The Sheikhs El Chemor: a legal study of titles

maronitesheikh

After the advent of Islam, it’s known that the Ghassanid Royal Family had to leave the Ghassanid territory (today’s Syria, Jordan, Northern Saudi Arabia and Northern Iraq). Part of the family went to Byzantine empire and part sought refuge in the heights of the Mount Lebanon, a safe haven for Christians.

It’s known and documented that the El Chemor Sheikhs descended directly from Ghassanid King El Chemor Jablah Ibn Aiham (ruled 632-638 CE), the last King of Ghassan:

 “It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemor, who are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to [King] Al Jafna.” Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)” Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38

By “jus sanguinis” (or law of blood) as the undisputed descendants and heirs of Ghassanid King Chemor Jablah they were already the legitimate heirs of the Ghassanid Imperial and Royal titles. Nevertheless, for local and circumstantial reasons, they’ve ruled two small sheikhdoms or principalities (Akoura and Zgharta-Zawiye) in Mount Lebanon for approximately 500 years (until 1747 CE) using the title of “Sheikh”.

Sheikh (pronounced /ʃeɪk/ SHAYK or /ʃiːk/ SHEEK; Arabic: شيخ‎ šayḫ [ʃæjx], mostly pronounced [ʃeːx/ʃejx], plural شيوخ šuyūḫ [ʃuju:x])—also transliterated Sheik, Shaik, Shayk, Shaykh, Cheikh, Shekh, and Shaikh—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonly designates the ruler of a tribe, who inherited the title from his father. Sheikh” is given to a royal male at birth, whereas the related title “Sheikha” is given to a royal female at birth.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh

There were several different categories of “Sheikh” in Mount Lebanon through history. To understand the role and importance of the Sheikhs El Chemor in later times one has to comprehend the nobiliary system of Mount Lebanon in the last centuries.

For that understanding, it’s necessary a division:

Mount Lebanon BEFORE the Ottoman rule

Ottoman Sultan Selim I invaded Syria and Mount Lebanon in 1516 CE and allied to the famous Druze Prince Fakhr ad Din I established a semi-autonomous country that only worked in practice for the urbanized areas, since the rural areas, specially in Northern Mount Lebanon, were ruled by the local chiefs. That would take over a century to change. But lets’ return to that later.

Before the Ottoman invasion, the natural local leaders called “Sheikhs” or “Muqqadams”, ruled sui iurissovereign and semi-sovereignsheikhdoms” or small principalities only paying taxes to neighboring dynasties. And they were left considerable alone to take care of their own affairs. In other words, they were “sovereign” (or “semi-sovereign”) being considerably independent and autonomous. That characteristic makes those ruling families technically “royal” giving the title “Sheikh” the same connotation that it had and still has in the Arabian gulf today. The Sheikhs El Chemor were ruling Akoura since 1211 CE, exact 305 years before the Ottoman invasion. They were known and acclaimed by the people as sui iuris”  Sheikhs”, they were not formally invested (or elevated) by an Emperor, Sultan or Emir.

Local leaders in fragmented Lebanon were called Zu’ama, and their followers were described by an English visitor as ‘of an independent turn of mind; all are armed from the age of boys, and are governed by their own Emirs, or Sheikhs, or PrincesThey are all warriors, loving athletic exercise.’ They included Christian Maroniteswho dominated the highlands of Mount Lebanon.”

Nicolle ill. McBride 1998 p22

Maybe the most important point to be understood about the honor system in Lebanon is the fact that the Sheikhs that had this title before the Ottoman invasion (1516 CE) were “natural autonomous tribal rulerslike their counterparts in the Arabian Gulf, they had the title sui iuris” (by their own right), having autonomy and powers similar to the princes and sovereigndukes of the Holy Roman Empire. However, different than in Europe, their Lebanese counterparts had sovereignty locally but no saying in the administration of the Caliphates. (see “A House of many mansions: the history of Lebanon reconsidered”, Berkley, 1988, Kamal Salibi and “Lebanon A History 600-2011, Oxford, 2012, William Harris)

The Sheikhs El Chemorascended to power due to their genealogical direct descent to the Ghassanid Kings. They were known as “the descendants of Ghassanid King Chemor Jablah. That’s the origin of the surnameChemor” (other transliterations: Shamir, Shammar, Chemr, etc. ) It was very common at the time the knowledge of genealogy.

