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Building the Church

Building the New Church

At the time of  Fr. Antonio Buzo




Starting Work

Fr Antonio Buzo was mostly interested in doing goodness and finding out ‎work opportunities for the unemployed, in addition to that he was interested in ‎finding an adoration place.

 
Depending of the Godly care he decieded to build the new church.‎ In the year 1953 Father Antonio had opened a pounding workshop preparing ‎for building the future church who he himself has designed the cadastral map in ‎‎1951 with the help of the Architect Paul Kufrer, head of Latroun Convent. ‎Threfore, Fr. Antonio agreed with the monk. Kufrer that building the church should ‎be consisted from Birzeit solid stone both externally and internally, but the Monk ‎died in 1957 just before starting the construction and was replaced by his faithful ‎pupil Monk Polan Schnider, he is also one of Latroun Convent who was ‎specialized in concrete work and he worked also in rehabilitating the Church of ‎Resurrection Church in Jerusalem.

The Monk took on his shoulder putting plans for building the church and ‎supervise the work very accurately. After Fr. Antonio had finished the map he started ‎thinking in financing, since he did not think of relying either on the parish or on the ‎Patriarch, as the Patriarch was busy in establishing schools and convents in the East ‎of Jordan. In the light of the preceeding, Fr. Antonio decided to depend personally on ‎himself for financing the project, then he left Birzeit to his Parish in Italy which is ‎called Fethorio Finito and started with his mother town ‎Oderzo, and there he was relied on its Parish Priest Msgr. Dominico Visantini ‎the owner of distinguished personality, and he addressed his generous citizens and ‎found that they had the ability to support and encouragement, he also requested ‎financial support from the Repatriates Nationals of Birzeit who are living and ‎working in Jordan, the Arab Countries and the Americas who emphasized to him ‎that they will never forget their Parish.‎

In May 1954 Fr. Antonio announced in front of his parish that he is possessing ‎some money to start the work in the church, so that the Parish members were ‎pleased in this incident. Furthermore, the Priest started the pounding workshop into ‎the northeren side of the old church and he had chosed the site with the help of ‎Monk Kufrer into the North of the Old Church, as there is no other piece of land in ‎this area, so that the land was sloping down deeply from the northern side, then the ‎Priest and the Architect knew well how to get benefit out of this slope and exploited ‎this to build the Hall for the Parish, Kindergarten and classes for the school.‎

Ruins from the First Centuries

The workers and also Fr. Antonio have got a good surprise when the ground ‎leveling started as they found ruins for an old church about two feet in height. This ‎ruins referred to the to the Byzantine Age, that church who the wanderer Jeera ‎spoke about it during his visit to Birzeit who Priest Jolly had announced about it in ‎the year 1865. Therefore, Jeera wrote that he saw pillars buried in the ground and ‎during prospection it was clearly shown that the ruins that Jeera and Fr. Jolly ‎mentioned about is considered as an old adoration place. There workers also found ‎a big Romanian well and a cemetery looking good in its shape consisting of four ‎bony skeletons and some lanterns. Some of the Monks especially San Etian Monks ‎and Archeologists paid a visit for this site and they investigated it, and they ‎preferred to leave these assets composing of bony skeletons.

After the expiry of the Church's infra structure, the works for building the ‎Church was started. At that time changes in the economical positions have been started, ‎so that works have flourished in East Jordan especially in Amman and Zerka since ‎transportation between the two Banks of river Jordan were easy because of no ‎boundaries.Threfore,the Palestinians found in Jordan a good place for work by which ‎they were passing through to work in Kuwait because of the high salaries.


At the same time the building works began to recover between Jerusalem & ‎Ramallah which was followed by the raise in the individual income and the income of ‎the worker. At that time Fr. Antonio Bozo noticed that the work in Building which is ‎moving slowly who he started it for helping the unemployed persons who have no ‎money to spend on their families has less affect and the motivations of the stone cutters ‎have been vanished.At the same time the expenses have been aroused and the financial ‎resources have been reduced & its level was depreciated. Fr. Antonio started fostering the ‎work especially in building the new church for the parish which in deep need as the ‎renovation of the old church will cost a lot of money because it may collapse at any ‎moment. & it was not valid for having prayers in it. Fr. Antonio expressed all his interests ‎to Patriarch Albero Ghouri, but unfortunately, the Patriarch was busy in building ‎Churches in East Jordan & he put all his efforts and his budget overthere, ince then Fr. ‎Antonio decided to depend of the Godly care is it it the final exit for his issue.
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Mgr. Grigorio Aguilar

