January 2013

Works completed on the new Library and the Archives at St. Saviour’s

At these sites, both within St. Saviour’s Monastery in Jerusalem, a large part of the history of the Custody of the Holy Land is preseved. The Custody’s Archives makes available to scholars and researchers countless documents, firmans, papal bulls and maps of the sanctuaries, from the 13th century up to the present time. The new Library, which is much larger than the previous one, contains ancient books and manuscripts and special collections, arranged from the oldest to the most recent, as well as all of the books used for research by the friars, scholars, professors and researchers coming from around the world. Soon these will also be consultable via an online catalogue.

The new facilities of the Archives and Library, where the works have now concluded and in which the final touches are being put on organizing the books and documents, will both be inaugurated on 28 February. On that same day, in the Immaculate Hall at St. Saviour’s Monastery, there will also be the inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to the 15th and 16th century books present in the Library, as well as to some of the “Itineraria ad Loca Sancta” providing accounts of journeys to the Holy Places, dating from the 15th to 18th centuries.

The activities of cataloguing and enhancing this immense library heritage, which recounts and bears witness to the history of the Franciscans in the Holy Land, is part of a project supported by ATS pro Terra Sancta entitled “Books, Bridges of Peace”. The works to restore and adapt the areas in which the Archives and new Library are located has been coordinated by the Custody’s Technical Office and carried out by workers participating in the project “Jerusalem, Stones of Memory”.

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