The Arabic original, by Fr. Mitri Jardaq, can be found here.
The Monastery of Mar Elias in Shwayya
The Patriarchal Monastery of Mar Elias in Shwayya is perched atop a hill facing the eternal Sannine to the east and guarding the coast of the northern Metn- Antelias, Jal el-Dib, and Dbayya to the west. This history of this monastery goes back deep into history, to approximately the sixth century. From the Middle Ages through modern times, it witnessed the presence of Russian pilgrims coming from the Far East to the Holy Lands, passing through several stops here in the Middle East.
After the Ottoman domination of these lands, the monastery was a destination for Russian consuls, scholars and researchers from Constantine Basili to Constantine Batkovitch and from Agafangel Krimski to the Russian monks who came there in 1913 and left to return to their country in 1915.
Many men of faith have served as abbots of the monastery, leaving their lasting mark on its history. Its longest-serving abbot was the Protopresbyter Makarios, who served the monastery for more than half a century and was contemporary to many important events in the history of Mount Lebanon. Bishop Elias (Najim),of blessed memory, had the second-longest time as abbot. Metropolitan Elias (Kfoury) was named patriarchal vicar to oversee the monastery until an abbot for the monastery could be named. On July 20, 2010, Archimandrite Wadi Shalhoub was made abbot of the monastery.
Who is Archimandrite Wadi?
He is from the village of Douma in the region of Batroun in Lebanon. He studied under His Beatitude in the school of Balamand Monastery. He then went to Greece to complete his studies and to specialize in Byzantine music. After studying with Greek teachers for a long time, he then returned to Lebanon to teach Byzantine music in Arabic at the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand in the Institute of St. John of Damascus. In 1975 he was made a deacon in the Archdiocese of Tripoli and al-Koura and then in 1984 he was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Elias Kurban. In 1987 he was attached to the Archdiocese of Jbeil and Batroun and their dependencies (Mount Lebanon), where Metropolitan Georges (Khodr) granted him the rank of archimandrite. He remained there serving in the parish of Douma until he was called by His Beatitude to be abbot of the Patriarchal Monastery of Mar Elias in Shwayya. In addition to Arabic, Archimandrite Wadi speaks English and Greek fluently. He has many publications and recordings about Byzantine music.