Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM was appointed Custos of the Holy Land for the first time in May of 2004, for a period of six years, and reconfirmed by the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor in May of 2010 for another three-year term.
Born on April 21, 1965, in Cologno al Serio in the diocese and province of Bergamo, he began formation with the friars of the province of Emilia Romagna, to which he still juridically belongs. He was ordained a priest on September 15, 1990, and entered into effective service of the Custody of the Holy Land in 1999. Upon completion of philosophical and theological studies, he received a bachelor's degree in theology on June 19, 1990, from the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome. He completed his studies of specialization at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem, obtaining his license in biblical theology on June 21, 1993, and afterward received his master's degree from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He was a professor of modern Hebrew at the Franciscan Faculty of Biblical and Archeological Sciences in Jerusalem, and has done pastoral work with the Hebrew-speaking faithful for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.