Italians of the Holy Land: Pilgrims and Franciscans

“Italians of the Holy Land: Pilgrims and Franciscans”, lectures by Massimo Pazzini OFM (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Jerusalem), Alvaro Cacciotti OFM (Pontifical University Antonianum, Rome) and Giammarco Piacenti (Piacenti, Center of Restoration)

The Italian Cultural Institute, in collaboration with Pontifical University Antonianum of Rome, lo Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem and the Centre d’études médiévales de l’Université de Montréal, is pleased to present the conferences to present the conferences of the Franciscans Massimo Pazzini and Alvaro Cacciotti and Giammarco Piacenti, President of Piacenti SpA, restoration company and leader in Italy and in the world. Francesco D’Arelli, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, and Gabriele Giannini, Professor, Université de Montréal, will introduce the speakers and the conference themes.

Friday December 7, 2018, at 6pm
Italian Cultural Institute of Montreal
1200 Avenue du Docteur-Penfield
Montréal

In the Christian Middle Ages there were three great pilgrimages: Santiago de Compostela, Rome, and Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem, as a principle, preceded the two others that descended from it, since the spiritual impulse was generated from there. Francis of Assisi, “the holiest among the Italians, the most Italian among the saints”, perceived in his earthly pilgrimage the centrality of the Holy Places, which the Franciscans began to guard from the first half of the thirteenth century and from 1342 with the canonical institution of the Custody of the Holy Land. Jerusalem and beyond are a pressing question on the great issues forgotten by the man of this time.

Massimo Pazzini OFMPilgrimages of the Holy Land. The project presents the salient features of the pilgrimage to the Holy Land, both the Christian one from the Byzantine era (4th-7th centuries), and the medieval Jewish one (12th-15th centuries). For the Byzantine era we consider the traditions linked to the site known as Gethsemane, while, following the Jewish pilgrims of the middle Ages, we can trace the different places and traditions of the Holy Land.

Massimo Pazzini OFM belongs to the Province of St. Anthony of the Friars Minor (Northern Italy). He is a graduate in Dogmatic theology (STAB of Bologna, 1982) and in Biblical Theology (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem, 1985). He received his Bachelor of Arts in Hebrew language and ancient Semitic languages at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1990) and a degree in Oriental Languages and Civilization at the Istituto Universitario Orientale of Naples (1998). He was visiting professor of Syriac and Hebrew at the École biblique et archéologique française in Jerusalem. He teaches since 1991 Hebrew, Aramaic and Syriac at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem, where he lives. From 2011 to 2017 he was Director of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem, Dean of the Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archeology of the Pontifical University Antonianum.

Alvaro Cacciotti OFM Images of the Holy Land. The Fiorillo study produced, between the years 1885-1887, a rich photographic campaign to document the activity of the Franciscans in the Holy Land, in particular in Judea, Galilee and Egypt. A corpus of 200 photographs is still preserved, originally collected in three albums and shown for the first time in the “Missionary Exhibition and Sacred Art in Turin” (1898). At present the photographic collection is also preserved in the Provincial Aracoeli-history of the Province of St. Bonaventure of Friars Minor in Rome. Cacciotti’s report reveals the uniqueness of this photographic collection, rich above all of the oldest photographic images of Jerusalem and the Holy Places, reflecting the unstoppable change suffered by those lands since the late nineteenth century.

Alvaro Cacciotti OFM is a member of the Order of Friars Minor. He studied theology at the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome and obtained a doctorate in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He teaches in the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome from the academic year 1985-86 and has been Dean of the same Faculty. He holds the chair of systematic spiritual theology. His scientific production is vast enough to be among the most influential scholars of spirituality and religious literature (cent. XIII-XIV), with particular reference to the production of the Franciscan authors.

Giammarco PiacentiThe restoration of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Basilica of the Nativity was built in 333 by Constantine, originally built with five naves, preceded by an atrium and culminating in an octagon, elevated at the grotto of the Nativity. At the time of Justinian or just after (VI-VII centuries) the reconstruction of the Basilica dates back to the forms still preserved today. In 2012 the Basilica became part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The work of restoration began in 2013, designed and manufactured by PIACENTI SpA, was a massive undertaking with interventions on the shell, the roof trusses, the wall surfaces, the mosaics and the entrance with its wooden door of the thirteenth century.

Giammarco Picenti, is President of Piacenti SpA, a leading company in Italy and abroad in the field of restoration and conservation of monumental buildings and complexes of historical and artistic interest. La Piacenti SpA was founded in 1875 as an artisan workshop and then became a company capable of combining the inherited technical tradition with scientific research and the most advanced restoration techniques. Equipped with specialized laboratories, diagnostic services and a large team of architects, engineers, chemical experts, restorers …, the Piacenti SpA has restored, among other things, the Great Uffizi of Florence, the Birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, the Library Laurenziana of Florence, the Facades of the Royal Palace of Caserta, the Courtyard of the Royal Palace of Naples and recently the Basilica of the Nativity of Bethlehem, in Palestine.