– Pope Benedict XV, Rome, Oct. 15, 1917
The Pontifical Oriental Institute was created by Pope Benedict XV in 1917 and entrusted to the Society of Jesus by Pope Pius XI in 1922. Its aim is to make known to the Churches of the East “the immense riches that … are preserved in the coffers of their traditions” (St John Paul II, Orientale Lumen 4) and at the same time to make these riches known to the Latin West.
The Orientale is in continual collaboration with other centres of study or universities that have the East as their particular focus of research. Such collaboration requires the Orientale to be a fully modern institute that stands at the cutting edge of communication strategies and information collaboration strategies. In turn, the Orientale boasts a high number of support staff who are experts in communication and distance education. The Orientale makes use of its resources both for academic collaboration and to reach a much wider public.
The Orientale hopes that through its research the riches of the East will be better known in both the West and in the East itself. The Orientale continually updates its courses to take into account the changes that occur in the world, especially in the countries of Eastern Christianity. By continually upgrading its academic program, the Orientale seeks to best prepare its students for future ministry and to strengthen the formation of its teachers.
The Orientale continually seeks to refine its methods of teaching; it offers tutors to help students of different languages and of different cultures. It also recognizes the need for spiritual accompaniment on this intellectual journey and therefore offers spiritual guidance in the tradition of the Society of Jesus. Thus the Orientale aims to form the entire person through educating students’ critical thinking and by preparing them spiritually for the new evangelization.
The Gregorian Consortium seeks to continually evolve in order to offer the best of the three Institutes. This requires coordinated planning between its departments to increase the number of specializations and to avoid overlaps. Moreover, the development of new training opportunities and the integration of various infrastructures such as libraries, archives, digitization, and other services remains a priority to the Consortium.