NNA - Bsarma is a town in Koura that rises 320 meters above sea level and lies 74 kilometers far from Beirut. It is a coastal region blessed with a quiet nature, not to mention its beautiful olive trees that are part and parcel of Koura’s rich heritage. Bsarma is bordered by the towns Kousba, Kfar Aqa, and Aba; it is famous for its archaeological churches that have become a destination for tourists from all over Lebanon.
Name and Churches
“Bsarma” is a Syriac word that means “abandoned place” according to an ancient tradition. Bsarma is famous for its archaeological churches dating back to ancient times, including those belonging to the Orthodox Parish of Bsarma, like the archaeological church of Saints Kyprianus and Justina: it was the first church to be built in the town in 500 years. This church was demolished due to natural factors, and what was left of it had been restored in 2011. It was consecrated in 2005, and its parish priest has been Father Romanos Khawly since 2010. Prayers take place there on its patron’s holiday.
Another archaeological church belonging to the Orthodox Parish of Bsarma is St. George’s, built about 400 years ago and restored in 1998; its iconostasis was restored in 2013. This church is characterized by the antique icon of St. George and prayers are held there every Sunday.
As for the churches belonging to the Maronite Order, there is the Monastery of Our Lady of Deliverance Church, founded in 1877, to which were dedicated the properties of St. Anthony Qozhaya Monastery – Bsarma. The mastermind, Father Daniel, started building the new monastery in order to organize the properties and reinforce the dispersed sect in Koura district, in general, and in Basma, in particular. During the First and Second World War, as well as many crises, the monastery was a refuge for the poor from all denominations and protected them from hunger and destitution. As for today, the monastery also temporarily includes Soft Solutions company, which provides job opportunities for many young people in the region. Also belonging to the Maronite Order is Our Lady of the Wilderness Church, a thousand-year-old church with tombs built near it a hundred years ago, and a church built above it. Today, Our Lady of the Wilderness Church is being renovated such that the old church lies in the heart of the new church. Not to mention Saint Joseph Church, built about ninety years ago. All these churches are headed by Father Bacchus Tannous.
The only press in Basma is a 10-year-old press located in the Monastery of Our Lady of Deliverance; it squeezes olives of both the monastery and the town’s people. The monastery monks worked on developing this press until it became a cold-stone press. There is also a water spring known as “the eye of the raid”.
The town is famous for growing olives, grapes, and almonds, as well as figs, wheat, and oranges. Many of its people depend on selling oil and olives as a source of livelihood.
The families of Bsarma are: Saliba, Ghazi, Khawli, Alam, Allam, Dennawi, Makhlouf, Hitti, Yamouni, Naseer, Farah, and Faijaloun. It has a population of 770 people, divided between Orthodox and Maronite communities.
The municipality of Bsarma consists of nine members. It is headed by Elie Saliba and the only mayor, Tawfiq Dennawi.
Orthodox Youth Movement
It was established in 1981 and has been suspended for many years. It was launched again with a new image in 2011, and it has persevered ever since. Made up of 60 members of the Orthodox Parish of Bsarma, the movement celebrates religious holidays and provides social assistance.