At a glance

The Monastery of St. James (Mar Yakub) the Persian is an ancient site dating back to the 6th century. In 1993, during a providential visit, Mother Agnes-Mariam of the Cross, an exclaustrated Carmelite, decided to found the first Antiochian monastery there. After its rehabilitation, the site became an independent monastery under the vigilance of the local bishop (sui iuris eparchialis) according to the canons of the Eastern Catholic Churches N° 410-572. H.E. Abraham Nehmeh, Greek-Melkite Catholic Metropolitan of Homs, Hama and Yabroud, promulgated an Episcopal Decree [1] on 14 September 2000 erecting both a monastery and a female monastic community under the title : "Nuns of the Unity of Antioch" having as its mother house the said Monastery of St. James the Persian and whose supreme aim is to "serve the Unity among the Patriarchal Antiochian Churches" by renewing the common Antiochian cultural heritage at the spiritual, theological, patristic, liturgical and artistic levels." [2]


Bishop Nehmeh expanded the foundation to include a male monastic branch on the day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, August 15, 2004. On March 25, 2005, he promulgated the code of formation for the aspirants to the foundation of this branch.


The characteristics of the new foundation:

·   Its insertion in the local Church, i.e. Antioch, the Great Church of God, to dedicate itself to the service of Antiochian unity and to filially venerate all the Patriarchs of Antioch, especially our Holy Father the Patriarch of our Greek-Melkite Catholic Church, in full communion with Our Holy Father the Roman Pontiff and from there to reach out to the ecumenical horizons by lovingly opening up to all Churches and religions.

·       A return to the sources of Eastern monastic life, in particular the ways of union with God through prayer of the heart and idiorythmy [1] under the movement of the Spirit of God.

·    To spread the Gospel of Life and the teachings of the Fathers, especially the ancient ways of thought combat, spiritual healing and union and transformation in God.

·  To help the contemporary man by welcoming him and listening to him, especially young people, to build their humanity on the rock of the spiritual life without detracting from the life of prayer and intimacy with God.

·      To contribute to the preservation of the heritage of the Churches of Antioch and to seek to restore human culture on the basis of the Gospel, following the example of the ancient monasteries which were able to safeguard civilization and transmit it to all humanity.

·     The monastery is a place of holy philoxenia: it welcomes retreatants and residents – without infringing the rules of monastic life. 


[1] Idiorythmy is the daily rithm in which the monk organizes his day under the blessing of his superior. Off course common moments of prayer, work and recreation have to be respected. This ancient principle is to avoid a too rigid program and to stimulate a free donation form the heart. 



Location of our Monastery in Syria