The Holy See will make an important contribution for the restoration of two of the major shrines of the Holy Land. The announcement from the Vatican was received with joy and gratitude by the Custody of the Holy Land.
See below for text from the video.
Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
“This is a contribution made through the involvement of the Vatican Secretariat of State and through the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.”
“The cost for the completion of the restoration work at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem is 500 thousand dollars; an equivalent amount of 500 thousand dollars will be made available for the second phase of the work that we anticipate at the Holy Sepulcher. The work of restoration of the edicule is now completed: a second phase should involve the intervention in the area that surrounds the shrine.”
The restoration work in the Basilica of Bethlehem began in 2013; the works at the basilica of the Holy Sepulcher started in 2016.
“The work in the basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem began sooner, in 2013: we know that this is a very complex project, as it involves the renovation of the entire roof cover which was once made of lead. All the internal work related to the restoration of the truss is a huge project and requires great professionalism. An enormous restoration work was performed on the most artistic pieces (we all remember the rediscovery of the seventh angel who points to the manger).”
“As for the work of the Holy Sepulcher, we are in the final straight for the ceremony for the completion of the consolidation, restoration and rehabilitation stages. The rehabilitation was the first phase and also the first one planned.
These were fast projects, because the agreement was signed on March 22, 2016 and the ceremony for the completion of the work is to be held exactly one year later, on March 22, 2017.”
“This project was performed in the most important place for Christendom, because the shrine of the Holy Sepulcher preserves the rock on which Jesus was laid after his death, the silent witness of his resurrection.”
Both contributions will be made available through the Custody of the Holy Land, when the agreement will be signed with the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian communities, the two other Christian churches involved in the project.
“Here, we, first of all, experience the grace, the gift that God has specifically given us in these places. But we also try to make them accessible so that pilgrims can have an experience of faith.
This year, in fact, will be the eighth centenary of our presence here in the Holy Land. Therefore, this is an opportunity for us to thank God for having brought us here and having preserved us through these 800 years.”
“Every time we take care of this place, even through a physical restoration work, we make everyone aware of the importance of this site for all of us, because this place changed our history and is fundamental to our faith and our hope.”