Khazen (also El-Khazen, Al-Khazen or DeKhazen, Arabic: آل الخازن, is the name of a prominent noble Levantine family and clan based in Keserwan District, Lebanon, Damascus, Syria, Nablus, Palestine, as well as other districts around the Levant, predominantly in the Galilee.

Several members have played leading roles in politics for many generations. King Louis XIV elevated the family to the French nobility and referred to them as "princes of the Maronites" in many letters. Pope Clement X made them Counts Palatine. Most of the Lebanese Khazen branch is Maronite, while some other branches are Greek Orthodox and Muslim but are not related to the Mount-Lebanese, which were endowed with these honors.


The Khazen Cheikhs can trace back their lineage to the 9th century, when they were mainly located between Houran, Damascus, Baalbeck, and Nablus. They started buying and acquiring lands in Mount Lebanon during the 15th century and, more specifically, first in Jaj (currently in Byblos District). They continued their exodus to the Keserwan district, where they bought lands from the Shi'a tribes. This caused the Shi'a to move towards what is known today as the South of Lebanon and the Maronites to the Keserwan district.

In 1584, the Khazen were able to hide the princes Fakhreddine and Younès in Ballouneh. At that time, their father, cornered by the Ottoman's army and losing the fight against them, informed his wife Sitt Nossab to send his sons to the Khazen, a powerful and influential family at that time. The great Fakhreddine, when he took power, was greatly influenced by the Khazen family politically and religiously. In return, he granted them the title of Cheikh and complete political influence and control of Mount Lebanon.[1] Similarly, the Khazen also gave shelter to Prince Haidar Shehab's sons, in Keserwan in the early 18th century.[2]

The Khazen families, who were now controlling the Keserwan district, were very influential within the Maronite Church. This is due to their financial support of the Church and their assistance in its expansion by the construction of many monasteries, several of which they still own today, as well as their connections to the French.[3] They also offered lands and, most importantly, supplied security to the Church and the Maronite community overall. In 1656, Cheikh Abou Nawfal received a Papal decoration for his help in the expansion of the Maronite faith in Mount Lebanon. The family was consulted on each patriarchal election and controlled episcopal nominations for three Maronite archbishoprics—representing the districts of Aleppo, Baalbeck, and Damascus—until the 19th century.[4][5] There were three important and influential patriarchs from the Khazen family: Youssef Dargham (1733–1742), Toubia (1756–1766) and Youssef Ragi (1845–1854). Several bishops have also shared the name, including Michel (Caesarea, 1767-1786), Ignace (Nablus, 1787-1819), Germanos (Damascus, 1794-1806), Estefan (Damascus, 1806-1830), Anton (Baalbeck, 1807-1858), Estefan (Damascus, 1848-1868), Louis Joseph (Ptolemais, 1919-1933), and Georges Abou (Rusadus, 2014-current).

In 1858, Tanios Chahine started a rebellion against the Khazen family, which caused a great loss to their dominance over Kerserwan. The rebellion was a result of a power struggle between the Abi Lamaa family, the English, the French, the Ottomans, and particular Khazen who wanted to increase their influence.[6] After these events, the Khazen stayed involved in politics, yet their work as one family holding ultimate Maronite power has diminished greatly.

The Khazen crest which includes a snowy part of the mountain and cedar trees, reflects the family's special closeness to the country, and especially to Mount Lebanon. [7]

There are multiple branches of the family. The 2 main branches are based in Ajaltoun, which mainly traces its origins from Nawfal Abou Nassif el-Khazen (son of Nader Abou Nawfal el-Khazen), and Ghosta, which mainly traces its origins from Fayad Abou Kanso el-Khazen (son of Nader Abou Nawfal; also, consul of France).[8] Kfardebian, which is nearby, also has a sizable branch as well as Achqout and Jounieh.


In modern times, Khazen have always represented Keserwan with at least one MP in the Lebanese Parliament. They have also been represented in many recent governments. Prominent politicians include Cheikh Philippe El Khazen, a prominent doctor and medical professor born in 1921 in Ghosta. Cheikh Philippe El Khazen was a member of the Parliament in 1968-1972 and a Co-Founder and Vice President of the Maronite League. He was also a member of the European Christian Democratic Party.

Cheikh Elias Choukrallah El Khazen, minister and deputy born in 1927 from Ajaltoun, was a member of Parliament in 1964, 1972, 1992, 1996 and Minister of Interior from 1989 - 1990. Cheikh Elias Choukrallah El Khazen as a deputy signed the Taef agreement to end the Lebanese civil war and to return to political normalcy in Lebanon.

