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Department of Religious Studies

Friends and Benefactors

Bethlehem University has the challenging yet honorable responsibility to fully embrace, live out and share the true meaning of Christ's teachings with other Christians and with all people of good will in order to promote peace, tolerance and cooperation.

The Department of Religious Studies is an important component of Bethlehem University and the future of the Religious Studies Department is the concern of everyone who believes in the power of Christ's teachings to bring people together.

Without the support of the local and international community the Religious Studies Department at Bethlehem University simply would not exist. People and organizations, such as the Friends of Bethlehem University in the UK (FoBU-UK), the German Church through MISSIO, the German Association of the Holy Land, the German Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and many individual donors and parish organizations have given much to support the activities and programs of the Religious Studies Department. For this we are forever grateful. We hope we can improve and enhance these relationships for years to come.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne has a long history of support for Bethlehem University, which continues to this day. The Archdiocese helps local churches in need according to its means and it places significant importance on supporting pastoral work around the world. It has a special relationship with the Middle East region and the Oriental Churches through the German Association of the Holy Land, of which the Archbishop of Cologne, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, is the President. You may visit their website at www.erzbistum-koeh.del for more information.

The Friends of Bethlehem University in the UK (FoBU-UK) is a Registered Charity, which exists to support the development of Bethlehem University and, in particular, to fund and support the Cardinal Hume and Cardinal de Furstenberg Endowed Chair in Religious Studies.

FoBU was founded upon the initiative of its current Chairperson, Msgr. Vladimir J. Felzmann, KCHS, who, after hearing that his dear friend, Cardinal Basil Hume, OSB, OM, Archbishop of Westminster (1976-1999) was terminally ill, spoke to the current Vice-Chairperson of FoBU, Mr. Robert Benson, KCSG, KGCHS, AFSC and Mr. Issa Khamis Tahhan about establishing an Endowed Chair in Religious Studies at Bethlehem University. Bethlehem University was selected because of Cardinal Basil Hume's strong commitment to and love of the Holy Land. Fortuitously, a Foundation had also been established in the memory of Cardinal de Furstenberg, who had been the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher and also the Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. The principal aim of this Foundation was also to create a Chair of Religious Studies, but unfortunately, due to insufficient funds, this had not been possible. However, with the establishment of FoBU-UK, followed by the amalgamation of the two Foundations, it became entirely feasible to set up the Cardinal Hume and Cardinal de Furstenberg Endowed Chair in Religious Studies.

Donations are needed and welcomed in order to secure the continued development of the Endowed Chair and to expand and enhance the development of the University. Donations from UK taxpayers are eligible for Gift Aid. If you are unsure whether your donation qualifies for Gift Aid (tax relief), or for more information, please contact

Msgr. Vladimir Felzmann, KCHS, Chairperson of FoBU and Director of All Saints Pastoral Centre

London Colony, Hertfordshire AL2 1AF England.

The German Association of the Holy Land is a Catholic relief organization founded in the 19th century whose major aim is to support the Christian community in the Holy Land. The Association owns several institutions in the Jerusalem area and in the Galilee (a school, a home for the elderly, two convents and two pilgrim guest houses) and regularly supports several other institutions, including Bethlehem University.

The Association also offers social services and organizes pilgrimages to the Holy Land in an effort to maintain a strong connection between the faithful of Germany and the Holy Land. For more information visit their website at For English, visit   

Missio is the Pontifical Mission Society of the Catholic Church within the Bavarian Bishops' Conference. Missio celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2008. Since its foundation by the physician Dr. Heinrich Hahn in 1832 Missio has become an esteemed partner of the World Church. The relief organization supports the establishment of local churches in more than 100 countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania, particularly in the formation of priests, nuns and catechists. Additionally, Missio finances the construction of the infrastructure of the Catholic Church for people to meet and share faith in more than 2,700 projects. Approximately 300,000 members belong to the international missionary movement. The fundamental tasks of Missio are qualified offers for formation and information for the issues of the World Church in Germany.

Missio is a long-time supporter of Bethlehem University. In the Middle East like in the Holy Land Missio promotes dialogue and the meeting of different religions, the development of a Christian perspective of life and how to address the world situation from a theological point of view.

For more information, visit their website at

Many friends and benefactors have supported Bethlehem University and the Department of Religious Studies in countless ways, providing our students with the means to study, financial assistance for programs and activities, and spiritual support. We express our heartfelt thanks to:          

  •  Aid to the Church in Need
  •  Anonymous Donors
  •  Archdiocese of Liverpool
  •  Archdiocese of New York
  •  Bethlehem 2000 Chile Foundation
  •  Br. John Johnston, FSC (RIP 2007)
  •  Bureau de Catechese
  •  Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA)
  •  Custody of the Holy Land
  •  Diocese of Albany, USA
  •  Diocese of Joliet, USA
  •  Diocese of  Springfield, USA
  •  Friends of Bethlehem University in the UAE
  •  Grand Magisterium of the Equestrian
  • Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem
  •  Jesuit Fund for Development and Humanitarian Needs
  •  Latin Patriarchate
  •  Lieutenancies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem: England and Wales, Germany, The Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland, USA Eastern, USA Western, USA North Central, USA Southwest and USA Middle Atlantic
  •  Many Individual Donors
  •  Misereor
  •  MISSIO Bethlehem
  •  Prince Abdallah/Islamic Bank
  •  Pontifical Mission for Palestine (PMP)
  •  Palestinian Public Party (P.P.P. Youth)
  •  Provinzialat der Schulbrüder, Germany
  •  Reverend R. Adam Forno, KHS
  •  Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Jerusalem
  •  Saudi Committee
  •  Secretariat Solidarity
  •  Vatican and the Congregation for Oriental Churches
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