Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Since the first centuries, Western pilgrims have
been attracted by the Holy Land and many communities of Latin origin were
founded. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was set up by the Crusaders.
After their departure, the Franciscan Fathers of the Custody of the Holy
Land kept the Catholic presence. In 1847, Pope Pius IX restored the
Latin Patriarchate in a different historical context than that of the Crusaders’.
The point was to give as pastor to the Catholic faithful a bishop with
the title of Patriarch.
The first Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem was Msgr.
Joseph Valerga (1848-1872), a bishop of great ability. He opened
a seminary to form the local clergy, and he created many parishes through
all Palestine. After Msgr. Valerga, eight Patriarchs have followed.
The seventh Patriarch, Msgr. Jacques Beltritti (1970-1987 was educated
as a boy in the diocesan seminary of Jerusalem. The present Patriarch,
Msgr. Michel Sabbah, is an Arab Palestinian born in Nazareth. His
nomination opened new perspectives to the whole Church of Jerusalem.
The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem has seventy-five
thousand faithful and includes Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus.
The Patriarchate is a local reality which is well integrated in the country.
The liturgy is celebrated in Arabic for the Palestinian faithful.
There is also a small community of the Hebrew expression. Normally,
this community speaks and prays in Hebrew. It is gathered in four
places: Haifa, Jaffa, Berseba, and Jerusalem. At its head is Episcopal
Vicar, Father Jean Baptiste Gourion, the prior of Abou Gosh Monastery.
Thirteen thousand sisters and six hundred religious
men of many nationalities depend on the Latin Patriarchate. They
belong to many religious congregations. With them, we understand
the universal character of the Mother Church of Jerusalem. The Ecole
Biblique of the Dominican Fathers, the Franciscan Biblical Institute, and
the Pontifical Biblical Institute serve as good examples of such congregations.
The openness to the universal remains a specific vocation of the
Latin Church of the Holy Land.
Father Pierre Grech
His Beatitude Msgr. Michel A. Sabbah,
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
His Beatitude Msgr. Michel A. Sabbah was born in Nazareth on March
19, 1933. In 1955, he was ordained a priest in Nazareth. That
same year, he was appointed vicar for the parish in Madaba, Jordan.
From 1957 until 1958, he taught Arabic at the seminary of the Latin Patriarchate
In 1959, he began to study Arabic philology at the University
of St. Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon. Five years later, he became the
leader for youth of the diocese of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
In 1968, he became the professor of the Arabic language and Islam in Djibouti,
Africa. In 1970, he was appointed parish priest of Christ the King
Church in Amman, Jordan. Three years later, the Sorbonne granted
him a Ph.D. degree in Arabic philology. In 1980, he was elected president
of the Bethlehem University.
On December 28, 1987, His Beatitude Msgr. Michel A. Sabbah was
elected Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. On January 6, 1988, he was
consecrated as the Latin Patriarch by Pope John Paul II in Rome.
He is the eighth Patriarch after the restoration of the Latin Patriarchate
See in Jerusalem in 1847. His Beatitude Msgr. Michel A. Sabbah is
Grand Prior of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
He is a member of the Bishops’ Synod, a member of the Assembly of the Catholic
Patriarchs of Orient, and President in the Middle East Council of Churches.
In addition to this, he is President of the Latin Bishops’ Conference in
the Arabic Regions and President of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries
in the Holy Land. In 1999, he was elected as the President of Pax
Christi. Since 1988, His Beatitude Msgr. Michel A. Sabbah has written
many pastoral letters. For his labor, he received the insignia of
Commander of the L?gion d’Honneur from the French Government.
His Eminence Bishop Kamal-Hanna Bathish,
Vicar General to the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
His Eminence Bishop Kamal-Hanna Bathish was born in Haifa in 1931.
He received his elementary education at Terra Sancta School in Nazareth.
In 1943, he entered the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Jerusalem in Beit-Jala,
where he completed his medium and secondary degrees. In 1948, he
began philosophy courses at the same seminary. Having completed his
theological studies, he was ordained a priest in Nazareth in 1955.
After his ordination, he served as the assistant and parish priest
in different cities. In 1963, he obtained his Licentiate in Social
Sciences from the Ecclesiastical University Angelicum in Rome. Having
worked one year in pastoral service in Amman, he was called to Jerusalem
to work as the Assistant Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate in 1964.
From 1965 until 1988, under Patriarchs Alberto Gori and Giacomo Giuseppe
Beltritti, he worked as the Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem.
From 1963 until 1965, he served as the substitute professor of philosophy
at the seminary. He was also President or a member of various diocesan
committees. From 1964 until 1995, he was a member of the Ecclesiastical
Court in Jerusalem.
