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The Pontifical Oriental Institute or “Orientale” is the main center for the study of Eastern Christianity in Rome, Italy. The Pontifical Institute was established in 1917 by Pope Benedict XV.
Pope Pius XI entrusted the Institute to the Society of Jesus in 1922 and, with the 1928 encyclical Rerum Orientalium, encouraged bishops to send students to the Institute to be formed as future professors in Eastern Church studies.
In that same year, Pius XI associated in a Consortium the Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Pontifical Gregorian University, and the Pontifical Biblical Institute.
In 1971, the Faculty of Eastern Canon Law was erected alongside the already existing Faculty of Eastern Christian Studies. The Faculty of Eastern Canon Law had a crucial role in the development of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
The Institute has been located in the Piazza of Santa Maria Maggiore since 1926. According to article 16 of the Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Holy See, signed in 1929, the property of the Oriental Institute belongs to the Holy See and, as such, enjoys certain privileges.
Since 1993, the Grand Chancellor of the Oriental Institute has been the Cardinal Prefect of the Dicastery for the Oriental Churches, currently Cardinal Claudio Gugerotti (2023), while the Rector is Fr. David Nazar, S.J. (2015).