“Druze and Maronite muqataajis (feudal lords) could trace their descent back over many generations to the ancestors of their families…” All Honourable Men: The Social Origins of War in Lebanon, Oxford, 2001, Dr. Michael Johnson pgs. 98-99

The founder of the Ghassanid Dynasty was King Jafna Ibn Amr (ruled 220-265 CE). He was the son of the Azd ruler Amr Ibn Muzaikiya. The other sons of Amr gave origin of other important Arab ruling families like the Al-Said Sultans of Oman, the Al-Nahyam rulers of Abu-Dhabi, the Al-Maktoums rulers of Dubai and the Al-Nasrids rulers of Al-Andaluz (Spain). Originally as part of the Azd tribe, the Sheikhs El Chemor have blood ties with many major Arab ruling houses. The El Chemor Sheikhs were related by marriage to the El Hachem Sheikhs of Akoura in Lebanon (descendants of the Hashemites rulers of Jordan and Iraq) and, more recently, to the Shihab Emirs, the latest rulers of Lebanon before the republic.

Mount Lebanon AFTER the Ottoman rule

Although the “Iltizam” system was effective implemented in Mount Lebanon only in 1667, some “noble” (not “royal) Sheikhs were created during the previous century by the Ottoman appointed princes. They were not natural “sovereign or semi-sovereign” tribal leaders but wealthy notable commoners elevated to nobility.

Iltizām, in the Ottoman Empire, taxation system carried out by farming of public revenue. The state auctioned taxation rights to the highest bidder (mültazim, plural mültezim or mültazims), who then collected the state taxes and made payments in fixed installments, keeping a part of the tax revenue for his own use. The iltizām system included the farming of land taxes, the farming of urban taxes, the production of certain goods (such as wine, salt, or senna), and the provision of certain services. It began during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (1444–46, 1451–81) and was officially abolished in 1856. Various forms of iltizām, however, continued until the end of the empire in the early 20th century, when the system was replaced by methods of taxation that were supervised by public officials.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/iltizam-tax-system#ref158373

About the difference between the original tribal Sheikhs and the appointed “multazimsSheikhs:

“… [the tribal Sheikh] was a hereditary feudal chief whose authority over a particular district was vested within a patrilineal kinship group. He lived in his own village and maintained ties of patronage with his atba’ [following]. In contrast, the multazim [Sheikh] was not indigenous to the tax farm he controlled. He was more akin to a government official than a feudal sheikh.”  “Lebanon’s Predicament“, Columbia, 1987, Samir Khalaf

In 1711, the Shihab Princes had codified the honor system which is the one known today. The system was divided as:

Grand Emirs (princes), Emirs, Muqqadams and Great Sheikhs (five Druze and three Maronite families) and Sheikhs.

The systemwas not based on pedigree but in political prestige and economical favors.

Even though the “Great Sheikhs” were maybe more relevant and prestigious in Lebanon’s modern history than the El Chemor Sheikhs, their titles are of “noble” assent, not “royal since they were given by a higher authority corresponding to the equivalent of the European (non-sovereign)  “Duke”.

A similar case happened with the Arslan Emirs (princes). According to several historians, they had less actual power than some Sheikhs but a higher social importance. (see “All Honourable men: the social origins of war in Lebanon, Oxford 2001, Dr. Michael Johnson, p.99)

If you ask any Lebanese, even historians, who’s “royal” for them, they’ll immediately think of the princely families that ruled the whole Mount Lebanon under the Ottoman empire (i.e. Shuf Emirate, Emirate of Jabal Druze, Emirate of Mount Lebanon, as well as Ma’an Emirate)

However, the Thesaurus’ definition of the word “Royal” is

of or relating to a king, queen, or other sovereign

But what does “sovereign” means?

1. a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler. 2. a person who has supreme power or authority.”

In the technical sense, the El Chemor family was also sovereign in Mount Lebanon as it was in Ghassansince their power was considerable autonomous and didn’t emanate from a higher authority. The family had to make deals with the Ottomans only in the last years of rule, to join the Iltizam system for some time culminating with the deposition.

