History of the councils

History of Vatican II

The commitment to study and carry out research on behalf of, and on, Vatican II has been one of the elements distinguishing FSCIRE since 1959, the year in which the Council was proclaimed. The study begins with the documents elaborated within the Istituto for the entire duration of the Council (1962-1965), in which Dossetti participated as a perito of Card. Lercaro. This research first resulted in the edition of Storia del Concilio Vaticano II, published in five volumes and translated into seven languages, now also available in paperback with a new introduction by Alberto Melloni that traces the history of that Storia.

Today, Vatican II and its reception are still the subject of a heated debate among scholars and in public opinion. It is therefore right that research should continue in its proper role, that is to say, providing means for discussion. Il Mulino has already published the edition of Giuseppe Alberigo’s essays on the Council, with a preface by Card. Karl Lehmann (Transizione epocale, 2009) and the volume by Federico Ruozzi Il concilio in diretta. Il Vaticano II e la televisione tra informazione e partecipazione (2012). Einaudi has published the volume by Giuseppe Ruggieri (Ritrovare il concilio, 2012) and, in 2015, Jaca Book published an Atlante del Vaticano II, edited by FSCIRE.

The line of research on Vatican II continues with a series of analytical reconstructions on the history of ecumenism, while the digitization, as part of the Mansi3 project, of the Acta synodalia (including the volumes Acta et documenta related to the ante-preparatory and preparatory phases of the Council) and of the tools published by FSCIRE (such as the Synopsis historica of Lumen Gentium) has been completed. Ten years after the publication of Alberigo’s Storia del concilio, a conference took stock of the last decade of research, presenting new studies and new archival sources on Vatican II.

Contributors: Enrico Galavotti, Alberto Melloni, Giuseppe Ruggieri, Federico Ruozzi

The liturgical reform and the activity of the Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de sacra liturgia

The research on the Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de sacra liturgia (1964-1970) aims to study in depth how the liturgical reform of Vatican II was implemented, highlighting the model of reception of the Council that it proposed and attempted to put into practice. The approval of the constitution on the liturgy Sacrosanctum concilium comes at the end of a process that lasted more than a century, began with the development of the liturgical movement and was then resumed several times during the pontificates of the first half of the 20th century. The work of the Consilium differs from this process. In fact, the implementation of the reform involves the reception of requests coming “from below” and the passage from a Eurocentric perspective to a global one. Therefore, the activity of the Consilium represents the first attempt to receive the Council and, for this reason, one of the most significant post-conciliar experiences.

Contributor: Massimiliano Proietti.

The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

The research project studying the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was started in view of the 17th centenary of the Council of Nicaea in 2025. The research aims to enquire more deeply into the process of the formulation of the Creed, together with the various translations of it. The text of the Creed is the result of dialogue and compromise among the different theological traditions of churches in the early centuries. The process began with the elaboration of the baptismal symbols by local churches and proceeded with the definition of the text in the ecumenical councils of the 4th and 5th centuries. To the Greek were early added translations produced in Armenian, Syriac and Coptic circles, and later those from the Arab world, the Slavic area and finally the so-called 'lands of mission'. These translations responded to two different needs: on the one hand, to elaborate and affirm the ecclesial identity of the different communities; on the other, the necessity to adapt the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed to different cultural contexts. In order to shed light on the reception process of the most important text in the conciliar tradition of the church, which is still in progress, the research project combines historical and theological research with philological and linguistic research.

Contributors: Federico AlpiCostanza BianchiGianmarco BraghiLuca FerracciAntonio GeraceMassimiliano Proietti.