Chapter Six


 Re-establishment of

 the Latin Patriarchate of

 Jerusalem, 1847





The re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was linked with a number of different historic circumstances. Mohammad Ali’s occupation of Greater Syria (Bilad al-Sham) created a gap in the collapsing body of the Ottoman Sultanate. Through this gap the Great Powers stepped to interfere in the domestic affairs of the Sultanate and to re-organize the crumbling Sultanate, in order to keep intact its weak interior coalition. Needless to say, it was difficult to make such a step in the earlier centuries.  

The direct reason for considering the re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate and for raising the level of the Catholic representation in Palestine was the Protestant presence, which was represented by a joint British-German Anglican Bishopric. In the Vatican, Pius IX (1846-1878) was enthroned Pope and served for the longest period in the history of the Papacy.  This Pope in just 32 years established 29 archdioceses and 132 dioceses in the various parts of the world. Therefore, the re-establishment of the Patriarchate was one of his major achievements. The history of the Patriarchate was linked with his leading personality. The re-establishment of the Patriarchate was one of his greatest projects, which could be classified as part of the Church policy to spread the Catholic faith. The idea for the re-establishment came into focus during the rule of his predecessor, Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846).

1- Project for the re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem at the Propaganda Fide meeting in 1842:

Moves began in Rome in 1842 following the appointment of Michael Solomon Alexander as Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem. A committee of Propaganda Fide was requested to study the chance of appointing an apostolic vicar in Jerusalem with the rank of patriarch. Cardinal Franzoni, prefect of Propaganda Fide, addressed a letter on 14 January 1842 to the Franciscan General Minister Giuseppe di Alessandria seeking his advice on the subject. The General answered on 7 February 1842, declaring his encouragement. The answer said: “It is a very good idea to establish a patriarch in Jerusalem, to revitalize once again the glorious past of the Church and the Holy Land.”[1]  The Franciscan General submitted several ideas on the re-establishment of the Patriarchate, such as saying: “Matters that involve the lives of the Friars Minor shall be left to the Custos of the Holy Land. Both the patriarch and the custos are independent, as each runs the affairs of his own office.”[2] The Franciscan General expected in the same letter that the new proposed office would be for a Franciscan to occupy, as was the case in the Vicariates of Aleppo and Alexandria. Bishop Perpetuo Guasco O.F.M, the Apostolic Vicar of Alexandria, was a possible and suitable choice for this office.

A few days after the date of the foregoing letter, things turned out to be different, “The Franciscan General realized that the bishop of Jerusalem could be a non-Franciscan. Thus he suddenly created several difficulties in the face of re-establishing the Patriarchate.”[3]  He announced that his friars were not prepared to cooperate with a new ecclesiastical authority, even a bishop, or a patriarch. So he sent a letter on 20 February 1842 as an annex to his foregoing letter dated on 7 February 1842 saying: “I found out that my duty dictated on me to send another letter as an annex to my foregoing letter constituting a necessary annex.”[4] In this letter came the categorical reply to the proposals made by Propaganda Fide. It said: “The Friars Minor will be unhappy to obey a diocesan chief with the rank of bishop or patriarch, even if he was of their own order.”[5]

On 28 February 1842, Propaganda Fide held a meeting in which the cardinals supported the plan for appointing a bishop in Jerusalem, because “they could see the danger resulting from the current developments in the East. These developments were a sign that things could become worse in the future, such as schism from the faith or heresy. Therefore, the idea of appointing a Latin bishop in Jerusalem was very useful.”[6] Cardinal Franzoni therefore, submitted the following proposals:[7]

-         Will Propaganda Fide recommend to His Holiness the appointment of a patriarchal vicar in Jerusalem? And is Monsignor Perpetuo Guasco suitable for this job?

-         Will the patriarchal vicar assume the duties of the Custos of the Holy Land? In other words, will he combine the two jobs?

-         If Monsignor Guasco is transferred from Egypt to Jerusalem, who will succeed him as Vicar of Egypt?

The cardinals of Propaganda Fide were shocked at the accelerating pace of events, particularly the attitude of the aforementioned Franciscan General. Thus Propaganda Fide stopped the project, although the Cardinal-Archbishop of Salzburg protested by stating the following: “All of Germany will be sad and suspicious if a Latin bishop is not appointed in Jerusalem.”[8] It is noteworthy that the German Catholics paid special attention to the appointment of a Latin bishop in Jerusalem after the Protestants consolidated their diocese there. Moreover, Cardinal Lambruschini, protector of the Franciscan Order said: “He supported the appointment of a Latin bishop in Jerusalem.”[9] Thus discussion on the re-establishment of the Patriarchate was postponed.[10] Cardinal Acton, commented on the outcome of the efforts made to re-establish the Patriarchate in this phase by a very accurate expression: “The whole matter was postponed although agreement was reached on the implementation of the project[11].”[12]   

Rome did not wholly neglect the question of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. In 1844, Propaganda Fide requested Monsignor Corboli to prepare a report on the re-establishment of the Jerusalem Patriarchate and the nature of relations between the Patriarchate and the Custos of the Holy Land. His report was positive, but he hesitated in giving the title of patriarch to the bishop of Jerusalem “so as not to provoke the sensitivities of the eastern prelates.”[13]

In the forties of the nineteenth century, there was a third party cautiously watching the project of the re-establishment of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. The French government was declared the protector of the Catholics in the East and any move or development in the arena of the East would draw its attention. In a message dated 8 January 1842 sent by the French Ambassador in Rome Latour Mambourg to French Foreign Minister Guizot, the former inquired about the possibility of the success of this project, which he linked to the appointment of an Anglican bishop in Jerusalem. The message also indicated the difference which erupted between Propaganda Fide and the Franciscan General Minister:

“I have learned in an indirect way that in order to neutralize the consequences resulting from the appointment of a Protestant bishop residing in Jerusalem, it is being said here that a Catholic bishop should be appointed. This proposal has surely been presented to Propaganda Fide. The project here is arousing some objections. In particular, the Franciscan General, who was entrusted with the Custody of the Holy Land, was making objections. He is worried that the rank of bishop might be granted to one of his friars, leading to conflict between him and the higher Franciscan authorities. I believe, for several reasons, that the appointment of a weak Catholic bishop without clergy, parish or influence facing a strong foe with numerous active clergy supported by the Great Powers in the Islamic Ottoman government will make the Catholic prelate certainly fail. Consequently, the teachings or values he represents will be understood improperly by the ignorant people who are particularly tempted by the material gains despite their enthusiasm for the new projects.”[14]

