At last, the STS students made their first archaeological trip of the year! Indeed, this first archaeological visit was programmed and postponed many times due to covid-19. Personally I had a wonderful experience - I saw the wonders of the desert! I never imagined, that there is so much life in the desert.

We visited three places:
First, in Ein Avdat, we visited the national reservation. In Hebrew “Ein” means spring of water. The Monks lived in these caves. It is beautiful to see the water flowing in the Wadi, giving life to the plants and animals. Even the people who were living around, especially the Monks, used this water.

The second place we visited was Tel Avdat. It is a national park. The ruins show that the Nabateans, Romans and then the Byzantine Christians inhabited the city. Who are the Nabateans? They were people living in the desert. They made money from trading. Travelling to Gaza, Avdat is the only place traders could rest with their animals (camels, donkeys...)

The third place was Tel Beer Sheba. It is said that Abraham and his descendants lived here. It is an ancient settlement in the Negev desert. I was impressed to see the ancient ruins and how people could settle houses in this desert. I saw the genius works of those people. They built cisterns to collect the rain water. They also built a strong wall to protect themselves against the groups of dangerous nomads. At the entrance of the city there a deep well. The well is a
sign of an oath (Sheba in Hebrew) between two people in order to live peacefully with one another. That is why the place is called Beer Sheba in order that the next generation should remember what happened. On one side, there is Beer Sheba’s stream and other side Hebron’s stream. There was only one entrance gate to the city. The travelers could spend some days in the fortress with their camels and donkeys. The inhabitants brought water from Hebron Street via an underground channel to the system of caves. They filled the cistern with water so the people in the city could avail of it at any time.
It is amazing to see how this cistern was constructed without modern technology and to see
the wonderful ancient ruins in the middle of a desert where people were actually living.

Isac Kinda M.Afr.



The 1st year students set out on the 3rd December for a visit to the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives offers the unique opportunity to get the lay of the land. Prominent sites of the Holy City can be spotted against the cityscape allowing one to enjoy a panoramic view.

Being surrounded by ‘history,’ our Guide Fr Gregor ofm, filled us in on the nuances of the landscape. From the umpteen number of graves that dotted the hillside, to the wry story of the Golden Gate. Ever one to expound, he helped us correlate scenes in the Bible with what we actually saw. From facts to faith, he explained all with the fervour of a historian and the integrity of a priest.

We began with a visit to a church in close vicinity to the Lion’s gate. Tradition venerates it as being the tomb of the Holy Virgin. However, due to the present circumstances, the site was closed to visitors. We then moved on towards the ‘Garden of Gethsemane’. The garden has a few archaic olive trees which historians agree to be about 800 to 900 years old. It is believed that the Crusaders chanced upon a very old olive tree and what we see today are all scions
from the said tree. Alongside is the ‘Church of the Agony’, popularly known as the ‘Church for all Nations.’ The architect, Antonio Barluzzi, built this church upon the ruins of a byzantine church. The structure is an assimilation of motifs from the byzantine and crusader eras, and a blend of modern architecture.

After a little hike, we soon found ourselves at ‘Dominus Flevit’ (quite literally ‘the Lord wept’). Constructed in the shape of a teardrop, to demonstrate Dominus Flevit, the chapel façade with its glass windows overlooks the Kidron valley and the old city. An interesting fact of its quaint design is that the cross on this façade is cleverly positioned to align the observer with the Holy Sepulchre in the cityscape.

This visit to the Mount of Olives was more than just a sightseeing trip. Insight into history brought us a new perspective. As we enjoyed a few cups of coffee against a golden sunset, we marveled at the solemnity which the old city exuded and its invaluable importance.

