Abou-Jaoude Family and Towns History
Abou Jaoude Family Origins
In his first book “Al Abou Jaoude”, Father Boulos Abou Jaoude said:
“Abou Jaoude family belongs to the descended families of Prince Al Nurmandi Bohemond the first, prince of Tranta (Italy), and the brother-in-law of Philip the first, king of France; he was one of the commanders of the Crusades first campaign, who conquered Antioch (Antakya) at the end of June 1098 and nominated a prince on it, then Tripoli in the year 1109, which was ruled by princes from his family by the name of Prince of Antioch and Conte of Tripoli.
After Bohemond the sixth passed away in 1287, Sultan Kalawun attacked Tripoli and conquered it in 1289 after it was ruled by Bohemond the seventh, while he was still a minor. His mother managed the state’s affairs under the supervision of Tartus Archbishop, and then they took him and escaped to a village called Zeeniya where he lived concealed, after they had granted their palace “Al Balamand” to French monks.
After quite some peaceful time, a man from his family returned back to Tula in Batrun, where they called him by Zeeni, so he became famous by this surname, the origin of Abou Jaoude family.
In past times, from the family of Zeeni was known Daher Beik Al Zeeni the doctor of the Ottoman Sultan, and in our days Edmond Al Zeeni world wrestling champion, Dr. Raji Al Zeeni (Tula), and also descent from Zeeni family is Elias family in Latakia.
And from Prince Bohemond’s families, before and after conquering Tripoli, the families Prince, Conte, Menhem, Al Ghalbuni, and Lattouf also emerged, known for belonging to that origin. Patriarch Semaan Al Hadchity joined them to his Maronite people.
Tense relationships grew between Al Chaer family in Tula (Batrun), and Najem Khairallah Al Zeeni and his sons and few of his cousins, for unspecified reasons, whether politics, taxes, or women relationships…
It all happened in times when Christians were moving from north towards the middle of Lebanon to live in the land where Al Mamalik had displaced its inhabitants since 1307. Then the grandsons of those displaced Christians came back from the north around the year 1600, and before them came the Druze from the south, after Selim the Ottoman Sultan had defeated Kanso Al Guri, Sultan Al Mamalik in Marj Dabeq’s feud next to Aleppo in 1516, and conquering Syria and Egypt.
Christians amiably got along with the Druze grandsons, ‘arms friends’, who fought Al Mamalik next to them in 1307, especially their lieutenants from Fawares Al Lamaiyin, Mezher, and Sawaf families and others who welcomed the Christians, and gave them lands on which they can build their temples. The region flourished with inhabitants, and villages and farms were established.
That made it easier for Najem Al Zeeni family and their relatives to migrate from an “unjust” country, to a place where they can find tranquility and peace, since life was full of hatred, when Al Hamadies burnt Tula along with other few villages in 1676.
Around 1660, Najem Al Zeeni migrated from Tula with his sons: Khairallah, Chahine, Gerges, and few of his cousins. Some resided in Kessrouan: Saad’s family grandfather Saad in Darun, another in Haret Sakher in Jounieh, where the Governor handed him the accounting department, so he was then called Abi Hisab. He was the grandfather of Abi Hisab family, and some kept the name Al Zeeni in Ghazir.
One of Chebel El Zeeni’s sons was Salibi, who lived first in Zabougha and had children there, and his branch was called Haybeh family. In 1850, Sassine, from his family members Father Rouphael, migrated to Zahle and had children there too. In 1853, Tannous Karam Nasr also migrated to Zahle and had children. His family was called Karam Al Zeeni.
Younes Hanna, grandfather of Hajj Boutros family, lived in Bikfaya, Sakiyat Al Misk. From this family descended Father Philip Hajj Boutros who migrated to a place next to Al Hawz in 1730, where his family is still living there, whereas Abou Diwan lived in Al Ayun.
They continued their march until they reached Marjaba next to Al Mtein, where they found a stretch and pastures for their cattle, so they spent quite some time there, in the Al Lamaiyin lieutenants’ province.
From there, his son Gerges went to Beit Chabab where he sold “scrap”, which he held in his “accumulated” (moukarzala) cloak, after which he was called Moukarzel, grandfather of Moukarzel family in Beit Chabab, Ain Aar, Ain Aalak, Hbous, Freikeh, Kahaleh, and other villages…
In Ain Aar, Mendelek and Mkalles families descended there from, of which Dr. Victor Boulos Mendelek and architect Robert Nasri Mendelek, then Hajj family in Ain Aar, of which Father Hanna Hajj. In Mjeidel next to Sidon, descended Warrant Officer Habib who carried the name Abou Jaoude as well as Father Louis Mendelek, Mehawej, and Wakim in Beit Mery and Dleibeh, of which Dr. Louis Ghosn Mehawej, and his brothers in Ain Mwafak, Dr. Louis who was Bhamdoun’s Head of Municipality, and then Abou Chaiban in Maalka, Zahle.
Many of them excelled in science and were distinct, such as Yazbeck Moukarzel one of Beit Chabab’s Sheikhs who signed on the Lebanese Council, which was held in 1736. Many priests also excelled in science, judiciary actions, and were known for their jurisprudence, such as the jurist Father Boutros, the Maronite Patriarch representative in Alexandria and in the inauguration ceremony of Suez Canal on November 17, 1869, and was elected president of Metn court, and Father Youssef Moukarzel judge of Metn district during, before, and after the years 1872-1874. As well as Father Boutros Ghaleb Moukarzel, who was known for his many virtues, and author of “A Friend and a Lawyer”, he also headed the magazine “Al Bachir” at Saint Joseph University in Beirut.
The two brothers Naoum and Salloum Moukarzel were lately known by the name “friends of guidance” “Al Huda”, which Naoum had founded in 1898 and managed until he passed away, then his brother Salloum came after him and then his daughter Mary.
Naoum Moukazrel, who served Lebanon by demanding independence after World War I, when he went to Paris and represented the foreigners for that purpose, had also served his family when he founded in Niagara Falls “The Big Family” committee for Abou Jaoude family. Twenty-one families were listed in the bylaws, from its siblings and branches…
Then, Sheikh Youssef Moukarzel, who is the owner of “Al Dabour” magazine, had his nephews, sons of his brother Fouad and his other brothers, continue his message after his death. And the known lawyer Emile Moukazrel, Aley’s deputy for several times, was characterized by his patriotism and the vastness of his knowledge and dedication. One of their brilliant writers nowadays is Kabalan Moukarzel, poet, tutor, author, and monuments expert, “he has in his place in Antelias a valuable collection of Antelias’ pre-historical monuments”, and his brother Kamal, Arabic literature teacher in Notre Dame University in Jamhour and a French pioneering poet. Then of whom were known Dr. Fayez Moukarzel and the two lawyers Fawzi and Mounir Rahal Moukarzel.
Then, from Wakim family, was known the late migrant Elias Wakim, who had a high rank in the family history research affairs and political influence in the United States, which earned him Roosevelt’s friendship, whose daughter still occupies a position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Then of whom, was known Father Francis Wakim, manager in Antonine Monastery, and his brother Edmond, employer at Baabda’s Finance.
• Abou Sleiman
Chahine stayed in Mtein. He was also called Abi Sleiman, grandfather of Abi Sleiman family in Mtein, Zahle, and other regions… Many of whom excelled in religion, world science, and literature, such as Father Youssef Abou Sleiman, Abbot Agnatios Abou Sleiman, former Lebanese Monastery General Director, and Dr. Youssef Abou Sleiman. Then the doctors Farid, Loutfallah, and Chahine Abou Sleiman; the lawyers: Ibrahim, Chaker, Joseph, Nasri, and Fouad Abou Sleiman; the Architect Joseph Abou Sleiman; the pharmacist Joseph Abou Sleiman; the lawyers Henry and Joseph; and the late Elias, first lieutenant in the army who died while serving his country in the incidents of Baalbek, Dec. 22,1948.
• Sheikhs Abou Saab:
Abou Saab descended from Abou Sleiman family: Gerges, and Father Boutros Younan Abi Sleiman’s son. In 1770, they migrated from Mtein at the time of Prince Youssef Chehab, towards Byblos and Batrun. They made contact with Prince Mrad Al Lamaiy, and then Prince Youssef Chehab.
Menhem Assaad Abou Saab was known for his insightful mind, his right decisions, and the rare equestrian accurate performance. He was given the title “Champion of Lebanon” after leading a battle in the name of Prince Bachir Chehab against Mustafa Aga Barbar, entitling him and his family the governance of Al Kwayteh region. They settled in Hajj Hassan’s farm, known today by Saab’s farm, and they were called Sheikhs.
After Assaad had passed away, Prince (Emir) Bachir Chehab called Assaad’s son Gerges for his service. Taking into consideration his excellence, he named Gerges Chairman of his Clerks. In 1843, he was elected for the Legislative Council at Prince Haydar Ismael Al Lamaiy, the Christian mayor. He stayed in his position at the time of Prince Bachir Ahmad until he passed away in 1858.
His brother Hanna traveled with Prince Bachir to Malta then to Istanbul. In 1855, Wamek Basha, Beirut’s governor, wrote Prince Bachir Ahmad, Christian mayor, telling him that he entitled Hanna by the name “Beik”, and he was the first to be entitled by the name “Beik” among all Lebanese Christians.
Amongst them, many had excelled in their service for their country and their nation, of whom was known Sheikh Assaad Abou Saab, member of the Board of Directors at the time of Rustom Basha. He had a strong personality, and cared for the public interest. Akl Abou Saab was a member of the Board of Deputies at the beginning of Independence period, and today Sheikh Kabalan Elias Abou Saab, Captain in the army, lawyer Elias Abou Saab, Dr. Abdallah Abou Saab, Jean Abou Saab, governor of Bohab city in Australia, and Father Youssef Abou Saab, Head Chief of the monastery of Saint John Maroun and the Patriarch representative.
“Abou Jaoude” in Deir El Harf:
Then his eldest brother went to Deir El Harf: Khairallah, named by “Abi Najem Khairallah”, with his sons and grandsons. Deir El Harf belonged to Ras El Metn, which was ruled by Prince (Emir) Abdallah Kaydbeh Abillamah (Al Lamaiy), whose father came from Kfarselwan to Salima, and then he came to Ras El Metn and built a home that is still found nowadays (the Sarai).