It seemed clear that the attitude of the French government was cautiously supportive of the Franciscan Order. Thus the French ambassador in Rome, Latour Mambourg, wrote to his Foreign Minister on 28 June 1842:

“I was indirectly advised to support on behalf of France the issue of the Franciscan Order which sees in the progress of things a direct infringement on his rights and even a danger to the Catholic interests. Since I am not aware of the view of His Majesty the King on the issue, I will not take a specific stand before I receive my instructions from your Excellency.”[15]

The French Consul in Palestine, Gabriel de Lantigni, met with Pope Gregory XVI in Rome on 16 May 1843 and wrote a letter to the Foreign Minister on the interview judging that some projects sponsored by the Apostolic See in Palestine were unrealistic. However he at least admits: “Rome is entitled to extend its influence in Palestine with all the available means, without infringement on the traditional French protection of Catholicism in the East.”[16]

The French attitude developed into frank opposition of the project for the establishment of a Catholic diocese in Jerusalem. French Foreign Minister, Guizot, wrote the following to his ambassador in Rome Latour Mambourg, on 15 May 1847: “I believe that the establishment of a Catholic diocese in Jerusalem will not be a good project in itself for us. In fact, it is not useful and is perhaps harmful.”[17] Guizot justifies in the progress of his letter his opposition to the diocese project on the ground that Britain might raise the level of representation of its Anglican bishop from ‘bishop in Jerusalem’ to the ‘Bishop of Jerusalem.’ Such a British move would represent a danger harming the French influence in the region. The pessimistic minister perceives the future relationships between the bishop and the Custos of the Holy Land as “relations between two foes.”[18]

We can sum up the overall efforts made by the Apostolic See to re-establish the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem in the following:

1-       The Vatican insisted on appointing a Catholic bishop in Jerusalem. However, his rank and powers were not specified as yet.

2-        The Franciscan authorities encouraged this trend and then changed  to  opposition.

3-       The direct reason for the Catholic move was the appointment of an Anglican bishop in Jerusalem. Thus in the view of the Vatican officials, this development constituted a danger to Catholicism.

4-       The French government, protector of Catholicism in the East, displayed interest in the issue of a Jerusalem bishopric, together with ambiguity, suspicion and apprehension that was evident in its stand.

5-       Propaganda Fide temporarily postponed a decision on the appointment of a Catholic bishop in Jerusalem because of the difficulties encountered, particularly the candid French opposition.

2- Factors and circumstances which led to the opening of the file of the Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate in 1847:

A-         Appointment of the Protestant Bishop Samuel Gobat in 1846 in Jerusalem.

The first Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem, Michael Solomon Alexander, died in 1846. According to the British-Prussian agreement of 1841, Swiss national Samuel Gobat was appointed as his successor. He was ordained bishop in Britain according to the rites of the Anglican Church. Bishop Alexander focused his ecclesiastical activity on the Jews, but he did not achieve much success. Thus, the new Bishop Gobat focused his work on the local Christians and obtained quick results which rang the bell of danger in Orthodox and Catholic circles.[19] Gobat sought to build good relations with the small Christian denominations such as the Orthodox Syrian, Ethiopian and Armenian. However, the Latins and Orthodox received him with reluctance and suspicion.                                                                       

The role of Gobat in Palestine was not a continuation of the message of Alexander among the Jews. There was a basic transformation in the Protestant Church, which started to work among the local Christians. A report prepared by the British Consul in Jerusalem, James Finn, on 2 March 1847, said the following: “Bishop Gobat is now the bishop of everyone who needs his mission and is no longer a bishop for the Jews only.”[20] Another report sent by Gobat to Colonel Rose, the British Consul General in Beirut, on 13 November 1847, stated: “We should resist the policy of intellectual and Catholic invasion which is supported by France and effectively implemented in Syria. The Catholic Church finds in the French policy a suitable instrument to support its influence among the Orthodox majority of Syria and Palestine.”[21] Britain in the view of Gobat was the protector of the Protestants while France was the protector of the Catholics and Russia was the protector of the Orthodox. His policy has in fact led to the “evaluation of Protestantism as a competitor in the views of the Rome and Greek leaderships.”[22]

B-         Report by the artist Constantino Giusti:

The appointment of a new Anglican bishop in Jerusalem drew attention to the question of the Latin Patriarchate, all the more so because the Latin Patriarchate was not much talked about in the few years that lapsed. Among the factors that have helped open the file of the case once again was the report by artist Constantino Giusti that he submitted to Pope Pius IX. Giusti was an Italian artist who visited the East and learned the secrets of its religious and political problems. Giusti expressed the desire of several French figures to see one day a bishop representing the Catholic Church in Jerusalem. He said that these figures were complaining about the absence of a Catholic bishopric representing Catholicism in the Holy Places.[23]  The Giusti report was kept in the Patriarchate file, which was submitted to the Propaganda Fide on 25 February 1847 as one of the important documents.

3- Inclusion of the project for the re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the agenda of Propaganda Fide on 25 January 1847, and the correspondence between Rome and the Franciscan Order:

A-        Confirmation of the project for the re-establishment of the Patriarchate in the agenda of Propaganda Fide on 25 January 1847:

The question of Jerusalem was listed on the agenda of Propaganda Fide on 25 January 1847. The cardinals expressed their frank desire to discuss the question of appointing a Latin bishop in Jerusalem. The Pope approved the decisions made by the cardinals, who deputized Cardinal Acton to prepare a comprehensive report on the Jerusalem Patriarchate. The report stated the following:[24]

   “The Fathers attended today’s general meeting. After hearing the following report and thinking carefully about everything that was included in it, they decided by consensus that the reasons, which prompted postponement, after the approval for a Latin bishop to reside in the Holy Land of Palestine, have disappeared and some of these reasons have changed. However, this change did not negate the reasons which dictated expeditious steps in favor of the Catholic Faith. Therefore, if this is satisfactory to His Holiness the Pope, the cardinals recommend the re-typing of these decisions and discussing them once again at the next meeting. All the matters related to the residence of the aforementioned bishop will be presented and assessed accurately and closely. Among the other things that will be studied accurately and closely will be whether he should be a bishop or an archbishop or a patriarchal vicar, whether he should carry an ecclesiastical title in a non-Christian country, and whether he should be nominated from among the Friars Minor. In such a case, will the rank of bishop, with all its rights and powers, be unified in the person of the Custos of the Holy Land, and will this be done on a permanent or a temporary basis? We should also look into ways and means of how to create a good relationship between the new bishop and the Franciscan Order working in the Holy Land of Palestine, taking into account the prestige and dignity of the bishop. All these matters would be handled in different ways, depending on the different circumstances. Everyone was finally of the view that the Franciscan General Minister should be consulted on all matters. However, it must be known that the question of the creation of the new bishop is no longer controversial. Moreover, it has not been decided that the bishop would be of the Franciscan Order. 31 January 1847. After His Holiness the Pope heard the decision of Propaganda Fide, he graciously endorsed it.”

