The Salesian Province of the Middle East (MOR) is named “Gesù Adolescente” (Adolescent Jesus) and was canonically erected on the 20th January 1902, at the request of Blessed Fr Michele Rua, then Rector Major, to the Holy See.
The terrain was not only prepared but well tilled and cultivated, by Fr Antonio Belloni, founder of the Orphanage of Bethlehem and of the Holy Family Congregation.
Already in 1893 Fr Belloni and around half of his confreres entered the Salesian Congregation professing the vows and Rule.
Becoming a salesian, apart from the house of Betlehem, Fr Belloni brought with him “as dowry” the agricultural school of Beitgemal, the novitiate of Cremisan and the vast terrain on which the house of Nazareth was to be built. Fr Belloni died in 1903 and has been since then remembered as the “father of the orphans” (“Abuliatama”).
Gradually the Province grew in the other countries of the Middle East: Egypt in 1896, Turkey in 1903, Iran in 1937, Syria in 1948 and Lebanon in 1952. Between 1976 and 1998, the MOR Province also included some presences in Ethiopia.
At the moment, the Province has 13 presences distributed as follows:
5 in the Holy Land, 3 in Egypt, 3 in Syria and 2 in Lebanon.