Village Info

Origin of the name
There are two possibilities for the name El-Midane. If the word is the Syriac “Maydono”, then it means the wine caves. If the word is Arabic, then it means the horse racing field.

Location and Geography
El-Midane is situated in the middle of the northern part of the Jezzine area on an altitude of 770 meters above sea level.  Its area is around 600 hectars.  The number of houses is 100 and the number of voters in the parliamentary elections of the year 2000 was 236 out of 1024 voters.  El-Midane is very old in history and also includes within its premises two farms that were inhabited in the old days named El-Mankala and El-Houranieh, in addition to Roukhsa.

The location of El-Midane above the Bisri river gives it one of the most beautiful scenes in the area, where an extraordinary history played in a major role in the destiny of the region.  In those ancient days before Christ, El-Midane was used as a place to celebrate festivities in the Roman era.

From Christianity to Crusaders
Upon the birth of Jesus Christ, a new history will be written for El-Midane and the region surrounding it. Old stories say that Jesus, our Lord, set foot in the area when he traveled across the land of the Canaans – Phoenicia.

Following the appearance of Christianity, a long period of persecutions of the Christians prevailed. Even with that situation, Christianity flourished in the region. The remaining of a Bezantine church in Anan is the only witness of that time. With the Arabic-Islamic invasion, the presence of Christianity in the area diminished. No evidence of El-Midane during that period can be found.

The Crusaders and the Mamlouks Period
At the Crusaders time, there was a story at the beginning of the 13th century talking about the “Midanians” in the Jezzine area. The story says that 500 of the Crusaders went to Jezzine, village of the “Midanians”, where its people had left it. Once the Crusaders settled in Jezzine, the “Midanians” attacked them to death and captured their horses and weapons. It was very probable that Christianity came back to the region during the Crusaders reign in Lebanon which lasted for two and a half centuries. The evidence of this is the building of Our Lady church in Bisri.

Once the Crusaders time vanished, a new era of persecutions of Christians in the Mamlouks period started. That was also true for the Shiites of Kesrouan who were expelled to the Jezzine, Bekaa and Jabal Amel areas, where the demography of Jezzine now becoming Shiite. In the 15th century, the Shiite presence diminished after the killing of one of their prominent figures in Jezzine, the first martyr Shamseddine Makki El-Jezzini.

The Ottoman Period
In 1516, a new era in Lebanon started with its occupation by the Ottoman Sultan Salim. In the 16th century, the Ottomans held three consensus, with no reference to El-Midane. The villages that existed at that time were: Jezzine, Roum, Bteddine, Jdeideh, Bisri, Machmoucheh, Aaray, Mimess and Behannine. This meant that El-Midane, at that time, was uninhabited.

By the end of the 16th century, a new history for the Jezzine area will be written with the arrival of Christians to the region to work as partners in the land, through encouragement from Prince Fakhreddine Maan the 2nd. This wave of Christians settling was decisive in the 18th century. In that regard, Bteddine, neighboring village of El-Midane, saw its first comers in the first quarter of the 18th century, which were the Abou Sleiman family. This will be similar with the Aouad family in El-Midane.

No information is available to whether any Christian family was in El-Midane before the arrival of the Aouads with Patriarch Simon Aouad who settled in the convent of Our Lady of Machmoucheh.

Patriarch Simon Aouad (1683-1756)
He was born in Hasroun in 1683. He studied in Hasroun and in the Quannoubine monastry where his uncle Jacob Aouad was the private secretary, at that time, of Patriarch Stephan Doueihy. At the age of 13, Patriarch Doueihy sent him to the Maronite College in Rome, where only outstanding young Maronites were sent, to study Philosophy, Liturgy and European Arts. He returned to Mount Lebanon in 1707, where at that time, his uncle Jacob became the Maronite Patriarch. He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1708. For 8 years, he was his uncle’s secretary. On January 27, 1716 he was ordained Bishop of Damascus by his uncle and was assigned the servicing of the Tyre and Sidon parishes. Bishop Simon was one of the most important speakers of the famous Lebanese Synode that was held in 1736 in the Louaize convent.

When Patriarch Joseph Dergham Khazen died on May 13, 1742, Simon Aouad was elected the new Patriarch the following day without informing the absent bishops. Simon humbly refused that honor. The bishops, then, elected Elias Mouhasseb as a new Patriarch. But Bishop Toubia Khazen, who was absent during the election, refused to recognize the election of Mouhasseb and was elected by his group as the new Patriarch. Facing this situation, Rome stepped in and annulled both elections, reinstating Simon Aouad as the new Patriarch. Both parties accepted Rome’s decision and Simon Aouad was inaugurated as the new Maronite Patriarch in Harissa. This period of rest did not last for a long period of time, where 5 bishops broke out with Patriarch Simon Aouad and appointed a patriarchal delegate to handle the Patriarchal affairs.

