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I am almost sure if one had to dig into other family histories from different villages stories very similar to this one would begin to surface.Well here we are, the plymorphis Kouries of the genus homos libans all living in different parts of the country under big sunny South African skies and no doubt all making some form of contribution to the new order.Where the Priest disciplined and taught them Arabic, Syriac, French and how to pray and serve in the church.Derived from the French word "Curé" meaning Priest, and from the Arabic word "Beit El Khoury" meaning the "House of Priest" "May the prayers and offerings of our forefathers, who were Priests, continue to grow in generations to come" The one common denominator of being a Khourie in South Africa is that you are bound to be asked by someone usually not of Lebanese extraction, once you have given your surname is as to whether or not you are related to the Khouries in Germiston, Boksburg, Benoni, Alberton, Welkom, Yryheid, Poffadder or some other obscure part of the country, and on relying in the negative you are generally given a look that implies a certain degree of disbelief.Situated in the very heart of the mountain regions and crowned with the impressive cedars that have constituted the fame and the glory of Lebanon for thousands of years, Becharre and its cluster neighbouring villages are so important that they form a separate administrative distinct.The origin of the name Becharre seems to go far back as the Phoenicians (beit sharri, meaning, the house of Ashtarout, mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible (1Kings: 11 & 2 Kings: 3).A delegation was sent consequently to Saint Simon who told them to give up their false beliefs and adhere to Christianity.
Naturally, all this progress carries a distinctly Lebanese stamp but, it is, all the same, rather difficult to limit to Beirut one's true view of Lebanese culture and of Lebanon, land of the Cedars, of milk and honey.
Later, during the Crusades, when King Louis IX cane to the East in 1250, the inhabitants of Becharre, lead by Al Chidiac Gergis, went forth to greet him with many presents and then served under his command with great distinction.
Following the collapse of the Crusades, many of the soldiers settled in Becharre and built convents, the most celebrated of which is the convent of Saint Sarkis.
And, in spite of frequent persecutions by pagan authorities, their teachings found a ready ear in the population.
A strange story has attached itself to this fact of conversion.