The bull of Pope Clement VI

Vocations “come and follow me”

Juridical Constitution of the Custody of the Holy Land

Clement, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his well-loved sons the Minister General and the Minister of the Land where the Order of Friars Minor labour, salutations and Apostolic Blessing.

Bull of Pope Clement VI

1. We give thanks to the Dispenser of all good, offering Him worthy praise, for having awakened such zeal and fervour of devotion and faith in our most dear children in Christ, King Robert and Sanche, Queen of Sicily, illustrious in honouring our Redeemer and our Lord Jesus Christ, not ceasing to work with indefatigable love for the praise and glory of God, as well as for the veneration and honour of the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord and of the other Holy Places beyond the sea.

2. A short time ago good news from the king and queen reached our Apostolic See relating that, at great cost and following difficult negotiations, they had obtained a concession from the Sultan of Babylon (that is, Cairo), who to the intense shame of Christians occupies the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord and the other Holy Places beyond the sea that were sanctified by the blood of this same Redeemer, to wit that friars of your Order may reside continuously in the church known as the Sepulchre and celebrate there Solemn Sung Masses and the Divine Office in the manner of the several friars of this Order who are already present in this place; moreover, this same Sultan has also conceded to the King and Queen the Cenacle of the Lord, the chapel where the Holy Spirit was manifested to the Apostles and the other chapel in which Christ appeared to the Apostles after his resurrection, in the presence of Blessed Thomas; and also the news of how the Queen built a convent on Mount Zion where, as is known, the Cenacle and the said chapels are located; where for some time she has had the intention of supporting twelve friars of your Order to assure the divine Liturgy in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, along with three laymen charged with serving the friars and seeing to their needs.

3. To this end, the abovementioned Queen, in fulfilment of her pious devotion and that of the King, humbly asked us to intervene with our Apostolic Authority towards providing for the needs of these same Holy Places by sending devoted friars and qualified servants to the abovementioned number.

4. We, therefore, approving the pious and praiseworthy proposal of the said King and Queen, and their devout intention worthy of divine blessing, and wanting to favour and encourage their wishes and desires, by this present [bull] do concede to all and to each of you full and free power to summon, now and in the future, in your presence and by apostolic authority and at the request of the abovementioned King and Queen and their successors, after having heard the advice of the counsellors of your Order, capable and devout friars from among the entire Order to the number indicated.

5. Furthermore, considering the importance of this matter, due consideration is to be given to those friars who are destined to the service of God at the Holy Sepulchre, as well as at the Holy Cenacle and in the above-mentioned chapels; this, after duly inquiring of their Provincial Minister of your Order regarding the aptitudes of those friars designated and temporarily destined for these regions beyond the sea and, in the case of one of them being absent, that on each occasion required, the friars sent to replace those absent be given license to reside in these regions.

6. We further grant you, in case of refusal on the friars’ part, the power to oblige them to obey, following an admonition, through the use of ecclesiastical censures. Nothing is to contradict these provisions, not any apostolic prohibition or contradictory statutes of the Order, even if supported by solemn attestation or apostolic ratification or any other convention, nor yet if some have received from the Apostolic See, in general or in particular, exemption from interdiction, suspension or excommunication, unless the apostolic letter makes full, express and literal mention of this indult.

7. We desire that, when those friars so designated are present in the regions beyond the sea, they be under obedience to and subject to the governance of the Guardian of the friars of your Order, as well as the Minister Provincial of the Holy Land, with all that falls within his competence.
Given at Avignon the 21st of November, 1342, in the first year of Our Pontificate.

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