The Maronite Church opens the shrine of MarCharbel Monastery in the city of Bethlehem for a festive mass led by the Archbishop of the Maronite Church of Haifa & the Holy Land, Bishop Moussa al-Haj, who is also the Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem, Palestine, and the Hashemite Kingdom. Father Phillip, the Latin Patriarchate’s secretary in Jerusalem, was also present among Sami Yousef, the Head of the Pontifical Mission; Father Yacoub Abu-Alrub, the Head of the MarCharbel Monastery; and Vera Baboun, the Head of the Bethlehem Municipality and a member of the Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine.
His Grace, Bishop Musa Al-Haj, clarified that the monastery is considered an important place for many Christian and Muslim pilgrims who inquire through the intercession of Saint Charbel. It is revealed that this monastery is significant because it is equivalent to the holiness of Mar-Maron Monastery, located in Annaya, Lebanon.
Father Yacoub mentioned that the monastery was built in 1904, and re-structured in 1983. In 2000, the monastery was an abandoned religious site due to the uprising of the Second Intifada. The monks returned to the monastery after visiting Patriarch Bishara Al-Ra’ee of Palestine. With the help of the Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine, the restoration of the monastery began. However, in September 2015, there was an outbreak of fire in the monastery which discontinued the renovation. This led the Patriarchy to expand the church next to the monastery.