This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy See and the French Republic signed an "avenant" to the Diplomatic Conventions of 14 May and 8 September 1828, and the "avenants" of 4 May 1974, 21 September 1999 and 12 July 2005, regarding the Church and the convent of Trinità dei Monti, Rome. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States, signed on behalf of the Holy See, and Philippe Zeller, ambassador of France to the Holy See, signed for the French Republic.
"Recalling the French character of the Trinità dei Monti complex, the present international agreement expresses gratitude for the work performed by the Order of Minims from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, by the Société du Sacré-Coeur de Jésus from the nineteenth century to 2006, and by the Fraternité monastique des Frères de Jérusalem and the Fraternité monastique des Soeurs de Jérusalem from 2006 to the present".
"Considering the impossibility for the aforementioned monastic fraternities to continue in this mission, the Church and the Convent of Trinità dei Monti shall be entrusted, from 1 September 2016, to the Communauté de l'Emmanuel, an international association of the faithful of pontifical right, founded in France in 1972".
In his address during the signing of the agreement, Archbishop Gallagher remarked that for more than five centuries, the area of Trinità dei Monti has always been a prominent seat of French culture, a prestigious centre of education for the young, and a place of spiritual influence in the heart of Rome. In this context, he mentioned the various communities that have lived and worked there over the centuries: the religious of the Order of Minims, who were brought there at the behest of King Charles VIII in recognition of the spiritual assistance lent to his father, Louis XI, by the founder St. Francis of Paola; the women religious of the Société du Sacré-Coeur de Jésus, the congregation founded by St. Madeleine Sofia Barat, and more recently, the Fraternité monastique des Frères de Jérusalem and the Fraternité monastique des Soeurs de Jérusalem.
"Today we open together a new page in the history of Trinità dei Monti", said the secretary for Relations with States. "On behalf of the Holy Father, who has entrusted me with the signing of this international agreement, I would like to thank the Fraternités monastiques de Jérusalem for their work in the development of the religious, educational and cultural activities of Trinità dei Monti during the years in which they have been present. At the same time, I wish to extend my best wishes to the Communauté de l'Emmanuel, to whom the Church and the Convent of Trinità dei Monti shall be entrusted. The Community is preparing to take on a responsibility of great importance in the service of the French and Roman cultural heritage, and at the same time, to respond to the call to contribute in a new way to the evangelising mission of the Church. The Holy See expresses all its trust in the Community, sure that it will be able to fulfil this demanding and exciting mission".
Ambassador Zeller expressed on the one hand his sadness at bidding farewell to Fraternités Monastiques, and on the other his hope in the arrival of the Communauté de l'Emmanuel, which has agreed to take on the role, responding to the invitation by the Pious Establishments. The Pious Establishments (Pieux Etablissements) of France in Rome and Loreto are a French foundation in Italy, built up over time by donations and legacies from French people, both illustrious and unknown, directed by its own managing bodies under the supervision of the French Embassy to the Holy See. The management of some of its assets, such as the convent of Trinità dei Monti, is the subject of bilateral international agreements between France and the Holy See.
"From September, it will ensure, in particular, the management of the Sacred Heart school and the lodgings for pilgrims", he explained. "The Communauté de l'Emmanuel, an international public association of pontifical right, founded in France in 1972, has around 10,000 members in sixty countries in all five continents, bringing together laypeople, consecrated men and women and priests. The Community has its own charism, which will form part of the history of Trinità dei Monti, faithful to its legacy. The zone is indeed complex and unique, and its variety must be respected and its unique nature preserved. It is not common to find in a single and coherent place, a Church, a convent, two schools, a boarding house for pilgrims and and association organising tours of Rome from a religious perspective. These entities are a good example of the different vocations of the Pious Establishments: pastoral, cultural and social, as well as its historic and founding mission of welcome to French pilgrims, following the footsteps of the Apostles".