated such transactions (6).
Mar Sarkis Monastery

To the same period goes two other documents,
- the distribution in 1913 of charity money left by a rich man from Ehden. The part of Kfarsghab was distributed equally to four priests of the village: Father Gibrayil Roodah, Father Youssef Ibrahim, Father Neemtallah and Father Boutros (7)
- the christening of Maryam daughter of Romanos Barakat on the 5th of December 1912. The godfather was Youssef Nkoula and the godmother Nazha, wife of Assaad Abbood (8).

The history of the relations between Kfarsghab and the Monastery of Mar Sarkis could be older than what we found. I think that more young Kfarsghabis have joined the Lebanese Antonine Order. There is a lack of documents and this study will be completed when more documentation is available.

(1) - For Information on Mar Sarkis, see - the Monastery of Mar Sarkis official Website - in Arabic
(2) - From The History of The Monastery of Saints Sarkis & Bakhos Ehden - Father Charbel Abi Khalil - 1995 - Private editor - p. 163.
(3) - From Pentalogie Antonine - 19th Century - Father Georges Rahme - 2002 - Editor tri-centennial of the Lebanese Antonine Order - Mar Roukos - p. 248.
(4) - From Pentalogie Antonine - op cit - p. 257.

(5) - From The History of The Monastery of Saints Sarkis & Bakhos Ehden - Op Cit - pp 57, 59 and 69
(6) - From The History of The Monastery of Saints Sarkis & Bakhos Ehden -Op Cit - p. 94
(7) - From The History of The Monastery of Saints Sarkis & Bakhos Ehden -Op Cit - p. 172
(8) - From The History of The Monastery of Saints Sarkis & Bakhos Ehden -Op Cit - p. 131

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