Forming Priests for an Eastern Catholic Church

Perhaps the most unique Eastern Catholic Church is the Italo-Albanian Church, located in Italy under the direct jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome but maintaining ancient ties with the Orthodox Church.

Benedict XV Pontifical Seminary, named for the pope who erected it, is the only pontifical minor seminary serving the two Italo-Albanian eparchies, Lungro, located in Calabria, and Piana Degli Albanesi, located in Sicily. Most of the Italo-Albanian bishops and priests now serving these eparchies began their seminarian formation at this seminary, states Father Wellington A.C. de Oliveira, Vice Rector.

According to Father de Oliveira, most seminarians come from the eparchies of Lungro and Piana Degli Albanesi. A few, however, come from Albania. When they have completed the course of studies at Benedict XV Seminary, the seminarians continue their priestly formation at the Pontifical Greek College in Rome.

Located in Grottaferrata, Italy, a suburb of Rome, and entrusted to the Basilian monks of the Monastery of Grottaferrata, this minor seminary offers high school courses to seminarians and also to students from the local community. Those enrolled also study Byzantine music, catechism, Greek (both modern and ancient) and the meaning and spirituality of the feasts of the Greek Catholic calendar. On weekends, the seminarians assist in Saturday evening Vespers and the Sunday Divine Liturgy at the Greek Monastery.

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