Engaging with an international audience,
celebrating the legacy of Saint Charbel.
“…a hermit of the Lebanese mountain is inscribed in the number of the blessed, a new eminent member of monastic sanctity is enriching, by his example and his intercession, the entire Christian people. May he make us understand, in a world largely fascinated by wealth and comfort, the paramount value of poverty, penance and asceticism, to liberate the soul in its ascent to God…”
Pope Paul VI, October 9, 1977
May 8, 1828: In a small hut perched amidst the hills and meadows of North Lebanon’s serene village of Biqa-Kafra, baby Joseph is born to a family of 5 brothers and sisters. His father, enslaved like many others by the onerous Turkish regime, soon finds his death on the fields of slavery while Joseph was still an infant. His mother soon re-married, Joseph lived with his brothers at their paternal uncle’s home for much of their childhood years. He was to be re-united for a brief moment with his mother at the age of 6.
Joseph grew up an independent child, shepherding, assisting the family, and devoting much of his days to prayer. At 12 years of age, he discovered his recluse at the now sacred cave of Biqa–Kafra, a venue where he sought serenity, a prayer refuge where symbolism has now become a relic of sainthood frequented by hundreds of thousands of believers every year.
As a young man, Joseph was challenged by many a worldly influence, including the powers of Eve. His solitary passion for religious wisdom only seemed to grow by the day, until he let down the curtain on a whole episode of his life once he visited Our Lady of Lebanon Monastery (north of Byblos) at the age of 23. All feelings and senses were now turned to the source of life, and there emerged a new direction that was marked throughout by sacrifice. Renouncing life with the family he sincerely loved was the cornerstone of all sacrifices as Joseph took the critical decision to become a novice at the Monastery, seeking that most precious love of all, the Altar. At 25, Joseph pronounced the monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience at St. Maron Monastery, studied philosophy and theology at the Monastery of Kiffan, finally receiving his ordination to priesthood in 1853. Joseph was now Charbel, a name that is to be later cherished by millions across the globe.
Modesty, wisdom and obedience shaped his character as Charbel vowed for a life of scarcity dedicated to prayer. Many a historical event and many a human life were touched by his presence throughout almost two decades of living at the Monastery. Earning the privilege to finally experience a life of solitude, Father Charbel, now a middle-aged priest, vowed to continue a life of seclusion as a hermit of St. Peter and Paul hermitage on Mount Annaya, dedicating an undivided heart to Christ. Prayer and contemplation, frequent fasting and manual labor shaped the rest of his days.
The life and times of 19th century Lebanon parade through as Charbel begins to manifest extraordinary gifts of healing and clairvoyance. From the lantern miracle to healing through prayer, his active spirit embarked on healing pains and reaching souls long before his death.
As with every night throughout his 23 years of hermitage, Father Charbel unwaveringly spent his last night before Christmas 1898 in church, lying down, this time neither awake nor asleep, but releasing his soul to God for an eternal awakening. His death was only the beginning of life-long dedication to Christ. His mission on earth had only started.
What Others Are Saying
- “Charbel: the long-awaited documentary film on the life of the celebrated Lebanese Saint. Nabil Lebbos: a promissing young director, took on an important topic. He allowed his viewers to emphasis with the characters in the film and walk away with a sense of hope. See the film!”Films 'R UsMovie Premiere
- "I wish we could see more of his life. I love this saint very much, and I love this movie. Very good quality too. I wish I could have met him while he was alive. Oh how I would love to be drunk in God!"Peggy L.YouTube
- "Thank you for the knowledge about the life of Father Charbel, at least now I know his way of living. I've been in Saint Charbel chuch in Lebanon often times in 3 years of my stay in Beirut. Thank u Lebanon such a great honor visiting Saint Charbel Church at the top of the mountain. God bless everyone."Wilma C.YouTube
- "Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful movie with us! I feel so inspired. I am from Mexico, and in my country he is one of the most revered Catholic saints. My mom often requests his intercession. I will try to follow his amazing example of humility, silence and faith to the best of my insignificant abilities. God bless you, Maronites!"Rosa Maria M.YouTube
- "The more I learn about Saint Charbel, the more I love him."Dr Taylor M.TaylorMarshall.com