On April 16th I visited what I think is one of the greatest rarities of Jerusalem … the pharmacy of the Franciscans, probably the most prestigious pharmacy in the world.
Fredric Hasselquist, medical doctor in Denmark and Switzerland (1751)
The medical care performed by the Franciscans in the Holy Land
The Terra Sancta Museum will give a new life to the Franciscan pharmacy in Jerusalem which was opened around the beginning of the 17th century and functioned until 1913. The pharmacy tells about the important social work that the Custody of the Holy Land has always carried out, serving not only friars and pilgrims, but also the resident communities – not matter the faith they belonged to.
At that time the farmacia was known as the best one in the Middle East, where there was a significant lack of medical doctors and nurses. In the Franciscan pharmacy father Antonio Menzani da Cuna (1650-1729), doctor and chemist, invented the miraculous ‘Balm of Jerusalem‘. This famous balm was an important cure against several diseases for more than two centuries, both in Europe and in the Middle East.
The room of the pharmacy will display beautiful apothecary vases, that come mainly from the republics of Venice, Genoa and from the Duchy of Savoy; precious manuscripts from the historic archive of the Custody (prescription pad, inventory of spices, herbs, utensil etc.); and historical photographs.
There will be educational workshops about the pharmacopoeia, made especially for students and families.