The Prince was very hospitable and noble. He open mindedly welcomed Christians in his region, and he welcomed this new arriving man and gave him a land called “Al Naasa” next to an old ruin (khirbat) called “Mazar Al Khodr” and he wrote: “We sold ‘Al Naasa’ to Khairallah Al Nasrani”. And this land was the core of Deir El Harf.
He merged this land along with vast fields in Jabal Al Kanisa, which are still today the property of Khairallah Najem grandsons and the monastery of Deir El Harf, in Delm Valley, Rwaymat, and Namliya. They raised their cattle there, in the summer, and in Deir El Harf and its vast valleys, in winter.
Concerning the designation of the family by “Abou Jaoude”, Father Boulos says: “Prince Abdallah had a good relation with his neighbor and friend Abou Najem Khairallah. So he once asked him and his men to spend few days with him in the mountains, for hunt and relaxation. The Prince didn’t want to prevent his friend this gesture, which represented his love and respect for his friend’s dedication and good hospitality”.
In Rwaymat, where vast lands dominated Bekaa valley, the Prince came with his knights to meet his friend and neighbor. He was amazed by what he saw, since another leader lived on that land with his servants and men.
Goods were generously poured for the great guest. Foods such as “arishi”, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and meats; it was a whole week of hospitality, dancing, and playing ‘sword and shield’, and the mountain echoed the flute sound, the songs and the rhythms… The great guest and his men were amazed by the generosity, hospitality, and dedication of this family and its Sheikh: “Abou Najem Khairallah”.
After spending one week, the Prince went back to his home in Ras El Metn, passing through Deir El Harf, where he met Abou Najem Khairallah’s wife. A man standing on a roof shouted: “It’s a shame for whoever passes from here and doesn’t know about Abou Najem Khairallah’s virtues”.
The Prince got excited by this generosity and sent a caller to call and say: “His name shall no longer be Abou Najem Khairallah, but he shall be called Abou Jaoude”.
Abou Jaoude and Princes Abillamah (Al Lamaiy):
Abou Jaoudes and Abillamahs fought next to each other in several battles, Father Boulos said: “the neighbors lived together in peace and cooperation”.
The Prince found that some Abou Jaoudes got along with his political trends and fought next to him, in Delhmiya battle in Bekaa valley and Ain Dara battle in 1711, which earned him and the rest of the Abillamahs the title “Prince”.
Abou Jaoudes fought next to Abillamahs in several battles, of which was the battle of Prince Bachir and Sheikh Bachir, when Father Gerges Abou Jaoude was killed next to Jounieh. Their jealousy for their honor and country made them struggle more and more, and 53 men were killed in the years 1831-1860.
Separation and spreading:
As for the spreading of the family, Father Boulos said: “After Abou Jaoudes settled in Deir El Harf for quite some time, giving birth to sons and grandsons and filling lands with their cattle, they started thinking of spreading to empty lands in need of mankind to fix and exploit. So they chose urban cities for their cattle to spend the winters, and so that they benefit from the well developed neighboring regions”.
At that time, political changes in Lebanon took place. The two parties, Kaiss and Yaman fought crucially in Ain Dara, where Al Alam El Din defeated Al Yamanis. They left their homes towards Syria with many of their followers. Victory was Prince Haydar Al Chehabi’s friend, leader of Al Kaiss, next to him were his followers from Abillamahs, especially lieutenant Abdallah, his father lieutenant Hussein in Ras El Metn. They were of strong origins, making them leaders granting victories for Prince Haydar Al Chehabi. In that battle, three of Al Alam El Din were killed and four were imprisoned, by that they were politically doomed.
After the fighters were rejected, a man entered to see Lieutenant Hussein Abillamah. When the latter had called him by lieutenant, the man got mad and said: “I kill three princes and all I shall be granted is the name lieutenant?” Abillamah pulled his sword and killed the man for he wanted to be called prince.
Upon this victory and what Abillamah lieutenants have done, especially Abdallah and his son Hussein when taking decisions about the battle and the victory that awaited them, Prince Haydar Al Chehabi called after Abillamah lieutenants and allowed marriages between the two families. So he married his daughter to Prince Assaf, and boycotted Beit Chebab and Bikfaya. Then he married Prince Mrad’s mother and boycotted half of Metn region and Baskinta, and married his sister to Prince Abdallah. He also named Prince Bachir Kaydbeh governor on Brumana.
It was the year 1712 when Abou Jaoude family spread in Brumana suburbs: Kherbat Al Adas, Maska, Al Ghaba, and Jourat Al Ballout. Some of Najem Khairallah’s sons went there, of whom descended the family Fares (Abou Nasr) and Rizkallah Saad (Abou Abboud), Abou Abdallah, Abou Nader, Abou Eid, Abou Nehmeh, Hanna, Attieh, and Ghabbous (Abbas). Najem Khairallah family stayed in Deir El Harf with some of Fares sons in Btelin (Deir El Harf), and then they moved to Al Ghaba in 1790.
