Deir Mar Jerjes (دير مار جرجس) is a large Greek Orthodox monastery named after Saint George. It is located in Wadi al-Nasara (وادي النصارى), or “Valley of the Christians”, an area that includes several dozen Christian villages in the western countryside of Homs (حمص). The region has been a center for Greek Orthodox Christianity since the Byzantine period. The monastery was originally founded in the sixth century, probably at the time of Emperor Justinian, and is maintained by an active monastic community living there today.
The main entrance opens into a large upper courtyard, with a stairway leading down to a smaller lower courtyard. The complex features two churches. The larger church, north of the upper courtyard, was constructed in 1857. The smaller church, off the lower courtyard, dates from the 13th century. It has an impressive 18th century iconostasis carved from ebony wood. Several small chambers, likely dating from the original 6th century monastery, are accessible from the lower level courtyard. Visitors are welcome to the monastery, which holds an annual feast dedicated to Saint George on the 6th of May and the “Elevation of the Holy Cross” celebration on the 14th of September. The monastery is only a few kilometers to the northwest of Qalaat al-Hosn (قلعة الحصن), and it is a pleasant hike between the two sites.
Getting There: Fairly regular microbuses traveling between Homs (حمص) and Marmarita (مرمريتا) pass by Deir Mar Jerjes (دير مار جرجس). The monastery is located in the valley below Qalaat al-Hosn (قلعة الحصن), about three kilometers away. It is a very pleasant hike between them on a quiet farming road. Allow about an hour hiking up to the castle or forty-five minutes going down to the monastery. If starting from Deir Mar Jerjes (دير مار جرجس), the road to the castle is the first right as you head east from the monastery’s entrance, then an almost immediate left at the fork in the road. From Qalaat al-Hosn (قلعة الحصن), locate the school to the north of the castle. The road which passes by the school continues northwest in the direction of the monastery.
Coordinates: 34°46’03.00″N / 36°16’05.00″E
Transliteration Variants: Deir Mar Jerjis, Deir Mar Jeorjes, Deir Mar Jeorjis, Deir Mar Gerges, Deir Mar Gergis, Deir Mar Georges, Deir Mar Georgis
Rating: (4 / 10)