The names Tabcharani, Tebechrani, Tibishrani, Tibshirani,
Tabsharani are no doubt the same in Arabic but they are
just spelled a bit differently in English.
تبشراني - In Arabic formally spelled: (Tàb'Chà'Rä'Ni)
The Tabcharani Family comes
originally from the Lebanese village of Tabshar where it used to be living until
around the 17th century. The
village of Tabshar (or Tbshar) is located near the villages of Nabi Shit and
Seri’in in Baalbeck region very close to the Syrian border and at the bottom
of Mount Kalamoun. In the Syrian
part of Mount Kalamoun, there are some very old and important towns and villages
like Saydanaya, Maaloula, Nabak, Kara, Yabrud, Deir Attieh, etc that are well
known for their vestiges, monasteries and ancient Christian presence; this
influenced the religious faith and devotion of the Tabcharani family.
Tabshar, the name of the
village, derived from the word "Tabshour" in Arabic meaning chalk in
English, presumably due to its chalky type of soil.
Most of Tabshar inhabitants were peasants working in agriculture planting fruit trees and vegetables.
Due to problems they had with
the intolerant Harfoushi princes who were the rulers of the Baalbeck region at
that time, the Tabcharanies were obliged to leave their village sometime around
the 17th century (I am still trying to find the exact year).
Consequently, they took refuge in Mount Lebanon (where they were called
Tabcharani meaning originally coming from Tabshar) which had, at that time, a
relatively autonomous status inside the Ottoman Empire.
Now, the Tabcharani family is dispersed in many towns and villages in
Douma, Kfara’ab, Zahle, Shlifa,
Oussaya, Kab Elias, etc.
On the other hand, the family
has many branches, who have adopted other surnames like the families Yafet (in
Shweir and Douma and now in Brazil), Abu Shikh (Kfara'ab), Nakad (in Zahle where
the family used to be called el Khouri Nakad el Tabcharani) and Lawandios.
Moreover, since the end of the 19th century,
a large number of the Tabcharani family started to
emigrate to the new world mainly to the USA and Brazil.
In addition, the historian
Issa Iskandar Maaluf in his book "Dawani El Kotouf" says that the Saba
family (in Zahle, Baskinta, Souk el Gharb and El Hosn) and the Tabcharani
family both came from the same origin Tabshar. This tends to imply that the two
families, Saba and Tabcharani, are not only from the same origin but used to
belong to the same family or tribe too; part of them took the surname of Saba
and the other part took the surname of Tabcharani.
This fact can be better understood when Maaluf in his same
book page 688 said while talking about the origin of the Saba family in
Kfara’ab: "The Saba family: Their
grandfather Younes Saba el Tabcharani came to Kfara’ab from Betghrine at the
beginning of the 18th century.
The Tabcharani family is well
known for its devotion to the Christian Greek Orthodox faith.
In fact, the family gave many priests and nuns to the Church as well as
helped in building many churches in their new villages of adoption.
For example, the family was
deeply behind the construction of Saint Mama Orthodox Church (1) in Baskinta as
shows the writing above its entrance "The church of Martyr Saint Mama was
built during the mandate of Archbishop Policarpos by the initiation and help of
Father Abdallah Tabcharani the wise in 1762".
Furthermore, in Douma, the
family built a church dedicated to Saint Elias in 1853; its first priest was
father Ayyoub Ibrahim Nasrallah Abu Shedid el Tabcharani (2).
On the other hand, the Saba
family in Zahle constructed the first church in this city Saydet el Zalzale for
the Virgin Mary (1) at the beginning of the 18th century.
Last but not least, the
Tabcharani family that left its original village Tabshar and took refuge in
Mount Lebanon then left its new villages and emigrated massively into the new
world is one of many other families from Lebanon and Syria who left their
homeland and marked positively their new countries of adoption .
Former Governor of Beirut,
Nicolas Najib Saba
(1) History of Baskinta and its families – Bishop Boutros Hobeika.
(2) History of St. John the Baptist Monastery – Douma and
the Orthodox population in the region.