1217-2017: 800 Years of Franciscan Presence in the Holy Land

Posted on May 18, 2017

This current year is highly significant for us. Precisely 800 years ago, during the Chapter of Pentecost celebrated at Saint Mary of the Angels, in the Portiuncula, Assisi, our Order opened up its vision to the missionary and universal dimension. In that occasion the Chapter decided to send friars in all the regions of the known world, as witnesses of fraternity and peace.

It was on that occasion that a group of friars was sent to the regions “beyond the sea”.

Their leader was brother Elias of Cortona. They founded a Franciscan Province, which was initially known as the Province of Outremer or Syria.

Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land

The image of the miniature “Arrival of Saint Francis in the Holy Land” used for the production of the logo is taken from the Major Legend of Saint Bonaventure (382). With the kind concession of the Historical Institute of the Capuchins – Franciscan Museum – Rome.


Jubilee of the Ordo Fratrum Minorm

The Franciscans of France celebrate 800 years

The poet Br. Pacifico, one of the companions of St Francis of Assisi, established the first Franciscan Community in France at Vézelay in 1217, before continuing the journey to Saint Denis (Paris). After eight centuries, the Franciscan family counts in France today more than 3000 members (OFM, OFMConv, OFMCap., Poor Clares, Franciscan Sisters, and seculars of all ages).

The first Friars Minor sent by Francis of Assisi, have had a tremendous positive impact on the history of France and neighboring countries. We remember the Kings of France and Naples (St. Louis King of France – St. Bonaventure’s friend and protector of the friar-professors at the University of Paris and patron of the SFO; Bishop St. Louis of Anjou and many Francescan saints and blesseds, not to mention the French support for the establishment of the custody of the Holy Land).

The Jubilee was announced on February 22 with a press conference in the basilica of Saint-denis, near Paris, with the participation of Mons. Jean-Pierre Grallet, Franciscan and Archbishop of Strasbourg; Br. François-Xavier Bustillo, OFMConv. Custos and a spokesman for the Jubilee; Br. Jean-Baptiste Auberger, a specialist in the Franciscan sources; and Mrs Christine Bisset, representative of the SFO.

From March 1 to October 4 the Franciscan family invites all interested persons to participate in commemorations in France, in the joy of universal brotherhood and sisterhood.

For more information (in French): French): www.jubile800ans.franciscains.fr
Facebook : jubilefranciscain800ans
Email : jubile800ans@franciscains.fr

An exhibit in Naples for the 800th anniversary of the Franciscans in the Holy Land

Naples celebrates the eighth centenary of the Franciscans’ presence in the Holy Land with the exhibit “The Bible: Book of Life and Culture,” organized by the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Naples. In the presence of the Cardinal of Naples, H.E. Crescenzo Sepe, and of the Father Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, the exhibit was inaugurated on Saturday, May 13, and stayed open until May 20. Fr. Sergio Galdi, the Commissioner of the Holy Land in Naples, strongly wanted the exhibit to be articulated through various itineraries (historical, iconographic, bibliographic) with the intent of “allowing [visitors] to savor the taste of God’s word.” “This biblical exhibit is designed to be a means of bringing the Commissariat of the Holy Land to the attention of the city of Naples,” said Fr. Sergio, “and to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Franciscans in the Holy Land.” In 1217, the Overseas and Syrian Province was created, and the first group of friars went to the land of Jesus, thus beginning the stable presence of the Franciscans in the Holy Land.

The exhibit is also taking place on the fifth centenary of Martin Luther’s Reformation and, in the name of Ecumenism, it is possible to revisit the complex story of the critical history of the Sacred Text, along with documents that witness to the biblical editorial evolution from the 15th to the 17th centuries. In the section dedicated to the texts on the Holy Land, there are parchment scrolls on display, the biblical editions of the sixteenth century, the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate, biblical syntheses, such as Mammotrectus and Summa Angelica (publicly burned by Luther), and several other important documents related to witnesses’ accounts.
Fr. Sergio Galdi explained the deep bond that connects the Land of Jesus to the Parthenopean city: “The Custody of the Holy Land has a particular focus on Naples because the Neapolitan Royals, Roberto D’Angiò and Sancha of Majorca made a great donation to the Egyptian Sultan and they acquired the Cenacle and the rights to celebrate [mass at] the Holy Sepulcher. In addition, beginning with Emperor Frederick II, the title of King of Jerusalem had been linked to the city of Naples, and this is why all of the dynasties that ruled in Naples were also rulers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.”

“Since the word of God is our rule, it seems to me [that this is] a very beautiful opportunity for there to be an exhibit on the Bible hosted here at the Naples Commissariat and also that it is hosted on the occasion of the eighth centenary of our arrival in the Holy Land.,” said Fr. Francesco Patton when he commented on the inauguration. The Custos showed enthusiasm for the work of the exhibit’s curator. Fr. Michele Perruggini: “Through this itinerant museum, Fr. Michele is carrying out a cultural apostolate as well as a religious one.” The headquarters of the Commissariat General of the Holy Land is located at 24 Via Capodimonte in Naples and will be open to the public for the exhibit until May 20 from 9 a.m. until 1 p. m. and from 3 to 8 p.m.

Appreciation for the initiative was also expressed by Cardinal Sepe: “Where there is humanity, the Bible becomes the soul from which to draw dignity and strength, and from which to make all of those ideals that are part of man’s life a reality. This exhibit is important because it allows us to rediscover the Sacred Text which, apart from being a living word, has been written and handed down through various instruments that have been used in different time periods.”

B. G.