Dominicans at the Synod on Synodality

The Master of the Order welcomed the brothers who are collaborating in the Synod with the bishops of the Church.

Convent of Santa Sabina, Rome

On October 15, we gladly welcomed our brothers taking part in the Synod on Synodality to the convent of Santa Sabina in Rome. 

The Master of the Order, Brother Gerard Francisco Timoner III, OP, offered words of welcome for the friars participating in the Synod with the bishops of the Church. 

In a rare moment, the four masters met together: Brother Bruno Cadoré, OP, joined Brother Timothy Radcliffe, OP, together with Brother Carlos Azpiroz Costa, OP, and, via video call, Brother Gerard, OP. 

The local Dominican community then visited with Br. Timothy, Br. Carlos, Br. Hervé Legrand, OP, Br.  Anthony Akinwale, OP, and Br. Olivier Poquillon, OP, who are all participating in the Synod. Br. Gerard said:”We are pleased that our Order, through our brothers working in the Synod, can accompany the Church on its journey towards deeper communion. We genuinely know that synodality is the modus vivendi et operandi of the Order founded by St. Dominic. We continue to accompany our brothers in the Synod with our prayers and our fraternal support”.

Br. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, (London, 1945), is a Dominican theologian, a son of the Province of England. He taught Sacred Scripture at Oxford University, at the Dominican Centre known as Blackfriars Hall, and was elected Prior Provincial in 1987. Subsequently, he was Master of the Order of Preachers from 1992 to 2001. In January 2023, Pope Francis commissioned Br. Timothy to preach the retreat for bishops from around the world participating in the Synod on Synodality. The retreat took place from 1 to 3 October, on the eve of the Synodal Assembly. Official Vatican media have published Br. Timothy’s meditations.

Br. Carlos Azpiroz Costa, OP, (Buenos Aires, 1956), a son of the Argentinean Province of St. Augustine, studied for a doctorate in Canon Law at the Angelicum. He was Master of the Order from 2001 to 2010 and is currently Archbishop of Bahia Blanca, Argentina.

Br. Hervé Legrand, OP, (Langolen, 1935), son of the Province of France, is a specialist in the field of ecumenism and ecclesiology. He has participated in several ecumenical commissions. He was appointed guest member of the Synod on Synodality.

Br. Anthony Akinwale, OP, (Lagos, 1962), a son of the Province of St. Joseph the Worker, holds a doctorate in Systematic Theology. On 7 June 2023, he received the academic degree of Magister in Sacra Theologia (STM) from the Master of the Order. He is the first to receive the STM in the Province of Nigeria and Ghana. 

Br. Olivier Poquillon, OP, (Paris, 1966), a son of the Province of France, is a lawyer specialising in international public law and an auditor at the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale (IHEDN). From 2008 to 2013, he served as Permanent Delegate of the Order of Preachers to the United Nations and is an expert on the Holy See at the Council of Europe. On 15 August 2023, the Master of the Order appointed him as Director of the Ecole Biblique de Jérusalem, where, on 1 October, he succeeded Br. Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP.

In addition to these friars, several others are taking part in the Synod, according to the official list of participants published by the Holy See on 21 September 2023. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, OP, Archbishop of Vienna (Austria) and Archbishop Anthony Colin Fisher, OP, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia) are members of the Ordinary Council of the Synod. Also attending in roles of experts and facilitators are Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, OP, from the province of Toulouse and Sister Rosmery Castañeda Montoya, OP, from Colombia. Sister Rosmery is the only Dominican among the 54 women, religious and lay, who will make history by voting for the first time in a synod.

May the Dominican Family continue to be united with the Church in prayer and dialogue, according to the ways that the Spirit asks us, for “we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body” (1 Cor 12:13). Let us remember that the First Session of the Synodal Assembly, held from 4 to 28 October 2023, on the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission” is part of a journey begun on 9 October 2021. The synthesis report has already been published. This phase will last until October 2024 when the second session of the Assembly will conclude its work and offer it to Pope Francis.

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