Yann Vagneux

To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Catalan-Indian Professor of Inter-religious dialogue, Raimundo Panikkar, a French priest, Fr Yann Vagneux reflects on the legacy of Panikkar’s time in Varanasi from the perspective of his present day ministry in this Indian sacred ‘City of Light’. (Translated by Roderick Campbell-Guion, edited by Peter Tyler)

In 1996 Raimundo Panikkar (1918-2010), one of the pivotal players of inter-religious dialogue in the twentieth century, was preparing the celebration of his golden jubilee of priesthood at the Abbey of Montserrat in his native land of Catalonia. On the invitation card for the ceremony he had added a surprising Latin phrase to his name: sacerdos secundum dharmam Melchisedech et diocesis Varanasi ad Gangem flumen.1 He was here encapsulating his deepest identity, which lay beyond the twists and turns, the constant departures and the endless encounters and ruptures that had forged the last five decades of his life.

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