Our Lady of Lebanon

Our Lady of Lebanon, also known as Notre Dame du Liban, is a marian shrine and a pilgrimage site, honoring the patron saint of the Mediterranean country of Lebanon. The Lebanese Christians as well as the Druze and Muslims have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch named her the "Queen of Lebanon" in 1908 upon completion of the shrine. Overlooking the bay of Jounieh, the shrine has become a major tourist attraction where tourists take the gondola lift, the Téléphérique, from the city of Jounieh to Harissa.

History

In 1907, the French-made, painted in white, 13-ton, bronze statue of the Virgin Mary, was erected on top of a hill, 650 meters above sea level, in the village of Harissa, 20 km north of Beirut in honor of Our Lady of Lebanon. The land was donated by Cheikh Yousef, of the noble Khazen family. It was made up of seven sections that were assembled on top of the stone base, which had a bottom perimeter of 64m, an upper perimeter of 12m and with an overall height of 20m. The height of the statue is 8.50m while its perimeter is 5.50m. The statue and the shrine were inaugurated in 1908, and since then it has been a major pilgrimage destination in Lebanon.

Papal Visit

Pope John Paul II visited the shrine when he made an official visit to Lebanon on May 10, 1997. He conducted a mass in the modern Basilica. On December 8, 1998, the Vatican announced that the World Day of the Sick would be celebrated on February 11, 1999 at Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa. Pope John Paul II prayed that Our Lady of Lebanon who had watched over the agonizing suffering of the Lebanese people could help all those who were suffering in the world.

Pope Benedict XVI launched an appeal for peace in Lebanon and Gaza by invoking the protection Our Lady of Lebanon on January 28, 2007. He said, "To Christians in Lebanon, I repeat the exhortation to be promoters of real dialogue between the various communities, and upon everyone I invoke the protection of Our Lady of Lebanon."

The Papal Embassy as well as the residences of four Eastern Rite cardinals of the Roman Catholic church are in the vicinity of Harissa and Our Lady of Lebanon.

Source: en.wikipedia.org