Those families settled in Kherbat Al Adas, Maska, and Al Ghaba. Some went to the urban cities, and others returned to the mountain in Falougha, Aabadiya, and Deir El Harf… The families came together, as can be seen later from the families’ details, migrations, and settlements, in our discussion about family trees and their relation with the unifying origin.
Taking into consideration the spreading of these families for three hundred years, we couldn’t get the names of the senior grandfathers, so we only mentioned the family names: Abou Abdallah, Hanna, Attieh… without being personally involved in this affiliation, since it is always according to the narrators and the stories of the elderly, but we have managed to mention few names and information.
It was clear in the monks’ register that some names weren’t listed in the trees or weren’t affiliated to Deir El Harf or Maska from one grandfather. This proves the singularity of one grandfather and the boycotting of emigration towards Maska and Al Ghaba. Grandfather Abou Nasr of Deir El Harf is the same one of Maska and Al Ghaba, same goes for Greish in Deir El Harf and Aabadiya.
Some families did not carry the name Abou Jaoude, such as: Abou Aoun, Kamar, and Waked. We made sure they descended from Abou Jaoude family, so we added them to the family tree.
Today, Abou Jaoudes live in several villages in Lebanon: Deir El Harf, Falougha, Hamana, Aabadiya, Kob Elias, Maska, Al Ghaba, Jourat Al Ballout, Bkennaya, Jal El Dib, Antelias, Zalka, Amariyah, Bouchrieh, Fiyadiya, Bikfaya, Ain Saadeh, Jezzine, Haret Hreik, Bteddine, Ain Mwafak, Beirut, and suburbs… They also live in Syria, Jordan, Ari Houran and Sult, and in foreign countries, as mentioned in the family tree.
Deir El Harf stands on the mountain west Falougha and Jabal Al Kanisa, on an altitude of 1050 meters from sea level, with 2 valleys on both sides of 600 meters depth. It dominates Metn villages north. Ever green pine and apple trees cover its lands, and a road leading to the main ones cuts through Deir El Harf from both sides.
This forests homeland has valleys made of different coal layers, preserving the shape of worn out trees. In 1954 a trunk, still in good condition, was discovered with its roots, at the depth of 9 meters, as if it hadn’t been covered since a long time, however, it takes thousands of years in order to cover such a flat surface naturally. Trees, which are still growing there and giving fruits, are aged about three hundred years now. In the church yard stands an oak tree aged not less than three hundred years also, and its trunk is still standing with a sanctuary inside it.
Remnants of previous inhabitants:
Throughout several years, 1900, 1928, 1942, 1950, and 1954, tomb remnants were found on a four hundred meters land. Old golden rings and earrings were placed in them, and the name MARCELLUS was carved on a sumac red colored stone aged about 2000 years, where bones had perished and the sandy soil emaciated the burials.
Dahr El Souk was a market for goods exchange. Still, we can not estimate the real population that lived in those mountains long ago. First, Pagans built worship sites, and then Christians. Nonetheless, inhabitants settled on both north and south sides of the mountain in Bteline and Bdouness, and old currencies for Orlianus and Julianos were found next to old building remains. Always exposed to rain, storms, snow, and lack of water, those mountains weren’t a very good place for raising cattle, as they were to build worship sites, make parties and trading exchanges.
It was the center of gathering for the people living in neighboring villages, which their names now indicate farm names: Bteline, Bdouness, Deir Khouna, Deir Kanat, and Deir Sayya… And remnants of its old inhabitants’ possessions laid there: buildings, water tanks, stone carvings, currencies, etc…
Deir El Harf temple in its first part:
It was told that a pagan temple was built in the place of the present one, with old Persian and Greek currencies discovered in 1954, which lived up till the fourth generation B.C. They were found in a calcite pit with 7 broken pottery jars and few remains of sumac red colored stone pillars. In the old temple remnants on which was built the one previous to the present temple in the village, a big jar of white stone was found and it is still present nowadays, with roman inscribed writings not know whether Christian or Pagan, and it is told that this jar was once moved from the village, but returned back to its place by a miracle.
However, the Christian temple lived up to the first Christian generation in the mountains, in the 5th century, when St. Maroon’s monks started moving towards the Lebanese mountains to preach the remaining misguided Phoenicians, and to build monasteries and hermitages on the remnants of the Pagan temples. Then they preserved some time to worship God in peace and quiet, far from religious persecution risks between Christian groups in Syria. Many Maronites followed them in the 7th century. It was the biggest gathering at that time in North Metn, where they had built Baskinta, Brumana, Antelias, Bikfaya, and Bhirsaf, which were their Princes’ headquarters in 679, before they built Ehden and north Lebanon.
Throughout the two past centuries, they moved from Al Assi, so they were called according to the river. And then, the conquering Arabs renamed them rebels, “marada”, as well as “people of Al Assi” or “the rebels” according to their home mountains “Al Assiyah”. The mountains were then called “Kessrouan” according to the Prince of the rebels, Kassra the first, who rebuilt the village.
At the times of Maawiya and Abdulmalik Ben Marwan, the rebels had their powers extended over Antioch until Galilee.
