This year, the festival is part of the Celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the Franciscans’ arrival in the Holy Land. It was in fact the Autumn of year 1217 when the first group of Franciscan friars led by Elia Buonbarone, leaving Italy, landed in the port of Akko and has remained in the Holy Land until today. The logo of the celebrations, drawn from an ancient code preserved at the Historical Institute of the Capuchins in Rome, depicts this arrival. What in 1217 was the “Overseas Mission” of the Franciscan Order, in 1342 it became the Custody of the Holy Land.
The Custody of the Holy Land is a special and international mission of the Catholic Church in the Middle East and a diplomatic entity recognized by many countries and institutions, an international community with more than 300 friars who care for the main sanctuaries and churches in Israel, Cyprus, Greece (Rhodes), Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Egypt. In these same countries the Terra Sancta Organ Festival takes place and in some of them it represents the only chance of listening to the sound of a pipe organ. In the section Places & Organs of the festival website www.tsorganfestival.org you can read about the history and the activity of the Custody of the Holy Land in each place, by clicking on the map.