This decision gave new life to the issue of the Patriarchate and is different from the rest of the earlier provisions that were issued by the Propaganda Fide, by asserting the need of restoring the Latin Patriarchal See to Jerusalem and that the reason for the postponement of the project no longer existed nor was still valid.

B-        The correspondences between Propaganda Fide and the Franciscan General Minister:

The decision made by Propaganda Fide gained its official status by the approbation of the Sovereign Pontiff. Propaganda Fide sent a letter to the Franciscan General Minister, Luigi da Loreto, on 6 February 1847, “to give his views on the best means to reconcile the ecclesiastical authority which was to be established in Jerusalem with the Franciscan authority there.”[25] The letter urged the Franciscan General to respond “as soon as possible.”[26] The letter of Propaganda Fide pointed out that “It is eager to establish the Episcopal ecclesiastical regime in all the places which it has not reached as yet.”[27] The letter of  Propaganda Fide was of a special nature. It was different from the earlier letters. The Franciscan General was not asked whether he approved the project or not, but was asked in a tone which showed some kind of determination about the possible modalities of a Modus vivendi between the Custos of the Holy Land and the bishop, who was not appointed as yet, but who would be appointed soon.

Father Luigi da Loreto answered Propaganda Fide’s letter on 24 February 1847 and the letter was confirmed in Cardinal Acton’s report. The most important points of the reply were as follows:[28]

1-     The letter sent by Propaganda Fide was very surprising to the Franciscan General, Luigi da Loreto.

2-     The Custody of the Holy Land is a special concession for the Franciscan Order. The popes, who confirmed it throughout the ages, granted the concession to them. The Franciscan General has no right to decide to concede the privileges of the Order. Such a decision is not within the power of the General Minister; it belongs to all members and provinces of the Order. The higher authority of the Church has the right to revoke this concession, and the Friars Minor should obey such a decision.

3-     There are several proofs confirming that the Jerusalem mission has a unique position of its kind in the world. The truth of the matter is that this mission needs a regime that is different from the prevailing ecclesiastical regimes. The writer of the letter says in defiance: Is there any regime, which lasted for six centuries without interruption like the Franciscan institution in the Holy Land?

4-     It is not suitable to discuss the issue of an apostolic vicar residing in Jerusalem. Propaganda Fide held the same view, because several projects were submitted in this connection, but no practical implementation was carried out, as was the case in 1819 and 1842.

5-     The Franciscan Fathers spent a great deal of money on the Jerusalem mission. They collected this money from the Catholic and Protestant Kings. If the order of the Jerusalem mission is tampered with, the enthusiasm of the friars would probably fade away, and this would necessarily lead to a less financial aid to be collected.

6-     Tampering with the regime of some missions led to disturbing results and incidents. The apostolic vicars were not innocent vis-à-vis these incidents. As for the Jerusalem mission, if it suffers any defects, it would be difficult to reform. If the Friars Minor are kept away from the management of the Holy Places, these places would fall into the hands of the Orthodox, and the Catholic pilgrims would come under their mercy. Renewal or changing the structure of an old institution could lead to its destruction.

7-     The ideas and options that have been forwarded dictate that we pause before making our decisions. It is unreasonable for us to say: ‘Let us try this.’ Perhaps the trial would produce total destruction. Today, we are encountering the Orthodox and the Turks. The Turks are always the same, they cooperate with whomever offers them a larger amount of money. If the Greeks in the Holy Land notice any change in the system of governing the Holy Land, they would pounce on it and it would be lost to the Catholics forever. Therefore, we should determine the reasons, which prompted the Propaganda Fide in the past to ignore the project of the re-establishment of the Patriarchate.

8-     The Franciscan General ends his letter by saying: “I confess before you and before God that I do not advise that a bishop reside in Jerusalem, because I cannot stab in my own hand my Order of which I am undeservedly General.”

After reviewing some of the most important points raised by the Franciscan General, we can conclude that he envisaged the Patriarchate or the diocese that could be established in the Holy Land as a competitive institution to the Custody of the Holy Land, not a complementary and collaborative institution with it. This negative reply was very useful because it “committed Propaganda Fide not to ignore any aspect of the Patriarchate case.”[29] So Propaganda Fide sent this answer and all the documents relevant to the re-establishment of the Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate to Cardinal Acton, who was requested to prepare a comprehensive study known as the ‘Acton Report.’

4- Cardinal Acton Report:

The Acton Report[30] consists of 34 pages, two appendices, an 18-page documents appendix ‘Nota di archivio,’ and a 41-page appendix summary  ‘Sommario.’ The report consists of a comprehensive study of the question of the Patriarchate. It reviews the development of the idea and the phases it had undergone from the beginning. The report was prepared upon a recommendation of Propaganda Fide. The report has become an important major reference in the study of the history of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The cardinals of Propaganda Fide depended on the report in their meetings and decisions, which culminated in the restoration of the Latin Patriarchal See to the Holy City. The following are the most important paragraphs of the Acton Report and the topics it dealt with:

A-  Introduction:[31]

         The introduction included a brief review of the efforts that had been made to re-establish the Jerusalem Patriarchal See, particularly after the meeting of Propaganda Fide on 25 January 1847 and the correspondence exchanged between Propaganda Fide and the Franciscan General.

B-    The reasons warranting the establishment of a Latin diocese in Jerusalem:[32]

Cardinal Acton pointed out that the historic circumstances, which Palestine had undergone, and developments that occurred in his own age were the reasons warranting the re-establishment of the Jerusalem Latin diocese.

1-          No city more than Jerusalem was entitled to establish a diocese in it. Since the dawn of Christianity, Jerusalem was an Apostolic See, which was later promoted to a Patriarchal See. In addition to the Greek Patriarchs of Jerusalem, there have been Latin Patriarchs since the eleventh century. Their presence coincided with that of the Crusaders in Palestine. After the end of the Crusaders’ rule, there have always been titular non-resident Latin Patriarchs in Jerusalem.

2-          The desire of the faithful, particularly in Europe, that a Catholic bishop should reside in Jerusalem. The Protestants sent their Anglican bishop to Jerusalem ahead of the Latins. This has aroused the concern of the German Catholics, particularly the Archbishop of Salzburg. It was also the desire of many Franciscans to have a Catholic bishop in Jerusalem.

3-          Each Eastern Church in Jerusalem had a bishop; even Britain had its own bishop there.

4-          The representation of the Catholic Church is done in every country through the diocesan regime. Why shouldn’t this principle be followed in Palestine, although there is no Eastern Catholic bishop in Palestine?

5-          The spiritual needs of the 8,000 faithful in Palestine and in Cyprus, as the Franciscans do not know Arabic or the customs of the country. This constitutes an impediment in the way of the pastoral work.

6-          The increasing number of pilgrims from the Catholic countries who flock to Palestine to visit the Holy Places.

7-          Catholicism was weakly spreading among the Eastern Christians.

8-          The Eastern Catholics were diminshing in number in Palestine and Cyprus, although they were originally few. Franciscans Fathers were accused in the past of seeking to prompt Eastern Catholics to change to Latin rite, although the instructions issued by the Holy See and Propaganda Fide suggested otherwise. Therefore, we recommend that Eastern rites be not touched. On the contrary, the Eastern Catholics should be urged to obey their bishops. As for the Protestants, they invaded the East and settled in the cities of Palestine so as to influence the Eastern Catholic, Latins, Orthodox, local citizens and foreigners on equal footing.

9-          The Custos of the Holy Land, who cares for the Christians, is not a bishop. He does not know the language or customs of the country. He complies with the bylaws of his Order and his superior. His work is restricted to supervising the daily life of the friars and the collection of contributions to the Holy Land. As for the bishop, he enjoys several privileges and benefits, i.e. the episcopal consecration and character, fully devoted to the affairs of the people, knows well the language of the country, and is equal in rank to the bishops of the Catholic countries. The bishop is not accountable to anyone other than the Holy See. All these privileges can produce numerous benefits in Palestine. 

10-     Quaresimus, the Custos of the Holy Land in the early seventeenth century, wished that Jerusalem would have its own patriarch. His views were appreciated and respected in the circles of the Franciscans.

C-    Reply to the letter of the Franciscan General Minister, Luigi da Loreto, dated 24 February 1847:[33]

1-          No one can doubt that the Franciscan Order has done a great deal of good for the Holy Land. The Holy Land enjoyed vast care under them. However, there were reasons, which the Franciscan General did not disclose, requiring the presence of a resident bishop in Jerusalem.

2-          The General was discussing the question of the re-establishment of the Patriarchate, which His Holiness the Pope, to whom the Franciscan Order was loyal and obedient, did not approve.

3-          Instead of submitting his constructive proposals, the General was submitting justifications why the project for the re-establishment of the Patriarchate was a severe danger posed to his Order and to the future of the Holy Land.

4-          The General likens the appointment of a bishop in Jerusalem a shooting star. Can this likening of the Jerusalem Latin and Greek bishops be true? As for these days, the plan to appoint a bishop failed because of the opposition the idea by the Friars Minor, who were receiving the support of certain countries to continue their opposition.

5-           No one can overlook the desire by the Christians to have their own bishop in Jerusalem.

6-          As for the idea of the General that the Jerusalem mission was of a special type and that its bylaws were absolute and necessary, Acton replied that it was in Jerusalem that Jesus Christ established the episcopacy.

7-          The charity and alms received by the Jerusalem mission will not decrease if the ecclesiastical regime is upgraded and the episcopacy is entered to it. The charity and alms are not given to the Franciscan Fathers but to the Holy Land, which they are serving. If we accept in principle that the alms and charity were decreasing, the many benefits of introducing the episcopacy to Palestine can offset the loss. It should be noted here that Propaganda Fide does not check the accounts of the friars. However, we have information in the archives, which is not in their favor. If a bishop was sent to Jerusalem, the alms and the charity would not be stopped. On the contrary, the confidence of the faithful in the bishop will be enhanced. The zealous friars will double their enthusiasm, particularly if personal objectives or interests do not motivate their attitude.

8-          The reason for the quarrels, which erupted between the friars and the apostolic vicars in the missions of Aleppo and Alexandria, was that the friars did not respect the jurisdictions of the bishops or comply with their instructions.

9-          The Franciscan General is hinting at rumors, which say that the Greeks were making endeavors with the Sublime Porte to seize the Holy Places, which were in the possession of the Latins. Acton is asking about the source of these rumors and demands the disclosure of the source. He points out that the friars are treated with respect and appreciation, not because of their monastic affiliation, but because they were Latins and Franks (Westerners).

10-     The Turks are familiar with the diocesan order. They accredit the patriarchs and bishops as civil heads of their denominations. Some bishops held Mass in Jerusalem such as Bishop Guasco. The Turks were not angry because of this. In fact, the Sublime Porte expressed its desire that European bishops serve the local Latins. Therefore, the Sublime Porte would not object to the introduction of the diocesan system to Jerusalem.

11-      ‘The Turks are always the same.’ The General has always reiterated this phrase. Acton believes that there is an exaggeration and slandering of the Turks in this phrase.

12-      Acton submitted the documents by which the General supported his views. They included the abortive attempt to re-establish the Patriarchate in 1819 and a second attempt, which did not fail but was stopped in 1842.[34]

D-    Qualities and titles of the new bishop:[35]

Jerusalem had a titular Patriarch, Monsignor Foscolo, who did not reside in his diocese. According to custom, no other patriarch can be appointed for the same place as long as there was a titular patriarch, even if the appointed patriarch was a resident ordinary in the diocese. If Propaganda Fide decided to appoint a patriarch enjoying real power, the Pope could transfer Monsignor Foscolo to Alexandria. If a bishop was appointed in Jerusalem holding the rank of patriarch, the bishops of Constantinople and Alexandria might ask for the same patriarchal rank.


If the bishop of Jerusalem is granted the title of patriarch, the Eastern prelates will not be pleased because they do not welcome the Latin patriarchs in the East. Proceeding from this principle, Monsignor Corboli recommended that the bishop of Jerusalem be granted the title of patriarchal vicar or archbishop, since such a solution not arouse the sensitivity of the eastern prelates. But such a solution is unsuitable from the standpoint of canon law and the norms in force. In other words, it is impermissible to demote the ecclesiastical rank of a patriarchate to a bishopric or archbishopric. It is also unsuitable that the one Church be geographically presided over by an Orthodox patriarch and a Latin archbishop. Finally Cardinal Acton recommended that the bishop of Jerusalem be first granted the rank of apostolic vicar and the title of patriarch be added to it, because he occupied an old patriarchal see. The new bishop will enjoy all the rights of an ordinary in his diocese. A statement will be issued later in this connection, just like a statement was issued on the Patriarchal Vicariate of Constantinople.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

E-         Boundaries of the diocese:[36]

     The boundaries of the Jerusalem diocese should be the boundaries of the former Crusade Latin Patriarchate, in addition to Cyprus.[37]  In the Crusade Patriarchate, there were seven assistant bishops or vicars to the Patriarch of Jerusalem. However, because there were fewer numbers of faithful at the present time, there was no need for such a measure. Consequently, it was preferred that one bishop be appointed for Jerusalem. In connection with the appointment of an assistant bishop in Cyprus, it was preferable to consult Father Paolo Brunoni who had been residing in the Island for the last 18 years. As for the final decision on the boundaries, it will be discussed later.