According to accepted international law and its principle of “sovereign equality“, the Pope or the prince of Monaco is “as royal” as the Queen of England regardless of the size of their actual territories. That principle is one of the pillars of International Law itself.

By the aforementioned, the “sovereign” or “semi-sovereign” ruling Sheikh is the equivalent of a Prince.

The original, but now less common use of the word, originated in the application of the Latin word princeps, from late Romanlaw, and the classical system of government that eventually gave way to the European feudal society. In this sense, a prince is a ruler of a territory which is sovereign, or quasi-sovereign, i.e., exercising substantial (though not all) prerogatives associated with monarchs of independent nations, as was common, for instance, within the historical boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire.”

(…)

As a title, by the end of the medieval era, prince was borne by rulers of territories that were either substantially smaller than or exercised fewer of the rights of sovereignty than did emperors and kings [exactly as the Sheikhdoms]. A lord of even a quite small territory might come to be referred to as a prince before the 13th century, either from translations of a native title into the Latin princeps (as for the hereditary ruler of Wales), or when the lord’s territory was allodial.”

(…)

Lords who exercised lawful authority over territories and people within a feudal hierarchy were also sometimes regarded as princes in the general sense, especially if they held the rank of count or higher. This is attested in some surviving styles for e.g., British earls, marquesses, and dukes are still addressed by the Crown on ceremonial occasions as high and noble princes (cf. Royal and noble styles)

(…)

Generically, prince refers to a member of a family that ruled by hereditary right, the title referring either to sovereigns or to cadets of a sovereign’s family. The term may be broadly used of persons in various cultures, continents or eras. In Europe, it is the title legally borne by dynasticcadets in monarchies, and borne by courtesy by members of formerly reigning dynasties

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince#Prince_as_generic_for_ruler

There are so many examples in the Arabian peninsula and Gulf like Kuwait, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, etc

“Besides the sovereigns referred to above, there are several oriental potentates who should be mentioned, the rulers of the Sultanates and Sheikdoms of East Africa and the Persian Gulf (…) The style of these Sheikhs is His Highness.” Titles: How the king became His Majesty”, L.G. Pine, New York, 1992 (Barnes & Noble) p. 137-138

“In the modern United Arab Emirates, however, none of the rulers of the constituent states are called emirs (princes); all are Sheikhs.”

  https://www.britannica.com/topic/emir

Another undeniable evidence that proves the ROYAL character of the El Chemor titles is the fact that the origins of the Gulf Royal families and the El Chemor family is the very same, they came from Yemen and settled in different areas, before Islam. It’s more than natural that the pre-Islamic tribal traditions inherent to the titles be the same.

Even though all the Lebanese feudal titles were abolished by the Ottoman empire in 1858 CE, the empire could only do so with the titles bestowed by their own honor system. The El Chemor Family had both the Imperial and Royal Ghassanid titles and the ruling Sheikh titles by the “sui iuris” (by own right) legal principle, therefore, the revocation didn’t legally affect them.

However, both the empire and the subsequent Lebanese regimes have formally recognizedall the feudal titles by printing them in the official documents like birth certificates, driver’s licenses and passports. No birth legal privilege attached to those titles, only the prerogative of using them publicly. Not much, but still a formal recognition.

The grave of His Highness Sheikh Selim El Chemor (the great grandfather of HRH Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, honorary head of the Royal House of Ghassan) passed away in 1909 CE), note that the royal title of Sheikh (in Arabic, upper right side) is on his tombstone, a capital proof that the family has been publicly using the ‘sui iuris’ titles for centuries until the present date. (Grave at the cemetery at the Mar Mama Ancient Church in Kferhata, Lebanon)

Photo: The grave of His Highness Sheikh Selim El Chemor (the great grandfather of HRH Prince Sheikh Selim El Chemor, honorary head of the Royal House of Ghassan) passed away in 1909 CE), note that the royal title of Sheikh (in Arabic, upper right side) is on his tombstone, a capital proof that the family has been publicly using the ‘sui iuris’ titles for centuries until the present date. (Grave at the cemetery at the Mar Mama Ancient Church in Kferhata, Lebanon)

As mentioned, the El Chemor family was ruling since 1211 CE, almost 80 years before the Ottoman empire was even founded and over 300 years before the first emirate was created with prince Fakhr al-Din I (1516–1544).

