Mission and History
The mission of the faculty and its affiliated institutes is to study knowledge in the area of Catholic theological teaching through scientific methodology and to systematically process the knowledge and explain it to make it the shaping agent for those who work in the area of theological science as well as for those who go through scientific and theological formation to become priests or those who are getting ready for special services within the Church and the entire society.
The faculty cooperates with respective units in conducting its scientific and theological research. It seeks to accomplish that by applying its own scientific methodology along with profound understanding of Catholic teaching, drawing from God’s revelation with utmost care and systematically explaining it.
The legal foundations of the faculty activities are stipulated in Act No. 131/2002 Coll. on institutions of higher education as amended and Act No. 163/1990 Coll. on faculties of theology. In terms of canon law, the faculty operates under the scope of John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana (of 15 April 1979) and Ordinationes of the Congregation for Catholic Education (of 29 April 1979) that are attached with the Constitution, and also the standards of canon law (can. 815-820 CIC).
The faculty is guided by the Statute that was approved by the Academic Senate of the faculty on 17 June 2003, the Academic Senate of Comenius University in Bratislava on 25 June 2003 and by the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome on 21 August 2003 in line with the provisions of Act No. 131/2002 Coll. on institutions of higher education as amended. At present a new draft statute of the faculty - approved by the faculty’s Academic Senate on 6 December 2016 - has been presented to the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome for consideration.
Faculty units keep intensively accomplishing the program of their mission as educational and formational institutions. The faculty teachers cooperate with theological institutes through respective departments.
The faculty participates also in ongoing formation and continuous education of priests in pastoral service.
The Faculty of Roman Catholic Theology of Cyril and Methodius in Bratislava was established under Act No. 441 Coll. of 24 July 1919. Yet, the establishment of the faculty was deferred by several years.
The real possibility to establish the faculty arose as late as in 1934. Upon request from the Slovak professors in ordinary the Holy Congregation issued a decree on canon erection of the faculty in Bratislava on 15 August 1935, No. 756/1935.
The government regulation (No. 112/1936) for implementation of Act No. 441/1919 was issued on 24 April 1936. The faculty of theology was assigned the building of the former Faculty of Law (originally the Jesuit College) on Kapitulska Street. In 1936 the Trnava Big Seminary was moved to Bratislava and annexed to the faculty of theology.
After World War II, in the 1946/1947 academic year, the faculty of theology was extracted from the Comenius University association. The government regulation No. 112/1950 Coll. on faculties of theology of 14 July 1950 introduced a new organization of theology studies. The diocesan seminaries with theological institutions of higher education were abolished. The Czechoslovak government assigned the status of the institution for education of priests in Slovakia solely to The Faculty of Theology of Cyril and Methodius (CMBF) in Bratislava.
After the change of the system (collapse of communism) CMBF was incorporated into Comenius University in Bratislava as its integral part (Act No. 163/1990 Coll. on faculties of theology, as amended and Act No. 172/90 Coll. on institutions for higher education, as amended).
Upon the decision by the CMBF UK Faculty Council in Bratislava of 21 August 1990 and approval by the Congregation de Institutione Catholica No. 143/92/2 and in line with provisions of §13 ( 5) of Act No. 172/1990 Coll. on institutions for higher education, theological institutes as pedagogical units of the Roman Catholic Faculty of Theology of Cyril and Methodius of the Comenius University in Bratislava were established and affiliated with priest seminaries in Nitra, Spišske Podhradie-Spišska Kapitula and Banska Bystrica and then also in Košice (1994); the pedagogical unit in Žilina for philosophical studies for Salesian and Capuchin students was established in 1995. The pedagogical units of the faculty in Spišske Podhradie and Košice were included in the faculty till 30 September 2003.
(Source: History and presence of Comenius University in Bratislava 1919-2000, Comenius University in Bratislava 2000)
After disintegration of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire the education for Catholic priests in the territory of modern Slovakia was provided by priest seminaries that, under the resolution adopted at the Council of Trent (1545-1563), had to be established in every bishopric. The most gifted students were allowed to continue their studies at faculties of theology at Czech or foreign universities.
After foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic (CSR) a faculty of theology had to be established also in Slovakia. In the Czech lands there was a faculty of theology at the Charles University in Prague and one was in Moravia in the city of Olomouc.
The act on the establishment of Comenius University in Bratislava of 1919 did not envision the establishment of a faculty of theology, though. For that reason the officials of the Slovak Catholic dioceses held a convention chaired by Košice bishop Dr. Augustín Fischer-Colbrie and adopted a resolution demanding the establishment of a faculty of theology with a central seminary in Bratislava.
The request was considered and CSR’s National Assembly passed Act No. 441/1919 Coll. for establishment of the Roman Catholic Faculty of Theology in Bratislava on 24 July 1919. The government believed that the establishment of the faculty would soon be confirmed also by the Vatican and appointed the team of professors and the first faculty dean-to-be, ThDr. Andrej Bielek. The Holy See, however, recommended establishing a seminary with focus on philosophical and theological studies first, and for that reason the erection of the faulty of theology was deferred by several years.
A conference of the Slovak bishops was held in Žilina on 27 February 1934 and also discussed this issue. The conference appointed Bishop ThDr. Pavel Jantausch to start negotiations with the Ministry of Education on the issue of materialization of Act No. 441/1919 Coll. as amended and inform the Holy See about the results of talks. Dr. Jantausch also asked the Holy See to approve the faculty statute that was drafted in line with the constitution Deus scientiarum Dominus and the law governing the faculties of theology in Prague and Olomouc. On 27 December 1934 Bishop Jantausch sent an application to the Holy Congregation for seminaries and universities and notified the approval from the ministerial council with activation of the faculty as a unit of Comenius University. The Holy Congregation issued the Decree No. 756/1953 on canon erection of the Catholic Faculty of Theology within the Bratislava university on 15 August 1934. In mid-January 1936 the Ministry of Education in Prague was notified of the decree and on 24 April 1936 the government passed implementary regulation No. 112/1936 Coll. for Act No. 441/1919 Coll. that finally resulted in establishment of the Roman Catholic Faculty of Theology in Bratislava. The faculty, however, was operating outside the university.
The faculty moved into the building of Faculty of Law of Comenius University at No. 1, Kapitulska street and the big Trnava seminary was attached to it.
The president of the republic established six positions for full-time professors, six positions for adjunct professors and two positions for assistant professors. In reality just three full-time professors were appointed: Emil Funczik, professor of canon law; Mikuláš Russnák, professor of comparative dogmatics and Slav-east liturgy; and Alexander Spesz, professor of moral theology, and three adjunct professors: Štefan Faith, adjunct professor of pastoral theology; Juraj Šimalčík, adjunct professor of special dogmatics; and Štefan Zlatoš, adjunct professor of Biblical studies, Old Testament. The appointed professors received their canon mission on 6 August 1936 and on 16 September 1936 they were sworn in by Bishop Jantausch and on 18 September 1936 they swore loyalty to the Czechoslovak State to the hands of the president, Jozef Országh.
ThDr. Emil Funczik, professor of canon law, was elected the first faculty dean on 19 September 1936.
Minister of Education Frank attended the festive opening of the first academic year on 4 November 1936 in St. Martin’s Cathedral.
At the newly established faculty 217 students were enrolled in the first term. In the 1937/38 academic year the Ministry of Education granted insignia, scepter and chains, to the faculty. The Academic Senate of SU approved the incorporation of the Catholic faculty of theology in its university on 27 November 1939.