The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel: Real Estate ...

11 downloads 0 Views 514KB Size Report
Apr 22, 2014 - on Mar Elias High School in Ibillin.49 The Greek Catholics in Israel .... The centrepiece of France's power in the Holy Land was the Notre Dame ...

This article was downloaded by: [Hebrew University] On: 22 April 2014, At: 10:55 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

Middle Eastern Studies Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel: Real Estate in Terra Sancta Seth J. Frantzman & Ruth Kark Published online: 22 Apr 2014.

To cite this article: Seth J. Frantzman & Ruth Kark (2014) The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel: Real Estate in Terra Sancta, Middle Eastern Studies, 50:3, 370-396, DOI: 10.1080/00263206.2013.871266 To link to this article:

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at

Middle Eastern Studies, 2014 Vol. 50, No. 3, 370–396,

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel: Real Estate in Terra Sancta

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

SETH J. FRANTZMAN* AND RUTH KARK** Since the 1970s the research literature has discussed and analysed the importance and contributions of the increased activities of various Christian groups to the transformations that Palestine underwent during the late Ottoman period (1800–1917).1 Most of the publications focused upon the Christian groups’ religious and ideological backgrounds, missionary activities, the political and administrative conditions under the Ottoman regime, and their relations with the great European powers. Some researchers highlighted European Christian settlement activities and architecture in the Holy Land but few related to the significant issue of land, its acquisition and ownership by different churches and Christian sects in the Middle East and Palestine, particularly during the modern era. The history of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land and its properties is a subject that has been touched on elsewhere, particularly by Medebielle.2 However, most research on the subject has either taken a short-term view, such as examining part of the nineteenth century, a regional view, such as examinations of various cities, or an institutional view, such as studies of the German-Catholics.3 Much has been written on social and political aspects of church history.4 No complete study exists that examines the question of land holdings from a long-term perspective and with a broad view of the entire Catholic Church’s actions in the Holy Land. Our study provides the first systematic longitudinal reconstruction and analysis of Catholic property in Palestine/Israel. Kark, Denecke and Goren asserted that an important component of global missionary activity and Christian expansion was the policy of land acquisition and engagement in the property market to enable settlement and to ensure reserves for future expansion, with its negative and positive implications. In Palestine, churches and missions including the Catholic Church were active land purchasers, especially from the second half of the nineteenth century onwards. There are ample records of these properties serving as sites for the planning and building of new religious and missionary institutions, businesses and settlements (churches, monasteries, schools, hospitals, orphanages, markets, agricultural estates etc.) that illuminate the ideological intent, financial sources and impact of Church real estate activities.5 Both *Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 19 Ben Maimon, Jerusalem, 92262, Israel. Email: [email protected] **Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 19 Ben Maimon, Jerusalem, 92262, Israel. Ó 2014 Taylor & Francis

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


religious and economic considerations lay behind the land acquisitions.6 Avraham Granott related to real estate investments in Palestine made by the various churches from 1863 onward.7 The churches bought and accumulated numerous plots of land, some of which were intended as investments in profitable assets. This land acquisition had an impact on the physical and cultural landscapes of the country, both urban and rural. Charles Issawi estimated that each year £400,000 (around £100 million a year at current value) in foreign capital was imported by governments and religious, civil and national societies, bodies and individuals into Palestine in the period before the First World War.8 There was a visible and ongoing impact of church and missionary enterprises on the development and infrastructure of Palestine from the 1830s onwards. Christian churches that operated in Palestine played an important role in the sphere of capital investment in real estate and development of the country in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries. This land acquisition had an impact on the rural and physical landscapes of the country.9 We have mapped the geographic distribution and extent of the Catholic Church’s lands in Palestine/Israel based on a detailed land and property survey we conducted and a synthesis of the lands owned by a variety of Catholic institutions and individuals (see Figures 1–4). Impacts in the social and cultural arena were expressed in the spheres of youth education (including influence on identity formation of the local population), adult education, women and women’s education, language, press and printing, culture, health and welfare. Studies of the physical aspects and their influence on the people, the land and the landscape have hardly been undertaken. Thus we have chosen to focus our study on the spatial context, and to reconstruct and examine the motivations of the Church and its impact on the landscape. In building on previous studies of this kind undertaken by the authors, we suggest that it is informative to emphasize a new dimension to the study of Christian Church activity in the Holy Land – that of the relationship between religion and belief systems and place or space. This paper is the fourth in a series on the study of this topic. In two papers Katz and Kark explored the Greek Orthodox Church’s accumulation of property and the internal conflict between the Arab laity and Greek clergy over that property. In another paper Frantzman, Glueckstadt and Kark analysed the Anglican Church’s process of Arabization and landholdings from the nineteenth century to the present.10 This study of the largest church landholder in Israel today differs primarily in that there was no internal struggle between the Catholic Church and its lay community. In each study we have attempted to assess the salient theme which runs through the process of land acquisition and its influence. In examining the Catholics we identified foreign support, diversity of use and diversity of ownership as key components of this process. Although this is not the only case in the Middle East and Palestine/Israel in which the heads of the church were, and sometimes remain, of a different ethnic origin and nationality from the local Arab congregation, the Catholic Church in the Holy Land has undergone a process of Arabization in recent years, with local Arab clergy replacing foreign priests. The Catholic Church’s pattern of land ownership in Palestine/Israel is in accord with its historical legacy of land and institutional development in Europe. The Catholic Church is well known for being a great owner of land globally, and it is not

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

always forthcoming with public access to its records, many of which remain closed to the greater public. In some places the Church was the largest landholder, owning, for instance, 65 per cent of the land in the Two Sicilies in southern Italy in the eighteenth century.11 The Church, due to its long history and development as both a temporal and spiritual power, provided comprehensive services (social and religious) to both its clergy and laymen. Its development in the Holy Land followed a similar pattern. The history of Catholic Church land holdings under the Ottoman, British, Jordanian (West Bank), Egyptian (Gaza) and Israeli regimes is part of a larger subject. Through the examination of the real estate aspect this research allows insights into the Church and its real estate: the mode and dynamics of real estate accumulation and ownership by the Church, the legal and political status of the Church and the spatial distribution of property. The extensive land holdings of the Catholic Church meant that it played a role and contributed to many facets of the development of modern Palestine and Israel. In terms of modernization and architecture it pioneered expansive buildings and agriculture through the penetration of European concepts and methods to the region. The Church has also played a role in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, particularly in advocating the internationalization of Jerusalem, a policy it has maintained since the British Mandate, and in its tendency to support the Palestinians. In the Church’s current contest with the Israeli authorities over exemption of its properties from taxation it continues to exercise an influence. Our interest in this paper is not in examining the role of the Church in political conflict except where it relates to property. This is an important distinction, since the Catholic Church has had a long-term official policy in the region and part of the policy has included extending its land holdings and defending those holdings. However, local clergy in Palestine have played little role in crafting the policy of the Vatican itself. Similarly, this paper does not seek to examine religious beliefs and practices, except as they relate to land purchase. Our paper focuses on religious hierarchies in their relationship to the extension of land holdings by different Catholic organizations, such as the Franciscans and Rosary Sisters, the Patriarchate and the local parishes. We examine how these organizations have played an essential role in the development of education. It is important to acknowledge that religious beliefs central to the tenants of Catholicism influence the world view and policies of the Church. However, in our research we found that only rarely, such as with the acquisition of holy sites, did beliefs play a role in the spatial-geographical considerations surrounding the land acquisition or extent of land holdings. Local Catholics, such as the Greek Catholics – who in 1931 comprised one-third of the Catholic lay community in the Holy Land, and by 1967 had almost doubled their numbers (see Table 1) – even if their practices are at odds with Latin tradition, having priestly marriage, rarely affected unique types of property ownership. Moreover, indigenous Catholic orders such as the Rosary Sisters did not develop a unique faith, and our investigation of the expansion of their educational network did not reveal that their beliefs were different from similar Catholic orders overseas. This study relies on primary and secondary sources, as well as interviews. In addition to property lists, the numerous sources included archival material from the Ottoman, British Mandate and Israeli periods and consisted of Ottoman building







35472 39% 18895 12645 171 330 3431 106 91398

28412 39% 14245 11191 323 271 2382

1931 British Census



1947 U.N Estimate




16619 51% 4113 11544

1949 Israel Census

(100000 )



1950 Clergy Estimate


35300 61% 10000 22500

Scholarly Estimate, 1967


103620^^^ 53% 27170 67000 250 100 9100

Census and estimates 2001

Sources: P. Medebielle SCJ, The Catholic Church in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1960), p.2; B. Kimmerling. ‘Process of Formation of Palestinian Collective Identities: The Ottoman and Colonial Periods’, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.36, No.2 (April 2000), pp.48–81; Bodleian Library, Oxford, CMS archive, Group 6, Vol.3 CM/072/64B, May, 1866; J.B. Barron, Palestine Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922 (Jerusalem); E. Mills, Census of Palestine 1931 (Jerusalem: Government of Palestine, 1931); ‘Supplement to a Survey of Palestine (pp.12–13) which was prepared by the British Mandate for the United Nations in 1946–7’; C. Wardi (ed.), Christians in Israel: A Survey. Ministry of Religious Affairs (Jerusalem: Government of Israel, 1950); A. Pacini (ed.), Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998); T. Daphne, Christian Communities in Jerusalem and the West Bank Since 1948 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), p.19; S.P. Colbi, A History of the Christian Presence in the Holy Land (New York: University Press of America, 1988); Census of Israel, 2005, http:// for Israel. See census  Israel Only  lncludes 42,500 in West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem (Colbi), Tsimhoni estimated that there were 29,000 in the West Bank in 1967 and around 10,000 in Jerusalem.  Of whom 3,000 were “non-Arab”  Arab Population of Israel

Total Catholic Population Percent Catholic Latin (Roman-Catholic) Greek-Catholic Syrian-Catholic Armenian Catholic Maronite Assyrian Catholic Total Christian 192000^ Total Population (Palestine or Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza) 10000000^^


1922 British Census

Table 1. The population of Catholics in the Holy Land, 1800–2010.

