The Custody of the HL in Rhodes

The Custody of the Holy Land in Rhodes

The Latin Church presence in Rhodes and Cyprus has been connected to the Franciscan Province of the Custody of the Holy Land since the beginning of the Franciscan presence.

It has been historically proven that already in the year 1000 a Latin church existed in Rhodes, to serve the merchants and travellers coming from the West. During the time of the Crusades the Latin community grew rapidly and new many churches were built. At that time, the first Friars minor from Italy arrived, spreading their presence all over the island.

During the Turkish occupation, only some Franciscan friars were allowed to stay in Rhodes. They brought spiritual assistance to the slaves and the merchants, though the latter were far fewer.

In the perion 1912 to 1943 the Franciscan friars contributed much to support the physical and spiritual well-being of the international community, mainly Italian. In that period, the Franciscans on the island came from the Seraphic Province of Assisi.

In 1972, the Franciscan presence on the island was connected to the Custody of the Holy Land, which sent friars from Jerusalem to take care of the Catholic community on the island.