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Marko Antun de Dominis and Juraj Augustin Križanić Theologians of Reconciliation and Precursor of the Council

Catholic Faculty of Theology, University of Zagreb; [email protected]
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  • Political Science
  • Religious Science


The part of the world settled by Croats marks the divide between the East and the West. The Christian East and the Christian West. The schism that split the Eastern and Western Christian Churches in the eleventh century, as well as the division caused by the Protestant Reformation in the Christian West in the sixteenth century, could not but affect Croatia too. The country has therefore always had its theological thinkers who sought ways to bridge the gap thus created. They have been guided in their search by ecclesiastical considerations, but not solely by them, since they have viewed the overcoming of the divisions not only as an ecclesiastic but also as an national good. Two such theologian deserve to be mentioned - Marko Antun de Dominis (Rab 1560 -Rome 1624) and Juraj Augustin Križanić (Obrh 1618 - Vienna 1683). Dominis sought to reconcile the Anglican, protestant and Catholic Churches. Križanić advocated the reconciliation of the Orthodox and Catholic Curches. In the person of these two people, the Croatian seventeenth-century theology extended a hand of peace and reconciliation to both East and West. Dominis built it on the concept of episcopal collegiality. His proposed solution is the aristocratic (college of bishops) in the place of the monarchic (papal sole authority) principle. Dominis's maine treatise »De Republica Ecclesiastical (London 1617) has been compared to that of the greatest controversist Robert Bellarmin. In his re-examination (»De retractationibus in Republicam Ecclesiasticam«) of his book, Dominis revoked what he regarded as heretical views and finally made peace with Rome. If»De Republica Ecclesiastica« and »De Retractationibus in Republicam Ecclesiasticam« are taken together, it may be said that the way to deal with the contentious issue of papal primacy in the Christian Churches, according to Dominis, is to assert episcopal collegiality without denying the primacy of the Bishop of Rome as the pope. For Dominis, episcopal collegiality was a link, or a bridge to the unity of divided Christianity. And for Križanić? For him that bridge was the ecclesiality of the Orthodox Slaves. Križanić called the Kiev and Muscovy Orthodox communities Churches. Križanić's »Biblioteca Schismaticorum Universa« was the sum of the controversies written specially for the Orthodox believers, just a Bellarmin's sum of controvers is was written for the Protestants, Križanić developed his own, particular theology of history, in which the Church occupies the central place. He recommended that Muscovy should unite with Rome and that it should then mediate to achieve the unity of the Greek Orthodox Church with Rome. Both Dominis and Križanić must be seen as precursors of the Second Vatican Council. The Council confirmed episcopal collegiality in community with the primate of the Pope. The Council called the separated Christian communities Churches. This makes them theologians of reconciliation and precursors of the Council.

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