F-          Relationships between the bishops and the clerics and the internal system of the diocese:[38] 

The relationships between the bishop and the clerics are a difficult matter to study because of the complex ecclesiastical structure in Palestine. Therefore, we should refer to the history of the Church of Jerusalem to find the peaceful solutions for the present age.

1-          The Patriarch of Jerusalem and the formation of the national clergy:

The first question about the anticipated diocese in Jerusalem is: What is the ecclesiastical system that will govern the functions of the patriarch? In other words, what is the nature of the broad base upon which the diocese system will be built? In the age of the Crusades, the bishop was surrounded with diocesan priests and the friars of St. Benedict and St. Augustine. The canonical council of the bishop consisted of St. Augustine’s friars, who performed the liturgical service in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The bishop was often nominated from the diocesan secular clergy or the regular clergy, and this was the experience learned from the past.  The goal in both cases was the general good of the Church. On the basis of this experience, Cardinal Acton submitted the following proposal: From the thousands of Latin Catholics in Palestine, we could find those who will embrace the priesthood and join the service of the bishop. The bishop of Jerusalem is not a person bestowed with episcopal character, but is the bishop and the clergy together. Therefore, this clergy should better be a diocesan, secular one, and not a regular clergy. The Franciscans will keep their parishes and the opportunity is left to the bishop to form his own secular clergy. The presence of the Carmelites in Haifa was an indication that  ecclesiastical mission was not a monopoly for the Franciscan Order. Therefore, the bishop will sooner or later have to build up his clergy without clashing with the friars. The clash usually happens when sacred rights are infringed on. It should be recalled that the Apostolic Vicar of Constantinople has a clergy of his own working alongside the religious orders, which keep their convents and parishes.  

2-      Combining jurisdictions and offices:

Quaresimus, Custos of the Holy land in the early seventeenth century, advises that in addition to his post, the patriarch should undertake the duty of the Custos of the Holy Land, like the Crusader’s patriarch, who combined the two functions of patriarch and superior of the canons of the Holy Sepulcher. Actually monastic orders have developed; they now have their own convents and bylaws. This makes it impossible for one person to hold the office of the bishop or patriarch and the office of Custos of the Holy Land. From this standpoint Cardinal Acton advice is to apply the norms of Canon Law for episcopal nomination. However, there is no problem if the patriarch is nominated from the ranks of the regular clergy or others according to need and the circumstances of the hour. 

In the case of applying the principle of combining jurisdictions and offices, the Franciscan General Minister should consult with the competent departments at the Holy See when appointing the Custos of the Holy Land, because by choosing the latter, the patriarch is nominated in an indirect way. However, if the two offices are separate, there is no need to consult the competent departments on the election of bishops. What should be applied in this case are the general norms followed in the appointment of the provincial general ministries.

If the position of the bishop becomes vacant, there is a danger of containment of the young Patriarchate by the Custody of the Holy Land. Therefore, there is need of a coadjutor bishop who has the right to succeed the ordinary bishop, so the danger would dissipate. The coadjutor would also help the ordinary bishop in the duties of his post.

3-      Use of the parish churches:

   Each diocese has a church called the cathedral, which is the primary diocesan church in which the bishop holds Mass and liturgical services. The Franciscan Fathers have acquired two churches in Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Church of St. Saviour.

    - Church of the Holy Sepulcher:

Restoration work was frequently done on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is still keeping its Constantinian touch. The Orthodox and Latins jointly own the church. The times of Masses and liturgical celebrations were divided between the two denominations under the supervision of the Turks. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher remained the Franciscan pastoral church until the sixteenth century, when friars began to hold their pastoral services at the Church of St. Saviour. When going over the history of the patriarchs of Jerusalem, it seems certain that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was the main church or the Patriarchal Cathedral, where liturgical celebrations were always held. However, since the Holy Sepulcher was shared by the Latins and others denominations for liturgical celebrations, it was thought that the bishop should hold his High Mass and liturgical services at the Church of St. Saviour.

-          Church of St. Saviour:

It is the pastoral church of Jerusalem. Next to it is the convent of the Friars Minor. The Franciscans own the church alone. Whenever it becomes impossible to establish religious celebrations at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Sepulcher, these celebrations are held at the Church of St. Saviour. The Franciscans should be present in the two churches in their capacity as canons. The friars will perform the religious service with the bishop in all the churches of Palestine and Cyprus.   

4-         Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem:

At the age of the Crusade Latin Patriarchate, the Latin Patriarch was the prior of the Equestrian Order of the Knight of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. The Custos of the Holy Land is currently granting the titles of the Order and promotes those who join the Order to the various degrees of membership. Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) bestowed this privilege on the Custos of the Holy Land after the demise of the Crusade Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in his capacity as prior of the Order. On the question of appointing a bishop in Jerusalem, whose right is it to be prior of the Order and grant titles and promotions? This will be decided later on.

5-         Financial resources:

The bishop of Jerusalem will obtain financial aid from Europe to support his projects. Franciscans have voiced their objection to offer money to the budget of the bishop. This objection was not logical, because the resources of the Holy Land guarantee spending on the living of the friars, and this should include the bishop who should have the right to check the resources and expenditures. The bishop may be held responsible for this budget in front of the Christian countries.

G-   Conclusion:[39]

Foremost among the tasks of the Latin bishops in the East was to call the dissidents from the Church to return to unity and to work for the good of the Eastern Catholics. Therefore, it was a good idea to grant the bishop of Jerusalem the powers of a Papal Nuncio to the Eastern Christians in order to achieve the goals that are sought. Cardinal Acton presented the name of the candidates for the post of bishop of Jerusalem as follows: Father Valerga, a secular priest, who worked as secretary of the Papal Nuncio in Syria and joined the mission of the Dominican Fathers in Mosul; Father Paolo Brunoni of Cyprus, Father Da Civezza, a Franciscan and Custos of the Holy Land in Palestine; Father Vilardel, a Franciscan and a Papal Nuncio to Syria. Finally, Cardinal Acton submitted 37 proposals to Propaganda Fide for consideration. The proposals involved the circumstances of the appointment of the bishop of Jerusalem, his qualities, jurisdiction, and relationship with the Franciscans.

