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´´Ex toto corde´´
Anniversary of the death of cardinal Tomas Spidlík
Cardinal Tomas Spidlík SJ was the most renowned Czech theologian living abroad, world-wide known expert for spirituality of eastern Christianity, promoter of ecumenical efforts and Czech culture. His whole life was dedicated to the research, study and practical service for the unity of Christians. Catholic Church in Czech republic commemorated the 2nd anniversary of his death on 16 April.
Life and works. Tomas Spidlík spent most of his life outside his native country. For 60 years he cooperated with the Vatican Radio. His programs broadcasted to the countries behind the “iron curtain” were a precious aid to the religious freedom in danger and a source of hope for all suffering under the hegemony of communism, remaining a font of wisdom and courage also after the fall of totalitarian regime in 1989. He obtained a doctorate at the Pontifical Oriental Institute and worked as a professor of patristic and eastern spiritual theology at various universities in Rome and around the world. If it was his teacher Fr. Irénée Hausherr SJ, who laid the scientific foundations for the study of eastern Christian spirituality, without doubt it was Fr. Spidlík who gave flesh to its development in a vital direction, so much that his work became not simply an exercise of history of spirituality, but represents an organic theological vision today.
His motto. “The most distinctive feature of his character was an extraordinary ability to develop personal relations and friendships”, writes Michal Altrichter from Palacký University in Olomouc, emphasizing deep spiritual dimension of Tomas Spidlík’s personality and constant fulfillment of his motto “Ex toto corde” (From the whole heart). “Presentatio christiana” in his understanding was an invitation to a dialogue with aim to address the deepest desires of a human being. Although he had never been ordained a bishop, pope John Paul II appreciated his life-long work by making him a cardinal in 2003. From 1991 Tomas Spidlík lived and worked in Centro Ezio Aletti in Rome where he died on 16 April 2010, aged 90 years.
Commemoration at Velehrad. Last weekend, the Velehrad center of Ss. Cyril and Methodius hosted an international conference entitled “Cardinal Tomas Spidlík SJ and contemporary Europe”. Program of the event included opening of two exhibitions related to this great theologian. Photographers from Modena and members of the association for preservation of Christian roots of Europe presented an exhibition “Inspiration to see the beauty: Friends of Velehrad for kardinal Spidlík”. Painter Dagmar Havlickova introduced her drawings from the cycle “The prayer of Jesus”. Both exhibitions take place within the framework of a project “Velehrad – center of cultural dialogue between Western and Eastern Europe” and will be open to public until the end of 2012.
Cyril and Methodius: opening of the Jubilee year
The Jubilee Year of Ss. Cyril and Methodius will be opened in Rome by cardinal Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague and president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, and Jan Graubner, archbishop of Olomouc and president of the National Committee for the preparation of the jubilee. The solemnity will take place on 25-26 May in the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, where the Slavonic liturgy of brothers Cyril and Methodius was approved and authorized, and in the Basilica of St. Clement, where St. Cyril is buried. The program will include a Eucharistic celebration and a concert by the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra from Zlín and the Hradistan Band. Participants will have an opportunity to visit the tomb of Czech cardinal Josef Beran and will be received in audience by pope Benedict XVI. Also present at the celebrations will be a delegation of the Czech government, headed by the prime minister Petr Necas. The Jubilee Year of Ss. Cyril and Methodius will culminate in 2013 in the pilgrimage place of Velehrad, on the occasion of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of both saints to the region of Great Moravia.