Cheikh Wadih El Khazen, minister of Tourism, Feb 2005, and president of The Central Maronite Council since January 2006. Walid el-Khazen, former ambassador from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to Jordan,[9] Amine el-Khazen, former Lebanese ambassador to the United Nations,[10] Farid Haykal el-Khazen, former Tourism Minister,[11][12][13][14] and Farid Elias el-Khazen, professor and past Chairman of Political Studies at the American University of Beirut and current MP.[15] Noteworthy businessmen include Fady el-Khazen, former director for the Ministry of Agriculture and owner of French restaurant La Creperie,[16][17][18][19] Chafic el-Khazen, the CEO of Sky Management,[20][21][22] and Fouad el-Khazen, honorary chairman of the BIT bank.[23][24][25][26][27]

Abraham Kazen, a relative of the family, represented Texas's 23rd congressional district in the United States Congress from 1967 to 1985.


  • The Rose House in Beirut (formerly)[28][29][30]
  • Saint Simeon Stylites Church in Ajaltoun
  • Saint Elias church in Ghosta built by Cheikh Wadih El Khazen in 1987.
  • Mar Abda Church in Bakaatit Kanaan
  • Assumption of Mary Church in Ballouneh
  • Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Ballouneh
  • Saint Elias Monastery in Ballouneh
  • Saint Michael Church in Bkaatouta
  • Saint Therese Church in Qolayaat
  • Mar Lichaa Church in Saki-Rechmayya (Byblos)
  • Saint Edna Church in Saki-Rechmayya (Byblos)
  • Virgin Mary Church in Sheilé


  • Antoine Khoury Harb, The Maronites: History and Constants (ASIN B000B0F6NU)
  • Matti Moosa, The Maronites in History (ISBN 1-59333-182-7)
  • Richard Van Leeuwen, Notables and Clergy in Mount Lebanon: The Khāzin Sheikhs and the Maronite Church (1736-1840) (ISBN 90-04-09978-6)
  • Farid el-Khazen, The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967-1976 (ISBN 0-674-08105-6)
  • William Harris, Lebanon: A History, 600-2011 (ISBN 978-0-19-518111-1)
  • Catholic-Hierarchy
  • The Daily Star (Lebanon)
  • The sword of the Maronite Prince
  • Origins of the "Prince of Maronite" Title
  • National Geographic Magazine DNA sample from Khazen member
  • An Interview with Cheikh Malek el-Khazen


