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Villanueva de Sijena, 1 June 2004

Dear Counselor,

Few months have already gone by since the Michael Servetus Institute participated in the organization of the events which initiated this Servetus’ Year, and which had its climax in the academic session which took place in Villanueva de Sijena (Huesca-Spain). In the two weeks prior to the events, the Institute carried out a very active campaign to advertise the events commemorating the 450 anniversary of the death of Servetus in order to summon as much attendance as possible. At the same time, the Institute had to defend the Aragonian origins of Michael Servetus vis-à-vis those who want to loot once more the Aragonian intellectual heritage. In order to counteract these attempts, the Institute prepared an article which was published in the local press and thereafter was sent to several forums in the Internet. Our members know that we belong to a poor land, and the poor cannot be naive, not even with their peers.

At the beginning of February, and after several months of hard work, the Institute launched its web page. From that date onwards, we have continued working on the web to endow it with a “News” section. Today this section is already functioning. In the upcoming weeks the forum of the web will also be functioning, and later on we will introduce an online database so that researches can check the funds of the Institute. In connection of this project, we also started to classify in a database all the books and materials of the Institute’s library. This task will be completed after the summer.

We are concerned with the improvement of our library and, for this reason; some representatives of the Institute contacted the heirs of Mr. Julio Arribas to discuss the possibility of placing his old library in the Institute’s headquarters. This library constitutes a mayor cultural treasure, and we hope to find the appropriate legal formula to enlarge our library with these new materials.

February went by very fast, and March woke us with the tragedy of the terrorists’ attacks in Madrid on March 11. This gloomy event reminded us of the fact that the intolerant extremists resort to any excuse to quench their hate The Institute reacted to these attacks by affirming the principles of tolerance that inspired the life of Michael Servetus.

A great political upheaval took place in Spain as a result of these events. The information in the press based the whole explanation of the terrorists’ attacks on a cause-effect formula, overlooking the true and necessary analysis to understand Islamic terrorism. Unlike it is widely thought, the underpinnings of Islamic terrorism are not solely based on a mere “economic interest” - which would find its breading ground in the poor condition of Islamic societies, but mostly on an “ideological interests” (see André Clucksman, West against West, 2004). Behind Islamic extremists, we can find a political conception that refuses to recognize the inalienable character of certain human rights, the equality between sexes, and the separation of religion and state. If Muslim societies do not undergo their Enlightement and an industrial revolution the clash of civilization seems to be inevitable.

The spring came with new projects and novelties. On April, 18, Dr. Ana Gómez Rabal gave an excellent lecture at the Michael Servetus Institute in which she approached to the philological aspects of Michael Servetus’ first work. At the end of April, we held some meetings to discuss the financial situation of the Institute and we started to design the closing events of the Servetu’s Year for next October. At the end of May, we got the confirmation that the proposal for a panel on Servetus and freedom of conscience in today's world, presented by the Spanish Unitarian Universalist Society and the Michael Servetus Institute had been approved to be included in the final program of the Parliament of the World’s Religions which will take place in the Forum of Cultures in Barcelona. This panel will constitute a landmark event in the history of our Institute and will contribute to its international projection.

The Michael Servetus Institute wants to thank to one of his most active members, Mr. Jaume de Marcos, for all his efforts to get the approval for this event. We believe that the presence of Institute in the Forum of Cultures of Barcelona emphasizes the universal aims which the Institute seeks to promote.

As far as new publications are concerned, we have requested financial aid from a well-known financial entity to publish an updated bilingual version (English/Spanish) of the lecture which was given by Dr. Ana Gómez Rabal at the Michael Servetus Institute on April 18. In addition, the Institute will reprint soon the 2nd edition of the essay by Dr. Gracia Guillen: “Teología y Medicina en Miguel Servet”.

This is all for the time being. This has been a very rainy year and, for that reason, we hope that the harvest seeded by of the Institute will produce all the results that we wish and we deserve. Nevertheless, the important thing is that, in spite of all the difficulties, we are moving forward.

We really hope to meet you at the Forum of Cultures of Barcelona.

With kind regards,

Sergio Baches Opi*
Secretary General
Michael Servetus Institute

*The opinions expressed in these lines about Islamic terrorism are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Michael Servetus Institute.

 
 
Villanueva de Sijena, 26th February 2004

Dear Counselor,

We are delighted to welcome you to the web page of the Michael Servetus Institute. Although all its sections have been prepared with extreme care, we will thank you for any suggestion or commentary that helps us to improve the quality of its contents or the format of its design.

