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    Default Maghdouche

    Maghdouche - 8 KM South East of Saida- is the town where there is a big statue of Saint Mary. The story tells that in the cave (today a church) Saint Mary was waiting for Jesus and his disciples to come back from teaching in Saida because Jewish women were not allowed into pagan cities at that time.

    Today you will have a splendid view of the whole area from the statue. The town Maghdouche, further up, is a place where young people from the surrounding villages hang out. On September 8th we celebrate the birthday of Saint Mary where huge crowds from all over Lebanon gather for mass and religious activities as well as big parties and celebrations with fun, food and drink.
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    5-New Basilique @ Maghdouche



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    Last edited by Bronzy; 28-06-2009 at 01:28 AM.
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    From Wikipedia.

    Maghdouché (also Maghdouche, Maghdoucheh or Maghdousheh) is a town in the South Governorate in Lebanon. It is located 50 km south of Beirut and 8 km southeast of Sidon.

    The village lies 3 km inland from the Mediterranean, occupying a hill with elevation ranging between 200 to 229 meters above sea level

    Demographics

    Maghdouché has a permanent population of 8,000 inhabitants, the majority of who are Melkite Catholics and few Maronite Catholics. [1] The population of the town doubles when the expatriates return to spend their summer vacations in their ancestral home.

    Economy

    Maghdouché's main industry is agriculture. The town produces grapes and citrus fruits, especially oranges. The town is famous for its best quality orange-blossom water.[1] On April 2006, USAID funded a $195,000 cooperative of flower blossom and rose water production center, which will serve more than 950 farmers in the Magdhouche area.[3]

    History

    The name, Maghdouché, originates from the Syriac word, which means "crop collectors." It is also derived from the Syriac word Kidsh and its derivatives (Kadisho, Kadishat, Makdosho). In Hebrew, it means "holy" or "saintly." According to Christian belief, when Jesus came to Sidon, the Virgin Mary who accompanied him, waited for him at the top of the hill where Maghdouché is located today. She spent the night in a cave that came to be known as Mantara, or the "Awaiting." Emperor Constantine the Great responded to St. Hélène's request and transformed the cave into a sanctuary for the Virgin. He erected a tower in honor of the Virgin. The tower collapsed during the earthquake of 550. Later, King Louis IX erected a watching tower in the same location. The Mantara cave was once again discovered accidentally by a shepherd in 1726. An icon of the Virgin was also discovered, and it was of Byzantine style, dating back to the 7th or to the 8th century. Since then, the cave has been transformed into a place of pilgrimage for all the Lebanese confessions. In 1860, the Greek Catholic Church became the owner, and transformed the cave into a sanctuary in 1880.

    At the beginning of the sixties, Mgr Basile Khoury built a beautiful hexagonal chapel and a 28 m high tower on the top of which he erected a beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus in her arms, a work of the Italian artist Pierrotti. The statue is 28m and a half high. Our Lady of Mantara is considered the protectress of children, and many baptisms are celebrated at the sanctuary.

    In 1986, the armed conflict between Amal (Shi'a Muslim militias) and the Palestinians spread to Maghdouché. Ferocious combats took place in this Christian strategic town. Ultimately, it fell partially in the hands of the Palestinians and its residents were forced to flee from their homes. Maghdouché was destroyed. In 1990, after four years, the resident of Maghdouché returned to the ruins of their village and began rebuilding what was destroyed in the war.[4]

    Landmarks

    Maghdouché's most famous landmark is the tower of Our Lady of Mantara, which is a Marian shrine built above the cave that is believed to have been the resting place of the Virgin Mary as she waited for Jesus while he preached in Sidon.

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    Lady Mantara, Waiting, virgin Mary Maghdouche, sacred grotto, Jesus Tyre Sidon, Christians Lebanon

    Our Lady of Mantara or The Wait, Maghdouche

    The sanctuary of Our Lady of Mantara has its origins in the Holy Gospels. We read in Mark ch. 7, v. 24, that after leaving Genesareth in Palestine Christ went to the region of Tyre and Sidon (now called Saïda) to preach the Good News and to heal the sick. It was at Sidon that he cured the daughter of the Canaanite women possessed of a devil: “Woman, your faith is great.” For his part, Saint Luke says in ch. 6. v. 17 that after having chosen his twelve apostles Jesus “came down with them and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal regions of Tyre and Sidon who had come to hear him and to be cured of their diseases.”

    According to holy tradition the Holy Virgin accompanied her son when he journeyed to Tyre and to Sidon. However, as we know, Jewish women were not allowed to go into pagan cities. Therefore, as Sidon was a Canaanite town and therefore pagan, Mary waited for her son in this grotto at Magdousheh, for the Roman road which ran from Jerusalem to the Lebanese coast passed by this village. Here she waited in prayer and meditation, from which comes the name Our Lady of the Wait – al Mantara.

    Subsequently the early Christians transformed this grotto into a shrine where they came to honour the Virgin and ask for her graces. As a result of the troubled times this region frequently went through in its history, the site was sometimes forgotten; but thanks to a lucky chance it was rediscovered in 1721 during the time of Monsignor Eftemios Saïfi,Melkite Catholic bishop of Saïda, who had the grotto restored. Since then it has been steadily visited by families particularly on the occasion of the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, 8th of September.

    How the grotto was rediscovered

    The following story is told. A shepherd chanced to be one day near the grotto with his flock. Sitting under an oak tree, he was playing on his flute. Suddenly he heard one of his goats bleating in distress. He ran in its direction and saw that it had fallen into a well, through the opening now to be seen in the roof of the cave just above the altar. He took his knife and cleared away the undergrowth so that he could pass. To his great joy he found a narrow path that led down to the bottom of a cave into which he crawled on hands and knees. He was further reassured when he found an icon of the Virgin on an ancient altar. He rushed out and, leaving his flock, ran off to announce his discovery to the people of Magdousheh. Crowds came rushing up to see for themselves this cave which had been so long abandoned and to contemplate the icon of the Virgin. The bells pealed out to proclaim the event and processions were organized in the village. So it was that worship returned to this sacred grotto.

    Our Lady of Mantara, pray for us.

    Mgr. Georges KWAITER
    Greek Melkite Catholic Archbishop of the Diocese of Saïda and of Deir el-Kamar

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    12-Our Lady @ Night

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    13-At Christmas



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    Some Pictures from 2008 Maghdouche's Festival:

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