In November and December of 2021, the friars of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land hosted the three “magi,” namely three Visitators who had come to conduct canonical visitations in preparation for the Custody’s upcoming Custodial Chapter, scheduled for March and April of 2022.
The first Visitator was Friar Giovanni VOLTAN, the Assistant General for the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP) who came from Rome on behalf of the Minister General Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI. His visitation took place on November 7-22, 2021.
The second Visitator, Friar Anton BULAI, the current Custos of the Jurisdiction, came from Turkey to start his canonical visitation on November 18, 2021, and concluded it on November 29, in Lebanon.
The third Visitator was Friar Damian-Gheorghe PĂTRAŞCU, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania. He also came from Rome, the Eternal City, and conducted canonical visitations in Turkey (December2-8, 2021) and Lebanon (December 9-15, 2021).
All three Visitators, in keeping with the Constitutions and the General Directory for Canonical Visitations, were responding in some way to the mandate of our seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, who in his Later Rule commanded: “Let the brothers who are the ministers and servants of the others visit and admonish their brothers and humbly and charitably correct them” (Later Rule X, 1; FF 100).
Summing up this experience, we can say that:
- All three Visitators followed the same itinerary, more or less. Each of them visited the Custody’s four friaries, namely, Beyoğlu and Buyükdere in İstanbul, Turkey, and Sin El Fil and Zahlè in Lebanon.
- By entering into the daily life of each place, and trying to fully experience the challenges of each day (Morning Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, community and pastoral life), the three Visitators were able to touch on the daily experiences and urgencies of our countries of the Orient.
- In light of the personal and community discussions that were conducted, the three Visitators encouraged the friars to be faithful to their professed life of union with God, in a fraternal style of following in the footsteps of St. Francis and in loving service to the most fragile and needy.
Friar Nicolas ABOU ANNY