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Fr. Gregory defended his doctoral thesis on Friday, 31st May 2019 in the Senate Hall of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Wrocław, Poland.
His dissertation is titled: "Affective Theology in the works of Late Medieval English Mystics: History and Actuality". His research and writing was supervised by Bishop Andrzej Siemieniewski in association with a co-superviser, Fr Mirosław Kiwka. Fr. Gregory focused his research on the most important figures of the golden age of English mysticism, who lived and wrote in fourteenth century England. Those he focussed on included Richard Rolle, the author of Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton and Julian of Norwich.
Fr Gregory’s work was reviewed by Fr Jan Machniak, prof. UPJPII in Krakow, and Bishop Henryk Wejman, from the University of Szczecin. Both these moderators drew attention to the fact that Father Gregory undertook all the research and study in English, due to no sources being available in the Polish language, as well as an absence of any Polish literature on this topic. This required Fr Gregory to undertake all his studies in Oxford, which gave him access to the Bodlian Library. He was also able to access the British Library in London.
The doctoral defence and diploma
of Fr. Gregory
They also expressed their appreciation for the fact that apart from analysing the texts of the above mentioned authors under the overarching theme of affective theology, Fr Gregory also offered fresh and creative proposals for a modern actuality of the doctrine and teaching of the late medieval English mystics.
Fr Gregory’s parents, along with his immediate family, came to the public defence held at the Senate Hall. The Order was represented by the Vicar of the Krakow Province - Fr. Mariusz Kozioł, along with delegates from the Cracow and Wrocław Friaries, as well as Fr. Maximilian Martin, prefect of formation and secretary of the Custody of the Blessed Angellus of Pisa of Great Britain and Ireland.
After the presentation of Fr Gregory’s biography, the defence began in earnest. Fr Gregory began by presenting a self-review of his work, which was followed by a very intense and interesting discussion. This led on to a serious debate on the following topics: motherhood of the Son of God by Julianna of Norwich, the systematics of the inner senses, the influence of late medieval English mystics on the Spanish mystics of the sixteenth century, and certain general guidelines for contemporary hermitic spirituality.
The Committee expressed their appreciation for the dissertation which Fr Gregory presented, and they prepared the application to the Faculty Council for granting the STD degree for him, subsequent to the defence of his doctoral dissertation. Following the positive outcome, Fr Gregory thanked everyone who had supported him during the preparation of the thesis. After the defence, all those present were invited to a ceremonial dinner at the nearby John Paul II Hotel.
The STD degree (Doctor of Sacred Theology, in latin: Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) in the field of theology of spirituality was given to Fr. Gregory on 10th June 2019 by the resolution of the Council of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Wrocław. He received the diploma during the inauguration of new academic year on 15 October 2019.
We would like to extend our congratulations to the new doctor, and we wish him God's blessing on further scientific achievements.
Text: Fr. Marian Michasiow, Photos: Fr. Krzysztof Kukułka, Tomasz Wierzowiecki