The Graphic Signs in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

2nd International Conference, 21-23 June 2022


Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (,

Clément Dussart (  

On-site: Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem (Shimshon street 3) 



Online Link Zoom:

ID meeting: 896 2098 6239; Passcode: 987835

[Attention, the times indicated are those of Jerusalem, so 1 hour more than in Europe: CET+1]


Tuesday June 21st

9:00     Coffee

9:30     Welcome: Vincent Lemire (Head of the CRFJ)

10:00 Introduction: Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (CNRS CRFJ-CESCM) and Clément Dussart (CESCM, University of Poitiers)

10:30-12:30   1st session, moderator: Maria Villano (ERC GRAPH-EAST, CESCM)

  • “Towards a Periodisation of Graffiti between Antiquity and the Middle Ages” Carlo Tedeschi (Università degli Studi “G. d’Annunzio” Chieti Pescara)
  • “The Tree of Abraham in the Nativity Church and its epigraphic exegesis”  Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (CNRS CRFJ-CESCM)

Lunch at the CRFJ

14:30-18:00     2nd session, moderator: Sercan Saglam (ERC GRAPH-EAST, CESCM)

  • “Scratch, Incise, Engrave: Technical Study of the Lapidary Graffiti of the Nativity” Thierry Grégor (CESCM, University of Poitiers)
  • “The discovery and the conservation of Graffiti on the columns of the Church of the Nativity”  Marcello Piacenti (Piacenti SpA Centro Restauri

 Coffee Break

  • “Apposer son emblème. La mise en signe des espaces sacrés au Moyen Âge. L’exemple de l’église de la Nativité de Bethléem en perspective”  Laurent Hablot (EPHE, SAPRAT) [visio]


 Wednesday June 22nd

 9:00   Coffee

9:30-12:00    3rd session, moderator: Gil Fishhof (University of Haifa)

  • “Portraits, graffiti, and tattoos: pilgrims and the appropriation of Bethlehem’s sanctity” Michele Bacci (Freiburg University)
  • “Quotation and Glorification: Bethlehem’s Conciliar Texts in Local Context” Megan Boomer (Columbia University)

Lunch at the CRFJ

13:00   Departure to the Nativity Church, Bethlehem

14:00-17:00  Epigraphic tour of the basilica, and the cave of St. Jerome and the chapel of St. Joseph

18:00    Return to Jerusalem


Thursday June 23rd

9:00   Coffee

9h30-12:30    4th session, moderator: Yana Tchekhanovets (Ben-Gurion University of the Neguev)

  • “The Armenian Inscriptions and Graffiti of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem”  Khachik A. Harutyunyan (Scientific Research Center of the Historical and Cultural Heritage, Matenadaran)
  • “The Arabic inscriptions of the Basilica of the Nativity: inventory and research perspectives”  Anna Lagaron-Khalifa (ERC Horn-East, Iremam Aix-Marseille Université) [visio
  • “Recent discoveries of Latin graffiti and signs in the Nativity Church: new contributions to the history of a holy place and to pilgrimage practices (9th-16th )”  Clément Dussart (CESCM, University of Poitiers)

Lunch at the CRFJ

13:45   Departure to the Custody

14:00-16:00    Visit of the Treasure of Bethlehem at the Custody of the Holy Land, with fr. Stéphane Milovitch (ofm, Director of the Cultural Heritage Office)


18:00    Public Conference of Michele Bacci at the École biblique et archéologique française: “The Nativity Church in Bethlehem: New Approaches and Discoveries”


Closing Dinner




Workshop 30/06-1/07: Epigraphic Writing in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

Epigraphic Writing on Monuments, Objects, Seals and Coins

in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, June 30 – 1st of July, 2021

Co-organized by. E. Ingrand-Varenne (CNRS/CRFJ) and R. Kool (IAA)



Wednesday 30th June (CRFJ) Israel Time

9:00 Introduction Vincent Lemire (director CRFJ) and Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (CNRS-CRFJ, GRAPH-EAST PI)

9:30 – 10h30 First Session

  • Jonathan Rubin (Bar Ilan University), “Intellectual life in the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem: An Overview”
  • Estelle Ingrand-Varenne (CNRS/CRFJ), “The First Inscriptions in Outremer French in Acre”
  • Robert Kool (Archaeological Research Department, IAA): “Lingua, لُغَو يّ and Langue on Coins and Tokens in the 12-13th c. Crusader States

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break

11:00 – 11:30 Second Session

  • Iris Shagrir (Open University of Israel), ““Latin Liturgy and Diverse Audience in 12th c. Jerusalem”
  • Liza Lurie (Curator Islamic Art and Archaeology, Israel Museum), “Speaking Objects: Inscribed Textiles from the Israel Museum Collection”

11:30 – 13:30 Discussion

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 –15:30 Third Session

  • Clément Dussart (University of Poitiers, CESCM), “Reconsidering Pilgrim Graffiti”
  • Laurent Hablot (EPHE), “Affixing Signs: Forms and Functions of Heraldic Traces and Ex-voto” [Zoom]

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:00 Discussion


Thursday 1st July

9:00 – 13:00 Field Excursion

Meeting point Jaffa Gate. Sites to visit:

  • Holy Sepulchre (graffiti)
  • Church of Saint Mary of the Latins (the Calendar inscription)
  • Markets (various inscriptions)
  • Terra Sancta Museum storage (inscription of Lambert d’Acre)
  • Church of Saint Anne (inscriptions of the façade, garden and storage)

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:00 (CRFJ) Discussion and Conclusion


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