The Custos, accompanied by the guardian of Saint Savior’s, Fr. Stéphane Milovitch, opened new offices at St. Savior’s Monastery on March 22 in the presence of many friars. These newly completely renovated premises will be used by the Custody’s lay workers.
After several months of work, the former laundry room has now had a facelift, and it is now able to accommodate staff. The laundry room was moved to another location some time ago, and the new offices will be used by other organizations: the Custody’s Main School Office, the office that manages technology and communication (IT), and AVSI, an NGO that does fundraising for the schools.
The Custos made a short speech in which he warmly thanked the technical office. Luis Riera, who has been a volunteer in the technical office for over a year, supervised this project that local employees worked on for several months.
The Custos then sprinkled the new spaces with holy water. Brand new and modern, they are still surrounded by Jerusalem’s beautiful stones. A small courtyard, a kitchen and a large meeting room were also built for the employees’ convenience.
This is one of the oldest parts of the monastery. The friars have been present at Saint Savior’s since the sixteenth century. They had then acquired a monastery and the land belonging to Georgians, whose presence in Jerusalem was very significant in the Middle Ages.
Inside the renovated offices, photos recall a bit of the place’s history. Indeed, before being a laundry room, this was where the pharmacy was located. And in this courtyard, the friars had a free medical consultation office.
Outside, the old pulley-and-tray system has been kept and refurbished; it used to allow the friars to lift the clothes onto the roof—which is about 20 meters up—so as to dry it. This beautiful piece of history, in addition to the well and the chimney made of red bricks especially imported from Europe, preserve the memory of the friars’ intense manual labor in past centuries.
For Fr. Stéphane, the goal of the new office was to “bring the laity who work for or who work closely with the Custody together in one place so as to create synergy,” which was more difficult in the past, with the offices were scattered in different places.” AVSI, for example, does fundraising for schools, so it makes sense that this office be close to the main school office,” he explained. The renovation and re-organization project began with the Holy Land Magazine and ATS offices. http://www.proterrasancta.org/
Saint Savior’s Monastery, in which the Franciscans have been residing since 1560, was renovated and reorganized several years ago, following continuous modernization plan, so as to free up space that would allow the installation of the Museum of Christian Presence, one of the three components of the Terra Sancta Museum project. http://www.terrasanctamuseum.org/» custodia.org