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The Holy See

Capital Vatican City

Time Zone CET (GMT+1)

Country Code 39

ccTLD .va

Currency Euro

Land Area 0.44 sq km

Population 836

Language Latin, Italian

Major Religion Roman Catholicism

Key Data

Notable Public Figures

Francis I - Jorge Mario Bergoglio,
Pope

Pietro Parolin,
Cardinal Secretary of State

Giovanni Angelo Becciu,
Substitute for General Affairs

Paul Richard Gallagher,
Secretary for the Relations with States

Antoine Camiller,
Undersecretary for the Relations with States

Luciano Suriani,
Delegate for Pontificial Representations

Peter Brian Wells,
Assessor for General Affairs

José Avelino Bettencourt,
Head of Protocol

Domenico Giani,
Chief of Vatican Gendarmerie

The Jesuit Order and The Vatican’s Challenges in the Balkans

The Jesuit Order has a centuries-old tradition of activity in the Balkans, particularly in the educational sphere. This is today manifested by the increasing presence of Jesuit schools in the region, while the Order’s humanitarian mission is reflected in the presence of the Jesuit Relief Services charity on the ground. A full list of Jesuit schools, charities and key personnel is provided in a special appendix to the book.

The Vatican challenges in the Balkans Bolstering the Catholic Church in 2015 and beyondSummary

Pope Francis is a Jesuit- the first member of this venerable order ever elevated to the papal throne. This fact alone makes the current Balkan activities of the Catholic world’s most famous educators a bit more relevant.

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The Jesuits have recovered an influential presence, acquired in previous centuries. Before the arrival of communism in Albania and Yugoslavia with the Second World War, they had been firmly ensconced in ecclesiastical and educational life in Croatia, Albania and elsewhere.

The official Jesuits Conference of Europe Provincials maintains regional offices in Albania, Bosnia and Croatia, as well as an office in Belgrade that covers both Serbia and Montenegro. Although they tend to maintain a low profile, the Jesuits are very effective in terms of education, information-gathering and interface with local authorities. And their evangelical activities have also enriched the Church’s network ability, volunteer corps, and outreach to the poor and marginalized. Indeed, the activities of Jesuit Relief Services (for just one example) has meant that the Catholic Church is among the best-informed bodies concerning the flow of refugees and asylum-seekers from the Middle East through the Balkans.

The Jesuits today have made a full recovery since their communism-era losses. Schools affiliated with them include the Classical Gymnasium in Zagreb, a Jesuit Philosophical Faculty at Zagreb University, Dubrovnik’s Diocesan Classical Gymnasium ‘Ruđer Bošković,’ and the Jesuit Classical Gymnasium in Osijek (all in Croatia). Other schools include Kosovo’s Asociation ‘Loyola Gymnasium’, and different schools and universities in Albania.

In early 2015, it was announced that Serbia will allow a Jesuit school system to come into existence as well. We expect that the Jesuits will increase their educational, missionary and charity activities in the Balkans, complementing Vatican and EU interests. This would be in keeping with their historic role in the region, even long before the idea of a formally ‘united Europe’ existed.

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