Second Special Assembly for Europe - Jesus Christ, Alive in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe (1-23 October 1999)

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Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops

In Session: 1 - 23 October 1999

Synod Fathers: 117

Topic: “Jesus Christ, Alive in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe”

The Second Special Assembly for Europe was the last in the series of continental Synodal assemblies which were convoked by the Holy Father in his Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente as part of the preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000.

Notwithstanding the fact that the First Special Assembly for Europe took place in 1991, less than a decade ago, new social and cultural situations, existent on the continent in the wake of political changes in the East, have created pastoral challenges which make particularly opportune the convocation of a Second Special Assembly for Europe.

On 9 February 1997 the Holy Father appointed the Pre-Synodal Council to assist in the preparation of this synodal assembly, which, with the help of theologians from Europe and the staff of the General Secretariat, published the Lineamenta (Spring, 1998) and the Instrumentum Laboris (21 June 1999) of the Special Assembly.

In the course of the Second Special Assembly, the Synod Fathers gave attention to the various realities in the Church in Europe and the particular historic moment in the project towards unifying the continent. The topic of Jesus Christ, alive in his Church, dominated the synodal discussion on the cultural roots of the continent, while, at the same time, serving as the source of hope in the building of a new Europe on the foundation of faith.

The Post-Synodal Council, elected during the Assembly, held various meetings to analyze the outcome of the synod and to contribute to the drafting of the Holy Father’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Europa which was promulgated in the Vatican, 28 June 2003, during Evening Prayer beginning the Solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Subsequently the Post-Synodal Council, to evaluate the impact and implementation of Ecclesia in Europa in the continent, drafted a questionnaire which was sent to the episcopal conferences and continental organizations in Europe. The responses to this questionnaire were used to evaluate some aspects of the Church’s mission in Europe.



S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Franciszek Macharski, Arcivescovo di Kraków (Polonia)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Joachim Meisner, Arcivescovo di Köln (Germania)
S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Paul Poupard, Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per la Cultura (Vaticano)

General Secretary

S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Jan Pieter Schotte, C.I.C.M. (Vaticano)

General Rapporteur

S.Em.R. il Sig. Card. Antonio María Rouco Varela, Arcivescovo di Madrid (Spagna)

Special Secretaries 

S.E.R. Mons. Józef Mirosław Życiński, Arcivescovo di Lublin (Polonia)
S.E.R. Mons. Vincent Nichols, Vescovo tit. di Othona e ausiliare di Westminster (Gran Bretagna)



Documents of the Second Special Assembly for Europe 


  • Esortazione Apostolica Post-Sinodale "Ecclesia in Europa" (28 giugno 2003)
  •     [ DE  - EN  - ES  - FR  - HR  - HU  - IT  - PT ]
  • Conferenza stampa di presentazione dell' Esortazione Apostolica Post-Sinodale "Ecclesia in Europa" (28 giugno 2003)
    • Intervento del Cardinale Antonio María Rouco Varela, Arcivescovo di Madrid