We can conclude that there’s a huge difference between the prestige of titles in Mount Lebanon and their actual legal value. Important to note that we’re not debating neither the prestige nor the historical deeds of a particular family, but the actual title’s legal pedigree. There are many families with a more active and glamorous participation in Lebanon’s history than the Sheikhs El Chemor, however, only the families that actually ruled before the Ottoman invasion can claim sovereign or semi-sovereign status along with the Maanid and the Shihab Emirs.

Sworn legal statement about the El Chemor family from the world’s leading scholar in Middle eastern Royal Succession HERE

More about the Sheikhs El Chemor and the Ghassanid Kings HERE

Official article from Lebanese Government about the late Sheikh Nassif El Chemor

Nassif el chemor article

Lebanon has two state-owned news agencies. The most important of them is The National News Agency (NNA), official news body of Lebanon, launched in 1964. They’re an entity subjected to the Ministry of Information Lebanese Republic.

The Ministry of Information consists of the General Directorate of Information and several other directorates including:  Directorate of Lebanese Studies and Publications, The National News Agency and  The Lebanese Broadcasting Directorate  Auditing Department (Diwan).  The Ministry includes other departments and sections.  It was organized by legislative decree no. 6830 released on June 15, 1961.

In other words, whatever is published or stated via any of the entities subjected to the Ministry of Information is considered and recognized as “official information from the Lebanese Government“.

Please CLICK HERE  for the official 2013’s article (in English) from the The National News Agency  (Lebanese Government News’s Agency – Ministry of Information) mentioning the late HH Sheikh Nassif El Chemor (transliterated there as “Shamir”) famous author, historian and former mayor of Kferhata in Lebanon. His Highness Sheikh Nassif has left us earlier this year victim of cancer. May God rest his soul. 

 

Prince Gharios El Chemor participates of the 74th Lebanese Independence Day in Los Angeles

 

archbishop boutros Mattar maruni
HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor with His Excellency Msgr. Boulos Matar, the Maronite Archbishop of Beirut   

 

On Monday, November 20th, HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor  has participated of the celebrations of the 74th Independence Day of the Republic of Lebanon at the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, invited by His Excellency Ambassador Hon. Johnny Ibrahim, the Lebanese Consul General of Los Angeles. There, Prince Gharios El Chemor had met His Excellency Msgr. Boulos Youssef Matar, the Maronite Archbishop of Beirut who has immediately manifested the knowledge of the El Chemor/Gharios family and its history.

Understanding the Royal Ghassanid family tree 

familytreephoto2

Studying dynastic and nobility law is very common to realize that each dynasty has its own rules that govern succession.

Around the world, nations and ethnic groups use many different methods to determine the rules of inheritance, whether those rules apply to thrones or titles or to tangible and intangible property. Religion, history, politics, and law all play their part in determining which rules a population selects to make such choices. In those nations of Europe which have or have had monarchies, we can see many different choices, and we see the workings of all of these influences.” FROM AGNATIC SUCCESSION TO ABSOLUTE PRIMOGENITURE: THE SHIFT TO EQUAL RIGHTS OF SUCCESSION TO THRONES AND TITLES IN THE MODERN EUROPEAN CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY, Christine Alice Corcos, 2012 MICH. ST. L. REV. 1587

Usually, in the Middle East, the Royal Houses follow what’s known as “agnatic rotation” meaning that any male descendants from the last ruler can compete for the succession. By this method, succession doesn’t go only “down” in the family tree, meaning to the sons and daughters like in Europe, but it may go “sideways” to brothers and cousins or even “up” to uncles, etc. Primogeniture is not a necessary rule like in Europe, therefore, the actual position in the family tree is utterly irrelevant as long as the successor can prove that he belongs to that particular family in male line.

To learn more about the Middle Eastern laws of succession please, click HERE 

The Royal Ghassanidsand their lawful heirs, the Sheikhs El Chemor of Mount Lebanon, also followed the “agnatic rotation” system.

