The village of Hardine actually has quite an interesting story and history – especially for Christians in Lebanon. So we thought we’d give you a little context. Hardine, in the Syriac language, means “pious.” It is believed to be the first village to become Christian in Mount Lebanon.
There’s a 1900-year-old Roman temple located in Hardine that goes by the name of “the Roman Palace of Hardine”. Its existence dates back to the time of Emperor Hadrian Augustus (117-137 A.D). The temple, built for the Roman god Mercury, has 30 enormous pillars.
Today, Hardine remains a historically significant place for Maronites. It is home to over 30 monasteries, churches, and hermitages – some still standing strong from eras long past, and some restored from the crumbling structures they had become into more livable, beautiful Maronite sites for modern times and modern people.
9th century BC
The Sardenas were hired by King Solomon to aid in the logging and shipping of the cedar trees of Hardine to Jerusalem.
Hardine became one of the leading lumber camps in the cedar trade. It is said that thousands of Jewish soldiers and citizens were sent to help the loggers of Hardine.
In 270 AD
A Roman official imprisoned his daughter in Hardine for converting to Christianity. She then converted many in Hardine to the Christian faith. Hardine made a name for itself by being the first officially Christian village in the Mountains.
For the next 200 years, the Christians flourished, especially the Maronites. Hardine became known as a rock of faith and religion; 30 churches and monasteries were erected throughout the years.
In 1302 AD
The Arab armies of Damascus, Tripoli, and Egypt invaded the mountains of Lebanon and were severely beaten by the Lebanese. Benjamin, the commander (Mouquadam) of Hardine, was instrumental in rallying the 34,000 troops that defeated the Arabs.
After the departure of the Crusaders
The Maronites came under attack from the Mamluks. They suffered much humiliation, while their Churches were set on fire, their villages plundered, and their vineyards destroyed. North Lebanon was devastated.
After this, many Lebanese fled the country. Over 100,000 Maronites settled in Cyprus. Others settled in Sicily, Malta, Italy, France, and England.
The Turks, Druze, and Muslims massacred over 20,000 Maronites. Britain and France intervened and pressured the Turks into establishing a new Christian-dominated administration for Lebanon which lasted until World War I.
Emigration to the United States began in 1886. The largest population of Hardine immigrants is in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Hardine lost 12 of its citizens on the Titanic on the night of April 15, 1912.
Sarah From Hardine: The first Woman hermit mentioned in Lebanon (1199).
Moukaddam Benjamin: One of the Maronite heroes in battles defending Batroun and Byblos (13th C.)
Priest Ibrahim ben Gerges (16th C.) and father Antonios Kassab (19th C.) Both well-known Copyists.
Monk Jacob Sarkis: The supervisor in the Maronite School in Rome when it was first established (1583).
Patriarch David-John (1367-1404): The fourth to sit on the Patriarchal chair in the monastery of St Sergios al Karn.
Servios Issa, Abrahim Hdayban, and Gerges Dagher (15th-16th C.) Three Syriac bishops from Hardine.
Bou Dagher (17th c.). He encouraged the Maronite families to own lands in Hardine.
The most famous St. Hardini (1808-1858). He was St Charbel’s tutor.
Eleven young men from Hardini drowned in the Titanic (1912)