Death of Bishop Pierre Duprey
His Lordship Bishop Pierre Duprey, White Father, Titular Bishop of Thibar, Secretary Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, passed away in Rome on Sunday morning the 13 th May 2007 , at around 02 a.m. at the age of 84 years and 6 months . He had been at the service of ecumenism throughout his priestly and missionary life.
Bishop Pierre Duprey, born at Croix in the north of France on the 26th November 1922, did his novitiate with the White Fathers (Society of Missionaries of Africa), at Algiers, Algeria, in 1942 and was ordained a priest on the 1st February 1950 at Carthage, Tunisia. He continued his studies in Rome at the Oriental Institute, where he obtained a doctorate. He was appointed to the Greek Catholic (Melkite) seminary at St. Anne's, Jerusalem. He went to study Orthodox theology at Athens, Greece, and Arabic language and literature at Beirut, Lebanon, to better equip himself for teaching in Jerusalem. He was lecturer in Dogmatic Theology and Church History at 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.
In 1962, he was invited to Rome as theologian and translator for the Orthodox observers, delegates to the Second Vatican Council. In 1963, he was called to serve on the new Secretariat for Christian Unity (Pontifical Council in 1988), founded by John XXIII in 1960 and then entrusted to Augustin Cardinal Bea, President, and Mgr Johannes Willebrands, 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 (Constantinople). 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.
He attended the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras at 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 1st at Istanbul in November 1979 is one of the highlights of his life. During this same period, the Patriarchs of the Syrian (1971, 1984) and Coptic (1973) Orthodox Churches also signed the first joint Christological statements on the visit of the Patriarchs of these Churches to the Pope in Rome.
On the 25th April 1983, Father Duprey was appointed Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity of which Archbishop Edward Cassidy (later 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. Father Duprey was ordained Bishop with the title of Bishop of Thibar on the 6th January 1990. (Thibar 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 the 16th March 1999. Bishop Walter Kasper, later Cardinal and President of the Council, then replaced him as Secretary.
Bishop Duprey retained the title of Secretary Emeritus of the Council for Unity and lived a quiet retirement in his Rome apartment near the Vatican. Bishop Duprey quietly passed away surrounded by the affection of his friends and missionary confreres.
from Father Gérard Chabanon
Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa
* * *
The Funeral Mass for Bishop Pierre Duprey will be presided by Cardinal Walter KASPER, President of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity,
Friday 18th May, from 10 a.m.
At St Peter Basilica.
The ceremony will be followed by the burial at Campo Verano, in the burial vault of the Missionaries of Africa.
* * *
* Message of Condolences of Cardinal Walter KASPER, for the Death of His Lordship Bishop Pierre Duprey, M.Afr
* Lettre de Condoléances du Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone et Patriarche Gregorios III
* * *
* 22 January 2008 : Memorial Mass in honour of Bishop Pierre Duprey at the Generalate
* Témoignage de François NOBLET, neveu de Mgr Pierre Duprey
* 17-05-2007 - 5 pm : Funeral Wake (Mass) for Bishop Pierre Duprey at the Generalate
Homily of the Superior General at the Requiem Mass 17 May 2007
* 17-05-2007 : Welcoming the Mortal Remains of Bishop Pierre Duprey at the Generalate in Rome
* 18-05-2007 - 10 am : Funeral Mass of Bishop Pierre Duprey in the Basilica of St-Peter
* Homily of Cardinal Kasper Funeral Mass of Bishop Pierre Duprey
* 18-05-2007 - 12 am : Bishop Pierre Duprey is buried in the cemetery of Campo Verano
Mgr Duprey Easter 2004 in our Chapel Via Aurelia in Roma
To see also in "Voix d'Afrique" N° 53 (in French only)