5- Contacts between Propaganda Fide and His Holiness Pope Pius IX:

A-         Papal Recommendation on 28 April 1847:

Cardinal Acton’s report was ready before 3 May 1847, the date of the meeting of Propaganda Fide. The report was printed in March 1847. However, the discussion of the report and the question of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem were not listed on the agenda of the meeting. What was the reason for this? Was it an echo of the message of the Franciscan General Minister Luigi da Loreto dated 24 February 1847, which caused the deletion of the item from the agenda? Or was it pure negligence and indifference? Or were there hidden reasons, which were not revealed as yet? In any case, His Holiness Pope Pius IX realized the mistake before it occurred and settled the problem by writing in his own hand to Father Palma, secretary of Propaganda Fide, instructing him to include the question of the Patriarchate on the agenda. The letter said: “Since Propaganda Fide is about to meet to discuss some of its affairs, it is necessary for Father Palma to write soon [the word ‘soon’ was underlined by the Pope himself] a circular letter to the cardinals drawing their attention to the fact that the question of the bishop of Jerusalem will be discussed in the session and that it will be the first topic that will be submitted for discussion. Father Palma should carry out the foregoing. [Signed] Pius PP IX.”[40]

B-         Propaganda Fide recommends nomination of Father Giuseppe Valerga as Patriarch of Jerusalem at its session held on 3 May 1847:

The recommendation of His Holiness the Pope was heeded at Propaganda Fide, which reported the following in the minutes of its meeting: “At the instruction of Your Holiness, the question of the re-establishment of the Patriarchate was discussed once again at the meeting of Propaganda Fide held on 3 May 1847.”[41] The cardinals discussed in the meeting Cardinal Acton’s report and answered 12 out of his 37 proposals submitted. The conferees demanded that the bishop of Jerusalem be granted the rank of patriarch and that the patriarch serve as representative of the Holy See to the Sublime Porte, provided that the patriarch reside in Constantinople. If the bishop of Jerusalem is not granted the rank of patriarch, he should be promoted to archbishop or patriarchal vicar. The 12 cardinals proposed the nomination of Father Valerga, and said the following about him: “He was born in Genoa and was to be well commended for his piety, skills, pastoral experience and knowledge of eastern languages.”[42]

C-    His Holiness the Pope endorses the nomination of Father Valerga; an interview with His Holiness on 16 May 1847:

Propaganda Fide had an audience with Pope Pius IX on 16 May 1847 and briefed him on the decisions and recommendations it adopted in its meeting. The Pope endorsed these decisions and recommendations: “After closer view of this report which I submitted to him in an official interview, His Holiness Pope Pius IX decided to return the Latin Patriarch to Jerusalem with his full powers, chose Father Giuseppe Valerga for this post at the recommendation of the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of Faith, and ordered that he be summoned to Rome.”[43] His Holiness also issued his instructions for the resignation of Jerusalem’s titular Patriarch, Monsignor Foscolo. who resigned from his post on 10 October 1847, on the same day as the episcopal ordination of Monsignor Valerga.

D-        Special meeting of Propaganda Fide held on 8 July 1847 to determine the relationship of the patriarch to the Custody of the Holy Land:

The cardinals replied on 3 May 1847 to 12 out of the 37 proposals submitted by Cardinal Acton. The cardinals also squeezed the remaining 25 proposals into 15 proposals. Propaganda Fide replied to these proposals as follows:[44]

1-      Two separate persons will carry out the functions of the patriarch and the Custos of the Holy Land. The patriarch, in addition to his post, will not be allowed to undertake the functions of Custos of the Holy Land. The patriarch as an ordinary is the head of the Latin Church.

2-      The nature of the relations between the patriarch and the parish priests of the regular clergy shall be determined in accordance with the instructions issued by the Council of Trent and the instructions of Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758).

3-      The instructions of the previous paragraph apply to the Carmelites in Haifa and Mount Carmel on matters related to their nominations as parish priests.

4-      Instructions will be issued later regarding the establishment of a national secular clergy.

5-      The approval of His Holiness the Pope shall be secured regarding the appointment of the Custos of the Holy Land. His Holiness the Pope will decide later on about this point.

6-      An application shall be submitted to His Holiness the Pope to appoint a patriarchal general vicar to run the diocese if the patriarchal see becomes vacant.

7-      The allocation of one of the diocesan churches to the patriarch will be decided later.

8-      The patriarch shall have the right to hold liturgical services in all churches of the diocese, including Franciscan churches and those belonging to other monastic orders.

9-      10) Franciscans may participate as canons with the patriarch in the liturgical services in the same way they do in their churches and in the other diocesan churches.

11-     The patriarch will decide later about the privileges granted to the Custos of the Holy Land, such as administering the Sacrament of Confirmation.

12-    The Custos of the Holy Land may hold liturgical rites using the episcopal insignia, provided that he requests the patriarch’s permission to do so if he is present in the diocese.

13-    His Holiness the Pope shall decide who is to bestow the signs of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and its membership, and whether that shall be regulated by the patriarch or by the Custos of the Holy Land.

14-    His Holiness the Pope shall decide the participation of the Custody of the Holy Land in the budget of the Patriarchate.

15-    The budget will be decided later on, and on this regard the views of the patriarch and the Custos of the Holy Land shall be taken into consideration.

E-         The Pope replies to the proposals of Propaganda Fide in an interview with His Holiness on 11 August 1847:

Propaganda Fide had an audience with the Pope on 11 August 1847 and the Pope answered the following suggestions:

-               The Franciscans Order should obtain the approval ‘Placet’ of His Holiness the Pope to appoint the Custos of the Holy Land.[45]

-         Among the tasks of the Latin patriarch is to appoint knights of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and to grant promotions.[46]

6- Attitude of the French government toward the re-establishment of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the appointment of the Holy See, Monsignor Valerga:

A letter from French Foreign Minister, Guizot, to the French Ambassador in Rome, Count Rossi, dated l June 1847, was submitted to the meeting of Propaganda Fide on 8 July 1847. The letter narrated the story of the retreat of the Custos of the Holy Land in the Carmelite Convent in Haifa following differences with his Descreets (Council). The secretary of the meeting of Propaganda Fide commented on the letter by saying: “This letter expressed the current situation and the position of the Franciscans.”[47] The French Foreign Minister recommended that the situation in Palestine be handled by saying: “The first step which should be taken is to send to Jerusalem a wise and knowledgeable man, firm and determined to extract evil from its roots. He should be a man who takes his mission seriously and a man holding the rank of Apostolic Delegate or Visitor.”[48] What Guizot sought to achieve from his recommendation was the “the supreme interest of religion and the honor of Catholicism and the Holy See.”[49]  Finally, he requested his ambassador in Rome to communicate with the Holy See and “convince the Holy See that a firm decision should be made.”[50]

The Guizot letter suggested that the French position was moving in the direction of revival of the issue of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. However, the Minister did not imagine that Rome would send a patriarch to Palestine and even an official with vast powers. As for Propaganda Fide, it used the letter skillfully by listing it on the minutes of its meeting and referred it to His Holiness the Pope so as to give a new momentum to the question of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.