In 1971, he was appointed as a Canon of the Holy Sepulcher and
a Chaplain of His Holiness. In April of 1993, Pope John-Paul II chose
him Bishop of Jericho. In July of 1993, he was ordained a bishop
in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Since that time, he has been
a member of the AOCTS (Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy
Land) and of the CELRA (Conference of the Latin Bishops of the Middle East).
Since 1995, his major occupation has been the coordination of the Jerusalem
Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 in the Holy Land and the
membership in the Central Committee of the Great Jubilee in the Vatican.
In addition to his mother tongue, the colloquial and classical Arabic,
he speaks fluently French, English, Italian, Latin, Spanish, and German.
His Eminence Bishop Kamal-Hanna Bathish has written the following books
in Arabic: A Biography of St. Dominic Savio; Mother Mary Alphonsine
of the Holy Rosary; and A Jubilee Itinerary in the Land of the Jubilee.
His Eminence Cardinal Carlo Furno,
Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
His Eminence Cardinal Carlo Furno was born in Bairo Canavese (Turin),
Diocese of Ivrea, on December 2, 1921. He completed his secondary
education at the Bishop’s College of Ivrea. After this, he studied
philosophy and theology at the seminary of the same town. In 1944,
he was ordained a priest. First, he served three years as the vicar
in Orzegna (Turin). Then he attended the School of Theology of the
Ateneo Salesiano at Crocetta in Turin. In 1953, the Pontifical Lateran
University in Rome granted him a Doctorate in law in utroque.
In 1953, he was appointed Attach? and then First Secretary in
the Apostolic Nunciature in Colombia. He went to Ecuador in 1957.
In 1960, he was assigned Secretary in the Apostolic Delegation of Jerusalem.
In 1962, he was called back to the Secretariat of the Vatican State, the
Section of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. There he became
responsible for Palestine and the Middle East. He held this post
for eleven years. At the same time, from 1966 until 1973, he taught
at the Pontifical Academy.
In 1973, Pope Paul VI elected him Titular Archbishop of Abari
and the Apostolic Nuncio for Peru. In 1978, Pope Paul-John II nominated
him the Apostolic Nuncio for Lebanon, where he remained for four years.
In 1982, he was nominated the Nuncio for Brazil. Having stayed in
Brazil for ten years, he was nominated the Nuncio for Italy in 1992.
In November of 1994, he became Cardinal. In December of 1995, Pope
John-Paul II nominated him the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of
the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. His Eminence Cardinal Carlo Furno
is a member of the Council of the Second Section of the Secretariat of
State, a member of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, a member of
the Congregation for Bishops, a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization
of Peoples, and a member of the Vigilance Committee for the Institute of
His Eminence Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo,
Vicar General and Representative of the Latin Patriarch in Israel
His Eminence Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo was born in St. Polo
di Piave (Treviso, Veneto), Italy, on April 24, 1945. In 1969, he
completed his studies in philosophy and theology at the Latin Patriarchal
Seminary of Jerusalem in Beit-Jala. In 1969, he was ordained a priest
at the Gethsemane Basilica in Jerusalem. Until 1970, he was assistant
parish priest in the Beit-Jala parish and at the seminary. Then he
was appointed assistant parish priest in Ramallah. He also became
the vice-director of the Al-Ahliya College and was put in charge of priestly
vocations. From 1972 until 1977, he served as the parish priest of
Malakal church in South Sudan and as the rector of the minor seminary in
Malakal. After this, until 1980, he was doing specialized studies
in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome and studies
in spiritual theology at the Theresianum University. In 1980, he
became the professor of dogmatic theology at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary
in Beit-Jala. Later, he became the rector of the same seminary.
In 1986, he obtained a Doctoral Degree from the Pontifical Lateran University.
The subject of his dissertation was the early Palestinian Arab patrology,
and it was based on the analysis and presentation of the oldest original
Arabic Christian thinking. Until 1994, Monsignor Giacinto-Boulos
Marcuzzo was professor of theology and Christian Arab literature (St. Cyril’s
Program) at the Bethlehem University. He was also a member of several
cultural and pastoral centers and commissions. In July of 1993, he
was ordained the Titular Bishop of Emmaus Nicopolis and the auxiliary bishop
of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. His ordination took place at
the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Since that time, he has been a
member of the AOCTS (Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land)
and of the CELRA (Conference of the Latin Bishops of the Middle East).
In September of 1994, His Eminence Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo was
appointed Patriarchal Vicar for Israel.
