The Monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina (Qibriyanus wa Yustina) at Kfifan, in the Batroun district of North Lebanon, stands at an altitude of 450 metres, on a hill surrounded by the villages of Kfifan, Jran, Dirya, Abdelli and Smar Jbayl. Construction on the site goes back earlier than the seventh century, for a document dated 717 speaks of " a building with stone vaults, 20 cubits long, flue cubits wide, and divided into four rooms..."
It was dedicated to the holy martyrs Cyprian and Justina in 1230, when Patriarch Daniel ash-Shamati (1230-1239) made it the patriarchal seat. In point of fact, Patriarch Stephen (Estefan) Dweihy (1670-1704) relates in his Chronicle of the Patriarchs that " the patriarchate was transferred for the sixth time from Our Lady of Yanouh, where Patriarch Jeremiah (Ermiya) al-Amshiti (1199-1230) had his seat, to the Monastery of Saints Cyprian and Justina at Kfifan. It was there that Patriarch Daniel ash-Shamati, successor of Patriarch Jeremiah al-Amshiti, had his seat before the patriarchate was transferred to Saint George's Monastery at al¬Kafer and then to Saint Maroun's at Kfarhay."
In 1766, when Clement (Iqlimus) al-Mazraani was Father General (1757-1766), the Order took over this monastery, together with those of Our Lady of Mayfouq and Saint Anthony (Mar Antonios) at Houb. The monks who followed each other in charge were at pains to renovate and restore it. In particular, they built the pre¬sent church, which dates from 1826. Between 1865 and 1895 the building was com¬pletely renovated. Seventy years later, in 1965, a new phase of restoration began covering the whole monastery. In 1988, work was started on a new storey for the novices.
In 1808 the monastery of Kfifan was designated as the scholasticate. This was the first time in the history of the Order that all the student monks were brought together in one monastery. Between 1808 and 1874, some two hundred and sixty priests were ordained there, among whom were the Venerable Father Naamatallah Kassab al-Hardini, as student and teacher, Saint Sharbel Makhlouf and Father General Ignatius (Ghnatios) Bleybel (1811-1832).
Studies were suspended for a short time and then resumed in 1892, when the monastery was once again chosen to be the scholasticate, filling this role until 1898, when the scholasticate was transferred to the Monastery of Our Lady of Victory (Saydet an-Nasr) at Nesbay, Ghosta. However, the monastery of Kfifan car¬ried on its educational activity in a lay school for boarders and day boys opened in 1897, at the request of the people of the surrounding region.
In 1899 the monastery of Kfifan was chosen to be the noviciate and continued as such until 1939, when the novices were transferred to the Monastery of Our Lady of Victory at Nesbay, Ghosta, as part of a project for bringing together the three categories of candidates for the monastic life and remained there until 1944. It was then that the noviciate was once again installed at the monastery of Kfifan, where it remained until 1950. From there it was transferred to the monastery of Ghosta where it stayed until 1965 ; then the noviciate was transferred to the Monastery of Our Lady of Succour (Saydet al-Maounat) at Jbayl until 1977, when it went back to the monastery of Kfifan, where it has remained until now.
According to the chronicle of the monastery, up to 1950 five hundred novices had been formed at Kfifan, of whom three hundred and twenty-six pronounced their monastic vows.
There were several reasons for returning the novices to the monastery of Kfifan. The most important was that the monastery shelters the remains of two emi¬nent members of the community. The first was the Venerable Father Naamatallah Kassab al-Hardini, who entered the Order in 1828, took his monastic vows on November 14, 1830, was ordained priest on December 25, 1835, and died on December 14, 1858. The second whose remains are preserved was Brother Stephen(Estefan) Naameh, who died on August 30, 1938, aged 51. Their lives were edifying examples of virtue and spirituality.
This is the message that the Order wishes to transmit to its young aspirants during the noviciate, which is a deeply spiritual test through which the individ¬uel learns about himself, about what makes up the monastic life, and about his own ability to respond to its demands.
In the monastery there is a museum with the liturgical vessels used by the Venerable Father Naamatallah Kassab al-Hardini and some manuscripts pre¬served in the archives and the library, as well as agricultural tools fashioned by Brother Stephen Naameh.
Finally, it should be observed here that the demand for the beatification of the Venerable Father Naamatallah Kassab al-Hardini was presented in 1926 and that he was declared Venerable on September 7, 1989. In May of 1996, the miracle which God operated by his intercession was subjected to investigation, and the results were sent to the Congregation of the Saints at Rome for further study. Alter the authorisation of Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Butrus Sfeir (1986-...), his tomb was opened, his remains placed in a new coffin, and the tomb sealed.
On the first of July, 1997, the General Assembly of the Congregation of the Saints gave its unanimous approval to the report on the miracle. The decision con¬cerning the miracle was then read in the presence of Pope John Paul II (1978-...) on July 7, 1997, and in conformity with the decision taken on November 29, 1997, his beatification has been fixed for May 10, 1998. Ever since the death of the Venerable Hardini on December 14, 1858, the monastery of Kfifan has been gain¬ing in importance. It has become a shrine visited by the faithful wanting a bless¬ing and intercession.