To learn more about the Ghassanid laws of succession please, click HERE  

Important to notice that the El Chemor family has this name from the last king of Ghassan, Chemor (or Shummar, Shemir, Shemar, etc) Jablah VI Ibn Aiham  (ruled 632-638 CE). Therefore, they were known as the “Chemori” or “the descendants of King Chemor”. King Jablah VI, has received the name “Chemor” from a tradition started by King Jabalah IV (ruled 518-528 CE) who was also known by the “kunya” or teknonymyof “Abu Chemor” (or “the father of Chemor“) referring to the eldest brother to King Al-Harith V, the most famous Ghassanid King of all times (ruled 529-569 CE).

It is a reputed deep-rooted allegation that the heads of Al-Chemor tribe are rooted from Bani Chemor, who are the Christian Kings of Ghassan which belong to Al Jafna.” (Father Ignatios Tannos El-Khoury, Historical Scientific Research: “Sheikh El Chemor Rulers of Al-Aqoura (1211-1633) and Rulers of Al-Zawiye (1641-1747)”Beirut, Lebanon, 1948, p.38)

“The refugees of Al Ghassani and bani Chemor who seeked refuge to Al ‘Aqoura turned into Maronites because the town now only has Maronites Christians and because Al Chemor tribe are the princes and children of kings, the Maronites reigned them over the land where the document states that: “… and Al ‘Aqoura is their own village from a long time, they can do as they wish…” and Al Chemori family could have taken over the throne due to their relentless efforts, money or battles, no one knows.” (ibid p.42)

“Conclusion
This is the history of the Chemor family Sheikhs who are feudal rulers, a genuine progeny of the sons of Ghassan kings of the Levant… one of the most decent, oldest and noblest families in Lebanon.” (ibid p.125)     

To learn more about the 1948’s book about the El Chemor family, please click HERE

To learn more about the book’s recent scholarly validation, please click HERE    

Also very important to notice that there are only two ancient families named Chemor/Shammar in the whole Middle East. One, is present in Iraq and the GCC countries, originating from the Tayy tribeand has Bedouin origin and is Muslim since its inception (its leader, Hatim Al-Tayy, have converted to Islam while Prophet Mohammad was still alive, therefore, before adopting the name “Shammar“). They have adopted to use the name Shammar/Shammari after the 14th century since they briefly inhabited the Jabal Shammar region. The El Chemor Sheikhs from Lebanon come from a sedentary Arab and Christian origin and it’s documented to use this name two centuries before the Bedouin tribe. When they’ve ruled the city of Akoura in 1211 CE they were already using the name Chemor/Shammar. There are no register of the Muslim Shammari family ever to even inhabited Mount Lebanon. Thus, by simple logic it’s easy to conclude that every family member of the El Chemor family belongs to the very same family and ancestry. The ramifications of the family only happened in the 18th and 19th centuries originating the Gharios, Habaki and Farhat families. So, there’s no need to be an expert genealogist or to hold a PhD in History to understand, again by simple logic, unless proven otherwise, that the legitimate members of these families can prove to belong to the El Chemor family by only evincing their connection to the last ancestor using the El Chemor last name, since going back to King Chemor Jablah it’s absolutely certain, since only his direct descendants that inhabited the Mount Lebanon – and none else – used this particular family name.

Of course, if we think in European terms, that might sound strange. How can we assert an unequivocal royal lineage simply by a surname? In Europe, there are dozens of families with the same surnames that are not even related. Also, by the restrictive European laws of succession (including Salic and semi-Salic laws, morganatic marriages, etc.) the observance of the particular position on the family tree is indispensable. Not in the Middle East, where the simple descent in male line from the last ruler is mandatory.

We also must compare the populations of Europe and Mount Lebanon.

Mount Lebanon late 1500’s
150,000people (including all religions)
(According to A.N. Poliak, see “Lebanon, a History 600-2011”, Oxford, 2012, William Harris, p.73)

Europe 1500’s
– French Crown 16,250,000
– Holy Roman Empire 16,000,000
– Spanish Empire 8,550,000
– English Crown 2,750,000
– Portuguese Empire 3,000,000
– Papal States 2,000,000
– Kingdom of Naples 2,000,000
– Republic of Venice 1,500,000
– Republic of Florence 750,000

Reference here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_in_1500

So, it’s obvious that in Mount Lebanon everyone knew the origins of this or that family, specially a prestigious and noble one.

