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Relic of St Charbel Arrives in Replica Coffin, Marking Historic Occasion on His Birthday
09/05/2024

In a momentous celebration on the birthday of our beloved Saint Charbel, a replica coffin containing his relic, in the heart of a silicone figure bearing his likeness and in his vestments, arrived at St Charbel’s in Punchbowl (NSW), where it will remain for veneration and prayer.

The celebration, held on 8 May, witnessed thousands of devout followers in a procession through the streets of Punchbowl, igniting a festival of holiness and spiritual revival. Following the procession, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Excellency Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, and concelebrated by The Right Reverend Abbot Tannous Nehme, Superior of the Monastery of St Maroun (Annaya) who is visiting from Lebanon, and Reverend Father Assaad Lahoud, Superior of St Charbel’s Monastery (Punchbowl).

The event was a significant milestone for the Lebanese Maronite Order (LMO) in Australia, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the consecration of Saint Charbel’s Church and the first Maronite monastic presence in Australia. Today, the Church and Monastery stand as a testament to the enduring legacy of the LMO and the devotion to Saint Charbel, whose miracles continue to inspire faith and healing across the globe.

Reflecting on the rich spiritual heritage of the Maronite community, Bishop Tarabay emphasised the ties to Qannoubine, Kozhaya, and Annaya, underscoring the importance of preserving traditions and connections to the homeland. The presence of Saint Charbel’s relic now permanently in a special shrine at the Church in Punchbowl, symbolises a physical link to Annaya and a spiritual beacon for the faithful in Australia.

“One of our greatest treasures is our devotion to Saint Charbel, who despite a life of simplicity, left us spiritual riches. His miracles, spanning continents, heal both body and soul, making him a beacon of faith for humanity,” said Bishop Tarabay. “Our procession tonight through the streets serves as a public testament to the faith of the Church, to your faith, and to the faith of Saint Charbel in God.”

For those unable to make the pilgrimage to Lebanon to visit St Charbel’s tomb in Annaya, you can now find solace in visiting the replica housed at St Charbel’s Church in Punchbowl (NSW).

Let us fervently pray that this festival ignites a spiritual revolution within the life of our church and echoes throughout the entire Church in Australia.

*Photos courtesy of St Charbel’s Monastery/Giovanni Portelli

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