The Very Rev. Father Giovanni Battistelli OFM

Vocations “come and follow me”

The Very Rev. Father Giovanni Battistelli OFM

Custos of the Holy Land (04.04.1998 - 2004) of the Seraphic province of St. Francis of Umbria (Start of his rule - 01.06.1998).



He made his solemn entrance into St. Saviour on 1st June 1998; his solemn entrance into the Holy Sepulchre on 2nd June 1998; into Bethlehem on 7th June in the same year and into Nazareth on 10th June of the same year.





Brother Giovanni Battistelli


Brother Giovanni Battistelli was born in Spello (province of Perugia) on 28th December 1933; his parents were Salvatore Battistelli and Attilia Cristofani.

He went to the Seraphic College of the Seraphic province of St. Francis of Assisi of Umbria on 3rd November 1945 and attended middle and high schools in Città di Castello (Perugia) and Perugia from 1949 to 1951.

He entered the Novitiate on 13th August 1951 in the convent of Amelia (Terni) and made his temporary profession on 14th August 1952 in the hands of Brother Vincenzo Bocchini, Provincial Minister. After studies of philosophy at the Convent of St. Damian and theology at the Convent of Porziuncola (Assisi), he made his solemn profession on 8th September 1955 in the hands of Brother Serafino Renzi, Provincial Minister, in the convent of Porziuncola in Santa Maria degli Angeli (Assisi). Ordained a deacon in 1959 by Mons. Jallad, in the Patriarchal Church of Jerusalem, on 29th June 1960, he was ordained priest by Mons. Alberto Gori, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the Church of the Patriarchate. He completed his higher education at the Oriental Pontifical Institute in Rome from 1960 to 1963, taking a Degree in Oriental Sciences.
Positions held and activities in his various roles:

31st December 1963: Mousky, Cairo (Egypt) – Member of staff of the Centre for Oriental Christian Studies.

September 1965 - Mousky, Cairo (Egypt) – Member of the staff of the Centre for Oriental Christian Studies.

September 1968 - May 1973: Boulaq, Cairo (Egypt) - Superior, Parish Priest and Headmaster of the TOF. Teacher at the Italian High School of Kasr el Nil.

May 1973 - 1978: St. Catherine, Alexandria (Egypt) – Guardian and Parish Priest, Director of the TOF, Member of the Board of Directors, Teacher of Religion at the Italian school in Alexandria.

* 1978 - 1981: Member of the Italian Board of Charity, Alexandria, Egypt.

1978-1981: St. Saviour, Jerusalem (Israel)- Italian language-member of the Discretorium of the Holy Land, Prefect of Formation, Promoter of vocations. Master of novices, Master of Ceremonies, Professor of the International Jerusalem Centre for theological studies.

1981: Member of the Catholic Patriarchal Commission.

1981-1983: Jerusalem: St. Saviour – Member of the Discretorium of the Holy Land – Master of the novices – Secretary of the Custody for Formation – Promoter of the Custody for Vocations – Master of Ceremonies for the Custody.

1983-1986: Jerusalem: St. Saviour – Member of the Discretorium of the Holy Land - Director of the "Casa Nova" – Secretary of the Custody for Formation – Promoter of the Custody for Vocations – Master of Ceremonies for the Custody.

1986-1989: Rome, College of the Holy Land – Promoter of Vocations for Italy 1989-1995: Rome, College of the Holy Land: Superior – Parish Priest - Director O.F.S. – Promoter of vocations for Italy.

1995-1998: Rome, College of the Holy Land: Superior – Parish Priest – Deputy Master of the Postulandate, Assistant O.F.S. – Promoter of vocations, Chronicler. * He began his Service in the Custody of the Holy Land on 29th June 1960

After his term of office

At the Chapter Congress which was held in the first half of August 2004, he was appointed to the Delegation of the Holy Land in Rome with the following offices: Delegate of the Father Custos for Italy, Guardian, administrator of the Custody of the Holy Land and director of the Pilgrimages Department. He left Jerusalem on16th August.


A view of his term of office

The press release of the Vatican that announced the election of the New Custos, opens with these two sentences: Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa is the new Custos of the Holy Land. He succeeds the Very Rev. Father Giovanni Battistelli who in the past few years has admirably performed his work. His Excellency Giuseppe Betòri, Secretary of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, comments on these words as follows. That "admirably”, so unusual in the language of the Roman Curia, finds me in complete agreement.



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Events calendar

24/12/2017 CELEBRATIONS

Vigil of Christmas. Bethlehem: 13.30 Entrance of the Archbishop & I Vespers 16.00 Procession 23.30 Office - 00.00 Mass - 1.45 Procession to the Grotto

25/12/2017 CELEBRATIONS

Nativity of the Lord. Bethlehem (St. Catherine): 10.00 Mass Shepherds' Field (Greek & Catholic): 14.00 Pilgrimage

26/12/2017 CELEBRATIONS

Feast St. Stephen, Protomartyr. St. Stephen: 16.00 Pilgrimage

28/12/2017 CELEBRATIONS

Feast of the Holy Innocents. Bethlehem: 10.00 Entrance (Vicar)

31/12/2017 CELEBRATIONS

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph. Nazareth: 10.00 Mass (Custos)

2011 - © Gerusalemme - San Salvatore Convento Francescano St. Saviour's Monastery
P.O.B. 186 9100101 Jerusalem - tel: +972 (02) 6266 561 - email: custodia@custodia.org