Forests extended all across Metn, with many Phoenician people living there, and in villages that still carry the names: Hamana, Falougha, Salima, Kernayel, Kfarselwan, Bzebdine, Btekhniye, Btebyat, Arsoun, Balashmi, Rashmaya, Deir Saya, Deir Knat, Deir Khouna, and Deir El Harf, which means pine trees (it is Phoenician). No wonder why Saint Maroon’s preachers and monks lived in the blessed Deir El Harf and reached the neighboring villages: Bteline, Bdouness, Arsoun, Zandouka, and Kartada…
That temple was the chair of Ras El Metn’s Bishop, whose name was mentioned in Ebn Al Kalai songs at the times of Al Douaihy, because Deir El Harf was amongst the outlying areas of Ras El Metn until 1864, but was then separated from it by land-registry.
In an old book, written and kept in Rome in 1622, goes this saying: “Bishop Abdallah Bleibel came to St. George church in Ras El Metn, and defined the sons of the parish in 1819”.
When Banu Tanoukh spread across north Metn after “Almoughitha” battle in 759, along with the ten tribes sent by Abou Jaafar Al Mansour, the second Abbasi Caliph, in order to confront the rebels from reaching the Lebanese shores, they found a temple on that same mountain by the name of St. George, and they called it Khodr Temple. Christians had left the place to join their rebel brothers in Kessrouan, who held the name Maronites after they had declared their religious independence from Syria, and had elected St. John Maroon to be their first Maronite Patriarch in 685.
Banu Fawares of Banu Tanoukh undertook Al Jurd and North Metn regions. They entered into crucial battles with Maronites, of which, the known Nahr El Mot battle in 875, until they accepted the governor’s invitation and converted into Druze. They came originally from the “interns” or “Al Batiniyin”, but the enemies became friends and lived in peace and fought next to each other in the face of the conquerors and the governor’s oppressions. They settled in the mountain that was a shelter for peace and quiet seekers.
Kessrouan included all upper and North Metn regions, where Druze, Maronites, Shiites, and Alawites lived.
At that time, the Faqih Ebn Taymiya opined that Druze, Shiites, and Alawites are unbelievers just like Christians, and they shall all be exterminated. Upon that, Al Nasir, one of Al Mamalik Sultans, started consecutive battles of 50,000 men in 1302, 1306, and 1307, in order to defeat those people and force them to convert into Sunnites. Maronites and Druze fought next to each other.
Those fierce campaigns exterminated all the region’s inhabitants. Thousands were killed, and those who survived ran from Kessrouan towards the north, south, east, and to Cyprus. Al Mamalik prevented any kind of settlement in the lands and their suburbs. They stayed empty until the Ottomans dominated and defeated Al Mamalik in Marj Dabek’s battle in 1516.
At the beginning of the 16th century, Abillamahs, Abu Tanoukh grandsons, returned to Kfarselwan, Mezher lieutenants to Hamana, and Al Sawwaf lieutenants to Mtein and Shabaniya. Druze had started to return to the Tanoukh villages, which their grandfathers had left in 1307 in North Metn: Brumana, Zaroun, Bhannes, Ain Aar, Jourat Al Ballout, and other villages in upper Metn.
In 1441, a delegation of Maronites and Druze went to Rome asking the Pope Johannes the fourth to renew the diplomatic relations with their country. So a delegation for Maronite and Druze apostles was formed and undertook by St. Francis monks.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Maronites started moving towards Druze regions in upper Metn, Chuf, and south, running away from Shiites oppressions in the north and Byblos. Al Maaniyoun, Abillamahs Princes and Mezher lieutenants welcomed them and gave them lands to exploit, they had also lands for building monasteries and churches.
Deir El Harf temple in its second part:
At that time, Al Khodr sanctuary had been destroyed and a “wazala” grew between the remnants; it lit the night miraculously, so the Druze called it “Khodr Al Wazala”. Malaria disease was spreading in upper Metn regions and killing its inhabitants, so they neighbored Khodr Al Wazala. At night, he appeared to Abdallah Kaydbeh Abillamah, when he was still in Salima and before building the Sarai in Ras El Metn in a couple of years. In his dream he saw malaria ghost haunting him, and suddenly, a knight on a blue horse appeared to the ghost and drew it with his sword. Malaria ghost disappeared. Then the knight said: “I am Khodr Al Wazala, and I want you to build me a respectful sanctuary”. After the Prince had woke up, he knew that what he saw in his dream applied on all the people of his village, so he did what Khodr Al Wazala had asked him to do. This vision was the core of faith in Prince Abdallah’s heart, so he believed in Christ secretly, until he got baptized by a Capuchin monk in Salima, who had called them to settle in this village in 1710. He was the first Abillamah Prince to become a Christian.
After moving to Ras El Metn where he had built the present Sarai, Abou Jaoudes in Deir El Harf built St. George monastery after the Prince had given them a land.
On the walls of the monastery’s church, remained a carved tile on which was written: “In the name of the eternal God for whom I pray, this sacred monastery was built under God’s obedience and to his worship, at the time of his highness Prince Abdallah, son of the former Prince Kaydbeh, known by Abillamah, God rest his soul in peace”.