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel 373


including 2,000 in Gaza and 50,000 in the West Bank. lncludes 5 million Jews in Israel 2.4 million Arabs in the West Bank, 1.2 million in Israel and 1.4 million Gaza. ^^^ lncludes 15,170 Latins and 3,000 Greek-Catholics in the West Bank and Gaza Sources: The Catholic Church in the Holy Land, Peter Medebielle S.C.J. 1960. Published by the Fransiscan Printing Press. Jerusalem. 2; Charles Frazee, Catholics and Sultans 1453–1923. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1983. 308: Kimmerling, Baruch. ’Process of Formation of Palestinian Collective Identities: The Ottoman and Colonial Periods’ Middle Eastern Studies. April 2000. 36. no. 2. 48-81; Bodleian Library, Oxford CMS archive. Group 6, Vol. 3 CM 072 64B, May, 1866; Barron J.B. Palestine Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922, Jerusalem; E. Mill. Census of Palestine 1931. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. 1931;"Supplementto a Survey of Palestine (p. 12–13) which was prepared by the British Mandate for the United Nations in 1946-7";_Wardi, Chaim. ed. Christians in Israel: A Survey, Ministry of Religious Affairs. Government of Israel. Jerusalem. 1950; Pacini. Andrea ed.Christian Communities in the Arab Middle East: The Challenge of the Future, Clarendon Press. Oxford. 1998; Tsimhoni. Daphne. Christian Communities in Jerusalem and the West Bank Since 1948, p, 19: An Historical, Social, and Political Study. Praeger: Wesport. Connecticut, 1993; Colbi, Saul P. A History of the Christian PresenceþCIO in the Holy Land. University Press of America, New York. 1988; Census of Israel, 2005, http; pf_current_christians.php for Israel. See census http; hodaot2004 01_04_342e.htm. Nikola Baglin, ’Statistics of Christians in Israel and the Territories’, 2004, based on data from 2001. http; spip. php?articlel0.


Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

374 S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


permits, accounts of the British commissions of inquiry, Ottoman, British and Israeli censuses, maps and plans, clippings from the British Mandatory and Israeli newspapers, decisions of British Mandate and Israeli courts and interviews with Catholic priests. Despite the lack of direct access to the Patriarchate (post-1847) or the Vatican archives (1939), due to the variety of sources used in our study we have a sound foundation for an accurate analysis of the history and distribution of the real estate of the Church in Palestine/Israel. Through this material we have been able to reconstruct the first comprehensive maps of Catholic land holdings in Palestine/Israel. The paper is organized by period according to the different ruling regimes (Ottoman, British, Jordanian, Israeli), and examines several themes within each. We identify key personalities within each period that played an influential role in the development of Catholic properties. In contrast to the Greek Orthodox and Anglicans, the Catholic Church in the Holy Land consisted of a complex multiplicity of organizations, orders and institutions, within each of which there are layers of individuals and nationalities that guided land acquisition. While traditionally the Custody of the Holy Land, a unique Catholic institution, was the major purchaser and defender of land, an analysis of the land holdings shows that other organizations and individuals, such as the Greek Catholic bishops and various orders, played a systematic and important role in the purchase and administration of the lands. Furthermore foreign states and the local Catholic Patriarchate were important players. To systematically examine the organizations involved, we break them down by type and we break down the properties by function. We found five major types of organizations to be involved. The first is the Custody of the Holy Land, which will be discussed below. The second is the Latin Patriarchate and its system of parish churches and schools. The third group consists of the other Catholic denominations, foremost among them the Greek Catholics. Included in the fourth type are the numerous male and female orders involved in the Holy Land which together own a wealth of property and maintain a great number of institutions. The fifth type comprises various foreign states, particularly the French, and their role in land purchases. There is some overlap between these categories. Most properties that the French played a role in purchasing are maintained not by the French government but by orders that are historically connected with France, such as the White Fathers. From the standpoint of functions of the property we identify two categories: those for the use of the community and those purchased for religious or historical significance. The former properties, as will be shown, are owned primarily by the last four categories of organization and include churches, schools, hospitals, infirmaries, hospices and monasteries. Generally, unlike the Greek Orthodox, the Catholics did not invest in commercial property. Exceptions are found in the cases of the monasteries which, in several notable cases, did buy land for use as vineyards and the Greek Catholics who purchased a plethora of small plots in the Galilee. The properties whose main function is derived from a religious or historical significance were almost all acquired by the Custody of the Holy Land.12 The legal status of the churches, their organs, courts and the like is of interest insofar as it applies to the right to own land. During the period of the Crusader rule in

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

Palestine the Catholic Church had acquired immense holdings; however these were entirely lost with the return of Muslim rule in the thirteenth century. While the Franciscan order dates its ‘arrival’ in the Holy Land to 1217 its actual physical return to Mount Zion in Jerusalem occurred only in the year 1336 under the auspices of the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, who ruled Palestine at the time. The Church suffered various setbacks over the years; in one instance in 1551 the Franciscans were expelled by the Ottomans from Mount Zion, their principal base.13 From that point until 1917 the Church, under the 400 years of Ottoman rule (1517– 1917/18), extended its power and influence as it gained support from various European powers, particularly France. Competition with the Greek Orthodox Church and pressures from European backers resulted in 1757 in the Ottoman sultan issuing a firman (an imperial edict) in which the status quo over holy sites was established favouring the Greek Orthodox Church.14 The status quo, together with certain changes that were made under the Treaty of Paris (1856) and the Treaty of Berlin (1878), was the basis for the control by different religious groups and orders of the seven most significant churches in the areas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity.15 The Catholics were, from 1831,16 an officially recognized millet (an autonomous minority) of the empire, which granted it certain rights to administer the affairs of its own community. It was able to acquire land, predominantly holy sites, up until the mid-nineteenth century, through local transactions by Arab Catholic intermediaries who were Ottoman subjects, and through firmans.17 Foreign European powers, particularly France, which sided with the Ottomans against the Russians in the Crimean War (1853–56), were able to gain property concessions for the Catholics. In addition, the re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate in 1847 provided a major administrative-institutional centre for the coordination of expansion of land holdings. The Patriarch assumed the title of Grand Prior in the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, but the head of the Order and the Franciscan head of the Custody of the Holy Land were both chosen by authorities at the Vatican, meaning that influence over ownership and churches in the land were deeply influenced by Rome. The Catholic Church was able to constitute religious endowments (awqaf) for its property, but even thus registered they paid high taxes.18 Its religious personal were also, according to sources, the only permanent European residents of the country up until the first decades of the nineteenth century.19 However, until 1867 nonOttoman subjects were unable to register lands in their individual names and they could not register these in the name of their institutions or missionary societies until 1913.20 In some instances these restrictions were bypassed by working with local Catholic Arab Ottoman subjects of the empire to act as purchasers of properties, as was particularly the case with the holdings of the Rosary Sisters and the Sisters of Sion (Zion). While the millet system ended in 1914, the Catholics remained, in the British Mandate period (1918–48) and after, as one of the recognized churches entitled to certain rights, such as having a religious court. During the Jordanian period (1948– 67) the Catholics were pressured to open up their schools to Muslims.21 In Israel, from 1948 onwards, they found themselves at the centre of several property disputes with the government relating to the 1948 war.22

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

Understanding these multiple layers of legal status acquired by the Catholics over the years, and the foreign and institutional support for land purchasers, provides the context under which the Catholics laboured to acquire land. The rights gained in earlier periods, such as permission granted to the Franciscans to return to the Holy Land, and the advent of the status quo, carried over into later periods and reverberate today, as evidenced by the continued complexity of church holdings in such delicate places as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.23 With the exception of maintenance of holy sites, the process of land acquisition in the Holy Land followed the Catholic pattern of laying the foundations for providing a wide offering of services to clergy and laymen. First, beginning in the thirteenth century holy sites were acquired, usually by the Franciscans for the Custody of the Holy Land, which they administered.24 Next, beginning in the eighteenth century, the Latin Patriarchate and the Greek Catholics established or built upon existing parish churches. This was followed by the arrival of male and female monastic orders, mostly after the mid-nineteenth century, which built hospitals and administered schools and other social services (see Figure 1). The Catholics built a comprehensive church infrastructure, providing cradle to grave services for their community, places for monastic reflection for celibate clergy, and pilgrims’ services for foreign visitors. The Catholic Church’s purchases therefore followed not only a chronological pattern but also a pattern of penetration and establishment that, as will be shown, was unique among other churches (Orthodox and Protestants) operating in the area. It built upon experience acquired in Europe, Africa and the New World. Therefore, although its various organs operated individually they also worked in concert and as part of an overall pattern, an advantage that must be recalled in the coming sections. For the Franciscans, who have been the main guardians, purchasers and developers of Catholic sites in the Holy Land, ‘the presence has always been maintained’.25 In Palestine it operated through the Custody of the Holy Land, a unique organization entrusted with acquiring and managing Catholic property, particularly holy sites.26 It received official diplomatic support from the Spanish consul-general until 1847 and was traditionally headed by Franciscan friars from Italy.27 The Custody’s operations have followed one pattern from the thirteenth century to the present. It has sought to acquire holy sites and archaeological properties historically connected to the history of Christianity in the Holy Land. In the period before the nineteenth century it closely monitored political developments, seeking permission to acquire specific sites, such as the Cenacle on Mount Zion (1336) or permission to reside in Nazareth (1620), which it occupied through permission of a Mamluk Sultan and a Druze emir, respectively.28 From their base in Jerusalem the Franciscans fanned out throughout Palestine, acquiring holy sites in Ramla (Joseph’s house).29 Ein Kerem (John the Baptist),30 Gethsemane,31 Mount Tabor (site of the Transfiguration),32 the Sea of Galilee,33 Beth Sahour (Shepherd’s Fields)34 and Bethlehem.35 Frequently there was a long lapse in time between the initial purchase and the construction of a church. At Kfar Cana, for instance, the purchase was made in 1641 and a church was only consecrated in 1881. The principal reason for these land purchases were Catholic


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

Figure 1. All Catholic shrines, parishes and institutions in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, 2005. Note: Based on data from 2005 and including several parishes no longer in use. Names based on the Catholic Directory of 2005. Source: Compiled by the authors with reference to Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2005).

