Yesterday was spent in the library. I was planning to go back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at 5:00 for the daily procession, but I got absorbed in library work and it was 5:00 before I knew it.

The library here at Ecole Biblique is incredible. Thousands of volumes on every aspect of the Bible and culture of the Bible. The library, like most academic libraries is not a lending library. No books may be removed. Instead they provide each scholar (or wannabe scholar like me) a unique place to study. You can see a picture of mine on my Twitter and Instagram feed. I am not posting pictures here because it is so much easier to post them on Twitter and Instagram.

So the day yesterday (Friday) was spent at the desk. In addition to my study of the Bethlehem shepherds I am polishing the manuscript of my first novel. Renegade Priest is the story of a Catholic priest who gets into trouble with the corrupt hierarchy. Its an exciting story and I was pleased that the editor to whom I went it thinks it is worthy. I may seek to get it published, but the first plan was to have it recorded and put out through this blog as a serialized podcast. I’m still going to do that whether the book gets into print or not.

This morning, Saturday, 9 April I missed Lauds at 7:30 because I only woke up at 8:00–only having finally dropped off to sleep around 2 am. So I said Morning Prayer in the beautifully simple oratory next to the basilica. There is a picture of this on my Twitter and Instagram feed. (Future posts will just have a note: T&I when there is a picture or pictures to go with the text.

This afternoon I am going to “The Solemn Entrance” this is a ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. Due to the complicated history of this holy city the usual politics and order of the Catholic Church is disrupted. Basically, the Latin Patriarch is the Catholic Archbishop of the Holy Land and associated territory. The Patriarchate is in Jerusalem…here is a potted history provided by Fr Chris Landfred:

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (Latin: Patriarchatus Latinus Hierosolymitanus) is the Latin Catholic ecclesiastical patriarchate in Jerusalem, officially seated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was originally established in 1099, with the Kingdom of Jerusalem encompassing the territories in the Holy Land newly conquered by the First Crusade. From 1374 to 1847 it was a titular see, with the patriarchs of Jerusalem being based at the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. A resident Latin patriarch was re-established in 1847 by Pius IX.

The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem is now the archbishop of Latin Church Catholics of the Archdiocese of Jerusalem with jurisdiction for all Latin Catholics in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus. The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem also holds the office of grand prior of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The office of Latin patriarch of Jerusalem became vacant on 24 June 2016, and the patriarchate was managed by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa as apostolic administrator. Pizzaballa was appointed Latin patriarch on 24 October 2020.[1] He took possession of the see on 6 November 2020.

It is exempt, being directly subject to the Holy See (and exceptionally its Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which normally handles Eastern Catholics). It is not within an ecclesiastical province, and has no metropolitan functions.

The title of patriarch in the Latin Church is retained by only four archbishops (since Benedict XVI relinquished the papal title of “Patriarch of the West” in 2006): the Latin patriarchs of Jerusalem, of Venice, of Lisbon and of the East Indies. Until 1964, there had also been the honorary patriarchal titles of Constantinople, Alexandria and Antioch; still others were abolished earlier. The title of “Patriarch of Jerusalem” is also used by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, as well as, titularly (along Alexandria), by the Melkite Patriarch.

So this afternoon I’ll head down there for this opening ceremony of Holy Week. I have a schedule of other events–including the opportunity to keep vigil all night on Thursday in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher! On Palm Sunday I plan to join the large procession from the Mount of Olives and on Easter Monday there is a hike from Jerusalem to Emmaus–but that’s the day our son Elias is arriving from Thailand–where he has been teaching English in a Jesuit school, so I’ll have to miss that–not sure I am fit enough for an 8 hour hike anyway (even though I’m told it is mostly downhill!