For the last four years Jerusalem has hosted a the Open House Jerusalem Project, which provides an opportunity for residents and tourists alike to get a glimpse inside many seldom seen historical or otherwise unique homes throughout the city.
This year, the Franciscan Convent of St. Saviour in Jerusalem, theseat of the Custody of the Holy Land, was one of several special ‘homes’ which hosted a large group of mostly Israeli Jews, including young people, families and small children.
The project is similar to other ‘open house’ initiatives found in major cities worldwide, such as London and New York, and provides visitors an opportunity to learn about the historic heritage of prominent or historical homes and buildings as well as the architectural styles and, as in this case, the unique lifestyle and character of the people who live there..
Several local administrative and cultural bodies, including the Jerusalem City Council, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Society for the Preservation of the Israeli Historical-Cultural Heritage, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
This past weekend St. Saviour’s Convent, situated in the heart of the Christian quarter within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, participated for the third time hosting almost one hundred people divided into two groups. Brother Oscar Mario Marzo guided the first and the Brother Alberto Pari was the guide of the second group. The tour included the parish church of St. Saviour, the refectory with its fine paintings and the Custodial Curia, and for the first time visitors were allowed to admire the Custody’s cellar which included wine-making equipment and large old barrels which, until the 1950s, allowed the Franciscan friars to produce the wine for all the religious families of the Holy Land.
Courtesy: Franciscan Media Center, Custody of the Holy Land
The initiative has a positive impact on connecting the local Israel public with the Christian and more particularly, Franciscan culture and lifestyle. Visitors have a unique opportunity to converse frankly and directly with the Friars and to ask questions. The dialogue helps to build bridges of mutual respect and cooperation and of course, represents a very warm gesture of Christian hospitality and fellowship.
For more information on the Franciscan Convent of St. Saviour visit the Custody website.