Church History Research Institute of the University

The Péter Pázmány Catholic University is an old-new scholarly and educational centre of Hungarian Catholicism, established by the Conference of Hungarian Catholic Bishops, acknowledged by the Hungarian state (and the scientific community), canonically founded by the Holy See and directed by the Congregation for Catholic Education (Congregatio de Institutione Catholica). As such, the university forms an integral part of present-day relations between the Vatican and Hungary and, per definitionem, has the right and the task of nurturing the traditions of these relations. The theological, especially the church history, canon law and canon-law history program, and partly the liberal arts history program, through general or special courses, are concerned with this area in several respects. In the long run, the basis for the development of library resources, also financed by various grants, will be the library of the late Vatican archivist Lajos Pásztor, which was graciously donated to the University’s Faculty of Arts by Edit Pásztor.

Going back only as far as the age of positivism in the history of Hungarian research in the Vatican, we can find a historiographical connection: Vilmos Fraknói himself and several of his colleagues were students of the legal predecessor of the present theological faculty, while Ferenc Hanuy, Edgár Artner and Ferenc Galla were professors of it. The University’s Research Institute for Church History, established in 1999 by Rector Péter Erdő with the purpose of coordinating church history and related researches in the different faculties, taking upon itself the legacy of these prominent predecessors, chose as the first and most important element of its professional programme the study of the historical relations between Hungary and the Holy See. After several years of archival and bibliographical research as well as preparatory and organizing efforts, at the 2 October 2002 meeting of the Research Institute, held in the Rector’s Office, in the one-time headquarters of the St. Stephen Society, it was decided that a series of publications would be launched with the purpose of, primarily but not exclusively, publishing in a uniform way the scholarly results of the institute, the first sub-series of which would be devoted to Hungarian research in the Vatican.

This was the time when the title Bibliotheca Historiae Ecclesiasticae Universitatis Catholicae de Petro Pázmány nuncupatae was given to the series and the first sub-series was named Collectanea Vaticana Hungariae, openly aiming at taking up the legacy of the one-time Monumenta Vaticana Hungariae. While the other sub-series was defined according to its ”genre” (Collectanea Studiorum et Textuum), the thematic distinction signalled by Collectanea Vaticana is meant to symbolize the special significance of Hungarian researches in the Vatican. This new Vatican series of books, as opposed to its ancestor from the age of positivism, intends to publish monographs, studies, abstract-like and full editions of sources, repertories as well as bibliographies, without any further internal division according to genre. The Collectanea Studiorum et Textuum includes monographs, dissertations, study and lexicon volumes that do not or only partially contain Roman research results; as well as aims at revealing sources related to Hungary and Vienna by the issue of data depositories and manuals along with source publications.

According to the norms accepted at the 2 October 2002 meeting, the editorial committee formed by the members of the Research Institute under the high patronage of the founding Rector, present Cardinal, decides about the publication of every single volume. The president and the secretary of it is the same as of the Institute and the practical tasks are carried out by the editor of the given sub-series. The professional publisher of the volumes is the Research Institute. In case of the Collectanea Vaticana series professional cooperation with the Vilmos Fraknói Hungarian Institute of History in Rome has been under consideration, more precisely the building up of an actually functioning scholarly institute of history. Conforming to the decision made at the founding editorial meeting, in the first two volumes manuscripts of late professors of the University had to be published and also in the following space has to be provided for the publication of their written legacies. Similarly, the publication of papers of external researchers has to be made possible, provided that the professional quality of these works is appropriate and that they aim at full historical objectivity, in accordance with the spiritual standards of the University. The University Council that decided in many other details as well, endorsed the content of the minutes of the first editorial committee at its 8 November 2002 meeting. About the favourable developments Rector Péter Erdő – after his appointment as the archbishop of Esztergom – informed the president and the secretary of the Research Institute in his letter of the 16th December. Furthermore, he let them know that he had provided the necessary financial means for starting the project from his rectorial budget. (R. 29/1/2002.)