Going even further, according to the Ottoman census:

  • Mount Lebanon 1780’s around 300,000 (all religions)
  • Mount Lebanon 1911 around 414,000 (all religions)

(see “Lebanon, a History 600-2011”, Oxford, 2012, William Harris, p. 166)

We mention here “all religions” since each and very sect in Lebanon have been keeping their history and customs separately. While in Europe you’ve only Christianity (even having Catholics and protestants), there’s a homogeneity.

So, it’s easy to conclude that it’s considerably simple to establish a royal line in the aforementioned scenario.

Usually, to claim a particular title of nobility, it’s necessary to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler or bearer of the title. Always following the particular laws of succession pertinent to that title. For example, although meticulously documented, by simple logic, in order to fundament Queen Elizabeth’s legal claim to the British throne she had to prove her connection to the last lawful ruler, her father king George VI. It would be utterly unnecessary for her to prove her genealogical link to Queen Victoria since her great grandfather king Edward VII did that to ascend the throne after Queen Victoria’s passing in 1901.

“A Good Riddance”, cartoon from Punch vol. 152, June 27th 1917, commenting on the adoption of the “Windsor” family name and the King’s orders to relinquish all German titles held by members of his family

Still using the British Royal family as an example. It’s notorious that the family’s name was Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until 1917. King George V has decided to change the family’s name due to the anti-German sentiment in the UK derived from the WWI. Their choice was the name “Windsor” given after the homonymous English castle. Let’s assume hypothetically, that 200 years from now the Windsor family members will exponentially grow. If no other “Windsor family” is created until then would be absolute and logic to state that all of the bearers of the Windsor family name will be lawful descendants of the British royal family, unless proven otherwise. Absolutely no need for them to prove their genealogical link with William the Conqueror!

If any of those Windsor family members in the future desire to claim the British throne, they have to prove their link to the last incumbent ruler in harmony with the British laws of succession, meaning, by descent, gender (for people born before October 2011), legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign’s children or by a childless sovereign’s nearest collateral line.

Applying the very same principle, to claim the Ghassanid titles, it’s necessary to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler Sheikh Yousef El Chemor of Zgharta (ruled until 1747 CE) in harmony with the particular Ghassanid laws of succession, meaning “agnatic rotation”. In theory, in the case of the El Chemor family, to prove the genealogical link to the last incumbent ruler would be even a luxury since, by pure logic, all the male family members bearing the last name have the same ancestry and therefore are somehow related to Sheikh Yousef in male line since the middle eastern women always adopt the husband’s family name giving that name to their descendants.

Also important to mention that the El Chemor Sheikhs proved to the absolute satisfaction of the historians and authorities in the past their blood link to King Chemor Jablah since there’s absolutely no historical register of contestation, doubt or even rumor regarding this fact neither during the almost 500 years of reign in Akoura and Zgharta nor in the 300 subsequent years until the present day. Not a single line was written against this fact!

It’s undisputed and documented that El Chemor Sheikhs ruled in Mount Lebanon as a princely (sovereign) family from 1211-1633 CE in Akoura and 1641-1747 CE in Zgharta-Zawye in northern Lebanon. In 1747 CE, it’s known that the Ottoman Empire deposed the El Chemor Sheikhs after a nefarious deal with the Daher Sheikhs installing them with all the El Chemor’s lands and possessions.  Hence, due to the persecution of the Ottoman Empire and the constant wars in Lebanon until 2006, some of the names and details of the first El Chemor rulers were lost or deliberately destroyed by the Druzes and by the “Young Turks’” regime under the orders of Jamal Pashain the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. However, as explained herein, there’s absolutely no possibility that every single El Chemor ruler doesn’t belong to the exact same family and ancestry!

To learn more about the Ottoman Empire/Jamal Pasha’s plan to erase Christianity from the Middle East, please click HERE   

Even in Europe, where the genealogical registers are a lot more complete and considerably easier to research, it’s known that’s extremely difficult to find genealogical evidence prior to the 1600’s.