Greek Orthodox neighbors had built on a nearby land a monastery under the supervision of the Archbishop of Beirut for the Roman Orthodox, in 1790, as carved on the history stone on the church’s wall, also mentioning the help of the neighboring Druze community. Rooms next to the monastery were constructed, which then became from the present monastery’s possession. Yet, we are not certain whether a small monastery was built on a date close to that of the first Maronites’ monastery.
After the separation of the Roman Orthodox Parish from Beirut, the monastery became a summer location for the mountain’s Parish. It was then turned into a boarding school during 1923-1926, and then the school was closed. In 1957, St. George Deir El Harf monastery was founded, and it is still continuing its mission of virtue and education nowadays.
The parish residents undertook the management of the Abou Jaoude monastery. Then in 1822, they renewed the present church, and in 1870, they placed St. George picture that is still found at present. The dome was built in 1882, the roof was covered with cement in 1933, and marble tiles were placed on the church’s floor in 1950. The new church was built in 1965 as a base for the old one.
The big hall was built in 1971, and the ground floor in 1972. It was called “house of the parish”, for the priest, the meetings, events, and library of the parish.
A sanctuary was built in the old oak tree trunk that died after 300 years, in 1966. St. George monastery is still a worship site for all rites, especially to Maarouf family, who visit it coming from different places to gain the great Saints’ blessings that everybody talked about.
Kherbat Al Adas, Maska, and AL Ghaba:
The villages Brumana, Kherbat Al Adas, Maska, and Al Ghaba to the east stand on the mountain next to Deir El Harf facing the sea. Whereas, Maska (the stream) is called by its name since several streams run in the land and irrigate the soil.
The villages names in Arabic are just the right explanation: Al Soufaily, Al Oyun, and Jourat Al Ballout, all refer to the nature and sites of these villages.
This good spot, facing the warm winter sun, covered by green fields, and surrounded by fertile lands and forests, is the center of attraction for Abou Jaoude Family in Deir El Harf, which no longer had enough space to embrace them all.
Prince Bachir Kaydbeh Abillamah, Prince Abdallah Kaydbeh’s sibling in Ras El Metn, helped in this emigration. From Maska, some moved towards Jourat Al Ballout, where Michael Hanna Bou Moussa from Maska bought a land from Kassim Hussein Hreiz from Ras El Metn, for 38 pounds.
Then they moved to Al Ghaba next to Maska, which Abillamahs and Asfar families owned, and bought from them lands since 1772, until they owned all the lands in 1880. And in 1885, Asfar family sold out their last real estate and moved to Beirut and Al Sham.
In the mountains, inhabitants produced silk, planted vegetables and seeds, and raised cattle.
Above all, the village men served their country and some were good servants of the Lord. St. Chaaya monastery, which was built by Antonine monks in 1700, had welcomed many monks, who worked faithfully in order to improve the monastery and its churches, that people called “monastery of Maska people”. The list of names of the priests who had served in this monastery from Abou Jaoude family, and which are 40, shows the spiritual greatness of their service for their religion and country.
In 1929, Maska and Al Ghaba inhabitants started to cut a road at their own expense from Brumana till Maska church courtyard, and then the government undertook covering the road with asphalt in 1943.
In 1944, the inhabitants cut down a passage for water from Al Manboukh, Brumana, on their own expense. And in 1948, they also undertook to provide electricity on their own expense.
Those plans were the start of an upswing, especially in Al Ghaba, where modern buildings were formed, which qualified it to be one of the best villages to spend summer vacations. It soon became a resort for serenity and peace seekers, as well as its panoramic view and healthy weather. In 2010 a new church hall was built with a church square and a 10 m high iron cross. The C\Holy Cross day is celebrated on September 13 of each year, with thousands visiting the square and the holy cross.
After Deir El Harf, Abou Jaoudes moved to Jourat Al Ballout and the coast, as is seen from the family tree details and the comments thereon. They used to take their deceased to bury them in Maska, their ancestors’ homeland, until they built churches by the name of their patron saint in Maska, St. Takla in Bkenaya and Jal El Dib in order to stay gathered in one parish although the distant homelands.
From Kherbat Al Adas descended Abou Aoun family in Ain Saadeh, Waked and Kamar families in Al Ghaba, Abboud in Aabadiya Jourat Al Ballout, Abi Yaghi and Ignatius in Btedine… as shown in the family tree details.
Jourat Al Ballout:
Jourat Al Ballout extends from north Brumana, where its vast undulating slopes bend towards the north and the west, and its hills and ravines line its beauty. Two hills dominate its valleys, surrounded by rocks and oak trees, covering the land with life freshness and splendor. Those two hills face another mountain on which lay the diocese Chair of Cyprus and Saint Joseph School, Cornet Chahwan, which exceeded a spiritual and moral generation of giving.
Its inhabitants preferred the name “Jourat Al Ballout” for “Jourat Brumana”, since it held in its oak trees stability and vitality symbols of its people who turned its valleys into fertile and rich planting fields. They also built 5 silk factories, which accommodated a thousand workers. By that, it was considered one of the most important silk markets in Lebanon. Moreover, one of its inhabitants, Naaman Abdo Maroon Abou Jaoude, a silk factory owner, won the first prize from Lyon’s museum that was held at the beginning of the past century.
