Piccirillo Handicraft Center

Piccirillo Handicraft Center was established and developed in the year 2014 as a project of “John Paul II Foundation in partnership with the Custody of The Holy Land” to sustain the traditional handicrafts of Bethlehem through training artisans and young people the art of “Mother of Pearl, Olive wood and Ceramic”, then since 2017 and as a social economic need for the most people in need, it was developed to create jobs for them and teaches them the restoration techniques of ancient mother of pearl masterpieces, some of which are exposed in our show room, currently we have 20 people that are working in the center with a huge possibility to create jobs for more.

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Who is Michele Piccirillo?

The man behind the name of the center

The Handicraft Center in Bethlehem bears the name of the Franciscan Brother Michele Piccirillo (1944-2008), who was an expert in Middle Eastern archeology and arrived in Bethlehem in 1960. Piccirillo knew the practice which was widespread among pilgrims, since the earliest centuries of Christianity, of bringing home a memory of their visit in the Holy Land. Fragments of stone, metal, wood, terracotta, which over time became valuable handcrafted and art products. Moreover, they became sources of income for local communities. Thus, he decided to keep the Franciscan tradition of supporting one of the most valuable craft activity: the mother-of-pearl’s production.

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With & For the People

The center is specializing in three main local crafts

Mother of Pearl