Custodia Terræ Sanctæ
In 1217, the Franciscans created the Province of the Holy Land. In 1263, this province was divided into three territories, each one called a “Custody,” one of them being known as the Custody of the Holy Land or of Syria, depending on where its communities were located. In 1291, following the fall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Friars moved to Cyprus.
In 1336, supported in their request to the Sultan of Egypt by the Sovereigns of Naples, the Franciscans were able to re-establish themselves permanently in the Holy Land after having obtained all the required legal rights to the holy places and acquired other properties and residences. Pope Clement VI officially recognized these acquisitions on November 21, 1342. From then on, the central headquarters of the Custody of the Holy Land were located next to the Cenacle on Mount Sion. However, the Friars were expelled from the site in 1551. In 1560, they acquired the present convent of Saint Savior in Jerusalem, and transferred their central headquarters to the new location.
The principal responsibility of the Custody of the Holy Land has been, and remains, the protection of the holy places with which the Holy See has entrusted it since its very beginnings. It diligently maintains the shrines, basilicas and churches, and provides for the needs of its convents. It takes to heart the welcoming and care of pilgrims. The Casa Novas of Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Mount Tabor and Tiberias, offer these pilgrims hospitality. Religious of various linguistic backgrounds are at their disposal to guide and assist them spiritually. The Custody carries out its various activities in all of the countries of the Near East: Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt and Rhodes.
The Custody of the Holy Land comprises Franciscans of 38 nationalities from 56 religious provinces. It is governed from Jerusalem by the Custos, who is assisted by a council of 7 members.
|Address:||Via S. Maria Mediatrice, 25|
|00165 Rome, Italy|
|Tel: +39 (06) 68 49 19|
|Fax: +39 (06) 638 02 92|