On Monday, May 30, 2022, the Order of Friars Minor Conventual welcomed the delegation from Iran, headed by Ayatollah Ali Reza ARAFI, President of the Islamic Seminaries of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The visit took place at the Friary of the Twelve Holy Apostles in Rome
A few weeks ago, in Qom, Iran, Ayatollah Ali Reza ARAFI met with our confrere, the Most Reverend Dominique MATHIEU, OFM Conv., Archbishop of Teheran-Ispahan, Iran. Friar Dominique invited the Ayatollah to visit our centers in Italy and the Ayatollah accepted.
On Monday morning, May 30, 2022, the delegation from Iran visited Pope Francis at the Vatican. The delegation arrived at the Friary of the Twelve Holy Apostles in the evening. The Conventual fraternity had the pleasure of hosting Ayatollah ARAFI and Doctor Seyed Taha HASHEMI, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Holy See, the Vice-Presidents of the Islamic Seminaries: Doctors Abolghasem Moghimi Haji, Seyed Mofid Hoseini Kuhsari, Ali Alizadeh, and Mohammad Sadegh Amin Din; Mr. Hassan Niazi, First Counselor of the Embassy; and other distinguished guests. The interpreter, Mr. Seifollah Taheri, facilitated communications.
The Order was represented by the Vicar General, Friar Jan MACIEJOWSKI; the Secretary General, Friar Tomasz SZYMCZAK; the heads of formation in the Order: Friars Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK and Massimiliano SEMBIRING; the representatives of the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure (Seraphicum) in Rome: the Dean, Friar Raffaele DI MURO, Professor-Friars Francesco CELESTINO, Silvestru BEJAN and Patrick KANNADAN; and the Librarian, Friar Michael EARALY.
After stopping briefly in the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles, the whole group visited the library inside the adjacent friary, where they talked about possible paths of collaboration between the academic centers of Qom and the Conventual Franciscan study centers. Some very concrete proposals were formulated; there was talk of possibly having teacher exchanges as well as conducting study weeks and conferences on common issues.
The meeting ended with a beautiful, simple and cordial time spent together in the common room of the friary, where conversation with the members of the delegation continued.
We have made the first steps towards collaboration between our academic centers. We hope we will soon see results stemming from this first meeting.
Friar Tomasz SZYMCZAK, Secretary General