Those wealth sources attracted many, so people moved to live in Jourat Al Ballout to form a big society. With great perseverance and hard work, it gave birth to religious men, doctors, engineers, educators, and manufacturers. Development and growth are still in progress promising this village a bright future.
The present society in Jourat Al Ballout weren’t its first inhabitants, but many people had preceeded them and left few remnants: a huge gate in Aranti (Al Kassi), it shows the rocky nature of the land, Phoenician and Roman tombs in Al Kalaa, and iron mines with their old ovens.
However, the present inhabitants have brought life and development. They built luxurious homes and gardens. In 1988, they had renewed its old church upon which a century had passed, and is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the region.
As soon as this development started moving backwards, the villages’ inhabitants emigrated towards the coast, and even to foreign countries. At the beginning of 1881, many of them had left to the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba…
Then those who migrated came back and worked in order to regain the development of their country. So they contributed in improving the church and building homes to enhance the churches revenues. They had also built luxurious homes to decorate their country. People helped in realizing the public plans, like roads towards the coast and the mountains, and provided electricity in 1947. Manboukh and Nahr El Mot streams ran into the village in 1950, and they circulated the telephone from Brumana center.
Bkenaya and Jal El Dib:
On the brinks of the valley, which is based on Jal El Dib’s plains, Bkenaya scattered houses rose, to overlook the wonderful panoramic view of the sea and the shores. Skyscrapers and roads were built, and sea ports brought people closer from all continents. At night, the lights colored the dark, as if the sky with its stars is swimming on earth, until dawn and back to a routine morning and working day…
In 1830, Tannous Attieh Abou Jaoude from Maska emigrated to Bkenaya and built a house where buildings weren’t numerous. Then, Tannous Younan Abou Jaoude, Chebli Kanaan Abou Jaoude, and Akl Nader Abou Jaoude followed him. They were the first to settle in that spot. Yet, they buried their deceased in Maska, until they built a church by the name of their patron St. Takla in 1871.
Back then, Jal El dib had only swamps and wolves running through its plains. People were afraid to spend the nights there, so they worked at day, and then went back to Bkenaya at night. And there, they planted olive trees, wild berries, and all kinds of vegetables.
After Abillamahs had owned Bkenaya and Jal El Dib at the end of the 19th century, they started planting wild berries in Jal El Dib and Antelias plains, which were then planted with lemon trees. Bkenaya inhabitants started building homes for their families in the coast. And at the beginning of the 20th century, Jal El Dib became filled with people, and all this was facilitated due to Beirut-Tripoly road, and the water canal from Antelias.
Along with this emigration, many Abou Jaoudes moved to live with Bkenaya’s and Jal El dib’s inhabitants and cooperated in more development.
In 1909, Mar Abda church was renewed, which was small at first. And in 1930, the inhabitants built St. Takla church in Jal El Dib.
In 1911, a school was built in antelias with the help of Father Wassaf Abou Jaoude and Father Selwanos Abou Jaoude. In 1921, this school was transferred to Jal El Dib. Father Yaacoub Al Cabbouchi (Capuchin) had founded St. Francis School in 1919, and it was the core of a school that was later formed under the supervision of Capuchin priests.
Father Yaacoub Al Cabbouchi also founded Deir Al Salib, which included shelters, hospitals, and schools…
The land, on which “Saydit El Baher” monastery was built, was the property of St. Doumit monastery for Antonine monks. The late Father Elias Abou Jaoude from Deir El Harf had built it and called it “Saydit El Baher”.
Father Selwanos Abou Jaoude from Maska became the Head Chief of the monastery, so he completed what his ancestors had started. And for that, the hill was named after him, and is still known nowadays by “Hill of Selwanos”.
After 10 years of being the Head Chief of the monastery, Father Moussa Abou Jaoude from Jourat Al Ballout came in his place. He stayed in his position until Assaad Diban Abou Jaoude bought it in 1902 from the Head Chief of St. Doumit monastery. Then Assaad passed away during World War I, and his brother Najem Gerges Diban Abou Jaoude inherited him.
On the 25th of august, 1969, Father Yaacoub Al Cabbouchi bought it from the above mentioned Najem, and then he built a new monastery in its place.
One of the first Zalka inhabitants was Ghabbous Abou Jaoude born in Maska in 1778. He lived in Zalka with his family at a time when Abou Jaoudes were settling in Bkenaya, and in both villages, the first chiefdom was formed.
Abou Nehmeh family had emigrated from Ain Saadeh, from Abou Nehmeh Abou Jaoude’s family who moved from Maska to Ain Saadeh, where his family settled. Then they moved to Jourat Al Ballout, Amariyah, and Zalka…
From Ghabbous family in Maska, was known Father Elias Ghabbous who came after Father Tanios and Father Gerges. Then he spent the rest of his life in St. Chaaya monastery, Brumana. From Father Tanios’ family: Father Bechara in Maska and Zalka, and Father Gerges in Zalka, as detailed in the family tree.
In 1870, they built their first church, where they gathered for prayers. Then, in 1925, they founded the church present nowadays.
