Pilgrimages in the Holy Land | Custodiae Terrae Sanctae

Pilgrimages in the Holy Land

The Custody of the Holy Land encourages pilgrimages linked to the Holy Places, of which the Franciscan friars have been the guardians for over eight centuries, according to the wishes and the mandate of the Universal Church. The Commissaries of the Holy Land on behalf of the Custody and at its service, promote spiritual journeys to those Holy Places which St Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor, visited in 1219 and to which the Franciscans have accompanied pilgrims from all over the world for centuries.

The suggested pilgrimages promoted and proposed by the Commissaries of the Holy Land include both  itineraries of eight days to the Holy Places and pilgrimages inspired by Biblical routes which include visits in Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. The pilgrims who choose a pilgrimage promoted by the Commissaries at the service of the Custody of the Holy Land stay in the Casae Novae, Franciscan accommodation facilities situated near some of the main Shrines.

Since 2015, the Pilgrimages Department of the Custody of the Holy Land in Rome has been under the management of the Fondazione Terra Santa. The Rome office continues and will continue to work, following a long and consolidated tradition, as a centre of animating and promoting pilgrimages to the Holy Land and the Christian Orient, at the service and in close collaboration with the various Commissariats of the Holy Land scattered throughout the world.

Setting off for a pilgrimage in the Holy Land, through the Commissariats of the Custody, means contributing to the Franciscan mission in the Holy Places. All the work carried on for centuries by the friars of the Custody is made possible thanks to a network which contributes all over the world to supporting the Christian presence in the Holy Land and to the maintenance of the Holy Places.

This website IS NOT A TRAVEL AGENCY and we do not organize pilgrimages: please contact the  Commissaries of the Holy Land  nearest to you to plan your trip.

Contact the Commissariats of the Holy Land

The Commissariats of the Holy Land, scattered all over the world, organize pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Find the Commissariat closest to you and contact him to book your departure for the Land of Jesus!


Pilgrims Office in Rome

Via Berni 6, a short distance from Saint John Lateran 
tel: +39 06 77206308; 

email: pellegrinaggicustodia@fratesole.com


Here you can consult some of the routes proposed by the Commissaries of the Holy Land, that can be useful in planning a pilgrimage. These itineraries not only cover the places that mark out the memory of the presence of Jesus in the Holy Land, but also offer the chance to get to know fragments of the long history of this country and to discover its thousand faces. Together with the references to the Gospel, practical information is given in this section on the ideal length of a stay, on the individual  stages of the journey and on the places of the programmes suggested by the various Commissariats.

itinerari orme di gesù

In the footsteps of Jesus

Ideal period of stay: 9 days/ 8 nights “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, Are by no means leas among the rulers of Judah; Since from you shall come a ruler Who is to shepherd my people Israel”. (Matthew 2, 6)

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In the Holy Land following the Bible

Duration: 8 days-7 nights “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing”. Genesis 12, 2-5 

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The songs of my pilgrimage

Ideal duration: 10 days/9 nights "Thy statutes have been my songs  in the house of my pilgrimage." Psalm 119,54

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The Word became flesh

Ideal length of stay: 7 days  Blessed the man who finds refuge in you, in their hearts are pilgrim roads. [Psalm 84]

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The visit by pilgrims to the Custody

La visita dei pellegrini alla Custodia

According to the ancient travel chronicles, it was the direct responsibility of the Guardian of the Convent of Jerusalem, also called the Custos of the Holy Land, to go in person to Jaffa to welcome pilgrims. If he could not go himself, he would make sure that he sent a representative who was an expert and reliable, as the journey was dangerous and made complicated due to many circumstances. Once they arrived in Jerusalem, the pilgrims found hospitality behind the walls of the Franciscan convent and good advice on how to move in the Holy Land.

For centuries, the Franciscans were also the guides of the pilgrims in all the aspects of the pilgrimage: Biblical-spiritual, logistical, bureaucratic, political etc...

Many friars are still dedicated today to the service of welcoming and accompanying pilgrims: however, considering the growing number of faithful who come to the Holy Land every month, it is no longer possible to meet the needs of all as in the past.

Nevertheless, there is one habit that has remained unchanged: the meeting between the pilgrims and the Father Custos of the Holy Land or one of his representatives. The encounters with the Franciscans who live in the Holy Land contribute to a better understanding of the reality of the Holy Places and the situation of the Christians, the living stones” who live here.

The tradition is to be welcomed by the friars of the Custody who speak the language of the pilgrims: this way communication is easier and a better service of hospitality and welcome can be offered.

Generally these meetings – with the Custos, his Vicar or with the Friars of the Custody, depending on commitments and availability – are held in Jerusalem at St Saviour’s Convent.

Meeting the Custody during a pilgrimage in the Holy Land not only helps understand the special bond that history has shaped between the Order of Friars Minor and the places of the Salvation, but also allows looking at the reality of this land and its people through the eyes of those who look after and love it.

The Custody looks forward to meeting you!

To organize your meeting, you can contact us at:

Christian Information Center

Jaffa Gate, Omar Ibn el Qattab Sq.

P.O.B. 14308

9114201 Jerusalem


email: cicinfo@cicts.org