The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land
In 1333 the Friars established themselves in the Cenacle, where they established a Friary and ministered in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. All of this was made possible through the generous aid of the King of Naples, Roberto d'Anjou and Sancha of Majorca, who had bought the Cenacle and Mount Zion from the Muslims, and who paid them for the right to minister at the Holy Sepulchre. The Franciscan presence then expanded throughout the centuries. In 1347 the Friars established themselves at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. In 1485 they acquired the place where St. John the Baptist was born, Ain Karem. In 1523, after the Turkish conquest of Palestine, the Cenacle was transformed into a Mosque and in 1551 the Friars were obliged to abandon the friary (presently the Custody has its Curia at Saint Saviour Friary in Jerusalem, while still retaining the title of Guardian of Mount Zion). In 1630, they came into possession of the place of the Annunciation in Nazareth, and Mount Tabor in 1631. In 1641 they began the dealings for the purchase of the area for the Shrine in Cana of Galilee, which finally, after a lot of perseverance, came about in 1879. In brief, some of the more important locations were acquired in the following years: Gethsemani - 1661; Shrine of the Visitation in Ain Karem - 1679; place of the Flagellation - 1836; Emmaus - 1867; Betfage - 1880; the place called "Dominus Flevit" (The Lord wept) and the Primacy of Peter at the Lake of Genesareth - 1889; the ruins of Capharnaum - 1984; Shepherd's Field near Bethlehem - 1909; Mount Nebo - 1932. In 1936 the Custody purchased a place near the Cenacle, after so many years and useless efforts to get it back. In 1950, Bethany was acquired. This incomplete enumeration is the fulfillment of a permanent commitment to "custody" that which the Church has asked of the Order. It is a sign of the strong desire to promote worship in all the places of evangelical tradition and to reconstruct or construct Christian Shrines.