Saint Rafqa's Basilica
1. The idea of Saint Rafqa’s Basilica
After her canonization on June 10, 2001, devotion to Saint Rafqa spread throughout the world. Since that time, thousands of visitors started to came to visit her grave for benediction, prayer and intercession.
Prior to her canonization, the nuns at Saint Joseph monastery insisted on building a big church in her name in order to gather thousands of visitors especially during the important celebrations such as Saint Rafqa’s Feast Day, our Lady’s Day, Sundays, special occasions and ceremonies, conferences, meetings and spiritual formation.
Several difficulties appeared especially concerning the location and financing. It was agreed upon that it will be located within the location of Rafqa’s first grave on the mountainside south of Saint Joseph monastery overlooking a nearby village.
2. Plan of the basilica
Rafqa's Basilica is comprised of three floors:
The ground floor includes a conference hall, movie’s hall, library, first aid room, reception hall, library for clergy and meetings rooms.
The plan of Saint Rafqa’s Basilica embodies the Maronite architecture of churches and respect to Saint Rafqa’s grave.
Traditionally, the Maronite churches were built like fortresses entrenched into a mountainside or on a hill, or in the deep end of a valley surrounded by trees, plants and water. Saint Rafqa’s Basilica was constructed as a cave on the south side of the hill of Jrabta, and overlooking the landscape as a fortress.
Based on these traditions, the basilica has a rectangular form with a cupola [dome] characterized by its simple design and architecture. Its high altitude and the sounds of its bells serve as a guide leading the believers to the basilica for meditation, prayers and participation in the liturgical life.
The design of the basilica was inspired by the grave of Saint Rafqa, made from marble in the form of a ship and a lamp.
The lamp symbolizes the light seen by Saint Rafqa while she was blind and the lights that filled her eyes to see her sisters and her monastery before her death.
The ship represents her life between the waves of difficulties, pains and suffering ending with salvation and holiness. Rafqa’s grave surmounting the altar is placed on the glass near the choir in the direction of the East source of light and life.
As to the roof of the basilica, it is also in the form of a lamp and a ship covering the entire area of the basilica. The halls seem to be like a fortress starting from the ground, large at the lower side and narrow at the top to constitute a base to hold the roof.
The basilica is wide enough for two thousand persons.
The roof of the basilica sticks to the ground level coming down to the south as if it was a prolongation of the forest surrounding the monastery. The architects spared no effort to design it in a concave form to constitute an integral part with the monastery embedded between the trees and the plants. The roof appears as a garden overlooking Rafqa’s first grave.
Architecture and design It was carried out by the architects:
Claude Abi Saad and Joseph Kobrianos did the design and George Abi Khalil did the studies and supervision of architectural works.
“The widow’s mite,” was the principal source of finance of the construction of the basilica. Believers of all walks of life contributed to the construction of this basilica. Saint Rafqa will reward all benefactors with her prayer and supplication.
Saint Rafqa asks all persons to participate in the construction of her home to be worthy of her God and her visitors. She is waiting for them opening their hands and their hearts and she will reward them with her prayer, recovery and supplication.
- To contribute and participate in building St. Rafqa's Basilica, please refer directly to our address:
St. Joseph's Monastery - Tomb of Saint Rafqa, Jrabta, Batroun, LEBANON.
Tel :+961 6 720 402
+961 9 750 325
Fax :+961 6 720 401
Information office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mother Superior: email@example.com
Accounting & financial office: firstname.lastname@example.org
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