Bahdeidat is 12 km. northeast of Jbeil (Giblet or Byblos), 47 km. from Beirut, 550 m. above sea level. The small church of Mar Tadros, which is nowadays Maronite, is built as a single barrel-vaulted nave with a wide, protruding porch open at the west end. It measures ca. 13x8 m. without the porch.

The east end is covered with a coherent program of wall paintings spilling over to the northern and southern walls of the nave. In the semi-dome is the Enthroned Christ in Majesty, with the Cherubim and Seraphim on either side, waving standards that give the words of the Trisagion. Behind the throne are the four beasts of the Apocalypse, the man (Matthew), the lion (Mark), the bull (Luke) and the eagle (John). Behind these are the standing figures of Mary and John the Baptist, their hands held out in supplication. The twelve apostles stand below this Vision, with the prophet Daniel at the northern end of the row and St. Stephen on the south.

The triumphal arch shows the Christ Emmanuel, between the Sacrifice of Isaac on the north and Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law on the south. Below them are Mary and Gabriel of the Annunciation.

On the nave walls, on either side of the apse, is the equestrian knight St. Theodore spearing a dragon and the riding St. George, bearing the small water-carrier behind him. Both the equestrian knights are shown with donor portraits beneath the horses.

All the wall paintings are inscribed in a mixture of Serṭo and Esṭrangela.

These wall paintings represent the only comprehensive series of paintings executed by one workshop to have survived in Lebanon. In style they closely resemble the paintings of a church in the nearby village of Maʿad. According to a ms. in Dayr al-Shife, not far from Bahdeidat, a Syr. Orth. priest called Naʿman was ordained in Bahdeidat in 1256. This 13th-cent. date accords with the style of the paintings in both Bahdeidat and Maʿad and they belong to the Syr. Orth. tradition of painting, like the paintings of Dayr Mār Mūsā al-Ḥabashī. At some point after the 13th cent. the church would have passed from the Syr. Orth. to the Maronites.

See Fig. 16 and 17.


  • E.  Cruikshank Dodd, Medieval Painting in the Lebanon (2004), 338–60.
  • N.  Helou, La fresque (I) dans les anciennes églises du Liban. Régions de Jbeil et Batroun (2007).
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  • M.  Immerzeel, ‘Divine cavalry. Mounted saints in Middle Eastern Christian art’, in East and West in the Crusader States. Context — contacts — confrontations,vol. 3, ed. K.  Ciggaar and H. Teule (OLA 125; 2003), 265–86.
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How to Cite This Entry

Erica Cruikshank Dodd , “Bahdeidat,” in Bahdeidat, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay,

Footnote Style Citation with Date:

Erica Cruikshank Dodd , “Bahdeidat,” in Bahdeidat, edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay (Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018),

Bibliography Entry Citation:

Dodd, Erica Cruikshank. “Bahdeidat.” In Bahdeidat. Edited by Sebastian P. Brock, Aaron M. Butts, George A. Kiraz and Lucas Van Rompay. Digital edition prepared by David Michelson, Ute Possekel, and Daniel L. Schwartz. Gorgias Press, 2011; online ed. Beth Mardutho, 2018.

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