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

Figure 2. The parish church at Nein, 1914 (with Mount Tabor in the background). Source: Matson Collection, The Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

beliefs because the sites were mentioned in the New Testament and were part of the traditional pilgrimage route in the land. This illustrates the role that belief played in the map of Catholic land acquisitions and investment (see Figure 2). In general what we see in the nineteenth century is that the Custody targeted areas where previous acquisitions had been made, particularly in Jerusalem and its environs. For instance, acquisitions were made on the Via Dolorosa (7th station) in 1875 and 1895 (5th station). In 1880–1 the Austrian emperor provided funds for a major Catholic addition to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, named the Church of St Catherine.36 The Custody’s success in the period was generally due to several factors: persistence, foreign support and local conditions. The map of property that the Franciscans set out to acquire was already well known to them because it consisted of every site associated with the story of Christ. Security, which increasingly expanded to encompass the rural countryside of Palestine in the late nineteenth century, also made possible acquisitions that had hitherto been out of reach. During the British Mandate, and into the 1950s, the architecture of the Catholic holy sites and their Pilgrimage Churches was dominated by one man, Antonio Barluzzi, who left his mark on more than a dozen major buildings.37 In contrast to the immense investments made by the Custody in constructing these Pilgrimage

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

Churches, relatively little was done in terms of obtaining new lands. This is partly a reflection of the fact that most of the shrines associated with the life of Jesus had already been acquired. Several urban properties of the Custody in Jerusalem temporarily changed hands due to the 1948 war.38 The paucity of new purchases during the period under Israeli rule may be a reflection of the fact that there was not a great deal more the Custody wished to acquire. The decline in population of the Catholic community as a result of the 1948 war (and which subsequently increased), frosty relations between the State of Israel and the Vatican, and general suspicion by Israel of Catholic agendas in the Holy Land, may also have played a role. The Vatican was hostile to the State of Israel after 1948, along with its support of Arab policy and the Palestinian refugees. It was not until December 1993 that the Vatican recognized the State of Israel. In the year 2000 Pope Paulus visited Israel. However, hopes for closer diplomatic relations evaporated after the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000. Paradoxically, further tension arose between the Vatican and the State of Israel when the Muslims in Nazareth proposed to build a huge mosque next to the Catholic Church of Annunciation in Nazareth. The case was satisfactorily resolved for the Vatican by the Israeli government in 2002.39 Almost all of the holy sites belonging to the Catholic Church are owned by the special body known as the Custody which is under the control of the Franciscans and answers directly to the Vatican in Rome. There have been few challenges to the monopoly of the Custody, examples being the national involvement of France (i.e. at St Anne’s, a historic Crusader church in the Old City of Jerusalem) and the need to share several sites with other churches (mainly the Greek Orthodox) or other Catholic groups (such as the Greek Catholics). The extension of the Catholic presence to an ever growing list of holy sites, many recovered from a state of total abandonment, was part of a larger process in the nineteenth and early twentieth century when the development of centralized government, and foreign involvement and influence, allowed for the growth of communities in rural Palestine.40 There are three discernible processes involved in the acquisition of the holy sites. First, before 1880, is the long period of struggle to obtain rights and a foothold at the locations. Then there is the investment in construction of churches, primarily directed at creating a proper spectacle for pilgrims, which lasted from the late nineteenth century to the 1990s. The last phase is the Church’s development of the sites through archaeological research and additional construction, a process that began in the late nineteenth century and continues to this day. This section examines the land owned by the various Catholic groups in the Holy Land, principally the Greek Catholics and Latins (Roman Catholics), but also mentions the sects with a minor presence such as the Maronites, Syriacs, Armenians and Chaldeans. Since the late Ottoman period the Catholics have had a Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem and the Greek Catholics had an archbishop in Acre.41 The second largest Christian community in Palestine under the Mandate was the Catholic community which was divided into a series of diverse sects. Of its 35,578 members in 1931, 18,895 were Latin or Roman Catholic, 12,645 were Greek Catholic, and 3,431 were Maronite, with a handful of Armenian, Syrian and Assyrian (Chaldean/Iraqi)

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


Catholics.42 By 2001 the number of Greek Catholic Arab citizens of Israel was estimated to have increased to 64,000.43 In 1724 a group of Greek Orthodox in Syria split from the Greek Orthodox hierarchy and returned to communion with Rome, calling themselves Greek Catholics or Melkites.44 The members of this community, like the Latin Catholics and Greek Orthodox, are Arab.45 The pattern of property acquisition that is discernible here is that the Greek Catholics have generally first penetrated Greek Orthodox communities, such as rural villages, and then attempted to assume control over church properties or establish rival parishes. The Greek Catholics have also established monasteries for their fraternal orders, and have sought to establish control of several holy shrines. In the latter case in 1883 they purchased ruins located at the 6th Station on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem and acquired a shrine on the Mount of Olives. A discussion of several of their most prominent landholdings is essential. Through 1896 they acquired relatively little property and maintained only small churches and schools.46 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century they expanded their network of churches and through their priests, such as Gregorias Hajjar and Hanna Ibrahim, acquired thousands of dunams of land registered as awqaf. In the aftermath of the 1948 war some property, consisting primarily of agricultural and fallow land, passed into the hands of Israeli kibbutzim following its abandonment by local residents who fled due to the war.47 A list from 1950 (only for areas inside the ‘Green Line’ – Israel’s pre-1967 borders) shows 41 churches in 31 villages and five towns and nine schools owned by the Greek Catholics in Israel.48 The most recent Archbishop of Acre, Elias Chacour, has built institutions centred on Mar Elias High School in Ibillin.49 The Greek Catholics in Israel in many ways resemble the Greek Orthodox, in their demographic dispersal, their land holdings and the relative poverty of their churches and schools.50 Like the Greek Orthodox client–patron relationship with the Russians in the nineteenth century, other foreign Catholic organizations have worked over the years to establish institutions and education centres to support this local poverty-stricken church. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which was re-established in 1847, was served by industrious patriarchs over the years: Joseph Valerga (1847–72), Vincenzo Bracco (1872–89), Louis Piavi (1889–1905), Philip Camassei (1907–19) and Louis (Luigi) Barlassina (1920–47). By 1931 there were 18,895 Latin Catholics among the total of 35,472 Catholics in the Holy Land (see Table 1). PatriarchValerga was particularly energetic, adding eight new parishes to the nine existing Latin parishes.51 By 1910 parishes existed from Gaza in the south to Beisan in the north, with local Arab converts who had previously been Greek Orthodox.52 In Jerusalem, at the advent of the Mandate, they maintained 18 monasteries, two hospitals, a dozen schools (vocational and educational), a printing press, old age homes, homes for the disabled and workshops. Primarily because of foreign financial and political support, the Latin expansion far outpaced that of other churches in Palestine. During Louis Barlassina’s long Patriarchal reign from 1920 to 1947, which coincided with the period of the Mandate, the Catholic community built many new institutions including the Our Lady of the Ark monastery in Abu Ghosh (under the assumption it was Emmaus), and churches at Mt Tabor and at the Mount of the Beatitudes in the Galilee.53 Beyond these construction projects a huge plot (13,242 dunams close to the birthplace of Samson) was acquired in 1866 on which a church

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

(constructed in 1925) and a village were built in Deir Rafat (Our Lady Queen of Palestine)54 and hospices, missions and convents expanded across Palestine. The expansion into the village of Beit Jalla by the Catholics, an ongoing process from the nineteenth century, was further cemented under Patriarch Barlassina.55 The Patriarchate engaged the Mandate’s courts to protect their land holdings during the Mandate period.56 In a unique case in 1928 the Latin Patriarch purchased land (a ‘large farm’57 of 11,623 metric dunams58) at Tayasir near Nablus for which he paid 7213.50 Palestinian pounds. The seller, Haj Hassan Hammad, then attempted to take back a portion of the land. The case was decided in favour of the church in 1936.59 A small house or church was later erected in the village and according to a recent document the holdings now include a sizeable area of 20,750 dunams.60 There were disputes with the Israeli authorities over the Hebrew University’s use of Terra Sancta College in Jerusalem, at Tayasir in 1967 and in 1985. A letter from Patriarch Michel Sabbagh in 1999 claimed 4000 dunams of agricultural land in Tayasir had been harmed by the Israel Defense Army’s presence, made ‘barren’ by the ‘illegal action’.61 The Latin Catholic Church’s expansion must be understood as part of the overall expansion of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. The Patriarch established new parishes in places where converts could be obtained and also in villages where the presence overlapped with existing Greek Catholic communities. In many cases existing Greek Catholic communities were seen as highly ignorant of Catholic doctrine, and with the Greek Catholics lacking finances or the ability to extend services, the Latins sought to fill this gap. The Latin Catholic population in Israel increased from 4113 in 1949 to 14,000 in 1959. In 2001 there is an estimate of 12,000 Latin Catholic Arab citizens of Israel out of a total of around 85,000 Catholic Arab citizens in the country (not including the Palestinian Authority and east Jerusalem).62 Today, with roughly 100,000 Catholics of all groups in the country, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has witnessed an expansion of its Catholic population (see Table 1). There exist several small Catholic groups, most of which are indigenous to the Middle East or Asia and which have returned to communion with Rome. These include the Maronites (which numbered an estimated 9000 Arab citizens of Israel in 2001), Chaldeans, Syrian Catholics and Armenian Catholics.63 All of them have small amounts of property in Jerusalem while the Maronites (who have strong representation in Lebanon) have institutions in the Galilee, Haifa and Jaffa64 and the Syrian Catholics have a property in Bethlehem.65 The total amount of property owned by the minor sects is small. The increase in Catholic land holdings in the nineteenth century, and to a lesser degree in the twentieth, ran parallel with the support the church gained from western foreign powers, particularly France.66 Three processes are evident in the way the national support of foreign powers manifested itself. First the western powers helped the church to acquire property and in some cases acquired or received that property themselves. The property was a physical manifestation of the foreign countries’ own interest in Palestine. Scholar Dominque Trimbur writes that the French actions in Jerusalem in the nineteenth century ‘are also connected to France’s colonial

