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An Italian Is the New Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for the Oriental Churches

(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 21.11.2022).- Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Nuncio in Great Britain, the new Prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches. He is substituting in that service Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, one of the few ecclesiastics remaining in executive positions from John Paul II’s pontificate. In fact, it was Cardinal Sandri who, in 2005, announced to the world John Paul II’s. 

The New Prefect

Monsignor Gugerotti was ordained priest for the diocese of Verona by Bishop Giuseppe Amari on May 29, 1982. In 1985 he began his service in the Holy See in the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, taking up the post of Secretary under the then Prefect, Cardinal Achille Silvestrini. 

On December 7, 2001, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Ravello and Apostolic Nuncio in the Asian countries of Georgia and Armenia, and on December 13, 2001 of Azerbaijan. 

He received episcopal consecration on January 6, 2002, from the hands of Pope John Paul II and of the co-consecrators, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri and Archbishop Robert Sarah.

On July 15, 2011 he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Byelorussia until November 13, 2015, when he was moved to the Apostolic Nunciature in Ukraine. Then, on July 4, 2020, he was appointed Nuncio in Great Britain. He is a Doctor in Oriental Ecclesiastical Sciences in the Pontifical Oriental Institute. 

What Is the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches? 

The Dicastery for the Oriental Churches is concerned with questions of the Catholic Oriental Churches sui iuris in regard to people and things. 

Given that some of these Churches, especially the ancient Patriarchal Churches are of ancient tradition, the Dicastery will examine every now and then and after consulting, if necessary, of the Dicasteries concerned,  which matters related to the internal government can be left in the hands of Higher Authorities, by derogation of the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches. 

Members by right of the Dicastery are the Patriarchs, the Major Archbishops of the Oriental Churches sui iuris and the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity. 

In so far as possible, the Consultors and Officials must be elected both by the faithful of the Oriental Rite of the different Churches sui iuris as well as the faithful of the Latin Rite. 

The Dicastery is competent in all matters proper to the Oriental Churches, which must be remitted to the Apostolic See regarding the structure and ordering of the Churches; the exercise of the functions of teaching, sanctifying and governing; individuals, their status, rights and duties. It also addresses all that is established in the five-year reports and the “ad Limina Apostolorum” visits

The Dicastery follows attentively the communities of Oriental faithful in the territorial circumscriptions of the Latin Church. It provides for its spiritual needs through Visitors and also, in so far as possible, through its own Hierarchy when the  number of faithful and the circumstances call for it, prior to consultation with the Dicastery responsible for the erection of the particular Churches in the same territory. 

In regions where Oriental Rites have prevailed for a long time, the apostolate and missionary action depend exclusively on this Dicastery, even if they are carried out by missionaries of the Latin Church. 

The Dicastery proceeds by mutual agreement with the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity in regard to relations with non-Catholic Oriental Churches, and also with the Dicastery for Inter-Religious Dialogue and the Dicastery for Culture and Education in what concerns them.