In memory of Fr. Piccirillo on the tenth anniversary of his death

Prof. Claudine Dauphin taught a lesson in memory of Fr. Michele Piccirillo on March 20 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Ten years after the death of the Franciscan friar of the Custody of the Holy Land, an internationally renowned archaeologist, his memory remains still present. His tireless work as an archaeologist and researcher means that his memory has not been forgotten. Prof. Dauphin spoke about this in her lecture, which was the first of a series of meetings organized by the University of the Holy Land. The specific theme was introduced by the title: “Paradise regained: the restoration of the Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo (2008-2016).” In fact, Fr. Michele Piccirillo dedicated much of his life to Mount Nebo, but was not able to see the completed work, since he passed away in 2008.

The Memorial of Moses, located in Jordan west of Madaba, is located on land acquired by the Franciscans in 1932 thanks to Br. Jerome Mihaic. The friar was a friend of several Bedouin families who lived near the Jordan River and so he ensured that, through the direct collaboration of the religious with the Emir Abdallah ibn al-Husayn I, the Custody of the Holy Land could purchase the Siyagha spur from members of the wekhyan tribe.
Since the completion of the long restoration project and its inauguration in October 2016, the Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo can now be admired in all of its glory, also thanks to the intervention of Br. Eugenio Alliata, who led the archaeological excavations of the basilica.

In her lecture, Prof. Claudine Dauphin retraced the steps of the restoration of the memorial, remembering the irreplaceable work done by Fr. Michele Piccirillo.
“Fr. Piccirillo and I were friends,” said the professor. “I was doing research in Israel and he was often in Jordan, but he was always available to exchange information.” In addition to numerous students, there were also some professors of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, including the dean, Br. Rosario Pierri. “Fr. Piccirillo’s death was a very great loss,” continued the professor.
After the lesson, a slideshow of pictures from Jordan was shown, coupled with Greek Orthodox songs in the background. This brought the conference to an end. One after another, everyone admired the places where the friar and archaeologist spent the latter part of his life and which, thanks to his work, can now shine in all of their beauty.

Beatrice Guarrera


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