The Foundation for religious studies John XXIII (Fscire) is a research institute specialized in the History of Christianity and other religions. It was established in 1953 first as a library, then as a research institute, and in 1990 was formally recognized as a Foundation by a decree of the President of the Italian Republic.


As a private foundation, independent from Churches and universities, Fscire participates in and promotes cooperation with international research centers and networks. Some of the core research experiences of the institute (such as the History of Vatican II; the edition of the Decrees of the Councils of all Churches; the edition of the Diaries of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Pope John XXIII; the Dictionary of Religious Historical Knowledge of the Twentieth Century) were made possible by consolidated collaborations which became channels for training generations of scholars. Such a tradition is maintained through the ongoing projects, like the research conducted on the History of the Desire for Christian Unity.


Fscire is composed of a team of researchers (24 in 2019) and PhD students (6 in 2019), the staff of the two libraries, the editorial team and the national volunteers who serve in the library every year.


Fscire is organized into:

  • Two libraries, one in Bologna (Giuseppe Dossetti Library on the history of Christianity), the other in Palermo (Giorgio La Pira Library and Research Center on the history and doctrines of Islam, opened in 2018);

  • The Archive;

  • The Alberigo European School for Advanced Religious Studies;

  • The Collegio Beniamino Andreatta (the guest lodge of Fscire);

  • The Video History Laboratory;

  • The Editorial Office of the peer-reviewed journal Cristianesimo nella Storia.


Because of its leading position and strategic capability to offer a unique set of sources for research, in 2014 the Italian Government enlisted Fscire within the Italian research system as a National Research Infrastructure on historical religious studies.


The daily work of the Foundation is carried on under the guidance of the Secretary General, Prof. Alberto Melloni, who acts in accordance with the Board of Directors, and under the supervision of the international Scientific Committee of Fscire. 

Scholars and PhD students are supported by the Director of the Alberigo European School for Advanced Religious Studies, Prof. Luciano Guerzoni, and the Director of the Library, Prof. Davide Dainese.



The research pipelines currently ongoing at Fscire are:

  • Ecumenism. It includes researches into the history and theology of the development of the desire for Christian unity within and among Churches and an international program of a multivolume/multilingual history on the subject.

  • Religious Illiteracy and Religious Pluralism. These research pipelines include researches aimed at the understanding of the historical causes and socio-political consequences of cultural and religious illiteracy in Italy, as well as researches into the historical, juridical and theological aspects of the cohabitation of different faiths and of how it is represented.

  • Conciliorum Œcumenicorum Generalium Decreta (COGD). It is devoted to the publishing of the decrees of the ecumenical and general councils, including those of the Eastern and Western churches. The critical editions which are edited at Fscire are published by Brepols as part of the Corpus Christianorum series.

  • History and Doctrines of Islam. It constitutes the specificity of the new Fscire branch in Palermo – the Giorgio La Pira Library and Research Center – and it includes researches into the history of Muslim communities and their religious life.

  • Digital Humanities. It includes projects pertaining the relationship between Religious Studies and Technology within the DH dominion, digital editing, metadata and multilingual data management, digitalization of historical sources, transcription, history of DH, machine vision applied to manuscripts, artwork and writings. 


The most important pillars of the research activity of Fscire are the two libraries placed in Bologna (Giuseppe Dossetti Library on the history of Christianity) and Palermo (Giorgio La Pira Library and Research Center on the history and doctrines of Islam): new acquisitions are selected during a weekly reunion on the basis of the latest bibliographical reviews, appearing on the printed and digital journals received in subscription.


In addition to the libraries, Fscire holds a large archive with significant documents concerning the Second Vatican Council and some of the major figures of modern Italian Catholicism.




Thanks to the agreement with the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, and as part of the European Network of Higher Education Institutions for Religious Studies, Fscire provides an educational activity through the Alberigo European School for Advanced Religious Studies. The School, named after the former Secretary of Fscire Giuseppe Alberigo, offers scholarships for four-year specialization (equivalent to a PhD) in the branches of history of religions, exegesis and theology, and fills periodically positions by competition. With a similar proceeding, the Alberigo European School fills the positions for post-doctoral scholarships open to fellows of every nationality.


The teaching activities carried on by Fscire also include: a Master in Religious Pluralism and Historical Studies addressed at practitioners, teachers and graduate students; training courses for school teachers; research seminars, which are organized as training activities in the context of the Alberigo Euroepan School for Advanced Religious Studies, but are open as well to the active participation of external researchers and scholars.




The editorial activity which derives from the researches carried on at Fscire is expressed in the journal Cristianesimo nella Storia and in book series which are published in various languages for an international audience.


News, events and updates on the main activities of Fscire (libraries, research projects, training programs, editorial news and much more) are collected in the magazine IN DIEM, which is issued periodically.


Networks and Infrastructures

Fscire is the initiator of the European Academy of Religion, and it hosts the EuARe annual convention in Bologna. Moreover, Fscire is the Project Coordinator of ReIReS (Research Infrastructure on Religious Studies) which is funded by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, and the Team Leader of Resilience (Religious studies infrastructure: tools, experts, connections, and centers). 


Other activities 

Fscire hosts the UNESCO Chair in Religious Pluralism and Peace of the University of Bologna, which contributes to the dialogue between cultures and faith communities through the formation of researchers, in the belief that peace for future generations can be constructed through historical research and true confront. The Chair holder is Prof. Dr. Alberto Melloni.

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Via San Vitale 114

40125 Bologna (IT)


C.F. 91404610379

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