Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, former Custos of the Holy Land, as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Holy See Press Office made the announcement today in a statement, saying: “His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral government of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem handed in by His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal, according to Article 401, §1 of the Code of Canon Law, and has appointed the Very Reverend Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante, raising him to the dignity of Archbishop and assigning to him the Titular See of Verbe”. Father Pizzaballa was born in Cologno al Serio (Bergamo) on 21 April 1965. In September 1976, he was welcomed into the Minor Seminary of the Franciscan Province of Christ the King in Bologna, and on 7 September 1984, he started his novitiate in the convent of La Verna. He made his Temporary Profession in La Verna on 7 September 1985, and his Solemn Profession in Bologna on 14 October 1989. After his philosophical and theological studies, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome. On 27 January 1990, he was ordained a deacon, and on 15 September 1990 a priest in the cathedral church of Bologna by His Eminence Cardinal Giacomo Biffi. After arriving in the Custody of the Holy Land on 7 October 1990, he completed further studies at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem in 1993. He then became professor of Biblical Hebrew at the Franciscan Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology in Jerusalem. He began to serve the Custody on 2 July 1999. On 9 May 2001, he was appointed Superior of the Convent of Saints Simeon and Anna in Jerusalem. He was engaged in the pastoral care of the Hebrew-speaking Catholic faithful and was Patriarchal Vicar from 2005 to 2008. The General Definitorium elected him Custos of the Holy Land and Guardian of Mount Zion in May 2004. On 22 March 2010, he was re-elected, and in 2013 his office was extended for another three years. His mandate came to an end in 2016.