The Godly Care was represented in Mexican priest called Mgr Grigorio ‎Aguilar, the Arch Bishop of the National Temple of Guadaloupe in Mexico, since ‎this priest came as a Pilgrimant into the Holy Land in the year 1970, and during his ‎presence in Jerusalem he met with Mgr Yacoub Baltriti who was the Patriarch's ‎secretary, and he said to him that he wants to help in the holy land by the ‎name of our lady of Guadeloupe, and he saw MRG Baltriti who was on direct contact ‎on the interests of his brother, the priest of Birzeit parish, so that he was accompanied by ‎Mgr Baltriti to Birzeit and when saw a poster representing our Lady of the ‎Immaculate Conception over the temple of the old church, the Mgr shouted and said ‎that the name: Guadaloupe should be given to the new church in which the work was ‎started as a Mexican style given to the church,and he is bale to give an active help to ‎fulfill this immense project. This is the agreement concluded with the two men.

Meanwhile, after he returned back to Mexico, Mgr Aguilar he called the ‎Mexican National Temple for an Assembly, during the meeting he exposed to them his ‎idea, all the members agreed on building a Guadaloupe Church in Birzeit, Mgr Aguilar ‎spent three years as a head of this temple he sent US 44000 for this project, this amount ‎in addition to another aids shared in pushing up the working wheel and the rising up the ‎walls of the church.

But in the year 1973, when the Mexican temple was directed by a new ‎administration, aids to Birzeit Church was stopped, but Mgr Aguilar was ready to give ‎personal aids and sent the sum of US 10000 just before his death on 01/05/1975.
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Ending the work in the New Church

‎Fr. Antonio Bozo was affected by the death of Mgr Aguilar who supported ‎him in building the new church and he addressed to his friend who was available ‎with the patriarch Alberto Ghouri in the Ecumenical Board and requested him ‎to meditate with Mexico Bishop Mgr Mirinda, he answered him that he has no ‎authority on Guadaloupe Church which at that time faced to shrinks and it was ‎in need for renovations, and it was proposed that its renovation will cost a big ‎amount of money. For this reason the Mexicans stopped their aids fo Birzeit ‎Church, and it became necessary deepening on the Church of Jerusalem, and in ‎Vatican Cardinal Tisna who the patriarchate in Jerusalem was under his ‎patronage, started sending simple aids every year to Birzeit's Church, and also ‎Mgr Merlo who was a friend to Fr. Antonio Bozo, and who was also the Director ‎of patriarchate Shools for a long period, he devoted himself for helping the ‎Church of Birzeit and he allocated all the income of his family in addition to the ‎amounts he personally collected from Italy, and he also contributed with his ‎private Arabic library which is available in the patriarchate seminar. ‎Therefore it is not all the abovementioned amounts, in addition to the amounts ‎in which contributed by the citizens of the Italian city called Oderzo, which the ‎city of Fr. Antonio, which these amount proved to be insufficient for completing ‎the project. The matter became more worse after the war of 1967 when the ‎Whole West Bank including Birzeit became under the Israeli occupation, since ‎it was followed by a big financial inflation in Israel and the occupied ‎territories, so that the Arab Workers started working in Israel having highly ‎wages, as the workshop of Birzeit Church faced a big ladens and it became ‎necessary to end up work as fast as possible. After the death of Patriarch Alberto ‎Ghouri he was replaced by Mgr Yacoub Baltriti who was following ‎continuously the issue of Birzeit's Church & he who reached into a decision in ‎respect of working seriously for ending up the work in the Church. Patriarch ‎Baltriti was interested also in ending up the work in another church in Zababdeh ‎since the inflation was increasing and the issue of ending up the work in ‎Zababdeh's Church is in deep need until its construction has been finished so ‎that it was inaugurated on 28/07/1974, thereafter, all efforts were devoted on ‎building the Church of Birzeit and all efforts and the financial opportunities ‎were allocated for this purpose which finally led to ending up the project which ‎lasted for twenty four years. Therefore the decisive & different effort just came up by ‎the American knights of the Holy Tomb Headed by Mr. John Craig who ‎was followed with the same enthusiasm by Fr. Russell Kendall who sent a big ‎effort in the year 1971 which facilitate & foster building the walls and Arches ‎and finally plastering which was ended in August 1974 & we have to remember ‎the help of Swiss, Italian, Mexican Donors and Birzeit parish itself who its ‎members abundantly donated their money, and it is important to point out to the ‎personal donation of US 44000 forwarded by Aguilar & the amount of US 50000 ‎which was donated by Mgr Ghalermo.‎

 

