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The birth of Saint John the Baptist is celebrated in Ein Karem

June 24, the day when the Church celebrates the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, "the last of the prophets and the first of those who witnessed Christ the Savior" is a day of celebration in the Holy Land.

One of the most prominent villages in the history of St John the Baptist is Ein Karem. Here, in the Church dedicated to him, Br Francesco Patton celebrated the solemn Holy Mass.

The place’s past refers to the Roman and Byzantine period. For many centuries it has been revered and is decorated with paintings from the 1600s that help us to imagine how he whom the Bible describes as a man wearing a camelhair tunic, a leather belt and eating locusts and wild honey lived.

During the homily the Father Custos explained how the events lived by John the Baptist become topical in our lives. We are born, like him, by God's will and, like him, we have a call and a service: "Whatever our vocation" - he continued - "we must encourage the meeting of people with Jesus".

Friar Francis also invited the young Franciscans who are preparing for the priesthood - and who in this celebration received the ministry of the Lectorate and Accolitate - to follow the example of the Precursor of Jesus.

Br ERNESTO LOPEZ MINOLI , ofm
Convent of St Saviour
"It is a blessing to receive the grace of being able to preach the Word of God (...). Each of us must testify not only with our words, but also with life. The Word must be incarnate in us to allow us to witness in an authentic way! ".

At the end of Mass those present went in procession towards the cave that preserves the memory of the birthplace of this Desert Preacher. This event ended with the Benedictus canticle, sang for the first time by Zecharia two thousand years ago!

Br ELIVÂNIO LUIZ DA SILVA , ofm
Church of St John the Baptist
"I have been here in the Holy Land for a short time and it is an incomparable grace that I will certainly carry with me, not only now, not only today on this day of Saint John, but for all of my Christian life . Today's celebration has led me to reflect on the fact that I too, along with all of us Christians, am called to be a precursor of Jesus Christ ".

Also in Ein Karem, another place linked to the life of the 'last among the prophets and first among those who witnessed Christ the Savior' 'is the hermitage of St John in the Desert.

Br FRANCESCO WIATER, ofm
Superior of the Hermitage of St John the Baptist in the Desert
"St John, we know from the Gospel, lived in a deserted, isolated place which corresponds to the place where the convent is located, today under the custody of the Franciscans. As we know, St John the Baptist is considered the greatest among those born of women, sanctified from the womb. He retired to the desert to devote himself to prayer and penance and then announce the coming of Jesus, the Messiah ".

Here is a cave revered since the Middle Ages.

Br FRANCESCO WIATER, ofm
Superior of the Hermitage of St John the Baptist in the Desert
"Every time we wish to understand Saint John, his way of living, of thinking, of serving others, we must understand that for him everything originated in this: to love God above all things".

The second section of the Terra Sancta Museum inaugurated

The second section of the Terra Sancta Museum dedicated to the archaeological collections of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum was inaugurated at the Convent of the Flagellation in Jerusalem.

A Byzantine period cistern, an older room connected to the halls of a Crusader house and finally a splendid court with its adjacencies of the Mamluk age. The second section - the archaeological one - of the Terra Sancta Museum, inaugurated on 27 June in the presence of the Custos of the Holy Land Br Francesco Patton, the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the General Consuls of Italy and Spain, along with many other authorities.

MAN ENG
Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
Embarking on the museum's adventure means being coherent with our history as Franciscans of the Holy Land; we have loved and continue to love this land deeply and for this we have taken care of the holy places, of the shrines, for the love of the word of God and the word of God incarnated.

A journey back in time, a museum for the public that will consist of a first part in which findings from the biblical sites will be presented as objects of excavations by the Franciscan friars, and a second one, the one just inaugurated, which exhibits collections of findings sorted by theme.

MAN IT
Br EUGENIO ALLIATA, ofm
Director of the Terra Sancta Museum
This time we focused on the objects of the time of Jesus' life: shortly before, shortly after, to give an idea of what could be found in the houses of the time, and what things Jesus saw and could inspire him for his parables: the parable of the oil lamps, of the bride, of the small vases, of the minas and of the talents. We want to make people see the concreteness of the examples that Jesus presented in his teachings.

The experience that the museum proposes will help to better understand the history of Christianity and the places from which it originated. An instrument to build a bridge of peace.

MAN IT
Br FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
Personally, I believe that when people meet they can discover that they have common roots and the possibility of traveling along a stretch of road in the future, together, in mutual respect, in fraternity and in friendship.

 

Adel Nasser: When Arabic calligraphy becomes a work of art

Adel Nasser has a special ability to create authentic works of art using Arabic calligraphy. We went to learn more about his work.

The Arabic calligraphic art is the technique of writing in a codified and aesthetically unique way using the letters of the Arabic alphabet. And in Bethlehem Adel Nasser, 80, is a true master. Since his childhood he has been able to use Arabic calligraphy to transform it into art. Even today he continues his work by reproducing religious verses inspired by the sacred books.

ADEL NASSER
Calligrapher
"Arabic calligraphy is among the most beautiful in the world because it represents both beauty and art. Each letter becomes a drawing. As a Christian, I like to write: "Oh Lord ..God of Charity .. my shepherd ". As for the Koranic verses, I like the incipit: "In the name of God, the Merciful"

There are various Arabic calligraphic styles. Adel was able to use this diversity in Arabic calligraphy by producing unique designs which can be used for decorative purposes in homes and offices.

ADEL NASSER
Calligrapher
"I draw the different Arabic letters directly using gel on fabric, because this way it can last forever"

An artist who has made his home both into a laboratory and a museum to collect all his works. Expressed on paper, glass and even icons, Arabic calligraphy in his hands becomes a unique piece.

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