This is an era where signs of crisis abound and there is a widespread question about the possible future of the ecumenical path carried out during the last century. By exploring archives and unpublished sources, FSCIRE intends to offer novel investigative elements for a better understanding of the shift that has occurred over the course of the twentieth century in relations between Christians of different confessions and among the different churches.

Since 2014 with this goal in mind, FSCIRE has been leading a vast editorial project aimed at the development of “A History of the Desire for Christian Unity” over the last two centuries. It is a collective work in three volumes that will be translated into the major European languages thanks to collaboration with prestigious international publishing houses.

Special attention will be devoted to pioneers in the ecumenical dialogue. Emphasis will also be given to a number of crucial passages in the process that moved churches from a state of hostile separation towards a search for unity in communion. About the Catholic Church, this process is clearly in harmony with the announcement and conduct of Vatican II

This project includes a number of monographic works that have been completed or in the process of publication, including the edition of verbali del Segretariato per l’unità dei cristiani [Secretariat Records for the Unity of Christians] related to the preparatory phase of the council and the monograph Separati ma fratelli. Gli osservatori non cattolici al Vaticano II (1962-1965) [Separate But Brothers. Non-Catholic Observers at the Vatican II], both works by Mauro Velati and published in the series “Testi e ricerche di scienze religiose” [Religious Science Texts and Research] that FSCIRE has organized for the Il Mulino publishing house. In 2018, Silvia Scatena published Taizé, una parabola d’unità. Storia della comunità dalle origini al Concilio dei giovani [Taizé, a Parable of Unity. The History of the Community from the Origins of the Council of Youth] for Il Mulino. This work offers a thorough documented reconstruction of one of the most important chapters for ecumenism from the last century, and (no less important) for the history of many European churches from the Second World War until the fall of the Iron Curtain. A monograph by Saretta Marotta is in the process of publication on the figure of Cardinal Agostino Bea, President of the Secretariat for the Unity of Christians in the years immediately following Vatican II. An additional monograph by Luca Ferracci is being published that focuses on the editorial history of the BEM ecumenical documentation (baptism, eucharist, ministry) and on the internal dynamics of the Commission of Faith and Order.

At the same time this research project will be undertaken, FSCIRE has also proposed a series of international conventions for an opportunity of dialogue, debate, and reference for scholars in the sector. Furthermore, it is an occasion for study, the deepening and assessment of the transformations that have taken place in the churches in ecumenical terms, the results attained in this process and ongoing problems. On January 28, 2011, FSCIRE and the journal “Cristianesimo nella storia” [Christianity in History] organized an international meeting – with the participation of theologians, historians, Catholic and Anglican canonists – to analyze the text, meaning and ecumenical implications of the apostolic constitution of November 2009 Anglicanorum coetibus. The proceedings of the convention were published in CrST 32 (2011) and in a volume headed by G. Ruggieri and edited by EDB. In the autumn of 2014 and 2015, with the gracious hospitality of the Monastery of Bose, FSCIRE organized two more international conventions: “Historicizing Ecumenism” and “Models of Unity in the Quest for Christian Unity.” From November 13-15, 2017, FSCIRE invited about 100 scholars to Bologna  to collaborate on the writing of the collective work A History of the Desire for Christian Unity. The meeting gave the authors the opportunity to meet one another, to compare and discuss their ongoing research and to coordinate their perspectives under the guidance of a number of eminent scholars.