Sayidat al-Bahr, is situated in the city of Batroun in Northern Lebanon. It is located on the western side of the city in the Al Saydeh (the Lady) quarter.
Overlooking the remains of a Phoenician sea wall, this simple Greek Orthodox church built right on the water’s edge, has a charming terrace with an arched belvedere framing sea views. The small church has a vaulted ceiling and stone walls. Built on the ruins of a Byzantine church in the 19th century, the beautiful whitewashed chapel of the Lady of the Sea is surrounded by a spacious courtyard which overlooks the sea.
It is not known when it was first build but it is said that it was build atop of a pagan Phoenician temple. The present church dates back to 1860 and its recently renovated staircase leads, through a northern door, to a roofed passage stretching westward with huge columns on both sides. Another single aisle way leads to a two door Byzantine style altar, with a built in arch on its deep far wall. The ceiling arches high in a Byzantine style, illuminated by windows and small openings. The traditional sand rock baptismal tub is located by its northern wall. There are icons in the church which were painted in 1863 and the icon of Our Lady of the Sea is considered to be miraculous.
Personally, I am not much of a church goer, but there are certain churches where I feel a spiritual calling and I wonder how many mouths whispered silent prayer wishing for God. How many lives were celebrated and mourned here, unions made and broken. The family, the hearth, spirit, life and death, all flowed through here. Now it stands proud and open to the sea and heaven, holding the glory of what has been and is now. Stone upon stone, piece by piece, until it was made, it stood, it stands, a monument to man, toil, sweat and reverence. It stands 155 years today, time honors it, blesses it. Shame to pass by this humble church and to not think what things happened here, what joys and sadnesses, what moments and sorrows it witnessed. We cannot imagine to know the stories it holds and the memories it keeps. This church has stood there silent beneath its blue skies, unwavering facing the sea, holding in its heart the beautiful icon of the Lady of the Sea.
Because while walking through the old city of Batroun, among its little alleys and dilapidated buildings, i fell on this humble beautiful church with its poetic name, and I can’t wait to unravel what other little discoveries this country has to unfold, I #livelovelebanon and I will #fighton