The Franciscans in Bethlehem
The Friars Minor, who had arrived in the Holy Land at the beginning of the 13th century, definitively established themselves in Bethlehem in 1347 in a monastery for Augustinian canons who had been exiled by the Mamelukes, as reported by Fra Niccolò da Poggibonsi who arrived himself in the Holy Land in that year. As recorded in ancient chronicles and documents, the Sultan gave the friars of the cord ownership of the Church and Grotto of the Nativity.
The other Christian rites obtained permission to celebrate their liturgies. From this period onwards it was the Franciscans who made up the religious of the Latin rite in Bethlehem and in other Holy Places.
In 1479 the Franciscans turned their hand to reconstructing the roof of the church, thanks to the industriousness of the guardian Giovanni Tomacelli. The wood was provided by Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy and transported from Europe on Venetian vessels, while the lead was donated by King Edward IV of England, as reported by fra Francesco Suriano.