The Holy Land

For almost 800 hundred years, Franciscan friars have been entrusted with caring for Christian shrines and sites in the Holy Land. This cradle of our faith includes the places where Jesus was born, performed ministry, suffered and died, and triumphed over death. The Franciscans have always considered the Holy Land assignment a sacred trust — and a humbling privilege.

In 1291, the city of St. Jean d’Acre — the last remaining Crusader stronghold — fell into Muslim hands. The Franciscans of the Holy Land found refuge in Cyprus, yet they returned to the area less than four decades later. Since 1333, Franciscan friars have served as custodians of the region’s holy places.

Today, the friars ministering in the Holy Land are in: Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and the islands of Cyprus and Rhodes. There are more than 300 friars in these lands, working in collaboration with 100 sisters from various congregations. The Franciscans serve the principal shrines of the Christian faith, among them the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Annunciation in Nazareth. The work of the friars includes support of schools and missions in the Holy Land, as well as caring for refugees and other marginalized people throughout the region.

Currently two friars from the Province of St. Barbara are serving the Holy Land. To find out more about the Franciscan friars work in the Holy Land, visit: