Our Village of Blouza, North Lebanon
Blouza is situated at the edge of Kannoubine, in the Qadisha Holy Valley in the Becharre’ district of North Lebanon.
Blouza is 7 kms away from the town of Becharre’ to the west and 119 kms from Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The territory of Blouza extends between the village of Hadchit and the village of Ban. It is divided into 93 lots of land, half of which are still owned by the Maronite Church.
Blouza is famous for its agriculture like fruits and vegetables, especially apples, pears and cherries. The altitude of Blouza is 1,400 metres above sea level. This makes it very cold in the winter with snow season and moderate fresh conditions in the summer makes the village an attractive holiday destination for travellers.
Blouza is renown for it’s significant contribution to the Maronite Catholic faith. It has produced two Patriachs – Patriarch Shamoun Chidiac and the Patriarch Gabriel Al Blouzani (1704 – 1705) who was the 58th Patriarch of the Maronite Patriarchs of Antioch and the 15th Patriarch of St. Mary of Kannoubine Church (Monastry). Amongst its current members are active brothers and sisters of the Clergy domiciled in Lebanon and Australia.
It is believed that the people of Blouza gifted their land to the Maronite Church in 1704 as a symbol of their affiliation to the Church. It is also believed this may have been done in order avoid paying land tax especially since Churches at the time were exempted from doing so under the law.
Built in the 1800s, the Church of Blouza is considered one of the heritage icons in the village. It is named in honour of the village patron, Saint Saba.
Another heritage icon of significance is the shrine of Saint Barbara which overlooks the valley of Qadisha in a cave in the middle of the cliff. It was built at the time of the ‘Mamaleek’s’ invasions at the second half of the 13th Century.
The village of Blouza in Lebanon is represented by its Mayor and the Star of Lebanon Association. Since Blouza does not have a Municipality (due to it’s unique ties to the Maronite Church) to provide services, this work is undertaken by the Star of Lebanon and other charity groups within the village, including the Legion of Saint Mary and the youth club named by “Al – Intilak” to which we attribute the extension of the Church hall (or ‘Neda’).
Emigration from Lebanon started first to America, dating back to 1914. This continued to Sydney Australia early in 1949 where a majority of people now reside. In the census dated 1519, Blouza recorded 6 adult males. In the census dated 1571, the number increased to 12 people. Today, the population is distributed between Blouza in Lebanon numbering approximately 500 people and Australia with 4,500 members. The Blouza population in the United States is also thought to be significant despite the absence of reliable census data.
In addition to an extensive representation of clergy, Blouza has produced university graduates, business and trade persons from almost every discipline, and is indeed proud of distinguished professionals including Dr Hamid Lebnan (a well respected Physician formerly based in Germany), the Late Mr. Richard Shaydac (who for thirteen years was the chief executive officer of ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 1962 he helped found the hospital with family friend and comic legend Danny Thomas). Richard’s son, Tom, is a former adjunct professor of communication at Pepperdine University’s Seaver College and a renown screenwriter and director of many popular US films.
The soil of Blouza is rich in minerals such as iron, phosphate and siderite and stone charcoal where its mining is still evident today. At the time of French autonomy, the Government of the day extensively mined the stone charcoal to fuel electrical power generation, running of trains, and basic heating.
The village in Lebanon boasts a large water tank (with a capacity to hold over 2 million litres of water). This is arguably the largest of its kind in the whole of North Lebanon. The village also contains a service station, two restaurants and three joineries.
Updated: 12 May 2016