The Continental Assembly of the Synod in Europe will take place in Prague, Czech Republic, from 5 to 12 February 2023. It is organised by CCEE, in collaboration with the Czech Bishops’ Conference and the Archdiocese of Prague.
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Composition of the Assembly
The first part of the Assembly, from 5 to 9 February, will be an ecclesial assembly and will be attended by 200 participants. Of these, 156 are the delegates of the 39 Bishops’ Conferences, members of the CCEE: each national delegation is composed of the President of the Bishops’ Conference and 3 other delegates representing the entire People of God, chosen to ensure an adequate presence of laymen and laywomen, religious men and women, deacons and priests.
44 guests will be invited directly by the CCEE Presidency, as members of the most representative ecclesial realities at European level.
A number of fraternal delegates from other Christian denominations will also take part in the work: representatives of the Conference of European Churches (CEC), with which the CCEE conducts ecumenical dialogue on the Continent, and the delegate from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, who is co-chairman of the Catholic-Orthodox Forum, set up to further the CCEE’s dialogue with the Orthodox Churches in Europe.
On the last two days, from 10 to 12 February, only the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences will meet, as indicated by the Methodological Note on the Continental Assemblies, “to collegially re-read the lived synodal experience from their specific charism and role”.
Participation in hybrid mode
In addition, in order to allow the widest possible participation in the work, we decided to hold the Assembly in a hybrid mode: in fact, each Bishops’ Conference is invited to choose an additional 10 delegates in addition to those physically present in Prague, who will be able to follow the work of the plenary sessions through an online platform and give their contribution during the group work, according to the method of spiritual conversation and community discernment.
390 online delegates, in addition to the 200 in-person delegates, to promote dialogue at continental level on the text of the Document for the Continental Stage: to “more accurately formulate open questions, to better substantiate and deepen the insights coming from the local churches, now in a continental perspective”.
During the debate between the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences, during the recent CCEE Plenary Assembly, entitled The Church in Europe on the Synodal Path, the importance of listening and dialogue as a method of ecclesial action, the centrality of synodality, and the profound renewal of the Church demanded by the holy people of God were reaffirmed: these objectives, which emerged during the national phase of the Synod, now become constitutive elements of the Continental Stage.
During the days of the event, together with the UCESM (Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors), we invited communities of contemplative life from all over Europe to join us, in a special way with continuous silent Adoration.
The logo is based on the official logo of the Synod, which shows God’s people in their diversity walking through the world with the Holy Spirit hovering over them.
In the logo for the Prague meeting, the people of God walk on the Charles Bridge, the symbol of Prague, which since the Middle Ages has connected the two banks of the Vltava River and the two parts of Prague (Prague was originally a system of four independent cities, merged into one only at the end of the 18th century).
On the right in the logo is the Old Town Bridge Tower, because the bridge has such a medieval tower at each of its ends. It was both a gate that protected the bridge and a kind of triumphal arch through which the Czech king passed on his coronation journey.
On the left in the logo is the silhouette of the Cathedral of St. Vitus, Wenceslas and Adalbert, the most sacred place in Prague and the Czech Republic, where we will also celebrate one of the services during the Synod meeting in February 2023.
The connection of the two logos thus reinforces the idea of synodality by showing that the people of God do not walk together in some imaginary setting, but in the concrete conditions of this world.
Walking on a bridge that connects shores and divided worlds, synodality thus contributes to overcoming obstacles, building bridges and establishing relationships between people with each other and between man and God. The wandering people of God are directed to the tower-gate through which they enter the city.
This depiction may evoke both the eschatological dimension of the wandering of God’s people as they head for the heavenly Jerusalem where the Lamb is the light (cf. Rev. 21). After all, the emperor and Czech king Charles IV (1316-1378), builder of the Charles Bridge, conceived of Prague as the New Jerusalem, the centre of Christianity.