During the last twenty-five years the Institute has carried out a remarkable academic task, that has contributed to improve the general knowledge of the life, the work and the intellectual legacy of Michael Servetus. The study of the History of the Royal Monastery of Sijena, and the defense of the Sixenan heritage, on the other hand so neglected, also has occupied part of the efforts of the Institute.

In spite of all the efforts in this sense, the work of the Institute not always has had the diffusion that deserved. The new information society, characterized by an extraordinary expansion of the Internet and other communication networks as vehicles of transmission and interchange of all type of information, is imposing to the economic operators new obligations with regard to their working methods and marketing strategies.

Cultural institutions cannot remain inactive towards this new trend that is revolutionizing the history of human communication. The information society provides the necessary instruments so that cultural institutions with limited economic resources obtain a greater visibility in our society. Conscious of this opportunity, the Permanent Council of the Institute, in his meeting of 2 of March of 2002, emphasized the necessity to design a web page that contributed to the greater visibility of its activities.

Like always in these cases, this project had not been possible without the perseverance and disinterested effort of some (very few) members, whose example would have to extend to all the other Counselors of this Institution to whom we hereby request their loyalty and support. We also want to take advantage of this first communication to emphasize the immediate objectives of the Institute, so that all the Counselors are conscious of the immediate challenges that we have before us and of the need to offer to the Institute, now more than ever, their collaboration:

I. - Presence of the Institute in domestic and international Servetian forums

The Michael Servetus Institute aspires to continue to be a reference center for Servetian studies. In spite some attempts to weaken the role of the Institute in this regard, the Institute has made an outstanding effort to be present in all the acts of the commemoration of the 450th Servetus death anniversary and has been able to contribute to the international projection of the Servetian legacy.

The increasing interest by the figure and the legacy of Michael Servetus, as much in Spain as abroad, demands from all of us a very special effort to be present in all the national and international forums and conferences related to the life and works of our great humanist. For that reason, the Institute will use its best endeavors so that a representation of this institution attends all those forums or seminars related to Michael Servetus or the historical context in which it developed his intellectual activity.

II. - Protection of the heritage of the Royal Monastery of Sijena

The Institute will intensify its actions directed to the protection of the heritage of the Royal Monastery of Sijena. It is essential for the cultural and tourist development of the Region of Monegros to recover this monument for the benefit of the believers and the public in general.

The new archaeological works, that were carried out within the Restoration Program sponsored by the Government of Aragón have thrown very significant discoveries, including, but not limited to, numerous objects that the Institute will claim to the Government of Aragón so that they can be exhibited once the Monastery has been prepared to the effect.

The life in community and contemplation of the Sisters of Bethlehem is not incompatible with the visits to the Monastery. Both activities must and can coexist. The Institute will use its best efforts to build up a better harmony between the interests of the inhabitants of the Region and those of the Religious Community that inhabits the Monastery.

III. - Modernization of the library of the Institute

The library of the Institute has suffered from several deficiencies that we must solve at our earliest convenience. This requires to undertake the cataloguing of its documentary and bibliographical resources. Recently, a computer equipment was placed in the reading room (Pentium IV desktop, laser printer, scanner) and is allowing us to digitalize and to catalogue the bibliographical resources. In addition, these new computer tools will allow the Institute to welcome with dignity all those researchers requesting access to the Institute’s library.

Notwithstanding the above, the active collaboration of all the Counselors is necessary to improve and enlarge the resources of our library. This collaboration can be translated in suggestions for the acquisition of new books or in contributions, in cash or in kind, to the Institute.

IV. - Reactivation of the Publications department of the Institute

Many of the lectures given in the Institute have not been published due to the lack of financial resources. This set of skillful lessons constitutes a legacy of incalculable value that we must publish and spread. The Permanent Council will have to decide the channels to achieve this objective. For the time being, we are glad to announce you that the Institute will publish some of the conferences that were pronounced in the commemorative acts of the 450th anniversary of the death of Servetus.

We hope and we wish that, with the common effort of all the Counselors of the Institute, we will manage to fulfill the foregoing objectives. For that reason, we want to request your intellectual or material collaboration, so that the Institute can live up to the expectations of the new times.