These steps, which were as old as his uncle Jacob’s reign, and the persecutions that were carried out in Northern Labanon by the Ottomans and the Hamadeh family pushed Patriarch Simon to leave the Patriarchal convent in Quannoubine and settle in the convent of Our Lady of Machmoucheh, the one he built when he was a bishop.

Once again Rome interferes. Pope Benedict sent the Franciscans head Father Dsidario to heal the differences among the bishops. He went to Machmoucheh meeting the Patriarch and submitting to him Papal letters and gifts in a large ceremony.

Upon the request of Pope Benedict, Patriarch Simon called for an assembly for his bishops in Machmoucheh where all problems were settled.

The importance of Patriarch Simon Aouad, in addition to his religious position, is in his books which are still hand-written. Among them are: “Patriarchs of the Orient”, “Proofs of Christian faith”, “Explanations of the 4 Gospels”, “Life of Patriarch Stephan Doueihy” and others.

Foundation of Lady of Machmoucheh convent by Bishop Simon Aouad
In 1730, Bishop Simon Aouad came to the Jezzine area as a delegate of his uncle Patriarch Jacob Aouad (1705-1732) to be the responsible of the parishes spreading from Palestine to Sydon. He felt the need to establish a permanent residency in the area. Therefore he chose the land called Ain EL Jaouze near Machmoucheh to be his place. The land’s owners were Kabalan Harmouche from Semkanieh in the Chouf area and the wife of Emir Melhem Chehab mother of Emir Sayyed Ahmad Chehab. Both Kabalan Harmouche and the wife of Emir Sayyed Ahmad accepted to sell that piece of land to Bishop Simon Aouad where he started the building of the convent. He also bought an adjacent land from the sons of Abou Atmé from Machmoucheh in 1732. In 1736, the Lebanese Maronite Order bought the convent of Our Lady of Machmoucheh from Bishop Simon Aouad in the presence of Bishop Youssef Semaani.

When Bishop Simon Aouad was elected Patriarch in 1742, he decided to leave Northern Lebanon and settle between the Machmoucheh convent and the village of El-Midane, which he bought previously. His mother, brother and nephew were the first inhabitants of El-Midane.

It is known that Patriarch Simon lived in El-Midane for almost all his stay, except for the official visits and meetings where they were held in the convent of Machmoucheh. Patriarch Simon Aouad moved with him to El-Midane Saint Jude (Mar Laba) who became the Saint of the village.

Patriarch Simon Aouad died on February 12, 1756 in El-Midane and was buried in Machmouchy convent where many of his relatives were also buried next to him.

The importance of Patriarch Simon is in his living in the area where many Christians moved in because of his arrival and because of his encouragement to other Christian families to move into the Jezzine region, which resulted in the demographic change of that region, as known today.

El-Midane in the 19th Century
The 19th century saw the reign of Emir Bachir Chehab the 2nd and in the middle of it, sectarian wars started to hit Lebanon.

A consensus held by Achil Lorand in 1840 states that the number of males in El-Midan amounted to 71.

In the war of 1841, the people of the Jezzine area put guards at Taoumat Niha where a battle broke out with the Niha residents. The guards withdrew and the Druze started some individual killings in the villages of El-Midane, Jezzine, Azour, Bteddine Loukouch, Ktaleh and Mazraat El Mathaneh. As a response, the Christians burned 13 Druze villages. Said Jounblat asked the Christians to surrender their weapons, which they refused. As a consequence, he sent his troops to the area burning houses, starting with Bekassine.

Another war broke out in 1860. Following the abduction and killing of 3 people from Bteddine Loukouch, the residents of the region formed a group of volunteers from El-Midane, Bteddine Loukouch, Machmoucheh, Bisri, Kaitouleh and Barty who attacked Khaficheh and expelled the Druze. Said Jounblat sent two thousand armed men to the Jezzine area and, in the span of few hours, occupied the whole area. Some of the residents flew to Sydon where they were all murdered and others flew to the Shiites in the south where they were saved.

El-Midane between 1860 and 1918
Following the massacres of 1860, the number of El-Midane residents dropped. In the consensus of 1862 held by Constantine Petkovich, the number of males in El-Midane stood at 26.

An information from 1890 concerning El-Midane states that the people in that village collected 163 piastres as a donation to reopen the Maronite College in Rome, which was a huge amount of money at that time.

El-Midane in the 20th Century
Following the 1956 earthquake, the people of El-Midane rebuilt their homes and moved to the current locations especially after the opening of the main road in the village. The war of 1975 had a negative impact on the population and the growth of El-Midane, where many people were killed and many others immigrated. Even with that, the authorities in El-Midane are doing their best to help the people regain their lives and the joy of living.

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