Connecting Catholics in a Divided World: The Vatican and the Local Roman and Greek Catholic Church in Eastern Europe as an Intermediary in the Cold War (1945–1978)

Collegium Carolinum Munich, 3rd and 4th May 2024

To join online via ZOOM:

Marion Dotter (Collegium Carolinum, Munich)

Julian Sandhagen (GHI Rome) 

Viktoriia Serhiienko (GHI Warsaw)

Friday, 3rd May

9:00                      Introduction

The Catholic Church in Contact with other Confessions

Discussant: Nadezhda Beliakova (Bielefeld)

9:10-9:30            Natalia Shlikhta (Kyiv)

Ukrainian Greek Catholics’ View of the Russian Orthodox in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

9:30-9:50            Anna Bisikalo (Cambridge, USA)

Negotiating Sacred Space: Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Relations in Poland, 1956-1978.

9:50-10:10          Milosav Đoković (Belgrade)

The Holy See and the Patriarchate of Constantinople after World War II (1946-1958)

10:10-11:10        Discussion

11:10-11:40        Coffee break

Diaspora Groups and their Political Activities

Discussant: Martin Zückert (München)

11:40-12:00        Katrin Boeckh (Regensburg)

Catholics on the move and in deportation. Fragments of papal Ostpolitik before the Cold War

12:00-12:20        Beáta Katrebová Blehová (Bratislava)

The Slovak (Catholic) diaspora and the persecuted Catholic Church in Slovakia – The strategies of Anti-Communism during the late Pontificate of Pius XII

12:20-12:40        Arūnas Streikus (Vilnius)

The true voice of the Church of Silence? Lithuanian exile Catholics as intermediaries between the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Soviet Lithuania during the first decades of the Cold War

12:40-13:40        Discussion

13:40-14:40        Lunch break

Political Efforts of the Roman Catholic Church from “above” and from “below”

Discussant: Johannes Gleixner (Munich)

14:40-15:00        Przemysław Pazik (Warsaw)

Squaring the triangle. Loyalty to the pope and national ecclesiastical policy of the Polish Church leaders 1948-1956

15:20-15:40        Petar Dragišić (Belgrade) 

Yugoslavia and the Catholic Church 1945-1978: Between Conflict and Reconciliation

15:40-16:30        Discussion

16:30-17:00        Coffee break

17:00-18:30        Keynote:

Piotr Kosicki (Maryland)

A Coalition of Progressives: Political Catholicism at the Intersection of Latin American & European Political Agency, From Anti-Stalinism to Christian Democracy in the 1950s and ’60s

19:00                   Dinner

Saturday, 4th May

Anticommunist Activities of Catholic Representatives

Discussant: Gašpar Mithans (Koper)

9:30-9:50            Marina Bantiou (Thessaly)

The Reception of the Catholic Church’s Decree Against Communism in 1949 in the European and US Press in the Early Cold War

9:50-10:10          Michaela Lenčéšová (Prague)

Ľudák diaspora in a Divided World (1945–1970)

10:10-10:40        Coffee break

10:40-11:00        Helena Toth (Bamberg)

“That you put off […] the old man […] and that you put on the new man”: The struggle for symbolic resources in post-war Hungary

11:00-11:20        Kristian Geßner (Gießen)

The Bacon Priest and the East. Werenfried van Straaten and his Aid Project for Eastern Europe

11:20-12:20        Discussion

Final Discussion

Conference Report:

Julian Sandhagen: The Global Pontificate of Pius XII. Catholicism in a Divided World. In: Bohemia Bd. 62 Nr. 2 (2022), 332-334.

Anzeige von The Global Pontificate of Pius XII. Catholicism in a Divided World (

20/05/2023 Podcast “Wissen entgrenzen” of the Max Weber Foundation:

Zwischen Konservatismus und Innovation – Die Rolle von Papst Pius XII. und der katholischen Kirche in der europäischen Nachkriegszeit

26/07/2022 Article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

Lavierend zwischen Diktatoren

05/04/2022 Article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

Diplomatie ohne Territorium

07/01/2022 Article on Vatican News:

Vatikan: Als Pius XII. ein Global Player im Kalten Krieg war

07/01/2022 Article on

Welche Rolle spielte Papst Pius XII. im Kalten Krieg? –

05/01/2022 Article on

Zentrale Rolle in der internationalen Politik

13/07/2021 Article in Le Monde:

Ce que peut révéler l’ouverture des archives du Vatican sur les silences du pape Pie XII face au nazisme (

04/07/2021 Article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

Vatikan: Was sagen die neuen Akten über Papst Pius XII.? (

17/06/2021 Article in the Jüdische Allgemeine:

“Papst der Deutschen”? “Papst der Juden”? | Jüdische Allgemeine (

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