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St Charbel Makhlouf is depicted in a mosaic at St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City (CNS/Gregory A Shemitz)

St Charbel is the saint with more than 40,000 known miracles attributed to his intercession. And soon, Sydney’s south west will be home to only the second shrine in the world dedicated to him. Source: Daily Telegraph.

Thousands of Maronite Catholics are expected to flock to St Charbel Church in Punchbowl for the arrival of a tomb carrying a replica of the Lebanese saint’s body dressed in a priestly robe he once wore.

It will also contain a relic – a bone from the saint, who was born Youssef Antoun Makhlouf.

Australia is home to almost 300,000 Maronites, with 45,000 in Sydney alone.

“The church of St Charbel in Punchbowl was the first dedicated to Blessed Charbel before his canonisation and it was the first one outside of Lebanon,” Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay said.

“He remains one of the most beloved saints in the universal Catholic Church.”

Devotion to St Charbel is widespread and stretches far beyond his native country, including in the US, Mexico, China and Russia.

“One of the most remarkable aspects of St Charbel’s life is the profound spiritual experiences and miracles attributed to him, both during his lifetime and after his death,” Fr Anthony El-Kazzi, from St Charbel’s parish, said.

“After his death in 1898, St Charbel’s tomb became a site of pilgrimage, and about 40,000 recorded miracles were reported by those who visited his grave seeking his intercession.

“At least 10 per cent of these miracles have occurred for people of other religions or of no faith.

“His incorrupt body, which remains preserved to this day, is considered a miraculous sign that through Christ you can conquer death.”

In light of recent events in Sydney, Bishop Tarabay said the significant celebration takes on an “added importance as a beacon of hope and unity”.


Shrine dedicated to saint who performed more than 40,000 miracles to be housed in Sydney church (By Adella Beaini, Daily Telegraph)