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Communiqué on the first meeting of the Commission on Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, 13.07.2016

Vatican City, 13 July 2016 – On the days 12 to 13 July the mixed Commission of Croatian and Serbian experts, entrusted with the task of a joint re-reading of the life of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac before, during and after the Second World War, held its first meeting in Vatican City. The Commission was created by an initiative of the Holy Father, after various meetings and consultation with representatives of the Holy See, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Croatian Episcopal Conference, to respond to the need to clarify certain historical questions.

The Commission is charged with a scientific task, using the methodologies of historical sciences, based on the documentation available and its contextualisation. This will not interfere with the process of canonisation of Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, which is strictly within the competence of the Holy See.

It is expected that a series of meetings will take place, which should conclude within twelve months.

The Commission is composed as follows:

Presidency under the "patronage" of the Holy See: Fr. Bernard Ardura, O. Praem., president of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences.

Members of the Catholic Church of Croatia: Cardinal Josip Bozanić, archbishop of Zagreb; Bishop Ratko Perić of Mostar-Duvno; Bishop Antun Škorčević of Požega; Dr. Jure Krišto, Croatian Institute for History; Dr. Mario Jareb, Croatian Committee for Historical Sciences.

Members of the Serbian Orthodox Church: His Eminence Amfilohije, Metropolitan of Montenegro and of the Littoral; His Eminence Porfirije, Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana; Bishop Irinej of Novi Sad and of Bačka; Bishop Jovan of Slavonia, Professor Darko Tanasković, ambassador and permanent delegate of the Republic of Serbia at UNESCO.

The next meeting will take place in Zagreb on 17 and 18 October 2016.