Description of the New Church

As we have previously mentioned that the site of the Church was chosen into the ‎north of the Old Church in the Land of Mission & how the wish of the Godly Accident ‎made it possible for the church to be built over the basement of an ancient Roman ‎Church. The new church was constructed on the shape of Latin Cross since its internal ‎length amounted to 34 meters and it external length amounted to 39 meters, and its ‎internal width amounted to 11.4 meters and the width of the wings amounted to 20 ‎meters, and it height being 11 meters and it has to horizontal Arches which make the ‎view more beautiful. But the temple is considered as a big half circle which surrounds ‎the temple which is composed of a big rock supported by two columns. This temple was ‎forwarded by the family of Yacoub Samandar one of the Birzeiti Christian Families ‎who immigrated to Southern America. The Church has the capacity of receiving 44 ‎praying banks forwarded by the members of the Parish, at the end of the church ‎available is a wide roof designed to accept a number of Prayers, but the confession chairs ‎it were put just under the stair which leads to the roof from both right and left ‎sides. On the walls of the church & with the length of one and halg meter there is a ‎mosaic 7 posters on the shape of half circle ornamenting the stone walls and saves for ‎the audience a meaningful religious photos such as: Gethsemane, Crucifiction & ‎Resurrection in the temple area, and there is other posters such as: The Sacred Heart, ‎Amous Two Disciples, Hail Mary & Saint Anna the Baptist who baptizing the ‎Redeemer. Therefore, there is another poster which was put over the main entrance ‎revealing the sacred family who are passing across the old road which is marching from ‎Jerusalem through birzeit from the North. Nevertheless, these mosaic posters were ‎made by a Vatican's Artist and they gave these posters as an offer to the Church of ‎Birzeit. At the Middle of the Church there is a big poster representing Our Lady (‎Guadaloupe) which was granted by Mgr Aguilar which was placed in its place on ‎‎12/03/1975 at the day Mgr Aguilar celebrated his 80 years birthday. Aguilar offered ‎another three mosaic posters which ornament the temple which is also ornamented by ‎Arian Posters granted by Mr. Ibrahim Saadeh from Birzeit.

Inside the Church

There is a Poster available in the Church granted by Mr. Abdullah Al-Sayeh ‎who was living in Colombia and another Poster granted by Dr. Kidario from Tofari and ‎finally a Poster granted by Antonio Bozo's sister who came to Birzeit and attended the ‎inauguration procedures. The Western Ward of the Church opened into small room in ‎which the Priest & the boy servents change their clothes before the mass starts (we call it ‎in Arabic Sikristiyah) which now was transferred into Cabilla for the holy anction, it ‎was provided with a new furniture and it has a door opened towards the nuns house, & ‎it has also three big windows of colored glass appeared on them a symbolic religious ‎paintings which ornamented the church just before its inauguration on ‎‎27/09/1975. About windows: one in each ward and the third in the entrance of the church ‎just above the roof & there are also another three windows at the Temple's area ‎placed by brother Paula who is residing in Latron Convent. Therefore, brother Paula is ‎a pupil and the inherit of Fr. Filibro who have inherited the beautiful humbleness and ‎who have inherited also Fr. Kofrier's architectural engineering, so that the windows ‎were filled of the classical & technical symbols. The external entrance of the Church has ‎three beautiful arches which are derived from the Latroun Convent, and the entrance ‎has a special prestige since it comes after 14 stairs of the digging stones, since then, the ‎church appears just behind the asphalted courtyard, beautiful in its scene which the ‎local stones make it more prosperous, and appears also is the front elevation of the ‎church including the glass window above which the mosaic poster of our lady ‎Guadaloupe is already situated, since the Hail Mary has her glimpse from the top of the ‎elevation newly remembering us with the name of our Lady Guadaloupe's Church. At ‎the top of the Church there highly available is a stone made cross granted by Fr. ‎Suleiman Samandar from Birzeit. Finally, this church which was preached by just for a ‎social aim for helping Christian Families had found a tremendous success, since it is ‎considered as one of the most beautiful Patriarchate Churches, and the proud is firstly ‎refers to Fr. Antonio Bozo the zealous & persevered person & to the respectful ‎beneficiaries & to Birzieti faithful people who worked in this construction and who they ‎are proud enough for implementing this immense achievement.
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Inauguration of The New Church

