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30th Anniversary competition: Winners awarded

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Essay competition on aspects of UK-Holy See relations marks 30th anniversary of the upgrade of the diplomatic relations

On Monday 11 February 2013, the British Ambassador to the Holy See Nigel Baker presented the Prizes to the winners of the essay competition on the theme: “The relationship between the British Isles (the United Kingdom and Ireland) and the Holy See”.

The First Prize in the competition was awarded to Mr Lorenzo Botrugno, a PhD candidate at the Catholic University of Milan, who wrote on “United Kingdom and Holy See: the Diplomatic Relations Question”. The panel of judges acknowledged that Mr Botrugno’s essay was “clear and well argued, giving a commendably full account of the British government’s relations with the Holy See between the Reformation and the re-establishment of full relations in 1982”. Congratulating Mr Botrugno, the Ambassador said: “Reading your essay, I learned a great deal about the modern history of the relationship especially in the complex post-WWI and WW2 periods. I was also interested in seeing the parallel development of ecumenism alongside the debate on the upgrade of the official relationship between Britain and the Holy See”.

The second prize was awarded to Rev Edmund Montgomery, from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, whose essay was entitled “The Relationship between the British Isles and the Holy See: A Truly Monumental Relationship”, for “his original approach and lively narration covering the whole period from the first century to the present day, bringing out the variegated nature of this relationship”.

On awarding his prize to Rev Montgomery, HMA Baker stated: “I was impressed by the scope and the expansive vision of the essay, from St Alban to very present debates, and addressing actual concerns”.

“These are two excellent essays, and both worthy winners. I hope you will both follow these rich veins of historical enquiry into further work”, concluded the Ambassador.

Note to editors:

  • The essay competition was announced on 30 March 2012, during the proceedings of the Colloquium “Britain and the Holy See: A Celebration of 1982 and the wider relationship”, which took place at the Venerable English College in Rome. The Colloquium marked the 30th anniversary of the upgrade of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See to ambassadorial level in 1982.

  • Prizes: Mr Botrugno was awarded the sum of €500,00, and his essay will be published in the Embassy’s publication of the proceedings of the Colloquium “Britain and the Holy See: A celebration of 1982 and the Wider Relationship”. Rev. Montgomery, second prize winner, was awarded the sum of €250,00.

  • The panel of judges was composed of Msgr. Charles Burns OBE, Canon of St Peter’s Basilica, and Honorary Ecclesiastical Adviser to the British Embassy to the Holy See (and formerly Lecturer in Church History of the Pontifical Gregorian University); Professor Norman Tanner SJ, Dean of the Faculty of Church History at the Pontifical Gregorian University; and His Excellency Nigel Baker OBE MVO, British Ambassador to the Holy See.