We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater


Custodians of the Holy Land look after Syrian population in the midst of war

There are many painful situations that dot the Middle East. But since the 13th Century, Franciscan friars bring hope to experience like the strife in Egypt or the ruthless civil war in Syria. In the latter, 30 Franciscan friars remain, the last Roman Catholic priests in the country. Through them, the Custody of the Holy Land works to lessen the suffering of the Syrian population. 

FR. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA

Custodian of the Holy Land 

"Being in the Holy Land, in the Middle East, in Syria, does not mean only looking after the small Christian Church. All poor people are the same. There are no poor people in Series A or Series B, so we need to help them all. And the true reality on the ground is that poor Christians and Muslims help each other out. It's a very concrete and solid foundation on which to build the Middle East of the future.â? 

The Custody of the Holy Land operates inside Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus and Rhodes. Since Christians have been around for thousands of years, their work is fundamental in keeping those communities from leaving the birthplace of Christianity. 

FR. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA 

Custodian of the Holy Land 

"The Christians of the Middle East are our parents. We received our faith from them. So the Christian presence in the Middle East is very old, with roots at start of Christianity. So, looking after the Christian character of the Middle East, the presence of Christians and their saints, is important for Christians across the world.â? 

The Pope plans to visit the Holy Land next year. Both the Israeli and Palestinian governments have invited him, as well as several religious leaders in the region. For the Custodian, the Pope's visit would bring hope to many. 

FR. PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA 

Custodian of the Holy Land 

"Pope Francis has been received with great enthusiasm, be it by Jews or Muslims. So there will probably be a huge impact on the entire population. We hope he also generates a desire for dialogue and encounter.â? 

That is something the whole world might be expecting as well. As Paul VI said in the past, if Christians disappear from the Holy Land, the Holy Places will end up as museums. 

AC/RCA 

 AA 

VM 

 -PR 

 Up: PM