The World

Prague hosts the European continental stage of the Synod

From February 5 to 12, 2023, the capital of the Czech Republic will host the continental assembly of the Synod of Bishops coordinated by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences. 

Giovanni Tridente-January 28, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes

The continental Synodal Assembly, in which Catholic Churches from all over Europe will participate, will be held at Prague (Czech Republic) from February 5 to 12. It will be coordinated by the Council of Bishops' Conferences of the Continent (CCEE), in collaboration with the Bishops' Conference of the host country and the Archdiocese of the capital.

Some 200 delegates will attend, including representatives of the local Churches and representatives of the most representative ecclesial realities at the European level (February 5-9), as well as the 39 presidents of the Bishops' Conferences (February 9-12). A further 390 delegates will participate online. During the assembly, communities of contemplative life from all over Europe will hold a continuous silent adoration to accompany the work.

Announcing and presenting the initiative, Vilnius Archbishop and CCEE President Gintaras Grušas spoke of. "an opportunity to renew our mission to proclaim Jesus", which in today's time and especially in Europe represents "the truest and most urgent response to today's many challenges". 

The logo of the European stage

The logo chosen for the continental stage of the Synod in Europe takes up the official logo of the General Synod, the diversity of the People of God on the way, which in this case crosses the Charles Bridge, symbol of Prague; on the right is the tower of the Old Town Bridge (the place where the king passed on the day of his coronation), while on the left is outlined the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert, the most sacred places of the capital and of the entire Republic and where the February assembly will be held. The symbol of the bridge is also intended to represent the connection between shores and divided worlds, which the concept of synodality itself helps to overcome by establishing relationships.

"This Synod must not deprive us of the desire to be new missionaries." Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg and General Rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, confided in a recent speech."The mission of the Church is to proclaim Christ, to proclaim our commitment to creation, but also for justice and peace, and the commitment of all God's people." 

The seven international meetings

As explained at the time by the General Secretariat of the Synod, the European Continental Synodal Assembly is one of the seven international meetings that the Bishops' Conferences of the major regions of the world will hold until the summer of next year, to reflect on the Document for the Continental Stage arising from the preliminary consultation 2021/2022 (national stage). The other regions are Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Asia (FABC), Oceania, North America and the Middle East.

The objective is to deepen the discernment on the perceptions that emerged in the previous listening session, in order to formulate more precisely the questions that remained unanswered, as well as to better substantiate and deepen the perceptions coming from the local Churches. It will also be an opportunity to involve those realities living on the margins of the Church that were probably not intercepted in the previous phase. It should be clear that, even in this continental circumstance, no answers will be proposed and no lines of action will be decided on the issues raised in the consultation, as the Secretariat of the Synod has repeatedly made clear.

The working document

With regard to the Document for the Continental Phase, the Secretariat clarifies that it should be considered as an authentic guide for a permanent discernment that should continue in the next phase.

At the end of each "continent's" Assembly, a subsequent final document will be drafted which should reflect the voice of the people of God from that specific region of the world. The 7 continental documents will then be sent to the General Secretariat of the Synod and will form the basis for the Instrumentum Laboris for the General Assembly of October 2023 (first phase) and the following year, as established in recent months by Pope Francis.

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