Nathanael George sdb



Archeology in Israel never stops and every site has its proper history related to our faith –
especially the Old City of Jerusalem. Studying theology in such a country is incomparable and
unforgettable luck.
Among all the places, the Holy Sepulcher is thoroughly studied as a place of crucial importance in
the history of our faith. The site has been the object of first visit for the first-year students of STS
Ratisbonne 2020-2021. Accompanied by the Principle, Father Andrzej Toczyski SDB, and Father
Gregor Geiger OFM as our guide, the mentioned confreres-students visited that Holy Sepulcher on
Thursday, November 26th , 2020.
The Holy Sepulcher, explained the guide, is the center of the shrine Christendom. It groups six
occupants: Latin Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrians, Cops, and Ethiopians. It
has the form of a circle with the Holy tomb of Jesus in the center. It is a place where Christ
suffered, died, was buried and resurrected. Jesus was crucified on a rock eminence reminiscent of a
skull outside the city and there was a grave nearby. The most important argument for the
authenticity of the site is the consistent and uncontested tradition of the Jerusalem community
which held liturgical celebrations at the site until 66 AD. The rock is still there covered by the
renewed building but a small part of its originality is visible for archeology. The main entrance has
been kept untouched and the original keys are held by a Muslim. Curved rosettes in a hoodmould
surmount the early twelfth century gadrooned arch.
Inside the Basilica we visited the Chapel of Franks (after entrance), the Calvary (the floor above
on a level with the top of the rocky outcrop on which Christ was crucified), the Chapel of Adam
(area directly beneath the Greek Orthodox), the Stone of Unction (which reveals the
commemorating of Jesus before burial), the tomb of Jesus (we didn’t enter inside because it was
closed), the Syrian Chapel, the Chapel of Saint Mary Magdalene, the Prison of Christ, the
Crusader Church, the Crypt of Saint Helena, the Chapel of the finding of the Cross, the tomb
of Joseph of Arimathea, and the Chapel of Saint Vartan. After visiting all these places, we
concluded our tour with the holy procession with the Franciscan Brothers which also passed
through these same places. The Blessing by the Holy Sacrament ended our visit and we then turned
back home. Special thanks to the Principle of STS University.

Célestin Ntakiyimana SDB


Dear Faculty Members and Friends,

We congratulate Fr. Dr Eric John Wyckoff, the Professor of the Holy Scripture at Studium Theologicum Salesianum (Jerusalem Campus), on the publication of his Book entitled:

John 4:1–42 Among the Biblical Well Encounters. Pentateuchal and Johannine Narrative Reconsidered (Mohr Siebeck, 2020).

In his book, Dr Wyckoff brings to focus the encounters at the wells narrated in the Pentateuch (Genesis 24 and 29, Exodus 2) and the New Testament (John 4).

As research is an essential part of the mission of the Professors at STS, we are delighted about Fr. Eric's publication and express our good wishes for his future research and teaching at STS.

Fr. Andrzej Toczyski

STS President



Saturday 24th October 2020

Sister Angela Ridout SJA – Registrar

No sooner had classes commenced in mid-September, Israel was once again in
national lock-down. Life came to a halt and contingency plans were put into
action. Zoom classes became the norm allowing all the students to follow the
weekly schedule on line.
The intended Dies Academicus - usually a grand event with a guest speaker and
many invited participants – was just not possible this year. Instead, we marked
the occasion of beginning the new Academic Year 2020-2021 with a simple
ceremony. After words of welcome given by the new President of STS, Rev.
Father Andrzej Toczyski SDB, a Solemn Mass of the Holy Spirit was celebrated,
presided by the Vice Provincial of the MOR Province, Rev. Father Emanuele
Vezzoli SDB and assisted by Rev. Father Andrzej Toczyski (President) and Rev.
Father Stanislaus Swamikannu SDB (Rector). In his homily, Father Emanuele
inspired his listeners, speaking about theology and how it must engage the
mind as well as the heart. He urged the assembly to be always committed in
both mind and heart, because “what you are is God’s gift to you, and what you
make of yourself is your gift to God and to the young.” He stressed that
studying theology is a way to become this gift.
After a musical interlude, Rev. Father Matthew Coutinho SDB presented the
returning and new members of staff who would be teaching this year. He then
proceeded to introduce all the new members of the 1st year, hailing from eight
different countries in Asia, Africa & Europe. Because of the situation, they
have still to arrive but they are very much united with us via Zoom. We pray
they will soon be with us here in Jerusalem.
Congratulations were then given to the highest achieving students in each year
during 2019-2020. Sr Angela Ridout (Registrar) presented the special award to
Br Calvin Akunga M.Afr., the top scorer in last year’s Third Year, now in his final
year at STS.
After declaring the new Academic Year officially opened, the President invited
everyone to participate in the Light refreshments before concluding the
morning’s event.


