A brief 2:28 CNN video update on Father Dario Escobar the hermit: “Meet the hermit who’s the last of his kind: Father Dario Escobar lives high in the mountains of Lebanon and is the region’s last remaining hermit. CNN’s Ben Wedeman journeys to speak with Father Dario, who is not as isolated as one might think.
The Colombian-born hermit-monk Dario Escobar, who resides in the Qaddisha Vally in Lebanon, has been profiled in this blog before; here he is profiled in National Geographic Australia. Escobar is now 83 years of age.
Profiled years ago on this site (http://hermitary.com/around/?p=456) is Columbian-born Orthodox monk and hermit living in the Qadisha Valley, Lebanon. StepFeed, a Middle Eastern website, updates Escobar with news and photos.
Fr. Dario Escobar, Colombian-born hermit living in Lebanon’s Kaddisha Valley, is profiled in a 2-minute AFP video titled “Hermit Finds Heaven in Lebanese Cave.” A related AFP article offers more detail, with several photos.
Still another article about Fr. Escobar, with more personal details, in the Lebanon website Tayyar, by visitors.
A July 2009 National Geographic article by Don Belt on Arab Christians is titled “The Forgotten Faithful.” Among other topics, the article mentions a Lebanese hermit and describes his daily practice:
On a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean near Beirut, a hermit rises at three in the morning, reaching for a flashlight amid the lumpy familiarity of books that are both his life’s work and his lifelong bedmates. The hermit, who’s 73, long-bearded, and known by the name Father Yuhanna, works there until dawn, translating ancient Christian hymns from Aramaic, the language of Jesus, into modern Arabic, copying them into a giant, leatherbound volume the size of a seat cushion. Then he prays, eats a piece of fruit, pulls on his black habit and cloak, and merrily sets off to deliver 10,000 blessings to every place in the world.
His first stop, always, is Alaska, where he “stocks up on fresh air.” Then he drifts down through North and South America, jumps to Africa, moves up through the Middle East, sweeps across Europe, then heads east into Russia and Asia before working his way south to Australia. Everywhere he goes, he distributes blessings, counting them off one by one on a string of woven rosary beads that fly through his fingers like doves. This daily trip takes three or four hours, and most days—if he doesn’t linger too long over the trouble spots—he’s back home by noon. To the untrained eye, he’s just an old man walking around in a garden. To his friends and followers, who come by the hundreds to hear his teachings about Jesus, he’s a saintly figure, a descendant of influential hermits like Simeon the Elder—a fifth-century ascetic who lived atop a stone pillar in the Syrian countryside for more than 30 years, attracting the pious devotion of locals.
A photograph of Father Yuhanna by Ed Kashi includes this caption:
Hermit Father Yuhanna Kwawand opens his doors to visitors for part of the year. Sociable hours put pressure on a busy schedule that includes transcribing volumes of ancient Aramaic hymns into modern Arabic. Retired from his duties as a teacher of the Bible’s Old Testament at Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in Lebanon, Father Yuhanna still conducts daily worship services, offers 10,000 prayers a day, and sleeps only a few hours a night among his books. “People keep bringing me stuff to work on,” he sighs. “They think hermits don’t have enough to do!”
Another article on Fr. Dario, the Colombian-born hermit in Lebanon, this one from a local angle, a little more personable.
Time correspondent Andrew Lee Butters records an encounter with hermit and Maronite priest Fr. Dario Escobar in the Qaddisha Valley of Lebanon. (Fr. Dario was profiled in “Hermits around the web” in May 2007.) Butters titles his blog entry “How to Talk with a Hermit,” which, he discovered, was simply to knock on his door. The author did not get any gnostic bits of wisdom but rather a simple statement from the hermit: “Many people come here because they think I know the future,” he said. “I only know one thing: that we all will die.” Includes a photo of Fr. Dario.
URL (slightly revised later version): http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1849145,00.html
This news item from Reuters and variously broadcast in web media is entitled “Colombian hermit finds paradise on Lebanon trail.” The article describes a Colombian monk and hermit, Dario Escobar, now residing in a cave in the Qadisha Valley in Lebanon. The article is chiefly about the fledgling effort to create the Lebanon Mountain Trail and both preserve environmental features and promote tourism and a better image of the country. URL: