Christmas greetings from the Rector of Comenius University in Bratislava

20. 12. 2016 13.20 hod.
Od: CU Public Relations Office

Not that long ago at the start of this academic year, more than one third of our faculties celebrated their anniversaries, including one that bears the names of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the two apostles to the Slavs. This directly points to the scholarly, religious, and cultural legacy left by these two incredibly important historical figures, who were declared by John Paul II in 1980 to be co-patron saints of Europe and who are the only saints mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution of the Slovak Republic.

I mention them here because nearly 1150 years ago in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Saints Cyril and Methodius presented liturgical books to Pope Hadrian which with his approval allowed the first Christmas liturgy in the language of our ancestors to see the light of day.

The legacy left by these two apostles, who used the word and not the sword in forming a bridge between East and West, has taken on a new significance in light of the terrorist attack at the Berlin Christmas market just a few days before Christmas. Our university extends its sincere condolences to the victims and their close ones, and our thoughts are with them at this time. The events in Berlin offer a stark reminder of our mutual connectedness, closeness, and solidarity as a part of a larger European family. The nineteenth of December 2016 was not only an awful day for Berlin and Germany, as stated by German President Joachim Gauck, but for all people of good will, who have been deeply affected by this tragic event.

Christmas is not only an enchanting word which evokes and symbolizes feelings of goodness, peace, family togetherness, satisfaction, and calm; it is also a most welcome opportunity to recall what this last year has brought us and to wish for the fulfilment of everything that we hope for in the upcoming year. It is a suitable occasion to thank everyone who has contributed towards a successful 97th year of our university’s existence and to set important parameters for a successful 2017. I thank our academic staff, our other employees, our students, and everyone else who has contributed to spreading the good reputation which our university enjoys.

Here in Slovakia and at the university, Christmas is a special occasion to think about the importance of belonging together as a university, and living and working alongside each other as a unique community within a larger academic family and with the mutual good intentions of its members. If we think about what makes our lives important and purposeful, is it not other people? Let us therefore smile, give warm gestures, and be friendly and kind, not only at these precious Christmas moments, but at ordinary times of the year as well. Let us keep a little bit of Christmas with us the whole year round.

I wish to you all much health, happiness, and success; pleasant Christmas holidays with your families; and a very successful 2017!

Festum Christi nati atque annum advenientem felicem et prosperum!

Professor Karol Mičieta,
Rector of Comenius University in Bratislava