French opposition to the establishment of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem continued from 1842-1847. The evidence of this was the exchange of letters among the French Foreign Ministry, the Embassy in Rome, and the Consulate of Jerusalem. The French opposition did not stop Rome from proceeding with its plans. Thus it chose Valerga, a citizen of Sardinia[51], which competed with France in the protection of Catholicism in the East, as Patriarch of the Jerusalem See.

Thus Monsignor Valerga was a foe of France on the national and political levels. In his letter to Rossi, Ambassador in Rome, on 9 July 1847, Guizot dictated his instruction at a time when it was almost certain that the Holy See intended to appoint a patriarch in Jerusalem. The maneuver to stop the appointment was futile. At least, “the patriarch should not be from Sardinia, and it is not necessary to cite the reasons for you because you know them well, and finally, I leave this matter to your judgment.”[52]

From the date of the letter (9 July 1847), it seemed that Guizot did not know about the appointment of Monsignor Valerga as Patriarch of Jerusalem, which was done two months earlier, on 16 May 1847. France did not gamble by demanding the appointment of a French bishop, but noted that at least, he should be a Roman bishop, i.e. one of the bishops of the Holy See in Rome, not a Sardinian. Ambassador Rossi met in Rome with His Holiness Pope Pius IX and the cardinals in a last attempt to avoid the ascension of a Sardinian to the patriarchal see of Jerusalem. In a report dated on 28 September 1847, Rossi wrote to his Foreign Minister: “I twice raised the question of the Jerusalem bishop. It seems that His Holiness is determined, contrary to his earlier opinion, to appoint a Sardinian bishop, Monsignor Valerga.”[53] His Holiness the Pope justified the appointment by saying: “Monsignor Valerga was of Sardinian stock, but he was Roman in terms of his culture, customs and residence and he was nominated by Propaganda Fide by a majority of votes. He will receive instructions that are reassuring to the French government.”[54]       

There were reasons for the indignant French position at the policy of the Holy See and at Monsignor Valerga. France, the protector of the Catholics in the East, was not consulted about the appointment of the bishop of Jerusalem. In fact, the leadership of the diocese was handed over to a patriarch belonging to a nation that was competing with the French in the East. France had no personal animosity with Monsignor Valerga. Thus, the Pope reassured the French ambassador that Valerga ‘was Roman in terms of his culture, customs and residence.’

The bitterness of the French position was evident in the letter, which Guizot sent to Ambassador Rossi on 18 October 1847. The letter says: “I would not hesitate to say that the Holy See wanted us to play a difficult role by asking us as usual to transport aboard our ships people and correspondence hostile to France.”[55] The truth of the matter is that Monsignor Valerga will travel to Palestine aboard a French ship: “We were very much pained when we knew about the selection made by His Holiness the Pope, not because we had reservations or advance judgment concerning the appointed person, but because we sincerely regretted that His Holiness did not take the notes we referred to him into consideration, if we were to think in the interest of protection of the Catholics in the East.”[56]

What was the motive of the Holy See to appoint the Sardinian Valerga Patriarch of Jerusalem despite the French opposition? Was it the good of the faithful and the supreme interest of the Church? Was the reason that Valerga was the best candidate despite his nationality? Or was it that the Holy See sought to win the support of Sardinia by choosing one of its nationals as Patriarch of Jerusalem while making guarantees to the French government that such an appointment would not harm French policy in the East, or was the intention to achieve both goals together?

It was officially announced that Monsignor Valerga was appointed resident patriarch in Jerusalem on 4 October 1847.  The episcopal ordination took place in Rome on 10 October 1847 by His Holiness Pope Pius IX. Cardinal Acton died just before the ordination on 23 June 1847 at the age of 44 years.

7- Apostolic Letter Nulla Celebrior:


          The Apostolic Letter Nulla Celebrior was published on 23 July 1847 a few weeks before the episcopal ordination of Father Valerga and his appointment as Patriarch of Jerusalem. In this letter, His Holiness announced the establishment of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem after consultations and contacts with the concerned authorities. Propaganda Fide played a major role in these consultations and contacts. The consultations and contacts lasted from January 1847 until June 1847.

Nulla Celebrior[57]

    “No city in the world could match Jerusalem in its religious worship. Among all the places, which Christians flock to, there is no area that is more revered than Jerusalem and its land. In every place of this city, famous buildings are rising to witness the works of our Lord Jesus Christ. These works are reminiscent of the virtue and holiness with which the Divine Redeemer of the human race honored this city in particular. Thus the city of Jerusalem was surrounded with this great reverence ever since the rise of the Church. There was a unique asset for the city of Jerusalem. It was the fact that the city contained the glorious sepulcher in which our Savior stayed for three days and then rose from the dead by his own power on the third day, thus defeating death by this astounding miracle. He thus confirmed the Divine nature of the religion he had established. In this city also, the Lord Jesus taught the mysteries of the sublime faith and Divine commandments, so that Christians might live in accordance with these mysteries and commandments in patience, justice and piety.  In the city of Jerusalem, the apostles received the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary stayed with the apostles for a long period of time. The apostles held their first council in the city. In Jerusalem also, St. Peter escaped by Divine power after being arrested by King Herod. We will not list all the other events and works which the Gospel and the Book of Acts are full of. All these events and works show that there is hardly any place in Jerusalem or Palestine, which is not unrelated to the life of the Lord Jesus, his death, resurrection, ascension to heaven and his miracles. All these are reminiscent of the works of salvation, which the Lord Jesus performed. This has prompted Christians in every generation to revere these places and to perform the rites of worship there. The eyes of Christians are focused on Palestine, particularly on the Holy Sepulcher. When the city fell into the hands of the barbarians, European princes stood up to fight for it in harsh and repeated wars so as to liberate it and to rid the faithful from the enormous difficulties and extreme injustice they were suffering. We have stated all these facts to indicate that it was only fair that the Christian people treat Jerusalem with reverence whether in the old ages or at the present age.

