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Tomáš Špidlík, SJ (born December 17, 1919 in Boskovice in Moravia - then Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic) was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003. He was ordained a priest of the Society of Jesus on 22 August 1949. On 21 October 2003, at the age of 83, he was created Cardinal Deacon of the titular church of Sant'Agata dei Goti. Although he was not a voting cardinal he was created a cardinal to reward him for his theological writings in much the same way as Avery Dulles was.
Tomáš Špidlík was born in 1919 in Czechoslovakia. In 1938, he entered the Department of Philosophy at the University of Brno, in what is now the Czech Republic, studying philology. He went to Maastricht in Holland to do his theological studies.
In the following year, he entered the Jesuit novitiate and after many interruptions in his education due to World War II, he was ultimately ordained a priest in 1949. A year later, in Florence, he finished his long formation period as a Jesuit.
In 1951, Father Špidlík was called to Rome by Vatican Radio. The programs broadcast to the countries behind the Iron Curtain were a precious aid to a freedom in danger of being slowly but inexorably suffocated. From this work with Vatican Radio sprang a special mission that would always accompany him and that made him known in lands despite their communist domination. Among others, he met with Alexander Dubček, the former first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and Václav Havel, who became president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic after the fall of the communist regime. Father Špidlík’s Sunday homilies in the Czech language have been translated and published in various languages including Polish, Romanian and Italian.
In June 1955, he defended his doctoral dissertation at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. That year marked the beginning of his university career as a professor of Patristic and Eastern Spiritual Theology at various universities in Rome as well as around the world.
For 38 years he has been the spiritual director of the Pontifical Nepomuceno Seminary, the old Boemo Seminary. However, his duties do not stop him from being a man of study; in fact, Cardinal Špidlík has become known as one of the greatest experts in the spirituality of Eastern Christianity today.
Cardinal Špidlík's work is the fruit of diligent research and reflection, accompanied by a strong artistic sensitivity for contemporary culture.
The Cardinal is a prolific author and has been equally acknowledged in the academic and international fields. He has been chosen “Man of the Year, 1990” and “the most admired person of the decade” by the American Bibliographical Institute of Raleigh in North Carolina, was received at the Kremlin, led the spiritual exercises of Pope John Paul II and his Curia, and was decorated with the medal of the Masaryk Order, one of the highest honors of the Czech State, by President Václav Havel.
- Spirituality of the Christian East: A Systematic Handbook (Cistercian Studies) Language: English ISBN 0879079797 ISBN 978-0879079796
- Prayer: The Spirituality Of The Christian East Vol.2 Publisher: Liturgical Press (July 30, 2005) ISBN 0879077069 ISBN 978-0879077068
- Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary : Ancient Wisdom for Today's World (Cistercian Studies, No 148) Publisher: Cistercian Publications (June 1994) ISBN 0879073489 ISBN 978-0879073480
- Geist und Erkenntnis: Zu spirituellen Grundlagen Europas : Festschrift zum 65. Geburtstag von Prof. ThDr. Tomas Spidlik SJ (Integrale Anthropologie) Publisher: Minerva Publikation (1985) Language: German ISBN 3597103146 ISBN 978-3597103149
- Les grands mystiques russes Publisher: Nouvelle cité (January 1, 1995) ISBN 2853130371 ISBN 978-2853130370
- Le chemin de l'esprit: Retraite au Vatican (Initiations) (French Edition) Publisher: Fates (1996) Language: French ISBN 2204054615 ISBN 978-2204054614
- Ignazio di Loyola e la spiritualita Orientale: Guida alla lettura degli Esercizi (Religione e societa) (Italian Edition) Publisher: Edizioni Studium (1994) Language: Italian ISBN 8838236933 ISBN 978-8838236938
- Zive slovo: Denni evangelium (Czech Edition) Publisher: Refugium Velehrad-Roma; Vyd. 1 edition (1997) Language: Czech ISBN 8086045137 ISBN 978-8086045139
- Sculptured Prayer: Twelve works of Helen Zelezny interpreted by Thomaso Spidlik. Rome 1968. Language English. Finito di stampare nello Stabilimento di Arti Grafiche Fratelli Palombi in Roma