World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

15 November 2000

Jean-Marie Roger Tillard OP (1927-2000)

The following tribute was paid to Fr Jean-Marie Roger Tillard OP on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC) by Rev. Alan D. Falconer, director of the Faith and Order Secretariat.

"With the death of Fr Jean-Marie Roger Tillard OP on Monday, 13 November 2000, the Faith and Order Commission has lost a vice-moderator and one of its most energetic and incisive theologians.

Having studied philosophy and theology in Canada, and undertaken postgraduate research at the University of St Thomas (the Angelicum) in Rome and at the Saulchoir, the House of Studies of the Dominican province of France, Fr Jean was ordained priest there in 1955 and in 1957 became professor of dogmatic theology at the Dominican College of Philosophy and Theology in Ottawa, and also taught in Montreal at Laval University and St Paul University. An engaging and lively teacher, Fr Jean has influenced generations of theologians of the Roman Catholic Church and of other churches through his lectures at Oxford, Salamanca, Barcelona and Fribourg.

At Vatican II, Fr Jean was a "peritus" for the Canadian bishops. Subsequently Fr Jean became a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and was involved in most of the important ecumenical developments in his church. Although he has written on a wide range of topics, his most important writing was in the field of ecclesiology with major studies on "The Bishop of Rome" and "The Church as Communion". He became a deeply committed ecumenist, especially through his experience in the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). His circle of friends expanded to embrace theologians from different traditions through his work with ARCIC (1968-2000), the Disciples of Christ (1977-2000) and the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Commission (1980-2000). A member of the Faith and Order Commission from 1975 and vice-moderator from 1977 until his death, he participated in a wide range of studies and was a major influence in the drafting of the convergence texts "Confessing the One Faith. An Ecumenical Explication of the Apostolic Faith" and "The Nature and Purpose of the Church".

Fr Jean will be remembered by his Faith and Order friends with thanksgiving for his passionate commitment to the search for the visible unity of the church, for his penetrating insights, his flair and imagination, his humour and his ability to find appropriate ways to move beyond theological expressions crafted in isolation to common theological affirmation and agreement.

The Faith and Order Commission joins with the Dominican Community in giving thanks to God for the life of Fr Jean-Marie Roger Tillard."

For more information contact:
the Media Relations Office
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
Top of page

2000 press releases

WCC homepage

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 337, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.