The name refers to the tip of a height dominating the towns of Darʿūn and Ḥarīṣa, located some 25 km. to the northeast of Beirut. It was purchased by Patr. Mīkhāʾīl Jarweh in 1786 for his nascent uniate church, naming it the ‘Monastery of Our Lady of Deliverance’ (morath šuzobo = sayyidat al-najāt). He then turned it into a patriarchal seat, and it remained so until 1852 when the seat was transferred to Mardin. After the genocide of World War I (see Sayfo), Patr. Ignatius Ephrem Raḥmani moved the patriarchate to Beirut, where Patr. Gabriel Tappuni built an imposing residence in 1930 in the al-Ashrafiyya quarter. In Sharfeh, Patr. Jarweh also founded a priestly institution: elementary seminary which corresponded to secondary school and an advanced seminary which offered courses in philosophy and theology. In 1950, Cardinal Gabriel Tappuni erected a new building for the two seminaries, including a beautiful church that stands between them. Several generations of ecclesiastics graduated from Sharfeh during one and a half centuries of its academic history, including the current Syr. Cath. Patr. Yawsep III Yonan before he studied theology in Rome. Priestly studies nowadays are pursued in Kaslik University, while the seminary serves as residence. Sharfeh is also the summer patriarchal seat and the home of the Ephremite monks as well. This order was founded in 1705 in Lebanon in the Monastery of St. Ephrem al-Ragham, and it moved to Mardin in 1881 to be eradicated by the Ottoman Turks in World War I. It was reestablished in Sharfeh in 2000 by Cardinal Mūsā Dāʾūd, then patriarch of the Syr. Cath. Church. Sharfeh has a rich collection of Syriac manuscripts that have been catalogued more than once.
See Fig. 111.
- I. Armalet, Catalogue des manuscrits de Charfet (1936), 6–8.
- B. Sony, Catalogue des manuscrits du Patriarcat au couvent de Charfet (1993).