Due to the persecution to Christians in Mount Lebanon that started in the end of the 19th century, where around 10,000 Christians were killed by the Druzes during inter-communal violence in 1860 through the horrors of WWI where over 100,000 people in Beirut and Mount Lebanon have died of starvation during World War I, many descendants of the El Chemor family left Mount Lebanon specially to Brazil, although a very different culture and language for the Lebanese, it was a known safe haven for Christians. But the very few that stayed in Lebanon kept the titles and traditions. The most senior El Chemor’s genealogical line (in primogeniture) is the descendants of Sheikh Antonios Michael El Chemor(1910-1971), the honorary founder of the modern Royal House of Ghassan. His eldest son PrinceSheikh Selim El Chemor, the heir of the El Chemor palace in Kferhata with his two brothers Prince Sheikh Khalil and Prince Sheikh Michel, is the current “honorary” head of the Royal House of Ghassanwith Prince Gharios El Chemor, the “executive” head following the Roman-Byzantine “co-emperorshipprinciple” adopted by the Ghassanid Kings centuries ago. Therefore, the Royal House has one head by the agnatic-rotation principle and the other by primogeniture with mutual recognition.

sosmaSelim
TIRH Prince Gharios and Prince Cheikh Selim, the executive and honorary heads of the Royal House of Ghassan
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The El Chemor Palace in Lebanon

One might argue the legitimacy of using the Ghassanid titles. That’s easily explained by the fact that the El Chemor Sheikhs were respected and ascended to the throne in Akoura in 1211 CE due to the Royal blood link with the Kings of Ghassan. Also, that this fact was universally accepted until the deposition in 1747 CE or it wouldn’t survive the test of time. It can be added that it’s perfectly permissible and accepted to Princes to use old titles, even outdated in usage like the head of the French Orleanist branch of the royal house of France, Prince Henryadopting the title of Count of Paris or the head of the Bourbon family, Prince Louis XXusing the title of “Duke of Anjou”. Both titles were not of common usage for both heads of the French Royal branches.

According to one of the forefathers of international law, Emmerich de VattelThe Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law, 1758 CE:

“BOOK 2, CHAPTER 3
Of the Dignity and Equality of Nations: of Titles and Other Marks of Honor

§ 42. Whether a sovereign may assume what title and honors he pleases.
If the conductor of the state is sovereign, he has in his hands the rights and authority of the political society; and consequently he may himself determine what title he will assume, and what honors shall be paid to him, unless these have been already determined by the fundamental laws, or that the limits which have been set to his power manifestly oppose such as he wishes to assume. His subjects are equally obliged to obey him in this as in whatever he commands by virtue of a lawful authority. Thus, the Czar Peter I., grounding his pretensions on the vast extent of his dominions, took upon himself the title of emperor.”

https://lonang.com/library/reference/vattel-law-of-nations/vatt-203/

The examples in the Middle East are also extensive where many sovereign Sheikhs have decided to use Royal titles like His Majesty King Abdullah I of Jordan who was originally theEmir of Transjordan and his ancestors were Sheriffs of Meca; orHis Highness Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was the 12th Hakim of Bahrain. His son, His Highness Sheikh Isa II bin Salman II Al Khalifa, changed the title to “Emir of Bahrain” in 1971 and his son, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has changed the title again in 2002 from Emir (prince) to Malik (king).   

The usage of the Arab title “Emir” or “Amir” (means “commander”, “general”, or “prince”) is a little different from the European use. A sovereign ruler using the title “Sheikh” or even “Hakim” is an “Emir” ‘per se‘ (intrinsically). In other words, even if the title is not openly used, it’s definitely implied. That tradition is what makes so natural for the aforementioned rulers to “update” their titles.  Actually in Lebanon, the word “Hakim” represented the “sovereign” or “semi-sovereign” status more than”Emir. That being the reason why the rulers of Lebanon used the title “El-Emir El-Hakim” and not only “El-Emir.

Also, the title “Sheikh” is a royal (sovereign) title by definition. It’s only a noble title (not  royal) when bestowed by a higher authority. In other words, when a commoner family is elevated to nobility by a sovereign or semi-sovereign ruler. In Lebanon we have the example of the El-Khazen Sheikhs. The illustrious family have received the title from the Prince Fakhr-al-Din II in 1584 CE. That doesn’t apply to the El Chemor Sheikhs who were known as such by the Royal Blood link to King Chemor Jablah and for ruling sovereignly and semi-sovereignly the Sheikhdom (principality) of Akoura and Zgharta from 1211-1747 CE.

