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Fr. Eugenio Alliata receives the Fr. Michele Piccirillo Award

The Fr. Michele Piccirillo International Award for Cultural Heritage Research was conferred to Fr. Eugenio Alliata. The professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum received the award named after the Franciscan friar of the Custody of the Holy Land, who was an internationally renowned archaeologist.
The theme for the award ceremony was “In Memoriam: Fr. Michele Piccirillo, OFM (1944-2008). Celebrating his life and work.” It took place in the Italian town of Carinola, in the province of Caserta, which was the birthplace of Fr. Michele Piccirillo and is the promotional city for the third edition of the initiative. On October 28, the Monastery of St. Francis, civil, religious and academic authorities came together.

The event was held with the support of the Custody of the Holy Land, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Senate of the Italian Republic, the Regional Council of the Campania Region, the Municipality of Carinola (CE) and the Neapolitan Province of the Order of Friars Minor. Archbishop Corrado Valente, President of archaeological club in Carinola and the organizer of the award welcomed everyone. Also present was the Commissioner General of the Holy Land, Fr. Sergio Galdi, who prayed the laudatio by Fr. Eugenio Alliata in front of those who had gathered there. Fr. Sergio spoke about Michele Piccirillo and Eugenio Alliata, singing both of their praises, also mentioning the high regard that many friars have of the winner of the award. In regards to Fr. Alliata, Fr. Michele Piccirillo, said: “During these excavations, Fr. Alliata has always been responsible for the stratigraphy and study of ceramics, mainly from the Byzantine era, Omayyadah Abbasid; he became an expert in those areas of study and local scholars would seek out his opinions. Scholars attribute to him the publication of Bedouin-produced coarse ware that we found connected to the latest accounts of the occupation of the abandoned churches in Umm al-Rasas, dating back to the 10th century” (See SBF Archives).

The well known Franciscan archaeologist of the Monastery of the Flagellation, Fr. Stanislao Lofredda, in his report on the specific skills of Fr. Alliata, wrote: “He works, and it can be said that he always works for ‘others.’ His willingness to help is exemplary: in the excavations, in writing, in teaching, in his editorial office. He is always in the front line, but he has a weakness: he needs to partner with others, or at least put himself behind the scenes, thus avoiding any semblance of protagonism.”
“Fr. Eugenio Alliata is an outstanding lecturer and scholar,” said Claudio Bottini, dean and professor emeritus of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum. Here in the house there is no teacher or friar, even or even any sister, who has not experienced his expertise in many fields and who has not benefited from his kindness. His courses are among the most popular among the students, and many well known people who visit the Holy Land, ask for him to guide them to the holy places or to sites of archaeological interest. Israeli archaeologists hold him in great esteem and consult him, especially for excavations from the New Testament, Byzantine and Crusader periods. His list of publications is not enough to describe his scientific merits”(See SBF Archives).

Fr. Sergio Galdi expressed his most sincere emotion in being able to participate in the awards ceremony: “For me and many of his fellow friars, we we have nothing but true gratitude for how you are honoring these worthy sons of St. Francis.”
It was thus a celebration of two friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, whose great human and intellectual value was highlighted. The final acknowledgment came from the mayor of the city: “As mayor, I must praise the archaeological club of Carinola for the great insight it had in creating the award in honor of Fr. Michele Piccirillo, a man who possessed a plethora of human and intellectual virtues that make him a real monument and a reference that will always be an inspiration.”


B.G.

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