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


expansion which was at its height’.67 Likewise Italian investment in certain properties in the 1930s was an attempt to project Mussolini’s power abroad. The purchase of properties also went hand in hand with support and acquisition by various male and female monastic orders. The orders were themselves generally national in nature and support for them and acquisition of land by them was sometimes part of the larger pattern of national involvement. ‘A large proportion of the properties belonging to the Latin community are held by Roman Catholic religious Orders who come under the ecclesiastical authority of the Patriarch but hold their properties independently.’68 This letter, from the period of Mandate illustrates the influential and important role the various Catholic orders had in land ownership. For instance, in the nineteenth century the White Fathers and Assumptionists both played a key role in France’s policy in Palestine while in the early twentieth century the Salesians were strongly supported by Italy.69 The foreign powers also worked through private groups set up to promote and acquire properties in the Holy Land. Here we find the National Association to Aid Italian Missionaries (Associazione Nazionale per Soccorrere i Missionari Italiani, founded 1887) and the Deutsche Verein vom heiligen Land (founded 1895). Sometimes the relationship between national powers and institutions overlapped in an academic framework, as is the case with the Ecole Biblique, a French academic establishment founded in Jerusalem by the Dominicans in 1890. However, as will be shown, the overlapping interests of nations and monastic orders also intersected with the particular interests of the Latin Patriarchate, the Greek Catholics and indigenous Catholic monastic orders, such as the Rosary Sisters (see below). Competition and collaboration both occurred. For instance, Trimbur relates that the French government first asked ‘permission’ from the Custody of the Holy Land and the Latin Patriarch before acquiring land to build the massive French pilgrimage centre Notre Dame which was to be run by French Assumptionist monks in Jerusalem. Monasteries were established in rural and urban settings and catered generally to their monks and nuns. They also provided educational and humanitarian services. The Custody’s mandate, to acquire and run Holy Sites, also did not conflict with the interests of other Catholic organizations or their national supporters. This section begins by examining the five foreign powers (France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain), which played a role in the development of Catholic properties in the Holy Land. It then examines the role of specific monastic orders in land purchases, examining the functions and geographical elements of the orders’ acquisitions. We analyse these against the background of different regimes in which the orders and national interests operated. France was the protector of the Catholic community in the Holy Land until 1905,70 despite its own secular revolutionary history. Its status, which was backed up with force in the Crimean War, meant it played a special role in securing property to extend its influence in Palestine. The pattern of French acquisitions was for the state to intervene to support specific purchases and then turn over the property to different orders which were traditionally connected to France, particularly the White Fathers, Assumptionists and Benedictines. While the French role is the most important historically, it has also been extensively covered elsewhere by scholars.71 Due to constraints of space we have therefore chosen to focus on the other foreign powers. A general summary of the French role should suffice.

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

The first major acquisition took place within the context of the Crimean War (1853–56). As a reward for its support the Ottoman Empire gave France the site of the ruins of St Anne’s church near Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem. It also became the centre of an educational institution geared towards Greek Catholics. In 1868 France continued its acquisition of property in Jerusalem when Princess Aurelie de Bossi de’Auvergne, whose relatives had served the king of Piedmont, acquired, through an imperial firman, ruins (Pater Noster) on the Mount of Olives and gave it to France.72 The centrepiece of France’s power in the Holy Land was the Notre Dame pilgrimage complex overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. When it was completed in 1904 it could hold 600 pilgrims and was the largest single building in Jerusalem.73 France also constructed a hospital (St Louis) and church (Gallicantu) in Jerusalem on lands acquired by Baron (sometimes referred to as Count) Marie Amedee de Piellat, an otherwise unimportant French nobleman who had deep religious convictions.74 Austria was a Catholic power, but one whose influence in the Holy Land consistently lagged behind Italy, France and Germany.75 The Austrians desired to secure a foothold in Jerusalem, and under pressure from the Franciscans who feared the Latin Patriarchate’s encroachments, they acquired a property in 1855 on El Wad Street in the Old City of Jerusalem. This became the Austrian Hospice, which would pass from Austrian government ownership, through two world wars and Jordanian nationalization, to the Austrian Catholic Church in 1985.76 In 1869 Bernhard Graf Caboga-Cerva, a Knight of Malta and Austrian consul in Jerusalem, purchased land at Tantur, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in his own name. Emperor Franz Joseph and Pope Pius IX provided support for the building of a hospital at the site. A firman confirming the property’s registration was obtained from the Sublime Porte in 1876. After briefly being run by the Salesians the property was sold to the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in 1966.77 In 1882 Father Philip Wagner purchased a plot of 20.5 dunams at Umm el Qasab next to Nazareth. Father Othmar Mayr of the Hospitaller of St John of God (an Austrian order) developed and acquired more land for the Holy Family Hospital. It sold 37 hectares (370 dunams) to the French Sisters of St Joseph in 1901. It was confiscated during the two world wars, and finally transferred to an Italian arm of the order in 1959.78 The Austrians, under Father Georges Gatt, former head of the Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem, founded the parish in Gaza in 1879. He remained there until 1915. The Gaza parish prospered after 1948 following the arrival in Gaza of Palestinian refugees. As for the Latins originally from Gaza, they were few.79 Unlike the French government, which used its influence with the Ottomans to obtain lands and then turned them over to French orders to run, the German Catholics operated primarily through the Deutsche Verein vom heiligen Land.80 The organization was founded in 1895 as an amalgam of two other German Catholic groups. Initially it came under the control of the Latin Patriarchate before being transferred to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Cologne. Official interest in the Holy Land by Germany, which had only been unified in 1871, was directed more at the Protestants and Jews, the former being a majority in the German Empire.81 Prior to unification the Bavarian king had been the main German benefactor of the Custody.82 However, two German Catholic orders, the Borromean Sisters, who had arrived in the Holy Land in 1886, and the Lazarist Brothers, who arrived in 1904, worked alongside German interests in the Holy Land.83

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


Several German clergy played an important role in acquiring land. In 1876 Father Ladislaus Schneider from Silesia acquired land at Qubeiba (Beit Emmaus), which became the Monastery of Emmaus and an agricultural boys’ school. He also established a Catholic hospice and girls’ school (Talitha Kumi) in Jerusalem.84 In 1899 Father Wilhelm Schmidt acquired land in Jerusalem, near Damascus Gate, which became known as St Paulus Hospice and included a teacher’s college, boys’ school, girls’ school (Schmidt’s School85) and hospice (completed in 1910).86 It was later turned over to the Borromean Sisters and Lazarist Brothers and the ownership was transferred to the Deutsche Verein vom heiligen Land. In 1898, on the occasion of the Kaiser Wilhelm II’s visit, and the strengthening of the ties between Germany and the Ottoman Empire, the sultan gave the Germans land on Mount Zion that became the Dormition Abbey (Hagia Maria Sion, completed 1910) and which was turned over to the Verein society.87 The Abbey, run by the Benedictines, was used by the Israeli army from 1948 to 1967, during the period of Jordanian control over east Jerusalem.88 The Verein also acquired stores in Haifa during the Mandate which became a point of contention with Israel after the war when Cologne’s archbishop sued for their return.89 One interesting site established in the Galilee is Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee. Tabgha generated great interest among Christian travellers because it was proximate to sites where Jesus performed several miracles and was mentioned in the accounts of mid-nineteenth century researchers Edward Robinson and Victor Guerin.90 In 1885 a German named Franz Keller took an interest in the land and the subsequent year secured its purchase.91 Throughout the 1890s lands were added (i.e. the ruins of the Byzantine Church of the Loaves and Fishes) so that a pilgrim hostel and chapel were developed along with a farm that included a ‘local workforce’.92 The site was given to the Lazarists to run and ownership was transferred to the Verein. The total area of the Tabgha site was 140 dunams.93 The site was confiscated following 1948 and some land owned near Tabgha (across the Rosh Pina road) was sold to Israel for 500,000 German Marks in 1953.94 The remaining property was returned to the Verein in the 1990s.95 Italy, which took its modern form around 1870, tended to have a large number of religious members of various male and female orders in the Holy Land.96 They were supported by Pope Pius IX by the appointment of Vincenzo Bracco who was from the village of Torrazza in Italy (Valerga had been a Sardinian whose appointment was acceptable to France).97 In general the Italians supported the work of the Salesians and worked through the National Missionary Aid Society (NMAS) which was established in Turin in 1887 to promote Italian interests in the Holy Land.98 The Italians constructed a hospital in Jerusalem, designed by Barluzzi, on land acquired after 1910 and which was completed in 1920.99 It was placed under the control of the Italian NMAS, which also built a hospital in Haifa and a school in Jerusalem (run by the Salesians).100 Another intriguing Italian project, also designed by Barluzzi, was the church built at the Mount of Beatitudes in 1937 on property of the NMAS. The project has often been interpreted as a nationalist endeavour to project Mussolini’s influence in the Middle East.101 For a country that had been the sine qua non of Catholic activity in the world, Spain played a very marginal role in acquiring property or supporting organizations engaged in the process. Cuinet, for instance, does not mention Spain at all, even though he details the activities of the other Catholic powers, in his monumental

