Lebanon in the Period of Cheikh Abi Nader El Khazen 

 Written in year 2006

In 1621, Emir Fakhr Al Din appointed Cheikh Abi Nader and his uncle Cheikh Abi Safi el Khazen governors of Bsharri and assigned them the whole country. Following this, Cheikh Abi Nader el Khazen and his relatives, Khazen Cheikhs, started developing Keserwan their county and confirm its status building churches and abbeys; they promoted the Catholic faith in areas they controlled whether in Mount Lebanon or else where; this boosted them fame and glory.

Cheikh Abi Nader had a son called Abi Nawfal; a brilliant mind and excellent discretion led with rich experience in managing authority. Abi Nawfal was a Europeanised man and his father, Cheikh Abi Nader, relied on him majorly and assigned him critical issues whether in his presence or absence as to Emir Fakhr Al Din’s governing and authority. Cheikh Abi Nader would send him to Tripoli on his behalf to manage matters of Emir Hussein, son of Emir Fakhr Al Din, where he had to remain for longer periods; His extraordinary management gained him appreciation which was indicated in history while he made Jbeil Castle in Batroun his residence.

In 1630, an earthquake caused great damage to the castle which led to the death of his son Cheikh Nawfal the first and his wife, a Hobeiche family daughter and mother of Cheikh Nawfal the first. A year after in 1631, Cheikh Abi Nawfal rebuilt the castle.

As a result of efforts of Cheikh Abi Nader and his son Cheikh Abi Nawfal, the country enjoyed prosperity and flourishing. But the Yamnies were still waiting for the fall of Emir Fakhr Al Din and encouraged authorities to declare war on him so in 1633, Sultan Murad the Fourth ordered Koujak Ahmed to send troops to defeat him. The troops came from Damascus by sea led by Pasha Jaffar Qitan while on their arrival, the Yamnies welcomed them enthusiastically naturally. When Emir Fakhr Al Din learned about the issue, and as he always avoided confronting Damascus army, he hid with his little children, Cheikh Abi Nader and Cheikh Abi Safi in Jezin’s cave. But on the other hand, Emir Hussein son of Fakhr Al Din and Cheikh Abi Nawfal who were in Markab at that time hid in Markab’s castle. The troops of Damascus arrived near to the El Chouf and other areas in the country laying hands on treasures, murdering and surrounding the whole castle. The siege which they burdened on the castle managed them to control it and halt Cheikh Abi Nawfal and the Emir, to escape bitter fate; instead, they were sent to Halab. But when they arrive in Halab, Cheikh Abi Nawfal managed to escape back to Mount Lebanon. After this new circumstance, the invaders appointed Emir Ali son of Fakhr Al Din a statesman on behalf of the Country, El Chouf and carried on marching towards Jezin’s cave where Emir Fakhr Al Din and Cheikh Abi Nader and all the above mentioned were seeking protection and shelter; as they had difficulties in reaching them although a siege was carried out, they initiated an operation of breaking and destroying the cave’s rocks until they found and captured the personalities.

After success of such operation, Koujak triumphantly ordered them to be taken to Damascus while on their arrival there, Emir Fakhr Al Din was to be sent to Istanbul. In April 1635, the Sultan ordered his execution at the age of 52.

As for Cheikh Abi Nader’s fate, he was released from where he was held, Damascus castle, and sent back to Lebanon according to Emir Ali Al Yamni’s request. 

After this dramatic change in the country’s stability and the country became in chaos state, property and treasure which personalities owned and who had contacts with the Emir, were prohibited and taken from their reach. After execution of Emir Fakhr Al Din, Cheikh Abi Nader Cheikh Abi Nawfal his son and Cheikh Abi Khattar his brother left to Tuscany where its governer stayed and asked for his accommodation.

Two years later, the Khazen Cheikhs were on their way back home where Emir Melhem son of Emir Younis, brother of Emir Fakhr Al Din became ruler who released the seizure of their lands and treasures; a consensus was made and the nation admitted to the Khazen Cheikhs’ rule again over their county, Keserwan; so the Khazen Cheikhs re-initiated their duty of developing it in the most efficient way.

In 1647, Cheikh Abi Nader had passed away as did Emir Fakhr Al Din where his secret to be preserved. His death caused great sadness and despair to people under his care and acquaintances but his enemies and strangers to him shared these feelings as well as he never agreed to appreciation and  hostility was to be forgiven.                                                                                                                         

Bibliography: Short Note about the El Khazen Family, Patriarch Boulos Massad, The Anthony Fathers Library, Saint Isaiah Abbey, Remaneh, 1855