Nazareth: small but important works in the Church of the Annunciation to break down architectural barriers

Giacomo Pizzi11 December 2015

In Nazareth the Church of the Annunciation is in need of restoration and maintenance works: and Association pro Terra Sancta, through its project, is seeking to respond to this need. We went there to find Fra Bruno Varriano, the Father Guardian, who not only explained to us the urgency of the works in progress, but also highlighted further issues and problems where interventions are necessary.

Currently the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land are working on building ramps to allow disabled people to have access to he church and to reach areas which until now have been off-limits to them. The first phase involves an external ramp for entering the church, which is already under construction.

“The second phase”, explains fra Bruno, “is even more delicate: we want to ensure that the disabled and the elderly with impaired mobility have internal access in order to arrive to the Grotto of the Annunciation; but it is impossible to build a concrete ramp here, since this would have to be supported by remains from the first century.” So what is the solution then? In the coming days a mobile structure will be delivered that will attach to the handrails of the stairs: this will permit disabled people to descend , transporting them on a mobile chair.

“These might not seem to be the most important projects” , fra Bruno concludes, “ but there are so many disabled people who come on pilgrimage and are disappointed. You should seem them… ‘Father’, they say to me, ‘and what about us’?” So something of this nature becomes of fundamental importance.

In addition to breaking down architectural barriers in a holy place that wishes to welcome everyone, there are other works that urgently need to be programmed and implemented . In particular, the concrete in the interior of the church, which initially was covered with marble, is beginning to show signs of weakness. Together with the friars of Nazareth, we ask for your help to maintain in safe condition the place where “the Word became flesh”.