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

work. Spain invested some money in various, unrecorded Catholic organizations in Palestine in the nineteenth century but gave up claims to these following the First World War.102 While Spaniards did serve in various orders the paucity of activity is best explained by the poverty and national emergencies that afflicted Spain at the time.103 Spain did own a monastery in Jaffa that was run by the Franciscans and, prior to Napoleon, had rights to a monastery in Ramla.104 An institution, whose name is unknown, in Spain also developed a small property in the 1930s for the Montserat monastery in Talbieh (opposite the Belgian consulate) which after the 1948 war was sold by its Spanish owners to private parties.105 Francoist Spain initially envisioned increased interest in the Holy Land in the 1940s but does not seem to have invested in any projects.106 The role of the European foreign powers and their governments is most pronounced in Jerusalem but also exists in the environs of the holy city (Abu Ghosh, Qubeiba and Tantur), at Nazareth, Haifa and around the Sea of Galilee. In general France was the main power to actively take title in its own name while the other powers worked through private societies. All the organizations collaborated with monastic orders whose mother institutions were in their home countries. The activities of the nations also reflected the larger context of colonial rivalries, relations with the Ottoman Empire and struggle for influence with Latin institutions such as the Patriarchate. Prior to 1900 two dozen male and female orders arrived or were founded in the Holy Land. First to come were the Franciscans and Carmelites (1631) and then the Maronite Order (Baladites), the Greek Catholic Basilians, Christian Brothers (La Salle-Freres), Assumptionists, White Fathers, Dominicans, Betharram, Our Lady of Sion, Salesians, Carmelites (female), Rosary Sisters, Sisters of the Poor Clares and the Sisters of Nazareth, to name a few. By 2005 there were 31 male orders, and 71 female orders, with 86 male houses, 221 female houses and 1500 brothers and sisters combined (see Figure 3).107 Many of the orders had and have specific mandates that they engage in; the Franciscans run and develop holy sites, the Brothers of La Salle and Rosary Sisters run educational facilities; the Trappists and Salesians are involved in agriculture. The Patriarchs have been influential in recruiting and encouraging the activities of specific orders. Valerga, for instance, recruited the Francophone Sisters of St Joseph, Nazareth and Our Lady of Sion (Zion) as part of his support of French interests.108 Bracco gave the brothers of La Salle land to build a school in Jerusalem in the 1870s.109 There is a direct parallel here with the activities of the Anglican bishops in the period who patronized different missionary orders to meet their needs. The male orders contain several large landowning bodies. The Franciscans are the most prominent and largest Catholic land and property owning order. In 1949 the order possessed 85 churches, 40 sanctuaries, 58 convents, 36 parochial churches, and hospitals and orphanages concentrated in 25 centres.110 It is not clear what the total land area of the orders is and without access to the archives of all the orders it would be impossible to determine since ownership and use/occupancy do not always overlap. Only an estimate can be made, as we have attempted to do below. Three groups established picturesque rural monasteries: the Carmelites, the Salesians and the Trappists. Laurence Oliphant recorded in 1887 that ‘a great

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

Figure 3. Number of Catholic male and female orders established in the Holy Land, 1217–2005. Source: Compiled by the authors with reference to Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2005).

portion of the house property in the town of Haifa is owned by the monks of Mount Carmel who consider the whole of Carmel, from the monastery at the western extremity of the mountain to their chapel at the Place of Eliyah’s Sacrifice at the other end, as a sort of private preserve’.111 The Trappists in Israel founded a monastery at Latrun in 1890 and acquired extensive land for vineyards, some of which is currently leased to the Jewish-Arab village of Neve Shalom.112 The Salesians constructed the Cremisan monastery near Jerusalem on 800 dunams purchased in 1882 and founded the Beit Jimal monastery and boys’ agricultural school in 1878 on 5000 dunams.113 A few female orders are of special interest. The Sisters of St Joseph, who concentrate on health and education, arrived in the Holy Land in 1848 with a mandate to educate local Arab Catholics. They constructed the French Hospital and St Joseph’s Hospital in Jerusalem and ran a girls’ school and orphanage in the Old City of Jerusalem.114 The Daughters of Charity St Vincent de Paul (Les Filles de la Charite), who are French, built a convent on King Solomon Street in Jerusalem named the Convent of St Vincent de Paul (constructed 1886–1911).115 In 1887 they founded a hospital and orphanage in Bethlehem, in 1890 a boarding school and orphanage in Haifa (Sacred Heart), in 1898 a French hospital at Nazareth.116 The Rosary Sisters (Soeurs de Rosarie) Order is a unique indigenous order of Arab nuns founded in 1880 by Sister Sultane Ghatas Danil and Father Yusuf Tannous.


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

They built a convent on Mamila (Agron) Street in Jerusalem in the 1880s, expanded it in the Mandate period, and acquired and built a convent in Ein Kerem in 1910.117 By 2005 they were by far the largest Catholic female order in the Holy Land with 22 (44 in the Middle East) properties consisting of houses, schools and convents with 166 sisters.118 The Catholic Church was seemingly a latecomer to purchasing property, when it began acquiring larger tracts of lands (such as at Deir Rafat); the Greek Orthodox had already pioneered such purchases.119 The Catholics preferred, initially, to concentrate on establishing firm control over the Holy Sites. After the Crimean War they embarked on a massive building programme.120 Despite the relatively large extent of the Greek Orthodox holdings their lands were rarely developed, or were leased to others, whereas the Catholics concentrated on institution building and creating a comprehensive vertical and horizontal system of support for their communities, religious orders and pilgrims. The result is that in 2011 they ran in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza 70 schools, 99 parishes, 15 chaplaincies, 112 monastic institutions occupying 323 different monasteries with 1731 members and 14 specialized schools, 12 hospitals, 11 charitable organizations, 39 shrines, 44 pilgrims’ centres and 13 additional institutions.121 The result is extensive property ownership. Just in the Jerusalem region there are currently 30 Catholic schools run by 17 groups including the Patriarchate, the Greek Catholics, the Custody, Rosary Sisters and Freres. The schools have expanded to serve newly established wealthy Muslim/Christian areas, such as in Beit Hanina.122 Continued expansion of facilities occurs as well, with the opening of churches (Taybeh, 1971) and old people’s homes (Beit Afram, Taybeh, 2005) along with other construction projects at a dozen locations.123 By 2005 six different Catholic churches were located in Jerusalem (Latins, Greek Catholics, Maronites, Syrians, Armenians and Chaldeans). The total area in metric dunams owned by them is complicated to calculate given the lack of full information, but for the Jerusalem area Kark and Katz came up with an estimate of 11,625 dunams in 1951.124 Given the other properties we identified, including our own estimates of the sizes of numerous small properties, the total Catholic land holdings are assessed at a minimum of 50,785 dunams, including the lands of the monasteries, such as Beit Jimal (5000), Deir Rafat (13,000),125 Latrun (1000), Cremisan (800) and at the Mount of Beatitudes (2095) and Tabgha (140). This excludes the properties that were sold over the years, primarily in the 1950s (Figure 4). The Catholic Church’s policy regarding its lands has been to transfer ownership from one Catholic organization to another or allow different institutions to run institutions owned by other Church organs; the Benedictines, for instance, run a number of properties that they do not own. Defending the properties that were acquired has remained a high priority even with the decline in the Catholic population in the West Bank and the scant number of religious personnel residing at some Catholic institutions.126 In several rare cases Catholic properties, such as the old Lazarist monastery in Jerusalem, have been leased and sub-leased for non-ecclesiastical purposes. In other cases, as at Domus Galilaeae, a new Catholic pilgrimage complex near the Mount of Beatitudes, new properties are being developed. This is in contrast to the Greek Orthodox who acquired huge swaths of land only to sell or lease many of

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel


Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

Figure 4. All Catholic land holdings identified by the authors. Notes: Names based on the Catholic Directory of 2005. ‘[]’ indicates properties that have been sold or rented or whose present status is unknown. Source: Based on authors’ research in addition to that carried out by I. Katz. See Figure 1.

