Books, Bridges of Peace in Jerusalem

Our aim is to enhance the cultural heritage preserved in the Franciscan libraries in Jerusalem and the other centers of the Custody of the Holy Land.

The situation in the Holy Land is particularly complex, in terms of politics, religion and culture. In such a context, the presence of the Franciscans has been crucial for the preservation of the Holy Places, for more than eight centuries. As a matter of fact, the ancient libraries of the Custody of the Holy Land are a reference point for dialogue, mutual understanding and preservation of the historical memory of the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land. 

The libraries

The project focuses primarily on the following libraries of the Custody of the Holy Land:

  • The library in St. Saviour’s Monastery, the oldest among the libraries of the Custody of the Holy Land, and undoubtedly one of the oldest in Jerusalem. It contains manuscripts and incunables of great value, in addition to rare collections, such as the rich series of itineraries to the Holy Land.
  • The Studium Biblicum Franciscanum maintains a specialist library, which is open to the public, containing approximately 50,000 volumes and 420 journals. The main fields are: archaeology, biblical studies, patristic, Judaism, Ancient East and travels to the Holy Land.
  • The library of the Mouski Convent in Cairo, part of the Franciscan Center for Christian Oriental Studies, is a point of reference for the research on Arab, other Eastern communities and Churches.


  • Systematical cataloguing of ancient sources, such as manuscripts and ancient volumes.
  • Creation of digtalized catalogues available online.
  • A specific study will be carried out on the Travels and itineraries to the Holy Land from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries, with the creation of a corresponding web page and a traveling library exhibition.
  • Supporting the research and  publications of various studies on the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East, carried out at the Mouski Convent library in Cairo.
  • A plan for the preservation of ancient manuscripts and incunables held by the libraries.

This project is related to that of the Terra Sancta Museum, which will expose some of the most precious manuscripts conserved in the libraries of the Holy Land. Some of these, need immediate renovation.

Visit the website of the GENERAL LIBRARY OF THE CUSTODY OF THE HOLY LAND, where you can find the OPAC Catalog.

Help us support the Franciscan libraries.


related stories

The exhibition “Bible on the move: traditions and translations of the Holy Scriptures” (November 2018)

Books, Bridges of Peace: cataloguing of 17th century collection completed (September 2016)

Jerusalem: great success of the exhibition “The reading device” at the Library of the Custody of the Holy Land (November 2015)

The reading device: Books as a technique for the preservation of texts in the East and West, from the Middle Ages to Today (October 2015)

The “real” balm of Jerusalem: journey through the old medical books of the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land (October 2015)

Books, Bridges of Peace: an extraordinary project in the difficult context of the Middle East (March 2015)

Preserving and transmitting a history of dialogue: successful exhibition of manuscripts at the Library of the Custody (October 2014)

Books, Bridges of Peace presents: “MFH Manuscripta Franciscana Hierosolymitana. Selected Exhibition” (October 2014)

Bethlehem and the children of the Holy Land (August 2014)

The Mount of Olives: preservation for a sustainable development (June 2014)

Egypt: aid to the Christian community (March 2014)

Holy Sepulchre: center of the world (March 2014)

Books Bridges of Peace, a video about the Treasures of the Custody of the Holy Land (February 2014)

Enhancing a heritage: cataloguing the library collections of the Custody of the Holy Land (December 2013)

The history of the Custody of the Holy Land is unearthed while digging through old magazines (June 2013)

The inauguration of the Library and the Archives of the Custody: culture at the forefront (March 2013)

Inauguration of the new premises of the General Library and Archives of the Custody of the Holy Land (February 2013)

Civilian service: Alessandro’s story at the end of his experience (February 2013)

Works completed on the new Library and the Archives at St. Saviour’s (January 2013)

The Italian Minister of Justice makes a visit to the Gethsemane project (October 2012)