Festivities in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Festivities in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem

7th december 2011

On the afternoon of 6 December a lovely ceremony took place to celebrate the completion of the renovation works in Saha Square, in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

On the hats of the neighborhood children could be seen the logos of the four institutions and associations that made the project possible: the Custody of the Holy Land, ATS pro Terra Sancta, Italian Development Cooperation and the UNESCO World Heritage Center. The renovation works in the square were carried out by the Technical Office of the Custody of the Holy Land in coordination with the Bursar’s Office of the Custody, as part of the project “Jerusalem, Stones of memory” promoted by ATS pro Terra Sancta in partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Center and financed by Italian Development Cooperation.

“The Custody of the Holy Land owns more than 400 homes in Jerusalem that have been made available to the Christians of the Old City, most of which are in need of repair and renovation”, observed Father Ibrahim Faltas, head of the Bursar’s Office of the Custody, while offering thanks to the institutional donors, Italian Development Cooperation and UNESCO, for their contributions. In this regard Gian Pietro Testolin, coordinator of the Emergency Office of Italian Development Cooperation in Jerusalem, recalled the importance of the interventions that are taking place within the Old City itself to allow families to live in more dignified conditions. The project “Jerusalem, Stones of memory” was in fact created with the aim of protecting and safeguarding the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, considered to be World Heritage by UNESCO, through addressing the emergency housing situation and responding to the urgent requirements of the families most in need in the Old City.

Among the participants in the event, involving the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, were the laborers who had worked on the renovations of the residences, and whose further professional training has been one of the objectives of the project, so that the experience they acquired during these years of work, along with their own personal qualities, can become a “heritage” to be drawn upon for carrying out future projects.

The ceremony concluded with the traditional ribbon cutting and blessing of the residences by Father Feras Hejazin, the parish priest of St. Saviour. The local population and all the guests then enjoyed refreshments in the auditorium of the Terra Santa School.

Text and photos by Miriam Mezzera - ATS pro Terra Sancta