   As far as the ecclesiastical authority, we are not aware of anything in the history of the Church where more reverence is displayed than that of the bishop of the Jerusalem See. However, what we know from the oldest sources is the decision contained in Article seven of the works of the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicaea in 325, which says: ‘It is an old habit and tradition that we revere the bishop of Jerusalem and that he should enjoy the fruits of such reverence.’ Everyone knows what happened a few centuries ago when the European princes regained the city of Jerusalem and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem. It was from that point that the lineage of Latin Patriarchs began. Many Latin figures were enthroned as Patriarchs for this See. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 in the age of pope Innocent III, confirmed the rank of Patriarchate for the Jerusalem See. However, fluctuating times and the losses, which the European armies sustained, made the city of Jerusalem return to the authority of the Muslims. After that, Latin Patriarchs could no longer stay in Jerusalem to care for their diocese. Our predecessor Roman Pontiffs were compelled to resort to another way to care for the faithful. However, they have never stopped nominating the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, although they exempted them from the duty of residing there as long as the Church itself was subject to the rule of the non-Believers.

   As for today, the obstacles barring the residence of the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem and his concern for the salvation of his sheep are over. Therefore, after we have undeservedly been elevated to the See of Peter and after cautious work, we decided to focus our attention on this matter of the numerous Church affairs and decided the following: Because the Jerusalem See is very old and because of the genuine rights it enjoys and in view of the current circumstances, all this dictates on us to send once again a Latin Patriarch to the city of Jerusalem. We wanted first to submit this serious matter to our brethren, the Cardinals of the Holy Church who are in charge of the affairs of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith to consider it accurately and carefully and to implement it. They have agreed by consensus to establish the patriarchal authority in the Jerusalem Church. When we received this reply, we prayed to Divine Providence to support us in completing this very important endeavor in the best possible fashion for the supreme interest of the Church. Nonetheless, we have paused for a long period of time and placed the view of our Congregation under test. We then decided to work without any interruption to complete this mission.

     With the power of the Almighty God and Saints Peter and Paul and with our power, we are returning the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Latin Patriarch and declaring his compliance with residence in the city as was the case earlier. As for the boundaries of the Patriarchate, we order and decree the following: Until other instructions are issued by the Holy See, the areas and places currently under the jurisdiction of our beloved son, the Custos of the Holy Land and the Holy Sepulcher and the General of the Friars Minor shall be placed under the jurisdiction of this Patriarch. As for the appointment of bishops under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch, we have decided to disclose our views later. We shall keep this matter to us and to our brother Cardinals, who are members of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. The Congregation itself shall be empowered in order to make the precise instructions, that are supported with our power, in order to show the way which should be followed by the Custos of the Holy Land, all the Franciscans residing there and all the clerics under the jurisdiction of the said Patriarch. This is what we have decided for the dignity of the Faith and for the growth of the Catholic Church in these areas and for the interest of the Church and the people at large. This is what we hope to achieve with God’s support and blessings.                                                                     

    All public and private instructions denoting otherwise shall be cancelled.

Given in Rome at St. Mary Major's on the 23d of July, 1847, in the second year of Our Pontificate.”                                              

8- Instructions of Propaganda Fide on 10 December 1847:[58]

The Apostolic Letter Nulla Celebrior left the door open for the issuance of subsequent instructions concerning the entity of the new Patriarchate. On 10 December 1847, Propaganda Fide issued instructions on the regulations governing the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The most important of these regulations were the following:

1-          The custos is head of the Custody of the Holy Land. The powers, which he gained with time for the management of the Palestinian mission and Cyprus, shall be transferred to the patriarch while the custos shall keep his powers in Syria and Egypt.

2-          The patriarch shall apply the general norms of Canon Law and particularly the decisions of the Council of Trent.

3-          If the patriarchal see becomes vacant, the patriarchal vicar shall exercise the powers of administrator of the diocese.

4-          The patriarch may authorize the Custos of the Holy Land wider powers than those mentioned in the first paragraph, such as granting the custos the right to administer the sacrament of confirmation.

5-          The Custos of the Holy Land may use the episcopical liturgical vestments and insignia until instruction are issued to the contrary. If the patriarch is present in the diocese, the custos should secure permission for the use of the insignia. When the patriarch is away, the custos may use these insignia.

6-          The Custos of the Holy Land shall be nominated as customary at the Custody of the Holy Land.

7-          The constitution and bylaws of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher shall be safeguarded. It is the responsibility of the patriarch to grant the grades and promotions of the Order.

8-          Latin priests and friars in Palestine and Cyprus shall deal with the patriarch as stated in Canon Law concerning their dealing with the bishops.

9-          When parish priests are appointed from the regular orders, the heads of the orders shall nominate three candidates. The patriarch selects and appoints the parish priest from these three.

10-     The patriarch shall be entitled to offer Mass and celebrate other liturgical rites in the churches of the Latin orders in Cyprus and Palestine. The friars shall offer him the necessary liturgical vestments for this purpose. In Jerusalem, it will be the canons of the Cathedral that should offer the foregoing vestments, unless the patriarch decides the contrary.


      The departments of the Holy See had drawn the broad lines of the Latin Patriarchate’s re-establishment, the necessary studies were made and instructions and recommendations were issued. In all its dimensions and documents, the project of the re-establishment was something similar to an architectural design that was worked out theoretically and only needed implementation and the person who was capable of completing it. This was not easy to achieve. There was first a Catholic authority that existed in Palestine, namely, the Custody of the Holy Land. How then can there be coordination between a patriarch coming from Rome and the Custody of the Holy Land, which gained throughout the ages solid missionary rights in Palestine? Secondly, there were the Greek and Armenian Patriarchs.  Would they welcome a third partner called the Patriarch of Jerusalem? Moreover, there were other difficulties, which could be caused by the Ottoman Sultanate for the new guest who would soon reside in the Holy City. In addition to all this, the appointed patriarch would have to establish a patriarchal entity from almost nothing. The Franciscans parishes would remain under the power of the Friars Minor. The patriarch would be in Jerusalem without his own clergy. Therefore, he would have to depend on the Franciscans in the early years of the life of the patriarchal entity.

          The Holy See chose Father Giuseppe Valerga, 34 years old, who was popularly known in Palestine as Youssef Valerga, Patriarch of Jerusalem. He had experience in diplomatic affairs in Rome and gained priestly experience in Beirut and Mosul.