Reopening of the Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo
October 13, 2016
The Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo is reopening to the public, and visitors will now be able to return and admire some of the most beautiful mosaics of Jordan, as well as the basilica itself.
The official opening will be held over two days, in order to facilitate the large influx of visitors expected for the reopening of one of the most important shrines and one of the most visited archaeological sites in Jordan and the Holy Land. On Saturday, October 15 a civil inauguration will take place, while on Sunday, October 16 there will be religious celebration. On these two days, the Memorial area will be open exclusively only for these events. Regular opening hours of the Basilica to visitors will resume on Monday, October 17. The Mass will be presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Special Envoy of Pope Francis and Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
The symbolic gesture that will mark the inauguration of October 15 will be the opening of the doors of the basilica by the Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton and a senior representative of the Jordanian state. Prior to that, the inaugural speeches will include a message from His Holiness Pope Francis, to be read by His Eminence Cardinal Sandri.
Following recent new discoveries Fr.. Eugenio Alliata has updated the history of Mount Nebo and the Memorial, retracing the ancient testimonies and illustrating the work of Franciscan archaeologists (Frs. Saller, Bagatti, Corbo, Piccirillo, Alliata, Pappalardo) on the current project. While planning to publish a comprehensive guide at a later date, Fr. Alliata has written a brochure for the occasion, one that will be available in the opening days and will be published on the website of the sanctuary, where one can also look up a detailed program of events.
The Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo is the place from where according to the Bible (see Deuteronomy 34), God showed Moses the Holy Land and where the prophet, revered by the three monotheistic religions died. Although according to the same sacred text the place of his burial is unknown, a community of monks settled on Mount Nebo perpetuating the memory of Moses in this place from the fourth to the ninth century. During the 1900s the archaeologists of the Custody of the Holy Land, which in 1932 had acquired ownership of the place, brought to light the ancient monastery, the basilica and its wonderful mosaics. In order to cover and preserve the archaeological site, and at the same time to exhibit the mosaics from the various historical periods, the original covering from the 1960s has been extensively restored and rebuilt, and finally inaugurated in October 2016.
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