Kind regards,

Michael Servetus Institute

 
 
MICHAEL SERVETUS INSTITUTE'S STATEMENT
 

El Instituto de Estudios Sijenenses "Miguel Servet", recordando la figura y el legado de Miguel Serveto, mártir de la intolerancia y precursor del derecho a la libertad de pensamiento, condena el brutal atentado producido hoy contra los madrileños y el conjunto de la Nación española.

"Matar a un hombre no es defender una doctrina, es matar a un hombre".

Villanueva de Sijena, a 11 de marzo de 2004

El Consejo Permanente

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Michael Servetus Institute, remembering the figure and the legacy of Michael Servetus, victim of intolerance and defender of the right of freedom of thought, condemns the brutal attack produced against the citizens of Madrid and the rest of the Spanish Nation.

"To kill a man it is not to defend a doctrine, but it is to kill a man".

Villanueva de Sijena, 11 March 2000

The Permanent Council

 
DECLARACION OFICIAL DE LA SOCIEDAD UNITARIA UNIVERSALISTA DE ESPAÑA
 

Ante los brutales y sanguinarios atentados que se han producido en la mañana del 11 de marzo en Madrid, la Sociedad Unitaria Universalista de España, representante en nuestro país de la tradición religiosa liberal Unitaria y Universalista, inspirándose en sus Principios fundamentales que llaman a:

· honrar la dignidad y el valor inherentes a toda persona,
· el método democrático, y
· la aspiración a una comunidad global basada en la paz, la libertad y la justicia,

declara su condena más absoluta y radical a la violencia terrorista, y afirma que la defensa de toda vida humana y los valores pacíficos y democráticos son la única vía posible y admisible para fundamentar la convivencia y la libertad de las personas y los pueblos.

Hace 450 años, un hombre de paz, honesto y justo, Miguel Servet, fue condenado a morir en la hoguera. Fue el inspirador, pionero y primer mártir del Unitarismo, y su obra y ejemplo nos siguen inspirando a quienes nos identificamos con la tradición religiosa Unitaria. En su defensa, el reformador Sebastian Castellio escribió: "Matar a un hombre no es defender una doctrina, sino matar a un hombre". En este espíritu nos unimos hoy al dolor por las víctimas y al rechazo de toda muerte causada por el fanatismo y la intolerancia.

SOCIEDAD UNITARIA UNIVERSALISTA DE ESPAÑA - S.U.U.E.
GRAN VIA 967, B, 7-1
BARCELONA 08018

 
DECLARACION OFICIAL DEL MAGYAR BARÁTI KÖZÖSSÉG - HUNGARIAN COMMUNION OF FRIENDS
 

A Magyar Baráti Közösség Tanácsa mélységes megdöbbenéssel és fájdalommal értesült a 2004. március 11-én Madridban ártatlan emberek életét kioltó merényletrõl. Megrendült szívvel osztozunk a szeretteiket elvesztõk és az egész spanyol nép fájdalmában. Hiszünk az emberi élet értékében, s annak kioltását a legsúlyosabb bûnnek tekintjük; különösen aljas és gyáva cselekedetnek tartjuk az ártatlan polgárok elleni támadást bármely ideológia nevében.

A Magyar Baráti Közösség szabadelvû és unitárius szellemi öröksége alapján embertelennek és emberiségellenesnek tekint minden olyan eszmét, amely értékrendjével összeegyeztethetõnek tartja védtelen polgárok meggyilkolását.

Kedves spanyol barátaink, fogadjátok õszinte együttérzésünket!

A magyarországi MBK Tanács nevében:

Br. Csesznegi Miklós Mihály
gondnok

Nt. Léta Sándor
lelkész

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

We, the members of the Hungarian Communion Friends (MBK) Council of Hungary, acknowledged with deep astonishment and grief the attempt in Madrid on 11th March 2004, which exterminated many innocent peoples' life.

With deepest empathy express our compation to those people and to the whole Spanish nation who losts their beloved ones in this attempt.

We express again and believe in the values of human life, and its extermination is the worst sin; especially the attacks against innocent citizens in the name of any ideology is the most meanful and coward action.

The Hungarian Communion Friends' Council in Hungary based upon liberal and Unitarian spiritual heritage it considers the most unhuman and against all humanity those ideas which reconcile in its ideology the killing of defenceless, unarmed citizens.

Dear Spanish friends, accept our deepest, sincere compation and sympathy.

In the name of the Hungarian Communion Friends Council of Hungary:

Baron Nicolas M. Csesznegi
president

Rev. Sandor Leta
minister

 
 
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