The Inauguration Festival of the Church was a pioneering opportunity for many ‎people to attend especially those who had participated in building the Church as a group ‎including 44 people of the Nights of the Holy Tomb headed by Sir. William ‎Dowell who they were fully enraptured for attending the Inauguration festival, among ‎those there were also a number of the Nights of the Holy Tom who came from Mexico ‎headed by Sir Bruncho Shoufaiz who brought his family with him, since the attraction ‎was focused on the presence of the Mexican delegation due to the good ties between the ‎Church of Birzeit & the Church of Guadaloupe in Mexico, as Patriarch Baltriti was ‎careful on introducing the parish of birzeit to the Parish of Mexico, that parish who ‎issued a bulletin composed of 20 pages which was translated by Priest of Jifna Fr. ‎Alfred Atiyyeh & printed at the Patriarchate's Prints and were comprehensively ‎distributed through the festival. Meanwhile, Fr. Piltran adopted the costs of printing ‎the bulletin which was distributed in five languages since the first page of it composes of ‎a picture and the history of Guadaloupe's Church and the last page consists of an essay ‎about Birzeit and its Church. Therefore, the Patriarch and the Priests gave their ‎appreciation for Fr. Piltran and his abundantly contribution, then the Mexican Pilgrims ‎brought the flag of their country & a big Poster for Guadeloupe since their entrance ‎into the church was carrying both pleasure and sentiment, and at the same time the ‎presence of an Italian Pilgrims among them were 44 people from Oderzo, the city of Fr. ‎Antonio Bozo who were alos headed by Mgr Artico who was a friend for Fr. Antonio at the ‎Seminar & who also followed up Mgr Artico the parish Priest of Oderzo after his death ‎in 1963 and he inherited all feelings of closing up with the Holy Land, and he was ‎gathered by a number of friends and priests who shared effectively in the project of ‎school and the church of Birzeit, among them were the sister of Fr. Antonio Bozo and his ‎niece. But both the Swiss & American Knights of the Holy Tomb could not attend this ‎festival.

The Inauguration & blessing of the Church was on Saturday 27/09/1976 despite ‎that things were not completely arranged, since then Fr. Antonio was obliged to construct ‎an urgent courtyard. Therefore, the fourteen stairs of the church were duly prepared at ‎the same week as work was going on in removing the last stones which resulted from the ‎old church. Fr. Antonio worked hard and people collaborated in his efforts, Fr. Antonio ‎performed committees and gave a mission for each committee. One of those who did big ‎efforts was Fr. Ibrahim Hijazeen, Fr. Alfred Atiyeh who was supervising on preparing ‎the religious prayers with the help of the Rosary Nuns, and he was called the ‎Patriarchate Musician. About the Nuns who were serving in Birzeit at that time and ‎supervised on the festivals such as: Mary Anj from Ailaboun, Jackleen from Madaba, ‎Dhalia from Al-Huson, also the nuns Jifna, Aboud & Taybeh had offered. The date of ‎the festival was fixed at 9:00 am on Saturday 27/09/1976 under the Patronage of ‎Mayor of Birzeit Mr. Ziadeh Yacoub Ziadeh & the Members of Birzeit Council & an ‎elite prestigious persons of the city of Birzeit just before the beginning of the festival. ‎All the people went to Al-Taybeh's Road next Al- Balou just for receiving the ‎Patriarch & they accompanied him till the entrance of city of Birzeit waiting for them ‎were great numbers of the inhabitants, persons of the Parish & the foreign Pilgrims who ‎they came from Jerusalem. Therefore, the Patriarch was escorted by two Priests from ‎Birzeit named: The head of the Patriarchate's Schools Fr. Suleiman Samandar and ‎Priest of Zababdeh Fr. Manauel Mussallam, the convoy was preceded by the Silesian ‎Copper Music Band since the convoy penetrated the city of Birzeit until it reached into ‎the outskirts of the Church.