To learn more about the Ghassanid Imperial titles, please, click HERE   

We also have to add that the El Chemor, as the Ghassanid Kings, were absolute rulers. In other words, they didn’t have any constitutional obedience but the obligation of following the Christian religion. All the rules followed by the dynasty were originating from the pre-Islamic Arab tribal customs enriched by the Roman-Byzantine influence.

For the Sworn legal statement about the El Chemor/Gharios Family from the world’s leading scholar in Middle eastern Royal Succession click HERE

To learn more about the legal rights of the El Chemor/Gharios family, please click HERE

To learn more about the Royal House of Ghassan, please click HERE 

Official article from Lebanese Government validates book about El Chemor/Gharios family

NNA 2014

According to Press freedom’s Reporters Without Borders, Lebanon is not only a regional center of media production but also the most liberal and free in the Arab world: “the media have more freedom in Lebanon than in any other Arab country“. Despite its small population and geographic size, Lebanon plays an influential role in the production of information in the Arab world and is “at the core of a regional media network with global implications“.

Lebanon has two state-owned news agencies. The most important of them is The National News Agency (NNA), official news body of Lebanon, launched in 1964. They’re an entity subjected to the Ministry of Information Lebanese Republic.

The Ministry of Information consists of the General Directorate of Information and several other directorates including:  Directorate of Lebanese Studies and Publications, The National News Agency and  The Lebanese Broadcasting Directorate  Auditing Department (Diwan).  The Ministry includes other departments and sections.  It was organized by legislative decree no. 6830 released on June 15, 1961.

In other words, whatever is published or stated via any of the entities subjected to the Ministry of Information is considered and recognized as “official information from the Lebanese Government.

Please CLICK HERE  for the official 2014’s article (in Arabic) from the The National News Agency  (Lebanese Government News’s Agency – Ministry of Information) quoting the book about the El Chemor princely family (recognizing the titles and citing some family members) and validating Father Ignatios El Khoury’s 1948’s book as an official source.  

Please, click below of the Sworn English legal translation of the article

lebanese-ministry-of-information-artice

Please click below for the Sworn English legal translation of the book

https://royalblog.org/2016/11/28/royal-house-of-ghassan-provides-english-legal-translations-of-1948s-historical-scientific-research-about-the-family/

For the sworn legal statement from the world’s leading scholar in Middle eastern Royal Succession please click HERE

Prince Gharios El Chemor attends red carpet at 3rd Asian World Film Festival

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from left to right: legend action director Art Camacho, Prince Gharios El Chemor and martial arts legend and actor Don “The Dragon” Wilson

HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor of Ghassan Al-Nu’man VIII  have attended last night the red carpet and opening of the 3rd Asian World Film Festival. The Prince is part of the festival’s board since its inception in 2015. Also members of the festival’s board with the Prince names like Award-Winning Actress Joan Chen, Executive Producer mogul Mario Kassar, Screen Actors Guild Award-Winning Actress Lucy LiuInternational action star Steven SeagalDirector of Oscar Nominated film “Dallas buyers club” Jean-Marc Vallee and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) brings the best of a broad selection of Asian World cinema to Los Angeles in order to draw greater recognition to the region’s wealth of filmmakers, strengthening ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries.

Uniting through cross-cultural collaboration, the festival champions films from  over 50 countries across Asia spanning from the Middle East to Japan and Russia to India.

More about the festival: http://www.asianworldfilmfest.org/ 

Coptic Bishop Angaelos receives the Order of Saint Michael Archangel in London

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His Grace Bishop Angaelos receiving the Order from HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor  

During his last trip to London, HIRH Prince Gharios El Chemor has bestowed upon the His Grace Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church for the United Kingdom, the rank of knight commander of the Order of Saint Michael Archangel. 

His Grace is widely recognized for his extensive advocacy work. As a result he was conferred with the honor of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty The Queen, for ‘Services to International Religious Freedom’. He has also been conferred with the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Coventry Cross of Nails for Reconciliation. With a pastoral ministry spanning two decades, Bishop Angaelos also specializes in youth ministry and travels extensively around the world to speak at youth conferences and conventions.

More about His Grace Bishop Angaelos:

http://copticcentre.blogspot.com/p/hg-bishop-angaelos.html

More about the Order of Saint Michael Archangel:

http://www.michaelarchangel.org/