The community in Jerusalem congregated for decades in Isaiah House, a center that was administered by the Dominican Fathers, situated in the house of the Lazarist Fathers on Agron Street in Jerusalem. 

The Jerusalem community became the center of activity for the Hebrew-speaking Catholics in the country. Many priests, men and women religious and lay people contributed to the development of community life, its liturgy, music and theological thought. At the end of the 1990s, the community left Isaiah House and found temporary premises in the Franciscan’s Terra Santa College. In these years, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, a Franciscan monk from Italy, was the priest of the community. He supervised the renovation of a house in the center of West Jerusalem which was inaugurated in the year 2000 as a new Franciscan monastery, dedicated to Saints Simeon and Anne.

From this time on, the Hebrew-speaking community has been assembling in this place, situated at 10 Rabbi Kook Street. Today, the priest in charge is Father Rafic. Every day the mass is celebrated there at 18.30. The members of the community in Jerusalem are Israelis and other residents from many different countries.

What is the importance of Simeon and Anne to our communities? Forty days after Jesus’ birth, his parents, pious and observant Jews, brought him to the Temple together with the obligatory sacrifice (Luke 2:22-40). There they were met by an old Jew who was faithfully waiting for many years to see the salvation of Israel. It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. When they entered the Temple, Simeon identified Jesus and blessed God: “My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel”. Also Anne, a prophetess, was waiting all her life and she thanked God for this great and saving day. Simeon and Anne represent for us the fidelity of Israel waiting for salvation throughout so many generations.

Interior of the chapel in the House of Saints Simeon and Anne, Jerusalem

Interior of the chapel in the House of Saints Simeon and Anne, Jerusalem