The past year has undoubtedly been a period of great activity for the Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo. Those who think the opposite, i.e. that the time of the pandemic has been characterised by a kind of stasis and that we are emerging from the covid-19 with less momentum, are definitely mistaken. It is true that the times of lockdown and restriction have not been the easiest to deal with – they have required a lot of flexibility and quick decisions – but the amount of initiative, ingenuity and scientific work has been truly impressive. This is evidenced not only by the teaching activities, which were carried out regularly and as far as possible in presence, but also by the numerous doctoral, lectio coram and licentiate work; all areas bear witness to this.
Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy activities
Among the various scholarly initiatives of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy, it is important to mention six events in particular, which I think it appropriate to present in chronological order.
One highlight was the study day on Sacrosanctum Concilium that is held every year around 4 December to commemorate the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. This time, the day took place on 1 December 2021 and was dedicated to the theme of multifaceted ministry. Building on the good experiences of online learning, the event was held in a hybrid mode, partly in person and partly online. This, of course, made it possible to open the university lecture hall not only to the professors and students who work there every day, but also to those who know Sant’Anselmo from the time of their studies and who are currently working in different parts of the world. The event was attended by Professors Angelo Lameri, Daniel A. Escobar Portillo, Martin Wallraff, Paula De Palma, Serena Noceti, John Baldovin, and also Dr. Kingsley Nze, our alumnus. The presence of guests from other research centres and the exchange of ideas during the discussions was also appreciated.
Another event, also important in the history of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy, was the 60th anniversary of its foundation. Due to the still uncertain situation regarding covid-19, in order to give more participants a chance to attend, the celebrations themselves were postponed to the beginning of May. Thus, on 5 May 2022, the first day was held in the Chapter Hall, during which Prof. Markus Tymister presented the Proceedings of the 12th International Liturgical Congress, which appeared in our scholarly series Ecclesia orans. Studi e Ricerche. The Congress itself had been held only seven months earlier, in October 2021, addressing the theme, strongly linked to the pandemic, of the “Virtual” Liturgy. The following day, 6 May, was dedicated to former students and doctorate students of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy. The day opened with a talk on the theme “The Beauty of Evangelisation in Our Time” given by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, emphasising the link between faith and beauty that finds expression in the various forms of art. This was followed by a panel discussion coordinated by Prof. Giuseppe Midili with former students and doctoral students, offering them an opportunity for academic dialogue among the participants, both in presence and online. That experience is a sign of a communion that has been built over the years of our students’ stay in the Urbe and through a bond that remains alive between them and the Faculty. Finally, at the conclusion of the celebrations, on 7 May the participants were received in private audience by the Holy Father Francis, who wished to recall the foundation of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy, which undoubtedly carries out its mission in the Church and for the Church, cum Petro et sub Petro.
The third event worth mentioning is the study day on liturgical architecture held on 27 May 2022, organised together with the National Office for Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage and Church Buildings of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. The theme of the day focused on the theology underlying the design itinerary of the church building, starting from the insights of the Second Council of Nicaea. Speakers at the event included M. Monfrinotti, M. Tenace, G. Zanchi, S. Petrosino, R. Tagliaferri, S. Zanella and, at the conclusion, there was a debate moderated by Prof. Giuseppe Midili.
The fourth event was the beginning of the 2022/2023 academic year, which this year took place in a slightly different format. After solemn vespers, the entire celebration moved to the cloister; here, the Rector of the Athenaeum, Bernhard A. Eckerstorfer, O.S.B., delivered academic diplomas to those who had completed their doctoral, licentiate and baccalaureate theses in the past academic year. The number of Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy students seemed endless, which best sums up the effort of the past few months. The new academic year, inaugurated on 3 October, also marks the beginning of a higher profile for the Chair in Liturgical Theology named after Faculty’s first dean, Prof. Salvatore Marsili. The Chair, created to maintain and disseminate the figure of the theologian-liturgist, is currently entrusted to the current dean, Prof. Jordi Piqué i Collado, O.S.B., and offers two scholarships aimed at excellence in liturgical research.
On 29 November, in a solemn academic proceeding, the new three-year chair ‘Thought and Forms of the Spiritual’ was also inaugurated. The chair, entrusted to Prof. Isabella Bruckner, has an interdisciplinary orientation and focus and aims to foster dialogue between different subjects.
Of course, the six important events mentioned do not describe all the academic activities of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy. Worthy of note is a new initiative, organised by the doctoral students themselves and coordinated by Prof. Markus Tymister: the Doctoral Students’ Workshop. This activity includes a voluntary monthly meeting of doctoral students to share topics and the progress of their research, also involving researchers and lecturers working at institutions other than Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy; finally, it is intended to be an opportunity to create academic community through dialogue and a convivial moment for those who participate in person. A specially created Trello-board not only lists all the topics on which our doctoral students are currently working, but also gives the opportunity to search and offer bibliography. The open format of the meetings, as well as the possibility of sharing them with a larger group of online participants, truly offers an opportunity for creative exchange of ideas. It is worth keeping an eye out for information on future meetings on the Athenaeum website.
Academic proceedings in honour of two professors of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy
This year was also marked by two academic events in honour of two professors of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy, both in gratitude for their years of dedicated work at the Faculty and to highlight and emphasise the great scientific contribution the two professors made. Thus, on the occasion of the study day on Sacrosanctum Concilium last December, the books by Professor Emeritus Renato De Zan entitled Erudi, Domine, quaesumus, populum tuum spiritalibus instrumentis. La lettura dell’eucologia latina: appunti per la ricerca di un metodo (BEL.S 195) and Unius verbi Dei multiplices thesauri. La lettura liturgica della Bibbia: appunti per un metodo (BEL.S 196) were presented. They are a kind of guide to the hermeneutical methods by which the Latin biblical and euchological texts can be more deeply and fully understood, ultimately giving the possibility to broaden liturgical theology. For those familiar with Prof. De Zan in university classrooms, this will be largely an extended and integrated lecture. The book presentation was also the perfect moment for the lectio magistralis, which, drawing on his many years of experience, was delivered by the professor. The second personality – associated not only directly with the Faculty of Liturgy, as its professor and dean, but also with the Athenaeum as rector – was Professor Juan Javier Flores Arcas, O.S.B., for whose thanksgiving the 60th anniversary of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy was chosen. For the occasion, a miscellany was prepared, published in the Studia Anselmiana series, entitled Mistagogus nobis ad docendum Christi mysteria, to which numerous professors of the Athenaeum and friends of Prof. Flores contributed. The entire meeting took place in a beautiful academic and friendly atmosphere that brought together several generations of students and professors from the Faculty of Liturgy and the other two faculties of the Athenaeum.
On 9 November 2022 for the Solemnity of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the Mass ‘Locus iste’ composed by Maestro J.-A. Piqué i Collado, O.S.B., current dean of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy, was performed. Last but not least, on 18 May 2022, at the Wawel Cathedral, the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow conferred the title of Doctor honoris causa on Archbishop Piero Marini, former professor of the Pontifical Faculty of Liturgy.
To all the professors sincere thanks for their witness of faith and their valuable scientific contribution to the study of the liturgy.
On 11 June 2022, the Holy Father appointed Bernhard A. Eckerstorfer, O.S.B., Rector of the Athenaeum, Consultor of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Among the new Consulters are also the professors of the Faculty, Pietro Angelo Muroni and Corrado Maggioni SMM, as well as the Rev. Msgr. Diego Giovanni Ravelli, the present Master of the Papal Ceremonies, who obtained his Licentiate and Doctorate in the PIL.
On 6 December 2021, after a long illness, our colleague Dr. Luisa D’Apote passed away. She worked at our Athenaeum since 2001. Friendly and helpful, always with a smile, she served for a long time in the library and, in recent years, collaborated with the offices of the General Secretariat and the editorial staff of Ecclesia orans. We remember her with affection and gratitude.
Activities of the Editorial Board
The Editorial Board met on 24 October 2022 to plan the work and to consider various current issues. We are proud and pleased to receive numerous article proposals.
The last few months have also been characterised by intense work in our Studi e Ricerche series, which – to quote the description we include in each publication – “represents a sort of natural and almost necessary ‘extension’ of the journal Ecclesia orans committed to being an academic instrument providing space to present and put in dialogue the research results of the professors of the Faculty of Liturgy at the Pontifical Ateneo S. Anselmo in Rome, as well as of scholars who wish to place their own research at the service of liturgical science”. As already mentioned, despite the difficulties in the publishing field caused by the covid-19 pandemic, the volume “Virtual” Liturgy? was published in a very short time. In the past few days, the sixth volume – Studies on the Sources of the Roman Liturgy – was also released, which represents a compendium of the Faculty’s scientific activities. In fact, it collects the contributions of some of our alumni whose common denominator is new and meritorious discoveries in the field of research on the history of the Roman liturgy. Another volume, prepared by Prof. Cassian Folsom, is currently being published. This work presents a summary of the history of the liturgical books of the Roman Mass, taking into account the latest discoveries and research. Other publications are also planned on very interesting and wide-ranging scientific topics, of which we will also promptly provide news on our website ecclesiaorans.com and on social media.
Before concluding, we are pleased to inform you that with this second issue for 2022, the journal continues to be published regularly and punctually despite the covid-19 difficulties. We therefore invite you to renew your subscription for the year 2023, reminding you of the different modalities:
- the annual subscription is € 50.00. You can subscribe directly via the website of our publishing house EOS Verlag: www.eosverlag.de by filling in the appropriate form;
- the other possibility is the one proposed by our website www.ecclesiaorans.com, which presents the necessary information for ordinary subscription (see Subscription request form) and the one reserved for students and alumni of the Sant’Anselmo Athenaeum (see Student subscription request form). The latter will receive a 20% discount on the subscription price (€40.00 instead of €50.00).
Starting this year, those who wish can also subscribe to the series by filling in the online form available at www.ecclesiaorans.com/subscription.
Thank you for your loyalty!