April 1th 1927 - Bible Institute in Jerusalem
Ignatius dreamed already during his convalescence in Manresa about a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In 1523/24 he accomplished that dream. He planned to stay in Jerusalem but was forced under punishment of excommunication to leave the Holy Land again. Ignatius obeyed, but during his academic years in Paris he pursued that plan further, fascinated from the idea to emigrate with his companions into the Holy Land of the Bible and to work there.
But his dream came to nothing because of the state of war between Venice and Turk. It is remarkable that Ignatius later completely desisted from this idea. Perhaps he had realized that the Holy Land was a domain reserved to the Franciscans. Also in the centuries after Ignatius the intention to create there institutions of the Society of Jesus failed each time.
Only in the last century, at the end of the year 1911, Pope Pius X asked the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem to agree to the establishment of a branch office of the Papal Bible Institute in Jerusalem. It took however still several years until the area could be bought in 1925. In the year 1927 the present house was inaugurated and entrusted to the Society of Jesus.
The house serves the science, but also the support of study groups to the Near East, and archaeological groups of excavations.
In the year 1989 the Jesuit Community in Jerusalem became more independent of the Papal Bible Institute in Rome, and is dedicated also to the apostolate in Jerusalem and the entire Holy Land. The Catholic Church is very small there - by a small birth rate and continous emigration.
Nevertheless: Jerusalem is suitable as hardly any other city for the religious dialogue with other Christians, Jews and Muslims.