Religion Past and Present

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Custody of the Holy Land
(190 words)

[German Version]

Francis of Assisi spent time in 1219/1220 in Egypt, Syria and Palestine and sent brothers to the Holy Land. The division of the order in 1217 into provinces created the province of Terra sancta. It was divided in 1263 into the custodies of Cyprus, Syria and the Holy Land. Here, in particular, Franciscans attend to many pilgrims even today. The Custody of the Holy Land is an independent province led by the custos (the “Guardian of Mount Zion”). The general leadership of the order chooses the custos for a term of six years. The Holy See must ratify the choice. Today, around 300 Fr…

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Lehmann, Leonhard, “Custody of the Holy Land”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 21 February 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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