The Franciscans at the Holy Sepulchre

Elzearn Horn

In 1342, with the approval of Pope Clement VI, the honor of protecting the Holy Places was conferred upon the Franciscans, present in the Holy Land since 1335.
Since that time the Franciscan friars have occupied the Chapel of the Apparition of the risen Jesus to his Mother. 

Fra Niccolò da Poggibonsi, who visited the Holy Land between 1346 and 1350, described the situation within the Holy Sepulchre: «At the Altar of St. Mary Magdalene the Latins are officiating, namely, the Friars Minor, who are of us, Latin Christians; because in Jerusalem and everywhere beyond the seas – in Syria, in Israel, in Arabia, and in Egypt – there are no clerics, priests or monks, other than the Friars Minor and these are called Latin Christians.»

The Russian Archimandrite Grethenios made reference to the fact that within the church, closed throughout the year with the exception of Easter celebrations and pilgrimages, there was permanently a Greek, a Georgian, a Frank (i.e., a Friar Minor), an Armenian, a Jacobite (Syrian) and an Ethiopian priest. 

It was a period of relative calm: the different Christian communities at the Holy Sepulchre managed to celebrate Holy Week services together, including the Palm Sunday procession.

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