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark

them over the years. The impressive total Greek Orthodox holdings in 1921 were estimated by Katz and Kark at 36,779 dunams.127 The total amount of land owned by the Anglican Church is estimated to be less than 500 dunams while Kark and Katz estimated that the Russian Orthodox Church purchased ‘hundreds of dunams’ in Palestine before 1917.128 The Catholic holdings are therefore similar in size or even larger than the lands of all the other churches in the Holy Land combined.129 The spatial distribution of the Catholic landholdings is not the same throughout the country. As shown in Figure 4, the Church’s largest holdings, which constitute well over half of the total, are in rural areas. This map represents an important contribution of this research. Except for the large area of Tayasir, which is an outlier, these holdings are mostly in the hands of the large rural monasteries. In terms of total number of holdings the largest concentration is in Jerusalem and its immediate environs, with at least 121 individual plots. The next largest concentrations are at Bethlehem and Nazareth with about 50 individual plots in each location. There are also other smaller concentrations of holdings around the Sea of Galilee, in Jaffa, Acre and Haifa and its environs. As mentioned previously, the Greek Catholic Church owns around 300 agricultural plots in the Galilee as well. In comparison to the Greek Orthodox and the Anglicans, the Catholics built a complete church infrastructure, providing cradle to grave services for their community, places for monastic reflection for celibate clergy, and pilgrims’ services for foreign visitors. Christian churches that operated in Palestine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries played, and continue to play, an important role in the sphere of capital investment in real estate and development of the country. The development of Catholic real estate took place against a background of imperial struggles between the Ottomans and European powers. The French and other powers exploited their relations with the Ottoman Porte to gain access to sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere. A multilayered effort by indigenous Arab Catholics, the Franciscan-run Custody, the Latin Patriarch, various male and female orders, and foreign powers succeeded in securing an extensive amount of real estate during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Some of the Catholic properties are situated in up-scale real estate markets, such as Talbieh and Baka’a in Jerusalem and some of their agricultural land, such as at Latrun, is also of great value in a country where such land is scarce. Since recent sales of agricultural land in Israel range from $10,000 to $15,000 per dunam,130 and properties in towns cost considerably more, the value of the land alone inside Israel’s Green Line could be, at a minimum, $250-500 million. While various aspects of these acquisitions are comparable to the Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Russian acquisitions, in its totality the Catholic Church’s role in the landscape was larger and more diverse on almost all levels. The imprint of those efforts on the urban and rural landscape, which were at their height between 1880 and 1950, continues to this day.

Notes 1.

C.P. Issawi, The Economic History of the Middle East, 1800–1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), pp.272–3; R. Kark, ‘Missionary Societies in the Holy Land in an International Context’ (in English), in J. Eisler (ed.), Deutsche Pal€ astina und ihr Anteil an der Modernisierung des

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel

2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.


12. 13. 14.



Landes (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2008), pp.14–29; R. Kark, ‘The Impact of Early Missionary Enterprises on Landscape and Identity Formation in Palestine, 1820–1914’, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, Vol.15, No.2 (2004), pp.209–35; R. Kark, ‘The Introduction of Modern Technology into the Holy Land, 1800–1914’, in T.E. Levy (ed.), The Archaeology of Society in the Holy Land (London: Leicester University Press, 1995), pp.524–41; R. Kark, ‘Transportation in Nineteenth-Century Palestine: Reintroduction of the Wheel’, in R. Kark (ed.), The Land That Became Israel: Studies in Historical Geography (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991), pp.57–76; R. Kark, D. Denecke and H. Goren, ‘The Impact of Early German Missionary Enterprise in Palestine on Modernization and Environmental and Technological Change, 1820–1914’, in M. Tamcke and M. Marten (eds.), Christian Witness between Community and New Beginnings. Modern Historical Missions in the Middle East (Munster: LIT-Verlag, 2006), pp.145–76; R. Kark and N. Thalmann, ‘Technological Innovation in Palestine: The Role of the German Templers’, in H. Goren (ed.), Germany and the Middle East – Past, Present and Future (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2003), pp.201–24; N. Friedrich, U. Kaminsky and R. Loffler (eds.), The Social Dimension of Christian Missions in the Middle East: Historical Studies of the 19th and 20th Centuries (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2010). P. Medebielle SCJ, The Catholic Church in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 1960). A. O’Mahony, ‘The Religious, Political and Social Status of the Christian Communities in Palestine, c. 1800–1930’, in A. O’Mahony (ed.), The Christian Heritage in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Scorpion Cavendish, 1995), p.165; B. Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Galilee (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2001). Z. Gavriel, ‘Catholics and Protestants in Jerusalem and the “Return of the Jews to Zion, 1948– 1988”‘ (PhD thesis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1992). Kark et al., ‘The Impact of Early German Missionary Enterprise’. R. Kark, ‘Changing Patterns of Landownership in Nineteenth-Century Palestine: The European Influence’, Journal of Historical Geography, Vol.10 (1984), pp.362–65; A.M. Abu-Bakr, Mulkiyya al-Arad ̣i fi Mutas ̣arifiyya al-Quds, 1858–1918 [Land Ownership in the Jerusalem District, 1858– 1918] (Amman: Abd al-Hamid Shuman Institute, 1996) (in Arabic); ‘Arif al-Arif, al-Mufassal fi-ta’arikh al-Quds [Detailed History of Jerusalem], 2nd ed. (Jerusalem: Al-Ma’arif Press, 1406 AH [1987]); A. al-Rahim b. al-Husayn and S. Sa’adawi (eds.), Al-Kanis al-Arabiyya fi al-Sijill al-Kanisi al-’Uthmani 1869–1922 [The Arab Churches in the Ottoman Churches 1869–1922] (Amman: Al-Ma’ad al-Maliki Lidirasat Diniyya – The Royal Institute for Religion Studies), 1998) (in Arabic). A. Granott, The Land System in Palestine (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1952, translated from the Hebrew 1949 edition). A. Carmel, German Settlement in Palestine at the End of the Ottoman Period (Jerusalem 1973) 4–5 (Hebrew), Carmel, German Settlement, p.39; C. Issawi (ed.), The Economic History of the Middle East 1800–1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), pp.272–3. Granott, The Land System in Palestine. S. Frantzman, B.W Gleukstadt and R. Kark, ‘The Anglican Church in Palestine and Israel: Colonialism, Arabization and Land Ownership’, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.47 (2011), pp.101–26; I. Katz and R. Kark, ‘The Church and Landed Property: The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem’, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.43 (2007), pp.383–408; I. Katz and R. Kark, ‘The GreekOrthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem and its Congregation: Dissent over Real Estate’, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.37, No.4 (Nov. 2005), pp.509–34. C. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000–1700 (London: Methuen, 1981), p.57; R.B. Smith, Land and Politics in England of Henry VIII: The West Riding of Yorkshire: 1530–46 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970). The Custody also acquired and ran several dozen Terra Santa schools. M.A. Yonah, The Saga of the Holy City (Jerusalem: n.p., 1954), p.40. O. Peri, Christianity under Islam in Jerusalem: The Question of the Holy City in Early Ottoman Times (Leiden: Brill, 2001), p.203; R. Degani, ‘Notzrim ve-Natzrut be-Eretz Yisrael’ (unpublished manuscript, Kibbutz, Nir-David, 1980s), p.398. S. Berkovich, ‘The Legal Status of Holy Places in the Land of Israel’ (PhD thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1997), p.3.

392 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

21. 22.

23. 24. 25. 26.

27. 28.

29. 30.

31. 32.

33. 34. 35. 36. 37.

38. 39.

S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark Several Catholic uniate denominations, such as Armenian-Catholics, received official recognition in 1831. ‘Statement of H. Budeir’, advocate, no date, Israel State Archive [ISA] RG 22/3380/LD54-1. A. Granott, The Land System in Palestine (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1952, translated from the Hebrew 1949 edition). Ibid. The legislation regarding the restriction was cancelled in 1856 but in practice it ended only in 1867. Kark, ‘Changing Patterns of Landownership in Nineteenth-Century Palestine’, p.357; R. Shaham, ‘Christian and Jewish Waqf in Palestine During the Late Ottoman Period’, The New East, Vol.32 (1989), pp.58–62. This process had begun to a limited extent under the British. U. Bialer, Cross on the Star of David: The Christian World in Israel’s Foreign Policy 1948–1967 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2005); E. Vitta, ‘Legal Status of Christian Communities in Israel’, in C. Wardi (ed.), Christians in Israel: A Survey (Jerusalem: Ministry of Religious Affairs, 1950), p.31; Medebielle, The Catholic Church, p.15. R. Cohen, Saving the Holy Sepulchre: How Rival Christians came together to Rescue their Holiest Shrine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). O. Peri, Christianity under Islam in Jerusalem: The Question of the Holy City in Early Ottoman Times (Leiden: Brill, 2001), p.203. Custody of Holy Land, (accessed 15 Jan. 2011). P. Sabatier, Life of St. Francis of Assisi (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919), particularly chapter 8, pp.105–30; A. Arce, ‘The Custody of the Holy Land’, Christian News From Israel, Vol.XIX, No.1–2 (May 1968), pp.31–43. Commissioner on Special Building, unsigned letter, July 1938, ISA RG22/2783/3570, p.2. J. Drory, ‘Yerushalayim be-Tkufat ha-Mamlukim’, Cathedra, Jerusalem (1981), p.213; M. al-Din alHanbali, al-Uns al-Jalil Bita rich al-Quds wal-Khalil (Bulaq: n.p., 1283), p.443, www1/ofm/san/TSsion004.html (accessed 12 Aug. 2010); A. Mansour, Narrow Gate Churches (Pasadena, CA: Hope Publishing, 2004), pp.275–6. B. Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of the Samaria (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2001), p.191. E. Schiller and G. Barkai, Guide to the Christian Historical Sites and Holy Places in Israel (Jerusalem: Ariel, 1992), p.67. The date of 1821 is also given by C.R. Conder and H. Kitchener, Survey of Western Palestine, 3 vols. (London: Palestine Exploration Fund, 1880), Vol.3, p.20. This is the site of the Church of John the Baptist, initially erected by Franciscans in 1674 with support from the king of Spain. Mansour, Narrow Gate Churches, pp.275–6. This later became the Church of the Visitation, additions were made to the church by architects Vagarini in 1941, Bigoti in 1943 and finally completed by Barluzzi in 1954, track_info.asp?lng¼eng&track_id¼91 (accessed 4 Dec. 2010), later the Catholics would enclose it with a wall. Y. Ben-Arieh, Jerusalem: The New City (Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi, 1986), p.36; No author, ‘Antonio Barluzzi and the Pilgrimage Churches’, Arxitecture, htm; (accessed 6 June 2010); Schiller and Barkai, Guide to the Christian Historical Sites and Holy Places in Israel, p.110; The St Peter’s Primacy site was not developed until the 1890s, despite its acquisition in the seventeenth century. Ibid. Conder and Kitchener, Survey, Vol.3, p.29. Schiller and Barkai, Guide to the Christian Historical Sites and Holy Places in Israel, p.83. Ibid., p.83. M. Halevi, ‘Religious Symbols and Politics: Symbols on the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth’ (MA thesis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2004), pp.3–5; Ben-Arieh, Jerusalem: The New City, p.297. D. Kroyanker, Talbieh, Katamon and the Greek Colony (Jerusalem: Keter, 2002), p.100; Father Athanasius, Custody of the Holy Land, Interview by Seth J. Frantzman, 23 March 2011. Bialer, Cross on the Star of David.

