Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman, as part of his official visit to the State of Israel, visited on Sunday the holy places in Jerusalem and met with Croatian Franciscans serving in the Custody of the Holy Land.
The focal point was the visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Grlić Radman met with Custodian Salvador Rosas Flores and the Custody’s Discrete and the first sacristan at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, Br. Siniša Srebrenović. The Franciscans and the minister discussed the historical and archaeological facts, as well as the theological importance these holy places hold and impart to pilgrims and visitors.
Grlić Radman thanked the Franciscans for their heartfelt welcome and underscored their committed work since St. Francis’ arrival to the Holy Land, including pastoral care for pilgrims and local Christians as well as their work in culture and education, as is evidenced by the numerous Franciscan-led schools.
The minister also highlighted the important role Croatian Franciscans played in the history of the Holy Land, recalling the first Croatian saint Nikola Tavelić and Boniface of Ragusa, who had restored parts of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and built a completely new aedicule. He also noted St. Jerome’s stay in the Holy Land and his translation of the Bible into Latin.
Br. Srebrenović informed the minister about the Croatian projects of erecting the statue of St. Jerome at the Basilica of the Assumption Dormition and the statue of St. Nikola Tavelić at the St. Francis’ Ad Coenaculum Monastery.
Grlić Radman thanked the Croatian Franciscans who serve those in need in these holy places, thus continuing the noble work of the Franciscans across the globe.
Accompanied by Br. Sandro Tomašević, a parish vicar, the minister toured other holy places and sites of Jerusalem.