Jubilee of the ecumenical collegiums of Sainaintt Thomas College in Vienna
On October 2, 2009, in the assembly hall of the Viennese Archeparchial Seminary (Vienna, Austria), took place a symposium devoted to the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the ecumenical St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Founded in 1816 as the institute of clergy formation of Saint Augustine ("Frintaneum"), the college was considered the elite “smithy of human recourses” for the gifted Catholic clergy from the eparchies of the Austrian monarchy. After the disintegration of the monarchy, this institution was renamed in 1919 as the St. Thomas Aquinas College and since the time of the Vatican Council II it serves as the ecumenical institution of the Viennese Archeparchy for assisting the academic path for priests and theologians from churches of Eastern tradition.
As part of the symposium Professor Rupert Kliber lectured about forming the church’s elite for Central Europe in the college. In 1816-1918 there were 1,096 priests who graduated from this institution, over half of whom finished their doctorate studies in the Viennese university. According to the words of the speaker, the enrollment of every student of the college was personally approved by the emperor and, as a rule, after returning to their countries the graduates secured key positions in the church’s government, and also became prominent figures of social, political, and cultural life.
The experience of ecumenical cohabitation and studying in the St. Thomas College was shared by its former students, and today are teachers of educational institutions of the churches of Eastern tradition. From the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Dr. Volodymyr Sheremeta, a professor of the Ivano-Frankivs’k Theology Academy, thanked the Episcopal Conference of Austria for kindly giving the possibility to be a student of the college of Saint Thomas (1996-2000) and for the scholarship for the specialization in the field of moral theology. He also described the basic concepts of his work at the theology academy and at the Ecology Bureau, which he heads.
After the ecumenical prayer in the church of the Viennese Archeparchial Seminary, the celebration of the anniversary of St. Thomas College concluded with a reception in the dining room of the seminary.
Information Department of the UGCC