In a copy of the statement issued by the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus on August 19, 1872, the names of the contributors are listed, and they are from Ghabbous and Abi Nehmeh families.
Zalka today, is one of the most developed coastal villages with its skyscrapers, the modern industry wheels, and the large population. The group’s culture provides many schools: the National Education School, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus, and Sisters of Ebrine School …
Doctors, journalists, industrialists, and men of science and education had some of their names mentioned in the family tree.
In Aramaic, “Falja”; Falougha squats at the bottom of “Jabal Al Kanisa”. On the mountain’s slopes several houses rise, whereas the running water irritates the entire village. Most Metn villages extend before Falougha, on the hills’ tops, overlooking the coast and the sea.
At night, the lights meet with the rest of the neighboring ones, which cover Metn entirely creating the most beautiful mountain views at night.
Few remnants of its old folks were left, of which are “Caracalla’s”, one of Rome’s emperors, who built Baalbek temples in 210. Soha stream runs in Falougha, and many people nowadays benefit from this water in Lebanon and in foreign countries due to its exportation. Moreover, “Caracalla Bath Club” still have few remnants left.
Some Abou Jaoudes emigrated from Deir El Harf, Maska, Al Ghaba, and Jourat Al Ballout, towards this village, and in which its own family tree branches were formed.
The inhabitants worked on the village’s development, of whom are the late Father Youssef Abou Jaoude, who served the Parish for a long time, and the late Ibrahim Abou Jaoude, who was the mayor and worked on improving his village. The family tree lists more about their activities.
Also called “Ain Al Barida”, was a bunch of small farms belonging to St. John monastery “Al Kalaa”, for Antonine monks. Abou Nehmeh family emigrated to this village from Maska, and of whom descended to Jourat Al Ballout, to Al Amariyah, and then to Zalka the two families Abou Nehmeh and Salloum.
Abou Aoun family descended from Abou Jaoude as follows: Sassine Antoine descended from Ghosn Abou Jaoude from Kherbat Al Adas, and married Najem Khairallah Abou Jaoude’s widow from Maska, and gave birth to their son Daher. She fought with her first husband’s family for heritage, and left with her husband Sassine and her son to Ain Saadeh, where they worked as partners. They kept the family name Abou Aoun with pride and courage, although they knew that their origin is Abou Jaoude. Two family trees were formed from the same mother.
In the times of our ancestors:
Family bonds were strong. Meetings were held at every occasion between the families Abou Jaoude, Abou Sleiman, Moukarzel, and Waked, in Mtein, Deir El Harf, Maska, Al Ghaba, or Jourat Al Ballout in order solve any problem, to defend any oppressed person, and sometimes to take revenge… (It was normal back in those days).
Hanna Beik Abou Saab, back then, used to prove his love and respect to his family by his actions. Many stories had been told in Btedine infront of the Board of Directors, which he headed, and in Brumana infront of Princes Abillamah.
Those blood related families were always in cooperation and solidarity, especially Abou Jaoudes in funerals, festivals, and in occasions that call for gatherings. A lot was told about those gatherings and meetings, which add up to the ancestors’ good understanding and efforts.
In our times:
That same spirit still put the family together. In July 1937, the family gathered in Deir El Harf for a meeting in which they chose Khalil Abou Jaoude as the family deputy in Mount Lebanon. He won, since everybody joined hands and worked hard for it. He was one of the boldest sincere deputies at the service of their country.
He won three times, and sincerely served as Minister of Post, Telegraph, and Telephone.
However, this solidarity didn’t last long, since many started blaming the leaders for their inability to regroup the family as one solid unit. Nevertheless, politics changed, and people depended on their scientific and economical education, so the family members were busy improving those qualities, until they raised the family’s rank once again.
Abou Jaoude Family Organization
On 19 March, 1862, Abou Jaoude family gathered in the house of Father Ibrahim Abou Jaoude’s son, Sheikh Yaacoub, in Al Ghaba. He was delegated the Family Public Affairs Management, with the help of one member from each village in the mountain and the coast. He worked hard until he passed away in 1909, when all this hard work stopped, since it was somehow limited.
In 1913, those efforts were renewed by the notable efforts of Selim Beik Shaker Abou Jaoude, so “Al Jouda General Assembly” was formed, which included family members from both the mountain and the coast. In World War I, 1914-1918, this assembly stopped its mission.
In 1906, St. George Charity Assembly was formed, then stopped in 1914, then appeared again in 1928, when many of the family members joined it, but then it stopped again in 1940 due to the assessment of the number of organizations and assemblies.
In 1946, a final attempt was made in order to create an assembly that joins all Abou Jaoude family and its branches: Zeeni, Abou Sleiman, Abou Saab, Moukarzel, and Waked… However, this assembly didn’t work out. At that time, another one was being formed in Boston, USA, “General Assembly of the Great Family”, which didn’t live long either. In 1962, “The Renaissance Association of Metn” was formed in Maska and Al Ghaba, and it worked for Abou Jaoude family interest. Its Board of Directors was founded in 1967. It was the final assembly that underwent an amendment for its laws and regulations, and then was changed to: “Al Abou Jaoude Family Organization in Lebanon and Abroad”. It initiated its activity in 1969.