Reverend Farouk Bazir,
Counselor of the Latin Patriarchate
Reverend Farouk Bazir was born in Guatemala in 1941. In
1956, he arrived in Palestine and began to study at the Latin Patriarchal
Seminary of Jerusalem in Beit-Jala. In 1968, he was ordained a priest.
From 1970 until 1972, he studied Oriental Sciences at the Jesuit seminary
in Beirut, Lebanon. Then, from 1972 until 1976, he was a missionary
in the southern Sudan. After this, he worked for many years as the
parish priest in different parishes in Jordan. Since 1997, he has
been Counselor of the Latin Patriarchate. He speaks fluently Arabic,
English, French, Italian, and Spanish. Reverend Farouk Bazir has
written many articles and booklets on different topics.
Reverend Anton O. Issa,
President of the Ecclesiastical Court for the Latin Community in Jerusalem
Reverend Anton O. Issa was born in Jaffa to a family of Aboud
(Ramallah) on March 12, 1934. In 1961, he was ordained a priest in
Jerusalem. He practiced his first priestly ministry in Jordan, in
the towns of Zerka, Madaba, and Shatana. After this, for two years,
he was chaplain at the De la Salle College in Amman. Having arrived
in Rome in 1969, he continued his juridical studies in canon law at the
Pontifical Lateran University. In 1971, he presented his Doctoral
dissertation entitled Les minorit?s chr?tiennes de Palestine ? travers
From 1975 until 1996, Reverend Anton O. Issa was responsible
for the Jerusalem Ecclesiastical Court. At the same time, he was
ecclesiastical assistant of the laity and movements of youth in the Curia
of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. For many years, he has been
President of the Diocesan Pastoral Commission, President of the Pilgrimage
Commission, and is a member of other commissions in the diocese.
After the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel
had been signed in Jerusalem in 1993, he also became a member of the bilateral
and permanent commission of work between the Holy See and the State of
Israel. He is President of the two Ecclesiastical Courts. Since
1975, he has been President of the Ecclesiastical Court for both the Latin
community in Jerusalem and now also for that under the Palestinian Authority.
Since 1995, Reverend Anton O. Issa has been President of the Ecclesiastical
Court for the Latin community in Israel.
Reverend Maroun Elias Nimeh Lahham,
Rector of the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Jerusalem
The Reverend Maroun Elias Nimeh Lahham was born in Irbed, Jordan,
on July 20, 1948. In 1968, he obtained a BA degree in philosophy.
He received his BA degree in theology in 1972. He was ordained a
priest that same year. From 1972 until 1975, he was assistant parish
priest in Amman, Jordan. Then he served as the assistant parish priest
in Fuhais, Jordan. From 1976 until 1979, he was parish priest in
Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In 1979, he returned to Jordan and was
again assigned assistant parish priest in Amman. From 1981
until 1988, he was parish priest in Madaba, Jordan. He was sent to
Rome for high studies in 1988. In 1992, the Pontifical Lateran University
granted him a Ph.D. in pastoral theology. He was General Director
of the Latin Patriarchate Schools from 1992 until 1994. Since 1994,
the Reverend Maroun Elias Nimeh Lahham has been Rector of the Latin Patriarchal
Seminary of Jerusalem.
Reverend Faysal Saleh Hanna Hijazen,
Vice-Rector of the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Jerusalem
The Reverend Faysal Saleh Hanna Hijazen was born in Amman, Jordan,
on February 5, 1961. Having obtained a BA degree in philosophy and
a BA degree in theology, he was ordained a priest in 1985. From 1985
until 1988, he was assistant parish priest in Ramallah, Palestine.
In 1988, he was appointed parish priest in Irbed, Jordan. He was
parish priest in Amman from 1989 until 1992. In 1992, he was sent
to Rome for high studies. The Pontifical Lateran University in Rome
granted him a Ph.D. in moral theology in 1995. After this, he was
teacher of moral theology at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Jerusalem.
Since 1998, the Reverend Faysal Saleh Hanna Hijazen has been Vice-Rector
of this seminary.
Reverend Jamal Boulos Slelman Khader
The Reverend Jamal Boulos Slelman Khader was born in Zababdeh,
Palestine, on July 3, 1964. After he obtained a BA degree in philosophy
and a BA degree in theology, he was ordained a priest in 1988. From
1988 until 1989, he served as the assistant priest in Amman, Jordan.
He was a teacher at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Jerusalem from 1989
until 1990. In 1994, he was assigned parish priest in Wahadeh, Jordan.
From 1994 until 1998, he studied in the Gregorian University in Rome.
This university granted him a Ph.D. in dogmatic theology in 1999.
Since 1998, the Reverend Jamal Boulos Slelman Khader has been teacher of
dogmatic theology at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Jerusalem.