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The Franciscans at the Holy Sepulchre


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"Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart. Lord, instill in me a faith that is unerring, a hope that is certain, a love that is perfect; a sensitivity and a knowlegde that I may accomplish your holy and true command"
(Prayer before the Crucifix by St. Francis of Assisi)

The Franciscan Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament

The Franciscan Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament
(or Chapel of the Apparition)

(in memory of Jesus' meeting with his mother after the Resurrection)

For the Franciscans of the Holy Land this is a shrine for which they have dedicated energy and life. Today at the Holy Sepulchre the Franciscans celebrate daily the Roman Catholic liturgy and assist the thousands of pilgrims that throng this site. Among the daily liturgical celebrations at this most Holy Christian site the Franciscans perform a daily procession visiting and incensing all altars and chapels while praying and singing hymns. They also celebrate the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hour. Their life is regulated by the "Status Quo" sometimes making it difficult to introduce any innovation sometimes even in the exercise of cult. It is worth noting though that all the liturgical celebrations by the Franciscans follow the Roman Catholic Rite according to the liturgical norms prescribed by the Catholic Church after Vatican Council II.

The life of the Franciscans living at the Holy Sepulchre is scheduled in a way that at various hours of the day and night praise and prayers are offered at these holy sites. The Status Quo too establishes how, when and where all the residing communities share the time and spaces for prayers. This "code" regulates not only the principal celebrations of the liturgical calendar but also the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly occurrences.

The Greeks celebrate their daily Eucharist inside the tomb of our Lord from 1.00am till 2.30am when the Armenians take over. The Franciscans on their part take over at 4.00am and terminate their services with a solemn community Eucharist at 7.00 am. For their daily prayers the Franciscans make use of the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament where they meet for the various prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours, including matins at 11.45pm.

The Franciscan Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

The Franciscan Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Excavations in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Excavations in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene
(the pillars of the Anastasis in the background
have been replaced by marble columns)



© Text prepared by John Abela ofm based on articles and research by Virgilio Corbo ofm, Michele Piccirillo ofm and Eugenio Alliata ofm
Hi-Res pictures prepared by Michael Olteanu - Other pictures prepared by John Abela ofm and Michael Olteanu
B&W pictures courtesy of SBF-Jerusalem Archives - A joint project betweeen the Franciscans and Christusrex

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Created / Updated Wednesday, December 26, 2001 at 20:31:29 by John Abela ofm
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