Saturday 24th October 2020

Fr Emanuele Vezzoli sdb
Vice-Provincial (MOR)

Theology is a knowledge of God, and that is a great deal more than a
knowledge about God. You are called to study God in order to understand
creation and you are invited to contemplate creation in order to find God.
This kind of knowing requires faith and it is filled with love; it is actually an
intimate knowledge of God in our own lives. Such intimacy described in
today’s Gospel as “My Father will love you, and we will come to you and
make our dwelling with you” is not only opens our intelligence to God but
also to ourselves and to creation. If there is not this divine liturgy of love
within ourselves, all other liturgies we perform are simply something that
may mask a void.
So theology is not simply Fides quaerens intellectum, (according
to St. Anselm’s definition of theology) but also fides querens cor.
Theology engages the mind as well as the heart. In this way theology
becomes an expression of our passion for God, the Triune and personal
God dwelling within us, and for the people to whom we are sent. Commit
your mind, commit your heart to it because: “What you are is God's gift to
you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God and to the young.”
Studying theology is a way to become a gift.
God’s dwelling within you will raise more questions than you could have
imagined. Let them surface even if they are disturbing. Theology has to
break you down (your faith, your God, your ideology) and then build you up
Do whatever it takes, because if at the end of these four years your faith
(both as fides quae - faith in something- and fides qua - what one has faith
in) has not changed, what a waste.

All theology is pastoral and with this I mean to say that we study “knowing
God”, for the purpose of living (and dying).
It is one thing to know that God saves. It is another matter to know God
saves me in the events of my life. That God saves is a fact, realization that
God saves me in my history is astonishing and life transforming. Theology
for the sake of theology is irrelevant and unnecessary, theology for the
sake of marks (and of ego) is pointless and narcissistic. Theology for the
sake of those God is sending you to, is necessary and crucial. What
people, and particularly the young, want to perceive within your speech and
liturgies, within your lives, is not your void, and not your God, but the God
revealed by Jesus of Nazareth, that God who in this very land pitched his
Do not forget that to study theology in this Land is a unique opportunity and
gift. And because you give what you have and you cannot give what you do
not have, again I invite you to commit yourselves. In this journey you are
not alone: the Father, through the Son, sends you his Spirit: “He will teach
you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” He will send you his
Wisdom. St. Seraphim of Sarov says: “Our faith is not based on words of
earthly wisdom but on the manifestation of the power of the Spirit” and
“Acquiring the Spirit of God is therefore the true goal of our Christian life”,
“It is necessary that the Holy Spirit enters our heart. Everything good that
we do, that we do for Christ, is given to us by the Holy Spirit”.
It is thanks to the Paraclete that we are be able to penetrate the meaning of
the Word of Jesus and to appropriate it existentially, renewing it in the
world of today helping us understand the needs and values of the present
time. The Gospel is always the Gospel and faith is always faith but how can
we understand them as coming from the Spirit, for the people of our time.
Dear Brothers, dear Professors I wish you all a fruitful and Spirit-filled
academic journey!


September 11, 2020 - STS -Jerusalem The First Assembly of Students was also held on the 11th of September 2020 in the Rashi Auditorium

It included:

  • Information from the Principal about the current situation (especially the 1st Year Students)
  • The ‘Hybrid Mode’ of learning and probability of the lockdown from the 19th of September.
  • Changes to the Academic Calendar 2020-2021
  • New teaching Staff members
  • Self-evaluation programme
  • Open forum



September 11, 2020 - STS -Jerusalem It is already September and time to establish the goals for the new Academic Year 2020-21. Critical decisions that require input from the teaching community must be taken - Staff meetings are the most important opportunities to set the tone for the whole academic year.

On the threshold of this new Academic Year, still tangibly threatened by the covid 19, the Assembly of the STS Teaching Staff (Jerusalem Campus) met for the first time on 11th September 2020 to plan the beginning of the new Academic Year with special attention to the first semester’s period of national lock-down.  The new Principal of STS, Fr Andrzej Toczyski, gave important input concerning the Self-Evaluation programme that will commence in the very near future.


Dear Staff and Students,

It is very hot in Jerusalem these days, so I put on a t-shirt that a friend gave me last summer, and then, one of our students noticed the beautiful message on it - the words of Nelson Mandela: It always seems impossible until is done. Although coined in different socio-historical circumstances, it still carries a timeless truth: Things often seem impossible until they are done.

It seemed impossible to finish the previous academic year 2019-2020 because of the crisis caused by Covid 19. Nevertheless, thanks to the untiring efforts of our previous Principal Fr. Gustavo Cavagnari, the Secretary Sr Angela Ridout, the teaching staff and students, it was successfully accomplished.

At a certain point this summer, it seemed almost impossible that we would begin the new academic year on time, and now we are on the threshold of regular classes in the next week. We begin our classes with the First Year on the “hybrid learning” model and all others will have face-to-face classes (unless otherwise specified).

I think this reminds us of an evangelical attitude for we are asked to have firm hope in God’s providence, and at the same time to work effortlessly and explore new frontiers.

Dear Staff and Students I am happy to welcome each one of you to the new Academic Year 2020-2021 at STS (Jerusalem Campus)

Fr. Andrzej Toczyski SDB

The Principal STS