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Rev Pierre François Marie Joseph Duprey

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Rev Pierre François Marie Joseph Duprey

  • Birth 26 Nov 1922
  • Death 13 May 2007
  • Burial Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
  • Plot Plot Of The White Fathers Inside A Chapel Reserved For Members Of Various Religious Institutions.
  • Memorial ID 26520044

Bishop Pierre Duprey of the White Fathers, Titular Bishop of the See of Thibaris and Secretary Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity was born in Croix in the North of France, on November 26, 1922. He began his novitiate with the White Fathers through the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, in Algiers, Algeria, in 1942, and was ordained presbyter on February 1, 1950, in Carthage, Tunisia. He continued his studies in Rome at the Oriental Institute, from where he obtained a doctorate. Appointed to the Greek Catholic Melkite Seminary at St. Anne's, Jerusalem, he went to study Orthodox Theology in Athens, Greece, and Arabic Language and Literature in Beirut, Lebanon.

Following his studies, he served as lecturer in Dogmatic Theology and Church History in Jerusalem from 1956 till 1963, as well as on the Editorial Board of the Review "Proche Orient Chrétien". In 1961, on the island of Rhodes, he was one of the Roman Catholic Observers attending the First Pan-Orthodox Conference that brought together 61 representatives from 12 Autocephalous Churches.

Future Cardinal Mgr. Johannes Willebrands, in 1962, invited Duprey to Rome as a theologian and translator for the Orthodox Observers and Delegates to the Second Vatican Council. In 1963, he was called to serve on the New Secretariat for Christian Unity, which was later named a Pontifical Council in 1988, founded by Pope John XXIII in 1960 and then entrusted to Augustin Cardinal Bea SJ., as President, and Msgr. Johannes Willebrands as Secretary.

As Under-Secretary and Head of the Department for Oriental Christians, Father Duprey played a central role in the frequent travels of Delegations between Rome and Istanbul. He instigated most of the "Historic Initiatives" of Pope Paul VI and Cardinal Bea that marked this period, such as the Raising of the Anathema of 1054, the Restoration of the Relics of Saint Andrew and the Meetings between the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras.

He attended the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, held in Jerusalem in January 1964. Father Duprey had been the effectual intermediary in preparing the famous kiss of peace, since become a living icon of the subsequent development in relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The opening of Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches proclaimed during the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in Istanbul in November 1979, is one of the highlights of his life. During the same period, the Patriarchs of the Syrian and Coptic Orthodox Churches also signed the first joint Christological Statements on the visit of the Patriarchs of these Churches to the Pope in Rome.

On April 25, 1983 Father Duprey was appointed Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity of which Archbishop Edward Cassidy, future Cardinal, became President in 1989. Then Father Duprey's Ecumenical Relations would rapidly expand to include Western Churches, in particular in official dialogue with the Anglican Communion and collaboration with the Ecumenical Council of Churches.

At the age of 60, Father Duprey received his episcopal consecration as Bishop of the Titular See of Thibaris on January 6, 1990, from Pope John Paul II, assisted by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re and Archbishop Miroslav Stefan Marusyn. Thibaris is a locality of Tunisia where the White Fathers had an extensive now nationalised domain, with a Theological Seminary and an Agricultural School.

Bishop Duprey continued to serve the Council for Christian Unity until his retirement on March 16, 1999, at the age of 76. Bishop Walter Kasper - future Cardinal and President of the Council - succeeded him as Secretary.

His Lordship Bishop Pierre Duprey, passed away in Rome on Sunday morning on May 13, 2007, around 2 am., at the age of 84 years and 6 months. He had been at the service of Ecumenism throughout his priestly and missionary life. Funeral Mass was said in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican and later his body was interred in the plot of the White Fathers at the Campo Verano Cemetery in Rome.


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  • Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 1 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 26520044
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Pierre François Marie Joseph Duprey (26 Nov 1922–13 May 2007), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26520044, citing Cimitero Comunale Monumentale Campo Verano, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Eman Bonnici (contributor 46572312) .