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel 40.

41. 42. 43. 44.

Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


46. 47. 48.

49. 50. 51. 52.



55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63.


S.J. Frantzman, ‘The Arab Settlement of Late Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine’ (PhD thesis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2011); Kark, ‘Changing Patterns of Landownership in Nineteenth-Century Palestine’. S. Colbi, Christianity in the Holy Land (Tel Aviv: Am Hasefer, 1969), p.111. E. Mills, Census of Palestine (Jerusalem: Government of Palestine, 1931). N. Baglin, ‘Statistics of Christians in Israel and the Territories’, 2004, ( spip.php?article10 (accessed 23 April 2012). There were conflicts however; see British Consul in Jerusalem James Finn to Lord J. Russel, 30 Aug. 1859, ‘Greek Catholics and Synod of Zahle’, Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, Finn Archive, Section C, Diplomatic Correspondence, Letters; T. Philipp, ‘Class, Community and Arab Historiography in the Early 19th Century – the Dawn of a New Era’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.16 (1984), pp.161–75. No author, Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land 2006 (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2006). Parishes include: Haifa, Ailaboun, Akko, Arrabeh, Be’neh, Bouke’a, Deir Hanna, Fassouta, Horfeish, Ibillin, Isfia, Yafia (Jaffa of Nazareth), Jish, Jedaideh, Kafr Canna, Kafr Yasif, Maghar, Makr, Mara’a, Mi’lya, Mouqeibleh, Nazareth, Rameh, Reneh, Isfyia, Shafa’amr, Tarshiha, Tiberias, Tour’an, Rameh and Zababdeh. Also Jaffa, Jerusalem. See also ‘Greek Catholic Church’, (accessed 5 May 2010). V. Cuinet, Syrie Liban et Palestine: Geographie Administrative (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1896). Some of it was sold or confiscated as part of Israel’s Abandoned Property Law. Archbishop Hakim to Moshe Levin, Absentee Property, 24 Jan. 1955, ISA 17/5804/98. Rev. B. Laham, ‘Greek-Catholic Community’, in Wardi (ed.), Christians in Israel: A Survey, pp.35, 40; Wardi, Christians in Israel: A Survey, p.9; Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of the Samaria, p.124; St Anthony’s College Library, Events, 25 July 1921, Private Papers, Oxford. Greek Catholic church constructed in Maalul in 1917; the Sursuks were Greek Orthodox Lebanese landlords who owned much of the Jezreel valley in the nineteenth century. Now including a kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, college and university. See Bellarmino Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Judeae and the Negev (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2001). Latins first arrived in Taybeh in 1860, the church was redone in 1971. The Greek Catholics also built a church before 1964. The Latin group grew from 130 in 1860 to 285 in 1972, Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of the Samaria, p.41. For more detail see Colbi, Christianity in the Holy Land, p.121. D. Tsimhoni, ‘The Arab Christians and the Palestinian Arab National Movement During the Formative Stage’, in G. Ben-Dor (ed.), The Palestinians and the Middle East Conflict (Haifa: Turtledove, 1976), p.85. Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Judeae, p.116; the land was bought by the Patriarchate through Najib Abu Suan, a Christian from Jerusalem, it was later offered to the Trappists before the Sisters of St Dorothea agreed to build an institution there; D. Ayalon, ‘Between the Village and the Monastery, Rafat and Deir Rafat’, seminar paper, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Jerusalem, 2007); Village Statistics (Jerusalem: Government of Palestine, 1945). Colbi, Christianity in the Holy Land, p.120. O.I. Suleiman and 16 others v. Latin Patriarchate, Civil Appeal No.156 of 1942, The Law Reports of Palestine 1942 (London: Waterlow, 1943), p.641. Colbi, Christianity, in the Holy Land, p.120. ‘Final Copy of lands registered by the Latin Patriarch in Tayasir Village’, Jerusalem, 15 Jan. 1999, Charly Saleh, Legal and Endowments Depts, in author’s possession, unknown original source. Supreme Court No.1/36, Hamadi v. Barlassina, Collection of Judgements: The Courts of Palestine (Tel Aviv: Rotenberg, 1937), pp.340–50. The owner is referred to as Albatriyarkia Allatinyah, i.e. ‘The Latin Patriarch’, ‘Tayasir Village Profile’, ARIJ, Feb. 2006, Patriarch M. Sabbagh to Prime Minister Ehud Barack, 14 Sept. 1999, He sources, Military Order # 1978, dated 18 March 1999. Baglin, ‘Statistics of Christians in Israel and the Territories’. Ibid.

394 64.

65. 66.


Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

68. 69.



72. 73.

74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79.



S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land 2006. Present parishes include Haifa, Acre, Nazareth, Isfia, Jerusalem and Jaffa; D. Tsimhoni, Christian Communities in Jerusalem and the West Bank Since 1948 (Jerusalem: Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace 2002), p.19. Consecrated by the Syriac Patriarch Cardinal Tappouni, Colbi, Christianity in the Holy Land, p.120. Z. Shilony, ‘Un mecene catholique: le comte de Piellatet les communautes francaises de Terre sainte’, in D. Trimbur and R. Aaronsohn (eds.), De Bonaparte a Balfour: La France, l’Europe occidentale et la Palestine 1799–1917 (Jerusalem: CRFJ Melanges du Centre de recherche francais de Jerusalem, 1999), p.263. D. Trimbur, ‘A French Presence in Jerusalem’, Bulletin du Centre de recherch e francais de Jerusalem, Vol.3 (Autumn 1998), p.123. Commissioner on Special Building, unsigned letter, July 1938, ISA RG22/2783/3570, p.2. S. Minerbi, ‘Le’Italie Contre le Protectorat Religieux Francais en Palestine 1914–1920’, Asian and African Studies, Vol.4 (1996), pp.23–56; S.I. Minerbi, ‘L’Italie e la Palestine, 1914–1920’, Publications de la Facult e des lettres et sciences humaines de Paris-Sorbonne. S er. Recherches, Vol. 1; S. Minerbi, ‘Italian Economic Penetration in Palestine, 1908–1919’, in M. Maoz (ed.), Studies in Palestine during the Ottoman Period (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1975), pp.466–82. In 1905 France accepted that Italy would protect its own orders and institutions. At the San Remo Conference in 1920 the Allies did not accept France’s role as protector of Catholic interests. S.I. Minerbi, ‘The Vatican and Zionism’, Conflict in the Holy Land, 1895–1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), p.54. Trimbur, ‘A French Presence in Jerusalem’, p.125; Z. Shiloni, ‘Binyanim Tzarfatiyim Gdolim beYerushalayim be-sof ha-tkufah ha-’otomanit’ (Field Seminar Paper, Department of Geography, Jerusalem, 1978); Z. Shiloni, ‘beit ha-ḥolim ha-Tzarfati St. Luis be-Yerushalayim’, Kardom, Vol.1– 11 (1978–80), pp.171–4; Rev. H. Kildani, Modern Christianity in the Holy Land (Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2010), p.380; J.B. Glass, ‘Rekhishat Kark’a ve-Shimushehah be-Ezor Abu Ghosh, 1873–1948’, Cathedra, Vol.62 (Dec. 1991), pp.107–22; H. Goren, ‘ha-Mosdot ha-Notzriyim be-Abu Ghosh ba-’et ha-h ̣adasha’, Cathedra, Vol.62 (1991), pp.80–106. Kildani, Modern Christianity in the Holy Land, p.380. B. Spafford-Vester, Our Jerusalem: An American Family in the Holy City, 1881–1949 (London: n.p., 1951), p.82; Ben-Arieh, Jerusalem: The New City, p.284. The property was sold to an Israeli organization in 1972 but the sale was declared null and void after the intercession of the Vatican. S.I. Minerbi, ‘Ha yahasim bein hakes hakadosh ve medinat Israel’, in B. Neuberger and A. Gronik (eds.), Mediniut ha huz bein imut le hesderim (Raanana: Ha universita ha petuha, 2008), Vol.2, pp.1112–13. Shiloni, ‘Binyanim Tzarfatiyim Gdolim be-Yerushalayim be-sof ha-tkufah ha-’otomanit’; Shiloni, ‘beit ha-ḥolim ha-Tzarfati St. Luis be-Yerushalayim’, pp.171–4. H. Wohnout, ‘The Austrian Pilgrim’s House from its Foundation to World War One’, in M. Wrba (ed.), Austrian Presence in the Holy Land (Tel Aviv: Austrian Embassy, 1996), p.30. Ibid., p.30. It is again operating as a hospice today. T. F. Stransky, ‘The Austrian Hospital at Tantur (1969–1918)’, in Wrba (ed.), Austrian Presence in the Holy Land, pp.98–114, N. Schwacke, ‘The Austrian Hospice in Nazareth’, in Wrba (ed.), Austrian Presence in the Holy Land, pp.89–92. Kildani, Modern Christianity in the Holy Land, p.398; B. Haider-Wilson, ‘The Catholic Jerusalem Milieu of the Habsburg Monarchy and its Contribution to the Mission in the Holy Land’, in N. Friedrich, U. Kaminsky and R. Loffler (eds.), The Social Dimension of Christian Missions in the Middle East: Historical Studies of the 19th and 20th Centuries (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2010), pp.121–46. See also ‘Emmaus’, (accessed 15 March 2011). The organization includes the Palestine Association of the German Catholics. It manages other properties, such as Schmidt’s girls school in Jerusalem, the Dormition Abbey and the Church of Our Lady on Mount Zion; no author, ‘Dormition Church’, Christian News From Israel, Vol.1 (Aug. 1949), p.8. Workshop summary by D. Trimbur, Politics, Science and Religion: French and Germans in the Levant: 19th and 20th Centuries (German Historical Institute of Paris, Monday, 3 Dec. 2001).

