Monday, 2 February 2009

Marian Shrines in Holy Land

Marian Shrines in the Holy Land part 1

Marian Shrines in the Holy Land part 2

The Latin Era

During the Pontificate of Alexander III, Aymeric of Malifay was sent as Delegate to the Holy Land and having visited Carmel, he appointed a Prior-General over all hermits: this was St Berthold of Limoges, who became the first Latin Superior (1150). He was succeeded by St Brocard, a native of Jerusalem, who became the first church and monastery begun by his predecessor, and requested St Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, to arrange a Rule, preserving the ancient traditions. The Patriarch gave the Rule in 1207, and thus founded the Carmelite Order as known in the West.
As the Crusaders withdrew, the position of the monks became worse and many of them went to Europe. Finally the Prior, Alan, a Breton, went to Europe and resigned his office at a general Chapter held at Aylesford.

St Simon Stock was was chosen in his place. He was one of the first to join the Order in England, and had lived for six or more years as a hermit on Carmel. At the monastery of Cambridge he received the privilege of the Scapular. Praying for some

sign of Mary's protection he cried: "Flower of Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Virgin Mother of the Son of God, Amiable Mother, ever Virgin, give to thy children of Carmel the privilege of thy protection, Star of the Sea."

"When she appeared to me with her heavenly court, and holding in her hand the habit of the Order, she said: 'This will be the sign of the privilege that I have obtained for thee and for the children of Carmel, whoever die piously clothed with this habit will be preserved from eternal flames.'"
St Simon by his popularity helped very much the extension of the Order in Europe, whose members were called familiarly "White Friars", but it was destined to die out for a time on Carmel itself. In 1291, Acre, the last stronghold of the Crusaders fell

and all the religious of nearby Carmel were massacred while they chanted the Salve Regina

and their monastery burned. For nigh four centuries - from 1291 to 1631 - Mt Carmel stood solitary by the sea, mourning the loss of her departed children, but God was preparing another Elias who was to spend his life upon the mountain in prayer and praise.
The reform of the Carmelite Order to its primitive rule by the great St Teresa at the beginning of the 16th century naturally inspired the Carmelites with the desire to return to Carmel, which then formed part of the small fief of the Arab Emir Tarab et Tarabie. Fr Prosper who was born at Nalda, in the diocese of Calahorra in Spain was the man destined by God to bring back the Discalced Carmelites to their to the Holy Mountain of Carmel. The Franciscans who after many difficulties had succeeded in establishing themselves in nearby Nazareth now came to the rescue of their Carmelite brothers and helped them to acquire possession of Carmel. He lived with them in Nazareth until the Emir in November 29 ratified the agreement. On November 29, 1631 fr Prosper offered Mass, the first for centuries, at the foot of Carmel. In 1761 the little monastery and church built by Fr Prosper was destroyed and the Carmelites forced out. Again they returned in 1762 and began the construction of a church and monastery over the Grotto of St Elias.

In May 1799 when Napoleon laid siege to Acre

Carmel opened her doors to all, among them the wounded and dying French soldiers. After the defeat of the French the Turks massacred the wounded and left the Sanctuary uninhabitable. Twenty years later the Carmelites decided to repair it, but instead, due to the war with the Greeks in 1821, the Sultan ordered its leveling to the ground. Six years later the first stone was laid in the great monastery (the fifth) and church which we see today.

Statue of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery, Haifa.

Once more the monastery was menaced when the German Protestant Templars in 1886 tried to gain possession of the mountain. Despite Prussian gold, the danger was averted. Again in 1914 the Commnity was driven out and the monsatery was sacked. In January 1919 Fr Francis Lamb arrived from England as Vicar of Mt Carmel> He found British troops in occupation but they soon pulled out. Fr Lamb spent over thirty years on Mt Carmel and lived to see it once again a fruitful spiritual garden. The sad years, following 1948, made him long to be dissolved and the Lord soon granted his wish.

to be continued as "A Visit to Carmel"

This is the rest of the post

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