“God didn’t allow men to dream of all the beauty he has created. I have dreamt of Eden and I could say I have seen it…”
This is what the poet Lamartine said when he was standing on Mar Miter hill in 1832.
Saint Dimitrios Church was built on a high section of Achrafieh hill in the beginning of the 19th century, under the shape of a rectangular triangle. The Church is one of a kind by the uniqueness of its architecture and the abundance of the ornamentations on a site full of sarcophagus and tombs housing the bodies of thousands of orthodox, surrounded by trees and plants. The importance of Saint Dimitrios Church lies in the fact that it’s a real place for praying which attracts not just the residents of the region but also many others to worship God and celebrate all the sacraments (baptism, marriage...). The district surrounding the site is also called Mar Miter so is the nearby highway. In addition, the Church is also characterized by its unique cemeteries in the eastern Arab world. All these characteristics add a special spiritual dimension to the past and the present of the believers.
At The Beginning, St Dimitrios or Mar Miter was not a Church for funerals, but a place dedicated to this soldier who loved God and defended the weakest. It took its funerary function after 1860 as a result of the decision stating that all the cemeteries should be moved outside the walls of the city. It became famous then by its cemeteries built by talented Italian sculptors.
This was a quick overview on the history of a church that will always remain a place of devotion for its parishioners, as its region will also remain an ecclesiastical and national symbol.
The new pastoral center of St Dimitrios Church
The orthodox Church of Saint Dimitrios has enhanced its activities during the last few years in order to cover, with great performance, social, cultural and spiritual sectors.
The progress that was carried out in the quality and quantity of the performance has pushed the responsible of the Church to establish plans for the construction of a pastoral center big enough to support the needs of the parish and the aspirations of its believers.
After several studies, the future project was drawn on papers and we started the necessary preparations for the construction, such as building the columns and the principal pillars between the cemeteries that will bear the pastoral center.
This center will include:
Two large halls serving the parishioners in their sadness and joy since the houses are not big enough to accommodate the social celebrations (such as the death of a family member or the wedding of another).
A dining room appropriate for the project aiming to feed the elderly people on a weekly basis.
A reception room suitable to receive missions, spiritual retreats and cultural conferences.
Different multi-purpose rooms to receive on a weekly basis catechism classes, gathering around 180 kids.
An outdoor space above the halls dedicated to walking and entertainment in addition to a parking that can include around 65 cars.
Many offices that will be dedicated to organize the Church’s management (priests offices, accounting office and a room for selling holy souvenirs), in addition to a warehouse for the Church belongings.
A small museum for everything that is related with the history of the Church and its inheritance.
A small alley, from the road to the Church entrance, for the persons with special needs.
The persons in charge of the work at the church and the pastoral center:
Father Dimitrios Khoury.Father Nicolas Smaira.Deacon Youil Nassif.The building committee.The engineering committee.St Martha’s committee.St Stephanos Youngsters.A treasurer.A secretary for the global pastoral center.3 cleaning men.An administrative committee.A Librarian.