The Patriarch started the inauguration festival of the new church in ‎Birzeit with the blessing of the external Southern elevation of he church, then ‎all the people came into the church attracted with its architectural beauty, then ‎the prayerful a nuns headed by Fr. Alfred Attiyeh (Priest of Jifna's parish) who ‎was accompanied by the Seminar's Recital headed by Fr. Mirand. The Elite ‎prestigious persons were sitting in the front seats & among them was Rev. ‎Qwinn, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem along with his escorts & Sir. William ‎Dowell the head of the Nights of the Holy Tomb in the United States of ‎America & Sir. Barusso Shaviz the Head of the Nights of the holy Tomb in ‎Mexico & a Lady Group of the Holy Tomb were sitting behind them along with ‎four groups of the foreign Pilgrims. Then Mgr Artico & Mgr Mazaroto took ‎their places with the celebrants. Therefore, from the left side the front seats ‎the following persons were sitting: Ambassador of Austria Dr. Yuhanan ‎Misthur, Mr. Laurence Kofman Acting Secretary of the Swiss Embassy, Dr. ‎Hilmot Rock Raigel Acting Secretary of the German Embassy. Meanwhile, a ‎group of Mayors were responded to the invitation of Fr. Antonio Buzo such as: ‎Mayor of Birzeit, Mr. Ziadeh Yacoub Ziadeh & the members of Birzeit ‎Municipality Council, Mr. Karim Khalaf (Mayor of Ramallah), Mr. Ahmad Darwish (Mayor of Al-Bireh), Mr. Farah Al-Araj  (Mayor of Beit Jala), Mr. Elias Friej (Mayor ‎of Bethlehem), Mr.Jiris Al- Taweel (Mayor of Biet Sahour), Mr. Anton Zaghloul (Head of Jifna's Village Council), Mr. Butros Ibrahim (Mukhtar of Aboud), Mr. ‎Butros Massis (Head of Taybeh Village Coulcil). Then the Patriarch started ‎splashing the sacred water into the internal walls of the church & the religious ‎songs started, and Mr. Augustine Lama the Organist of the Church of the Holy ‎Tomb who was pungent in playing on the Organ, just before the Patriarch ‎starts splashing the temple, he started his speech in Arabic language by ‎cheering the faithful people thanking all either those presented or absented ‎who shared and abundantly contributed for achieving this immense project ‎which was achieved by Fr. Antonio Buzo efforts, care, and following up, ‎and he also mentioned how that the church was the preferable place to meet ‎with God and the faithful people under the shadow of the holy action and the ‎Godly Liturgy. After that, The patriarch blessed the temple and the entrance of ‎the Church as splashing the sacred water lasted for a long period of time ‎despite the style of prayers was shorted & finished up with the Holy Mass, ‎since then the Church was called our lady Guadalupe. The songs were ‎done in Latin, the readings in Arabic, Italian and Spanish Languages, the ‎sacred Gospel forwarded by Mgr Maho in English Language, and a large ‎number both of the faithful people and the foreign audience were participating ‎in receiving the holy unction. Therefore this fantastic Liturgical festival ended, ‎after that a reception party have been arranged at the Parish's Hall just ‎beneath the Church for two hours which was headed by Fr. Antonio Buzo ‎showing his deep grateful for all beneficiaries, and his speech was told in ‎Arabic, Italian, Spanish and French Languages and the Silesian Copper ‎Musical Band Organizing the beautiful tunes from time to time.

 

Final Festivals

After festivals, receptions, speeches, music& dance have been done the ‎Audience found enough time on the afternoon of that day for participating in ‎the feasts forwarded which have been contributed by the members of eh ‎Parish in addition to the members of the Orthodox Church and the Moslem ‎person of Birziet. All foods were prepared by the Rosary Nuns, Nuns form ‎Abu Dees, Nuns of Saint Dorothia, since the presence of the nuns was ‎important as Fr. Anton had invited more than 600 people for these feasts. ‎At 4:00 pm the Elite persons have left the City of Birzeit, while four Buses ‎carrying the foreign pilgrims moved forward into Jerusalem and Al-Tour's ‎Mount. Furthermore, in consequent to these festivals a fraternity lovely & ‎heartily relations full of happiness have been created between the audience ‎either those invited persons or the inhabitants of the City of Birzeit, since we ‎had seen the people gathering with each other at the courtyard of the new ‎church, virgin Mary mosaic photo which was forwarded by Mgr Aguilar was ‎obviously seen at the top elevation of the Church on the occasion of the ‎Inauguration of the Church as if our Lady Guadaloupe was gathering around ‎her many worldwide persons in respect of this inauguration's occasion. as a ‎part of the Old Church is still existing and most of its drawings have been ‎obviously seen since the difference was clearly appeared between this old ‎small church which was establish just before (100) years exactly in the year ‎‎1865, and the immense of the new church which all of it was built both ‎externally and internally from the beautiful stone, but the supports of the bells ‎room which we have seen on the right side of the new church and the jumpers ‎of the constructing materials on the left side were remembering all people that ‎that work is still existing yet. This miracle which have been achieved by our ‎lady of Guadaloupe in the City of Birzeit and the successful of the ‎inauguration festival with the attendance of many beneficiary friends was an ‎assured guarantee of the possibility on completing this fabulous project.

The Bells Room: Mr. Hermann Michael a big beneficent of Switzerland who ‎was a big officer of the Nights of the Holy Tomb who visited Birzeit on ‎‎31/12/1975, took on his shoulders to finish up building the bells room to make ‎sure the contribution of the Swiss Knights of the Holy Tomb in completing this ‎project.