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Department of Religious Studies

His Excellency Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo

His Excellency Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, born in San Polo di Piave, Italy in 1945, is co-founder with Fr. Rafiq Khoury of St. Cyril's Theological Program (1986), which merged with the Religious Studies Department at Bethlehem University in 1998. As Titular Bishop of Emmaus, Auxiliary of Jerusalem and the Latin Patriarchal vicar in Nazareth, Israel, Bishop Marcuzzo takes part in many theological, inter-religious and intellectual meetings and conferences at the local and international level.

Bishop Marcuzzo is fluent in Arabic, Italian, English and French, excellent in Hebrew and German, skills which have served him well over the years as a parish priest in Beit Jala, Ramallah, Malakal (South Sudan, Upper Nile valley) and as teacher and rector in the Latin Patriarchal Seminary of Jerusalem. Bishop Marcuzzo is a member of the Bethlehem University Board of Regents and teaches two classes in the Religious Studies Department: "Patrology" and "Christian-Arabic Literature." According to the Bishop, one of the original intentions of the Department was to educate Christian intellectuals in the Holy Land. "Paradoxically, Arab-Christians often feel like foreigners in their own land. Many are inclined to relate Arab culture only to Islam, not Christianity," His Excellency said. One aspect of the Department and of his own work is to educate Palestinian Christians about their magnificent heritage in the Holy Land and in the greater Middle East through lectures, research, reflections, and visits to archaeological, religious and cultural sites. "I want my students to become attached to their country and land, rooted in their history and culture, as well as open-minded to other cultures," Bishop Marcuzzo said. During these trips, which he offers as often as possible, he gives the Religious Studies students theoretical and practical lessons.

One serious question that continuously comes up in his work is how to help students find Christian solutions to cultural, social and political problems. The Bishop said that his students constantly ask, ‘How can I be a good Christian and a good citizen in my country under these circumstances?' It is a difficult question to answer when the political situation for Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, never improves but consistently worsens. Although it is a daily challenge to educate the youth and to keep their spirits high and hopeful, Bishop Marcuzzo's vision for the Department and for all those it has and will serve in the future remains strong. "The Religious Studies Department has had a very deep impact on the Christian community in the Holy Land," the Bishop said. "We saw that very clearly during our historical Pastoral Diocesan Synod," the Bishop said. "My suggestion for the Department now is to open branches in other cities. Bethlehem University is the only Christian university in the Holy Land. We should provide a point of reference for Christian intellectuals throughout the region, and help them in the many challenges they are facing, especially for a successful meeting of civilizations."

Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine