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2012
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The Commissariat of Austria has donated three new organs to Nazareth

A historical day for Nazareth: the 8th of December during the Immaculate Conception solemnity , three new pipe organs were placed in the Superior and Inferior Basilica of the Church of the Annunciation and the adjacent church of St. Joseph. These precious instruments will enrich the liturgy and Nazareth’s musical opportunities. They were built by the Rieger Austrian firm and donated by the Austrian people through the Holy Land Commissariat of Vienna. The blessing of the new organs was imparted by F. Oliver Ruggenthaler, Provincial Minister of the Austrian friars, during the Eucharist Celebration presided by the Custos of the Holy Land f. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, in the presence of the Austrian Ambassador to Israel Franz Joseph Kuglitsch. Mass was also concelebrated by F. Ricardo Bustos, rector of the Basilica of the Annunciation and by F. Amjad Sabbara, Nazareth’s parish priest. During the incensing of the organs, the organs were played at the same time by: F. Armando Pierucci in the basilica superior, by F. Petrus Schüler in the basilica inferior and by maestro Haig Vosguerichtian, titular organist and the Basilica of the Annunciation choir director.

The creator of this project is the non stop worker f. Stanislaus Bertagnolli, who as Commissary of the Holy Land , in thirty years of work, commissioned the construction of new organs for the Holy Sepulcher , Saint Savior Church in Jerusalem and Saint Catherine Church at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. F. Stanislaus was accompanied by the new Austrian Commissary of the Holy Land f. Elias van Haaren.
At the mass conclusion F. Pizzaballa invested f.Bertagnolli with the “Grato Animo” title, the Holy Land official title. F. Stanislaus – who celebrated the liturgy with his deacon robe- offered a touching hors de programme, playing Marian hymns with his simple harmonica in the presence of the great Rieger organs, which in that moment were silent in respect to their elderly benefactor.

In the afternoon the secrets and possibilities of the new organs were grandly revealed by the Italian organist Paolo Oreni, in a “triple itinerary concert”, which saw the artist and public move from one church to another in a kind of musical pilgrimage.
The Rieger firm president, Mr. Wendelin Eberle, showed the characteristics of each instrument, proud of the fact that his organs are now present in Christianity ‘s most important sanctuaries.

F. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, thanked the Austrian benefactors for their generosity, and spoke about the organs fundamental importance in the liturgy and the commitment of the custody in forming new organists through the Magnificat Institute. F. Pierbattista also announced that the Custody of the Holy Land’s intention is to organize an Organ Festival that would give these prestigious instruments a chance to express all their potentiality for the pilgrims and the local community.

F. Riccardo Ceriani

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