Institute of Intercultural, Interreligious and Ecumenical Research and Dialogue
The Institute was founded as a centre for research excellence in December 2014 and its objective is to supplement basic research at the Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology. It was the culmination of fifteen years of research and educational work of the Department of Pastoral and Spiritual Theology, the scientific team of which, under the supervision of Prof Pavel Ambros, has been systematically engaged in the relationships between faith, culture, and spirituality in various Christian traditions and other religions.
The Institute follows up on a project of the same name; during its realisation, a scientific team of young scholars was established, a large international network of contacts and collaborations was created, and new methods in research were developed. It was made possible mainly in collaboration with postgraduate students from the Czech Republic and abroad, who are informally associated in Fórum Velehrad.
The research themes of Czech and foreign scientists are concentrated especially on philosophical and theological bases for dialogue between Christianity and secular society, on the study and research of cultures and traditions belonging to Abrahamic religions, and of intercultural dialogue. They also explore the phenomenon of spirituality in the era of multiculturalism and interreligiosity, ecumenism and the study and research into the traditions of Eastern Christians including the Sts Cyril and Methodius tradition.
The Institute cooperates with foreign top experts whose participation interlinks the Olomouc Institute with research institutions all over the world – such as the Institute for Interreligious Study and Dialogue at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Huffington Ecumenical Institute in Los Angeles, the International Society of Jesuit Ecumenists in Rome, the Academy Ignatianum in Cracow, and the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Oxford. One of the key persons in charge of the formation of the scientific team is an important Italian expert on the mutual relationships between Eastern and Western Christians, Maria Campatelli, Director of the “Atelier di teologia Cardinal Špidlík”, an interdisciplinary workplace at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. Another key collaboration is with Centro Aletti in Olomouc, which possesses a very well-equipped library, and with the Refugium publishing house.
The expert teams at the Institute also prepare one-off conferences. European experts debated on the relationship of Islam and contemporary European culture in March 2015; month later, a conference entitled Religion and the Common Good took place, which focussed on the principles and outcomes of interreligious dialogue in the context of current social and political changes.