Pope Francis appoints 2 Notre Dame theologians as consultors for the Congregation for the Eastern Churches

Author: Carrie Gates

Nina Glibetić And Gabriel Radle

Nina Glibetić, an assistant professor in the Department of Theology, and Gabriel Radle, the Rev. John A. O’Brien Assistant Professor of Theology, both at the University of Notre Dame, have been appointed by Pope Francis as consultors for the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.

The congregation assists in the development and protects the rights of the Eastern Catholic Churches, while maintaining the heritage of the various Eastern Christian traditions alongside the liturgical, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony of the Latin rite.

Nina Glibetić
Nina Glibetić

Glibetić and Radle, both faculty fellows in Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute, will serve five-year terms as consultors, offering professional advice on questions or matters of great significance to the congregation.

“I am honored by the pope’s appointment to serve the Church in this capacity,” Radle said. “As a historian of liturgy, it is fulfilling to see the Vatican’s affirmation that this kind of work not only enriches our knowledge of the human past, but represents a foundational contribution to questions faced by Christian communities today.”

The appointment is also an important recognition by the Vatican of the significant international role that Notre Dame has played — and continues to play — in the field of liturgical studies, Radle said. 

“Our University’s graduate program in theology began as a liturgical studies program and has been instrumental in establishing this discipline in North America,” he said. “It is a particular honor to represent this tradition of our University.”

Gabriel Radle Crop
Gabriel Radle

Radle specializes in early and medieval Christian liturgy, with a focus on the Eastern Mediterranean world. His publications include studies on medieval marriage rituals, the Eucharist and Byzantine manuscript prayer books. 

As an Orthodox Christian, Glibetić said she took particular note of the Vatican’s ecumenical gesture in naming her to the position. 

“It is a great honor to be nominated by Pope Francis as a consultor of the Congregation for Eastern Churches,” Glibetić said. “Scholarly work on the Christian East often crosses ecclesiastical boundaries, and with this appointment the Vatican has highlighted that answers to contemporary questions facing the Church can be enriched through broad reflection from multiple voices. This is all the more so the case when many Eastern Christian communities today face significant geopolitical challenges. 

“It is a great pleasure to represent Notre Dame’s legacy of service to Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, which our University has a long tradition of sponsoring through initiatives like Tantur, our Byzantine studies program and the scholarly contributions of my colleagues in theology.”

Also an expert in liturgical studies, Glibetić has published on the development of eucharistic practices in Byzantium, the liturgy of early Slavs, religious rituals for women at childbirth and miscarriage, and the impact of liturgy on the formation of national identity. She is a member of an international research team dedicated to studying Glagolitic manuscripts discovered at St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.