Libraires of the Custody
Although all the convents of the Custody have their own library, there are some of varying degrees of importance according to how old they are and their contents.
We can mention those of Aleppo (Syria), Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Ain Karem and Harissa near Beirut, all from the 17th centuries. The ones in Nicosia and Larnaca (Cyprus) are slightly earlier, at least in their first collections (16th century).
All have works of value, especially on Oriental studies: grammars and dictionaries of oriental languages, the Fathers, theology, apologetics, catechisms, history, geography etc.
The recent libraries to be mentioned include: that of the convent of Bab-Touma, in Damascus, which was burnt down in 1860, but rebuilt and subsequently well stocked; that of the Franciscan Biblical Institute of the Flagellation in Jerusalem which, founded in 1929 with books transferred from the central library of St. Saviour, has been continually enriched; and the most recent one, which is that of the Centre for Oriental Studies of Cairo.
The library that surpasses them all, however, at least for antiquity, is that of the main convent of the Custody of the Holy Land, St. Saviour in Jerusalem.