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The First Church Named After Blessed Estefan

The New Blessed Estefan Douaihy and the Construction of the Small Church Bearing His Name in Ardeh-Zgharta, Lebanon
The New Blessed Estefan Douaihy and the Construction of the Small Church Bearing His Name in Ardeh-Zgharta, Lebanon | Source: Patriarch Estefan Douaihy Cultural Association

The First Church Named After Blessed Estefan


Zgharta, Monday, June 24, 2024

About a month and a week before his beatification Mass, the first signs of the new small church (chapel) named after the soon-to-be Blessed Estefan Douaihy have appeared. Construction work in the town of Ardeh, in the Zgharta district of Northern Lebanon, is progressing significantly.

In conjunction with the chapel’s construction, Archbishop Youssef Soueif of the Maronite Diocese of Tripoli visited the site. He was accompanied by the parish priest, Monsignor Saïd Marron. Soueif blessed the site and the ongoing work, requesting the intercession of the soon-to-be Blessed Estefan Douaihy, in the presence of Georgina Douaihy and her husband Joseph Kamel, who donated the chapel’s construction.

Archbishop Soueif inspects and blesses the construction of the new church. Source: Patriarch Estefan Douaihy Cultural Association.

The site of the first church named after the new Blessed holds great importance and symbolism. The Patriarch Estefan Douaihy Cultural Association noted that “the town of Ardeh, which Patriarch Douaihy served and loved, is honoring him today by immortalizing his name with a small church that can accommodate about 60 believers. The church is being built in the style described by the Patriarch for the Maronite church.”

The Maronite Diocese of Tripoli indicated that the consecration of this chapel will be on August 4, two days after the beatification ceremony of Patriarch Douaihy in Bkerke (August 2) and one day after the thanksgiving Mass in Ehden (August 3).

In preparation for the anticipated grand event, giant posters have adorned the skies of Zgharta, bearing the image of the new Blessed and the dates of his beatification celebration in Bkerke and the thanksgiving Mass in Ehden. On March 14, Pope Francis authorized the issuance of decrees related to the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Lebanese Estefan Douaihy, Patriarch of Antioch for the Maronites.

Preparatory poster for Douaihy’s beatification celebration and thanksgiving Mass. Source: Patriarch Estefan Douaihy Cultural Association.

Following the Vatican’s announcement, joy spread throughout Lebanon, and church bells rang in various regions. The Maronite Patriarchal Vicariate – Ehden-Zgharta issued a statement saying: “With great joy, we announce to the Lebanese in general and the members of our Maronite Church in Lebanon and the diaspora in particular, the news of Pope Francis’ approval to announce the beatification of the Venerable Estefan Douaihy of Ehden (1630-1704).”

It is noteworthy that Patriarch Douaihy was declared Venerable in 2008. On October 19, 2023, Father Paul Kazzi announced from the Vatican the decision confirming the miracle of healing and intercession, and the approval to declare Patriarch Douaihy Blessed on the altars of the Maronite Church, pending the proclamation of the beatification decree by Pope Francis.

The Catholic News Agency in the Middle East and North Africa, “ACI MENA,” was established on March 25, 2022, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one year after Pope Francis’s historic visit to Iraq. “ACI MENA” is part of the CNA/ACI group, a news service of EWTN.

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