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Panoramic Views > El Nabatieh > Marjehyoun > Deir Mimas

Deir Mimas – The Monastery of Mimas

The name is of Greek-Syriac origin and may mean a clown or a friend or even, and most probably, the Water of Trial, a river, a lake, or a pool which had to be crossed to prove one’s innocence. Failure meant guilt. But the word mimas also refers to Saint Mema.

The village of Deir Mimas lies in the administrative district of Marjayoun at an altitude of 1,700 feet and at a distance of fifty-five miles from the capital Beirut. It may be reached by passing by Sidon (Saida), then turning left at Sarafand-Zahrani and going through Nabatieh-Kfar Roman in the direction of Marjayoun. It is a picturesque village overlooking the river Litani; to the west of it stands Beaufort Castle, built by the Crusaders, and to the east rise the snow-topped summits of Mount Hermon.

There are more than forty-five springs bubbling up among the habitations around, watering thousands of olive trees, some of which are a thousand years old. Several presses crush the olives to produce oil of high quality, used for making soap. They are still at work, not out-dated.

In fact the olive tree lies at the heart of the village and local society. The oil is exported to Europe, particularly Austria, and is given names according to quality like the wines of Bordeaux.

All the women of the village work at the production of food preserves. They make a whole range of jams, sizes of crushed wheat known as bourghol, thyme, vine leaves, vegetables, and dairy products, gathering also wild plants of medical use.

There are five large churches in Deir Mimas, Protestant, Greek Catholic, Orthodox and Latin, as well as some venerable houses and some ruins, but also the monastery of Saint Mimas built around the year 1404. This monastery built with medieval stones provided six cells for the monks and a church. It has been renovated several times, for on one occasion it was bombarded by the Israelis and destroyed. There are yearly celebrations at Eastertide, with large crowds gathering around the main church.

The monastery shelters a small museum of icons and mosaics illustrating the life of Christ and other religious events. Several varieties of olives from around the world are treated at Mimas monastery, including one called the “Soury” (after Sour, another name for Tyre), which goes back more that five thousand years before Christ.

There is an agricultural cooperative that does much to maintain and increase production.

At Deir Mimas there are strong bonds between land and cultivators, for as well as vines, fig trees, plum trees and suchlike, there are many varieties of plants growing wild which are of practical use, especially for treating illnesses. There is an association called Aghssan set up in the year 2012 with the aim of returning to Nature and of preserving the environment, and also carrying on associated activities of common interest.

At Deir Mimas there are cultural and social activities which bring people together and educational and sports clubs which directly or indirectly encourage the improvement of olive cultivation, saving the environment and making Deir Mimas a village to serve as a model.

Visitors can admire the beautiful old olive trees, the small lake, the gushing springs, the old grottos, and the ruins dedicated to the “Khodr”, Saint George, to whom vows are made.

Joseph MATAR

- Deir Mimas - The village square: >> View Movie << (2015-05-01)

- Deir Mimas - The olive trees: >> View Movie << (2015-05-01)
- Deir Mimas - The olive trees: >> View Movie << (2015-05-01)
- Deir Mimas - The olive trees: >> View Movie << (2015-05-01)
- Deir Mimas - The Monastery: >> View Movie << (2015-05-01)


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