  1. ^ 2004 Maronite Synod, The Maronite Church and Politics, § 10 & 11. Quote: "When the Ottoman state became displeased with the emirs of the ‘Assaf family and with their aides from the Hobeish family, they endeavored to gradually eliminate them, replacing them with the princes of the Bani Sayfa family. The latter, too, were from the Turkmen tribes, brought in by the Ottoman state to protect the shores. However, they used to rule according to the Shari’a, and not according to civil convention. During that period, the Maronite migration toward the southern regions of Mount Lebanon coincided with their contact with Rome and the West through the Franciscan missionaries and other Christian organizations working in the Holy Land. They soon started a new partnership, first with the Ma’an family and prince Fakhreddin, through the Khazen family and, in a second stage, with the Abi-l-Lama’ family. Fakhreddin aspired to gain independence from the Ottoman Empire and wished to be open to the West. ... During that period, harmony was complete, not just between the Maronite Church and the Lebanese Emirate with the different confessions and beliefs of the princes, but also between the Church and the new Maronite leadership, such as the Hobeish and Khazen families, among others. These were, unlike the Mouqaddams, very zealous for the interests of the Church."
  2. ^ Antoine Khoury Harb, The Maronites: History and Constants, p. 116. Quote: "When Prince Ahmad Maan died, the Shehabs, relatives of the Maan, took over. When the regent Prince Bashir I passed away in 1706, Prince Haidar reigned, and moved the seat of the emirate from Hasbaya to Deir el-Qamar. The Ottoman Wali of Sidon deposed the Shehabi Prince and replaced him by the leader of the Yamani party, Prince Yussef Alam - Eddin. Haidar fled with his two sons and some of his followers to Ghazir in Kisrawan where his allies, the Khazen and Hobeish families from the Qaysi party, were in control. When the army of Prince Yussef Alam-Eddin conquered and burnt Ghazir, Haidar left his sons in Kisrawan and took refuge in Hermel. The sheikhs of the Khazen family offered hiding-places to the prince's family."
  3. ^ Matti Moosa, The Maronites in History, p. 283. Quote: "We have also seen earlier that the Maronite community had been placed under the protection of France and that the French kings began to choose their consuls from among the Maronite dignitaries. Through the power and prestige of France the consuls then exercised authority over the Maronite Church and its clergy. The Maronites were so proud to be under the protection of France that some Maronites called themselves, 'the French of the East.' Thus, through France, the Shihabi amirs, who will be discussed shortly, realized the importance of Maronite rule and power, and they and the Maronites became united in a common interest. In 1697, Amir Ahmad died without an heir, and the Druze notables chose his nephew Bashir al-Shihabi as their new ruler. He was succeeded in 1707 by the young Amir Haydar al-Shihabi, grandson of Amir Ahmad al-Ma'ni. Haydar recognized the authority of the Maronite al-Khazins and the Hubayshis of Kisrawan and Ghazir and treated these two families as equal to the feudalistic Druze families." [1]
  4. ^ Richard Van Leeuwen, Notables and Clergy in Mount Lebanon: The Khāzin Sheikhs and the Maronite Church (1736-1840), p. 103-104. Quote: "The influence of the Khāzin sheiks in clerical matters concentrated on two aspects, which were, as far as the clergy were concerned, closely interrelated: the nomination of prelates and the founding and administration of clerical and monastic possessions. Traditionally, the main Maronite nobles were consulted on the occasion of the election of the patriarch. ... Eventually, the three main branches of the Khāzin family acquired the privilege of selecting the mutrāns of the dioceses of Aleppo (awlād Abī Nasīf), Baalbek (awlād Abī Qānsawh), and Damascus (awlād Abī Nawfal). This privilege was acknowledged by Patriarch Ya'qūb 'Awwād. It is, therefore, evident that the Khāzin sheiks also interfered in dioceses which officially had no connection with their administrative territory, an indication that they saw their role in church matters as an extension of their political power within the community as a whole." (Text also available here.)
  5. ^ Farid el-Khazen, The Breakdown of the State in Lebanon, 1967-1976, p. 35. Quote: "By the mid-19th century, the church and its monastic orders were present in various areas of the Mountain. Its power had surpassed that of the lordly Maronite families, notably the Khazen family, on which it had previously depended for protection and support. 'By the end of the 18th century,' writes Iliya Harik, the 'church had become the largest, the most organized, and the wealthiest organization in the whole of Mount Lebanon.' It established educational institutions in various parts of the Mountain and had an educated and active clergy. By the time the Mutasarrifiyya was established, the Maronite Patriarch emerged as the de facto central political figure in Mount Lebanon." [2]
  6. ^ William Harris, Lebanon: A History, 600-2011, p. 162. Quote: "After 1860, France and Britain converged in protecting their stakes in the empire against Russian encroachment. French defeat by Prussia in 1870 made France more risk averse. French interest in Maronite clerical turf struggles with governors waned; indeed, France was the chief architect of the eventual competitor of the church -- the elected administrative council. France was schizophrenic in upholding both the Ottomans and its own influence in Mount Lebanon and Syria. Davud Pasha, an Armenian Catholic, developed fruitful relations with foreign consuls and strong local commitment. These were assets in resuscitating the local secular elite. In the Kisrawan, Davud reconciled the Khazen sheikhs and the peasants, the former retrieving much of their property and the latter mollified with tax and land concessions." [3]
  7. ^ The Khazen Crest (image).
  8. ^ Khazen Genealogical Tree. See Nader Abou Nawfal and his list of children.
  9. ^ Cheikh Walid El Khazen.
  10. ^ Cheikh Amine El Khazen.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Cheikh Farid Haykal El Khazen. (English Translation)
  13. ^ Lebanon tourism minister resigns. BBC News. Published: 18 February 2005.
  14. ^ Farid Haykal with Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir (Alternative Link)
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Cheikh Fady El Khazen Profile.
  18. ^ (Alternative Link)
  19. ^ (Alternative Link)
  20. ^
  21. ^ O1NE aims to replicate SKYBAR’s success in winter season. The Daily Star, Lebanon. Published: 31 January 2014.
  22. ^ FOCUS: Trip the Light. The Business Year.
  23. ^
  24. ^ BIT and NECB banks merge with combined assets of $1.1B. The Daily Star, Lebanon. Published: 4 July 2014.
  25. ^ Cheikh Fouad el Khazen.
  26. ^ Fouad with Italian Ambassador to Lebanon Giuseppe Morabito and others. Mondanite. (Image)
  27. ^ Fouad with Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon Suleiman Inan Ozyildiz. Mondanite. (Image)
  28. ^ The past, present and future of Rose House. The Daily Star, Lebanon. Published: 28 November 2014.
  29. ^ At The Rose House. Lebanon Traveler. Published: 20 October 2014.
  30. ^ Rose House opening to the public. Beirut Report. Published: 14 November 2014.

External links

  • el Khazen website
  • Malek el Khazen[permanent dead link]