The Custody of the Holy Land increases its activity thanks to the help of the Commissaries, Friars Minor who are “bridges between the Holy Land and Christians all over the world”.
The Commissaries operate in the territory of their Franciscan Province:
There are currently Commissariats of the Holy Land in 44 countries for a total of 84 Commissariats.
The historical origins
The origin of the Commissariats of the Holy Land is very ancient and is motivated by the enormous difficulties of the Custody to fulfil its tasks in a very complex political and religious situation.
Having observed that neither the lives of the friars nor preserving the Holy Places was possible without alms from the Christian princes, the first Statutes of the Custody (1377) established that the Custos appoint one or two laymen to administrate the alms.
Half a century later, the figure of the Commissary of the Holy Land was officially established with the Bull,His quae by Pope Martin V (24th February 1421).
In more recent times, Pope Paul VI declared that the activity of the Commissaries, “as meritorious as in the past, is still valid and functional" (Paul VI, Nobis in animo).