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© Alexander Deriev

Latin Patriarchate
of Jerusalem
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 Beit-Jala.  
 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 Religious Works.  
 
 

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 les siècles.  
 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. 
 


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© Text by Alexander Deriev
© Translation by Denis Deriev
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