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History

The Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos

The village of Mhaydseh was first heard of around the year 1510 A.D. upon the arrival of a group of immigrants coming from northern Lebanon’s town of Douma (Batroun district), this group was made up entirely by the Maalouf family and headed by their priest Peter the son of Hajj John the son of Maalouf – the first priest in the village of Mhaydseh. A bright testimony for this history is found in the manuscript of the book of Triodion1 currently archived in the Vatican library stored under the calling number: “Syriac manuscript number 333″, hand written in Syriac in 1525 and containing the following note in its appendix: “written for the order of the priest, Father Peter the son of Hajj John the son of Maalouf from the town of Douma and resident of Mhaydseh.”
This indicates then that the above-mentioned priest did immigrate with a large group of Douma’s Maaloufs to settle in Mhaydseh around the year 1510 A.D. the date of the founding of this parish. Also we can easily guess that the liturgical language of the Orthodox of Mhaydseh in that epoch was the Syriac. Another guess can also be made about the parish’s church, which most likely was the church of the monastery of St. Elias – Shwaya (which was called up until 1814 A.D. the monastery of St. Elias – Mhaydseh).
In 1587 a group of Klink family from Mhaydseh (originally descendents from the Maalouf’s) collaborated with their cousins the family of Gemayel from the town of Bikfaya and built a single building holding two altars in Bikfaya, one in the north-east side called after the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos for the Orthodox, and the second in the south-east side called after St. Abda for the Maronite Gemayels.
In 1632, the Mhaydseh’s Orthodox completed establishing their own church, which they dedicated also to the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. And in 1648, they were blessed twice by 2 visits from the trice-blessed memory Patriarch Macarius III of Antioch, where he celebrated 3 times.
In 1805, the church building was renovated and enlarged. The actual wooden Iconostasis with the majority of its Icons, goes back to that epoch and was hand carved by the master craft Michael Sobh in the 5th of February, 1810.
In 1632, the Mhaydseh’s Orthodox completed establishing their own church, which they dedicated also to the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. And in 1648, they were blessed twice by 2 visits from the trice-blessed memory Patriarch Macarius III of Antioch, where he celebrated 3 times.
May the Lord abound in His mercies upon all the ancestors who worked hard in founding this parish and may He keep strengthening all those who walk today in the same path guided by the Spirit, through the intercessions of our most Holy Lady Theotokos the intercessor and protector of this parish with all the Saints, Amen.

Icon of the Dormition of the Lady

This icon depicts the Mother of God on the deathbed with the apostles gathered around her. In the upper part of it, Christ appears in his glory, receiving his mother’s spirit. We see him looking at his mother’s body, and he carries in his left hand what looks like a child wearing a white robe, around his head an aura, representing “the spirit of the totality of light.” The apostles look “trembling” at the rest of the Mother of God, among them the two apostles Peter and Paul at the sides of the bed: Peter toward the lady’s head, and Paul toward her feet.

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