Mount Nebo Memorial of Moses is located on one of the western ridges of the el-Balqa plateau (the ancient Plains of Moab) overlooking the northeastern part of the Dead Sea. The farthest spur towards the Jordan Valley is called today Siyagha, a name of ancient aramaic origin meaning “monastery, community of monks”. Siyagha is no doubt the biblical Pisgah.
The ridge of Nebo was inhabited from remote antiquity. However, its real fame is derived from the biblical event that occurred upon it as described in the Book of Deuteronomy: the death of the prophet Moses. For this reason, monks have chosen to live here since the first centuries of Christianity. Please, read more in the section “History & Documents”.
The Mount Nebo Franciscan Friary
The Mount Nebo Franciscan Monastery is a friary of the Custody of the Holy Land.
Established in the year 1342 in Jerusalem, The Custody of the Holy Land is a special and international mission of the Catholic Church, a part of the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) in the Middle East. The Custody of the Holy Land is also a diplomatic entity recognized by many countries and institutions.
Our monastery was built starting from 1932 by the Custody of the Holy Land to house members of the archaeological expedition of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem while they undertook excavations at the Siyagha ruins, a project which got under way in the summer of 1933. Starting with a central nucleus, the convent has grown with the addition of gardens and service rooms of different types, all of a practical and functional nature.
The presence of the Franciscans on Mt Nebo and nearby Mukkayat (the ancient city of Nebo) guarantees the accessibility of this archeological, religious and historical patrimony for the thousands of visitors and pilgrims who visit each year. The convent is used as a retreat house by the Franciscans. When conditions permit, here too, are welcomed those who, on request, seek a place of prayer and quiet, and who wish to enjoy some time of peace and spirituality, especially the Christian communities of the vicinity.
The Friary at Mt Nebo has also become a point of reference for international and diplomatic institutions (Embassies, Cultural Centers, NGOs etc) who often request the friars to welcome and to guide important international guests during their visits to Jordan.
The program of the celebrations for the re-opening of the Basilica includes two seminars: in the near future the community hopes to expand cultural activities here. Currently the monastery is the seat of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival: Music from the Churches of the Middle East and the Levant. This international pipe organ music festival is organized by the Custody of the Holy Land in the places where it has a presence: Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Greece and Cyprus.
However, the works of the Custody of the Holy Land in Jordan are not limited solely to those connected with Mt Nebo. Terra Sancta College in Amman was founded in 1947 and today is host to over one thousand students. It is highly regarded among the educational institutions of Jordan both for its facilities and for the quality of its teaching.
The new Friary 2016 – 2019
Fr. Junio Fernando Marquez (BRA)
Superior, Appointed to the Shrine, Student of Arabic, Chronicler
Br. Ammar Shahin (JOR)
Vicar, Burser, Supervisor
Br. Riccardo Ceriani (ITA)
Appointed to the Shrine, Delegate for Music & Performing Arts of the Custos of the Holy Land, Superintendent of the Terra Sancta Organ Festival
In Amman – Terra Sancta College
Fr. Feras Hejazin (JOR)
Guardian, Responsible for Youth, Appointed to the Terra Sancta College
Fr. Rachid Mistrih (SYR)
Regional Minister of the Custody of the Holy Land, Vicar, Burser, Director of the Terra Sancta College, Chronicler
Br. Paulo José Paulista (BRA)
Student of Arabic