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Mar Semaan Church

  • religious site

Hamat, Batroun district

To the east of Byblos (Jbeil), in northern Lebanon, on a small hill, you can see an old chapel dedicated to St. Simeon, a Syriac ascetic saint who achieved fame for climbing a pillar and living for 37 years on its small platform until his death. The church was designated in the region, Mar Semaan. At the center of this chapel, built by the Crusaders, stands a huge trunk marble column, which obviously does not come from an ordinary Roman temple. In fact the square chapel, built by the Crusaders and surmounted by a dome is intended to highlight the column of the Stylite, who were a type of Christian ascetics, which were inspired by St. Simeon and who were common in the early days of the Byzantine period. They lived on pillars, preaching, fasting, praying, and essentially were living a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures.