Vatican Convokes Historians of Christianity

Meeting Seen as Aid to Promote Ecumenical Unity

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2005 ( The Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences has convoked a seminar on the history of Christianity, confident that rigorous historical research will foster the move toward Christian unity.

The meeting, to be held this Friday and Saturday at the Vatican, will touch on research of the past half-century, as well as the questions that are still open in studies of the history of Christianity.

The closed-door seminar will be addressed by some of the most prestigious European historians, not all of whom are members of the committee.

Manlio Simonetti of the Academy of the Lynxes is scheduled to speak about antiquity. Michael Matheus, director of Rome’s Germanic Historical Institute, will address the Middle Ages.

Paolo Prodi of the University of Bologna is set to discuss the modern age, and Ernesto Galli della Loggia of the University of Perugia will comment on the contemporary age.

Monsignor Walter Brandmüller, committee president, explained that the purpose of this Vatican institution is to give space to “significant voices of Catholic historical culture at the service of truth and of the Church.”

In this connection, the committee hopes to contribute to the common quest for Christian unity.

“By expanding knowledge, intensifying relations, overcoming prejudices and dissolving common places, a scientific communion has been developed that makes the committee a promoter of communion,” the monsignor said.

“Without falling into relativism,” he added, “dialogue, understanding, reciprocal respect and deeper knowledge of the historians is fostering the path of unity.”

The Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, established by Pope Pius XII in 1954, has 30 members.

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