10 December 2015

Solemn Mass at the Latrun Monastery to celebrate its 125th anniversary

A Mass celebrated by Patriarch Fouad Twal in order to celebrate the 125th anniversary since the founding of the Trappist monastery of Latrun, just a short walk from Jerusalem.

Christians in the Holy Land

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In Jerusalem, it is a time of celebrations and anniversaries.
December 8th was not just a day to celebrate the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of the year of mercy. The Trappist monks of Latrun, a town located a few kilometers from the city, celebrated the 125th anniversary since the founding of their monastery. For the occasion, the friars and nuns, who were accompanied by many faithful, participated in a special mass presided over by Patriarch Fouad Twal inside the monastery.

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
“Today we are present here in Latrun. It has been 125 years since the founding of the monastery and so we celebrate its 125th anniversary. There is a very pleasant atmosphere [here]. In the past, there was a village called Latrun, where people worked the land and produced wine.
I have wonderful memories of this place, because when we were young, we would come here for mass and spiritual exercises, in addition to going on excursions.”

Monk at the Cistercian Abbey of Latrun
I have been serving at the Latrun monastery for more than 60 years. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a very special one for me personally, and also for the monastery, because it was founded on the same day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception: on the eve of December 8, the first founding friars arrived; they stayed for a few days near here, and they then processed here carrying the Blessed Sacrament with them all the way to the monastery.

The village is located about 20 kilometers from Jerusalem, along the road to Tel Aviv. The monastery was built in 1890 on the ruins of an old Crusader castle and it is the only monastery in Israel inhabited by Trappist monks. Here the days are marked with silence, prayer and work, according to the Benedictine rule. The production of wines, spirits and olive oil—that has been going on since the late nineteenth century—is one of the things that the monastery is known for, not just for Christian pilgrims but also for Jews and tourists.

Monk at the Cistercian Abbey of Latrun
Prayers, invocations, witness and hospitality are the mission of our order. In other words, we are to offer everyone who comes here the possibility to stay, spend a few days and do spiritual exercises, in solitude and prayer. The monastery is open to all, to all communities and religions, and anyone who wishes to get closer to God.