The Catholic Church in Palestine/Israel 82. 83.



Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014

86. 87. 88. 89. 90.



93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106.


H. Goren and Y. Ben Arieh, ‘Austrian Presence in the Holy Land in the 19th and Early 20th Century’, in Wrba (ed.), Austrian Presence in the Holy Land, p.56. Cuinet, Syrie, Liben et Palestine, p.528; H. Goren, ‘School and Mission Conceptions of the German Catholics in Palestine’, in N. Friedrich, U. Kaminsky and R. Loffler (eds.), The Social Dimension of Christian Missions in the Middle East: Historical Studies of the 19th and 20th Centuries (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2010), p.95. No author, Das Heilige Land, Vol.XXVI, No.2 (1980), pp.62–6; There were two German properties, Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of the Samaria, p.117; N. Thalmann, ‘ha-’Avodah ha-Germanit be-ezor Yerushalayim be-tkufat ha-’otomanim’ (unpublished Field Work paper, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1987). Schmidt initially ran another school out of a property on today’s Hillel Street that was acquired in 1875 but confiscated in 1939, now the Italian synagogue. Goren, ‘School and Mission Conceptions of the German Catholics in Palestine’, p.93. C. Wardi, ‘Introduction’, Christian News From Israel, Vol.IX, No.1–2 (June 1958), p.3. G. Kertesz, ‘The Dormition Abbey’, E. Meiron and D. Bar, Planning and Conserving Jerusalem, 1973–2003: The Challenge of an Ancient City (Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi Press, 2009), pp.324–7. Bialer, Cross on the Star of David, p.176. 500,000 German marks were paid for them in 1953. H. Goren, ‘Katolim Amtiyiim ve-Germanim Tovim’: ha-Germanim ha-Katolim ve-Eretz Yisrael 1838– 1910 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2005); V. Guerin, Description Geographique, Historique et Archeologique de la Palestine: Galilee (Paris: Guide Bleu, 1880), Vol.I, p.224; E. Robinson and E. Smith, Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea, A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838, 3 vols (London: J. Murray, 1856). Fr. Stanislao Loffreda of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum runs an interesting website on the property, V.L. Hugues, Note sur le diff erend entre la Custodie de Terre Sainte et la Soci et e de Cologne au sujet de propri et es – terrains et source – a Tabgha (pr es Tib eriade) (Jerusalem 1927), pp.8–14; Goren, ‘Katolim Amtiyiim ve-Germanim Tovim’. German Catholic Pilgerhaus, ‘History of the Tabgha Pilgerhaus’, pamphlet in the author’s possession. Also for ‘local workforce’ see Kark et al., ‘The Impact of Early German Missionary Enterprise’, p.146 and 167–9; G. Schumacher, ‘Karte des deutschen Besitzungen am See Genezaret von Kapharnaum (Kafr Min€ye) bis Tabka (Ain Tabga)’, map in German (Haifa: Historisches Archiv des Erzbistum K€ oln, CR 22.11, 1, published in various places, for example: Sepp, Johannes Nepomuk, Neue hochwichtige, July 1889); Y.B. Artzi, ‘Gottlieb Schumacher: Mapot ve-Tokniyot lePituaḥ Haifa’, Cathedra, Vol.73 (Sept. 1994), pp.62–82. Bialer, Cross on the Star of David, p.177. Ibid. Today it is a luxurious hotel. Website of the German Association for the Holy Land, http://www. (accessed 12 Jan. 2011). Minerbi, ‘Le Italie Contre le Protectorat Religieux Francais en Palestine 1914–1920’, p.24, ‘L‘Italie e la Palestine, 1914–1920’, p.174. Kildani, Modern Christianity in the Holy Land, p.364. S.D. Seta, ‘The Relationship throughout History’, in Italy in Israel (Tel Aviv: Italian Embassy, 2005), pp.6–8. Ben-Arieh, Jerusalem: The New City, p.297. Colbi, Christianity in the Holy Land, p.120; S.I. Minerbi, La Penetration Economique Italiene en Palestine (1908–1909) (Yad Ben Zvi, Jerusalem, 1970). ‘Antonio Barluzzi and the Pilgrimage Churches’, Arxitecture, htm (accessed 6 June 2010). El Conde De Campo Rey, Historia Diplomatica de Espa~ na en los Santos Lugares, 1970–1980 (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Madrid, 1982), pp.235, 514. Cuinet, Syrie, Liben et Palestine, p.588. R. Kark, Jaffa: A City in Evolution 1799–1917 (Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi, 1990), p.56. Kroyanker, Talbieh, Katamon and the Greek Colony, p.82. R. Rein, In the Shadow of the Holocaust and the Inquisition: Israel’s Relations with Francoist Spain (London: Frank Cass, 1997), p.23; Fr. S. Eijan, Hispanidad en Tierra Santa (Madrid: n.p., 1943); I. G. Garcia, Relaciones Espana-Israely el conflico del Oriente Medio (Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2001) (in Spanish).

396 107. 108. 109. 110. 111.



Downloaded by [Hebrew University] at 10:55 22 April 2014


115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123.

124. 125.


127. 128. 129.


S.J. Frantzman and R. Kark Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land 2006. Stransky, ‘The Austrian Hospital at Tantur (1969–1918)’, p.105. Kildani, Modern Christianity in the Holy Land, 406. Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land 2006, pp.80–121. L. Oliphant, Haifa or Life in Modern Palestine (London: Blackwood and Sons, 1887), p.209. If he were correct it would mean that the Carmelites owned some 31,079 dunams (12 square miles), but this is either unlikely or the situation was changed by the twentieth century. Brother L. Wehbe, ‘The Monastery of Latrun’, Christian News From Israel, Vol.XXII, No.15 (1973), p.11; J.V. Montville, Middle East Quarterly (Dec. 1998), pp.21–8. 1000 dunams were sold in the Mandate to a ‘Mrs Shapiro’; ‘Trappist Monastery to Return Money’, Palestine Post, 8 Nov. 1944, p.3. The Salesian properties were acquired by Father Antonio Belloni, Christian News From Israel, No.1 (Aug. 1949), p.8; Wardi, Christians in Israel: A Survey, p.9; Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of Judeae, p.33. The monastery has extensive vineyards. Ben-Arieh, Jerusalem: The New City, pp.38–9; Bagatti, Ancient Christian Villages of the Samaria, p.69; Faisal Husseini Foundation, ‘St. Joseph Hospital’, st_joseph.htm. D. Alouan, ‘Daughters of Christ’, Christian News (Sept. 1953), p.17. Alouan, ‘Daughters’, Christian News (Sept. 1953), p.17. Ben-Arieh, Jerusalem: The New City, p.288. Catholic Directory, p.129. It had 32 places and 150 sisters in 1950, the list includes those in Jordan and elsewhere. At Deir Rafat the Catholics did establish a village with 320 villagers in 1931 of whom 67 were Christians. See Mills, Census of Palestine. Granott, The Land System in Palestine, pp.157–8. Directory of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land 2006, p.273. Christian Information Center webpage, a site run by the Custody, htm. ‘Housing Renovation projects’, Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land, No.24 (Sept. 2009), p.2; ‘Report for 2010 of the Projects Completed by the Custody of the Holy Land of the Order of Friars Minor’, Annual Report of the Custody of the Holy Land for Good Friday Donations (Jerusalem: Franciscan Printing Press, 2010); Cardinal J. Foley, ‘The Work of the Holy Land Commission’, Newsletter, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, No.18 (April 2010), p.7. R. Kark Archive, Jerusalem. R. Kark and M. Oren-Nordheim, Jerusalem and Its Environs: Quarters, Neighborhoods, Villages, 1800–1948, Israel Studies in Historical Geography (Jerusalem: Wayne State University Press and Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2001). According to Simshon Subhi the monastery sold part of its land to the JNF leaving only 7000 in its hands. In 1907 there were 314 friars in Palestine and today there are 540 male members of religious institutions. This is an overall increase, but considering the vast expansion of the church property and institutions since then, the increase is not proportional. Many monasteries, such as that of St John in the desert near Ein Karim, have only one man living on the premises, whereas the institution was built to house more. This is in line with a general decline in the number of Catholic monks in the world; ‘Catholic Nuns and Monks Decline’, BBC, 5 Feb. 2008, stm; C. Frazee, Catholics and Sultans 1453–1923 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p.308. Katz and Kark, ‘The Church and Landed Property’, p.385. Ibid., p.390. The Armenians, Copts, Syriacs, American Protestants, Scots, Assyrians, Ethiopians and other churches that own property in the Holy Land have only limited land holdings that the authors intend to detail in forthcoming research. Israel Land Administration, ‘Agricultural Land between Kalanit and Kedarim’,¼48 (accessed 31 May 2011); Israel Land Administration, ‘2.85 Dunams with Olive Grove near Mt. Meron’, http://www.¼48.