Next on “The Saints”: Saint Charbel

Do you know who the patron saint of Lebanon is? He’s our featured saint on Monday, May 13th!

Youssef Antoun Malkhouf is known as the “Miracle Monk of Lebanon” and was born in the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Lebanon) on May 8th, 1828. From his days as a young cow herder, Youssef was inspired by the hermit lifestyle that two of his uncles embodied. He left home to live at the Monastery of Our Lady that the Lebanese Maronite Order (also called the Baladites) ran, high in the mountains in Mayfouq.

His religious name was given in honor of an early Christian martyr of Antioch, Charbel, and he took his final vows at 23 years old in 1851.

He studied theology and philosophy to live a life of great and holy discipline. He was ordained a priest in 1859, and after years of requests, he was granted the privilege of eremitism – living as a hermit – and spent the rest of his life in solitude in the Hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul. In that time, the power of his intercessory prayers became clear, and his ecumenical gifts touched Muslim, Christian, and Druze followers from neighboring places. He died in 1898, and stories say that his body was found, incorruptible, not long after.

Charbel Malkhouf was canonized in 1977, praised as “the second St. Anthony of the Desert” and “a Cedar of Lebanon standing in eternal prayer, on top of a mountain” by Bishop Francis Zayek, a prelate of the Maronite Church.

So, what was special about Charbel? Find out on on Monday, May 13th!