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ARC Home > Projects > Sacred gifts :
Lebanese forests | Church protects the “Valley of Saints”

LEBANON: Church protects the “Valley of Saints”

The Qadisha Valley, the “Valley of the Saints”

The deep Qadisha Valley in the Northern Lebanon has a good claim to the title “Valley of the Saints.” For more than 1500 years it has been the place where Christians would hide from their persecutors, where hermits would hide from the sins of the world, and where the Patriarchs of the beleaguered Maronite Church held their masses and had their graves.

Most of the land is still held by the Church, but five percent is in private hands – and this most beautiful of valleys is now under serious threat from development, roads, restaurants, hotels and even, one proposal suggested, nightclubs.

The success of the Sacred Gift of the Harissa Forest in 2000 has now led the Maronite Church to look seriously at making the Qadisha into a second Maronite Protected Environment.

Meetings held in June 2003 revealed there was a possibility of the Government of Lebanon recognising both Harissa and Qadisha as the eighth and ninth National Reserves in Lebanon in a unique special legal arrangement with the Church.

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Related information

What is a Sacred Gift?
Every religion believes the gift of life itself is sacred. This shared understanding led WWF and ARC to create a special term of recognition for significant new projects.
Maronite pledge, October 30, 2003:
The Qadisha declared a Maronite-protected environment
For over 1500 years the Church has found sanctuary in the natural beauty and Godliness of Qadisha. Today it is under threat. This document and the promises within it could save the valley.