Fra Francesco Suriano
Treatise on the Holy Land, 1485
In his capacity as Custos of the Holy Land, Francesco Suriano has provided us with direct testimony concerning the structure of the roof and the life of the friars who lived in, and looked after, the Church of the Nativity, notably indicating that the keys for the holy place were in the hands of the friars who opened and closed the building, thus confirming their absolute possession of the holy place.
Here are provided details on Bethlehem and the large church of the Blessed Virgin, where Christ was born
The roof of the church is made entirely of cypress and cedar from Mount Lebanon, completely covered with lead. And because this wood had deteriorated with age and from the poor care it received at the time of the Conventuals, it was entirely renovated during the period I was staying with the family [of religious] on Mount Zion, in 1480…
Treatise on the Holy Land, Chap. LXVI