Day 7–A Virgin A Day: Harissa of Lebanon & The Virgin Mary Flotilla
“Many of the Christian holy sites dedicated to the Virgin Mary are also visited by Muslims. The most famous example is that of Harissa, a statue of Virgin Mary, known as Our Lady of Lebanon or Notre Dame du Libans.”
"Multi-religious heritage: There are 17 Islamic and Christian denomination officially recognized in Lebanon. Nour Farra-Haddad has done research into interreligious places of pilgrimage in Lebanon. She figures that there are about thirty religious sites that are used in common by the members of different religious communities. Farra-Haddad conducted countless interviews with pilgrims to these locations, asking about their religious affiliations and motivations. According to the researcher, none of the faithful attempted to hide their religious identity. The devotion of saints by different religious groups was regarded as something normal.
In addition, the motives of Christian and Muslim visitors were identical. People came to pray to be healed from illnesses, for protection, help with love life, or success in exams at school or university, explains the anthropologist from Saint Joseph's University in Beirut. Pilgrims are prepared to leave behind money and offerings. The profile of a holy site depends on its "success" – namely to what extent the faithful believe their prayers have been answered.
Farra-Haddad has sorted these interreligious holy sites into a number of categories. There are places, such as the cave in Afqa, that has been regarded as a holy site for thousands of years. The tradition continues under the guise of different religious circumstances. The site retains its particular significance in the consciousness of believers.”
Pictured: the remains of a temple to Aphrodite
”The gigantic white stone statue of Mary stands on a mountain next to an imposing cathedral. Both can be seen from the highway just outside of the coast city of Jounieh. Although Muslims and Christians have their own image of Mary and her significance, their behaviour at the holy site is quite similar.
Another category consists of the "national saints," such as Mar Charbal and the Holy Rifqa. In this case, the holy sites are devoted to Lebanese Christians supposedly responsible for miracle cures and named saints by the Catholic Church. They clearly belong to one denomination, but are nonetheless recognized in Lebanon far beyond their own religious community as being pious and godly people.”
All Words are directly from this site: http://www.qantara.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-478/_nr-1094/i.html
A Miracle: Lebanese Muslim Aid flotilla to Gaza Muslims in the name of the Virgin Mary
For more beautiful virgin sightings see Recuerda mi Corazon