Javier Martínez Fernández,
Archbishop of Granada

Mons. Javier Martínez

"The truth of faith is linked to the historic march of the People of God from Abraham to Christ, and from Christ to the Parusia. Therefore, the orthodoxy is not the consent to a system, but the participation in the march of faith, and thus, in the ‘I’ of the Church, which remains as one throughout time and it is the real subject of the Creed."
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Introducing the Editio Typica the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Rome, October 14, 1997.

Such participation in the ‘I’ of the Church, and in her, of the fullness of the goods of Christ’s redemption, as our contemporary goods, and intended for men, is what is guaranteed by the apostolic succession. Only from this reality of the apostolic succession is understood the apostolic ministry of the Bishop, successor of the Apostles and representative of Christ in the Particular Church entrusted to him, in communion with the Episcopal College and with the successor of Peter, "bond of unity in faith and love of the whole Church."

Javier Martínez was born in Madrid on the 20th of December, 1947, the son of Asturians. His parents, Francisco and Pilar, left Asturias for Madrid at a young age, before they were 20, in order to make their way in the world.

He began his studies in “Decroly” lay school in the district of Argüelles. He entered the seminary of Madrid in 1959, and was ordained a priest on the 3rd of April, 1972. He practised his first pastoral ministry in Casarrubuelos, a small village to the south of Madrid, until the end of 1974. In these first years of ministering he began his work with groups of young people, collaborating in the reestablishment in Madrid of the General Catholic Action for Youth, and also in the Diocese School of Cursillos de Cristiandad.

While living in Casarrubuelos, in 1973 he obtained a Degree in Biblical Theory from the Pontifical University of Comillas, the title of his final year degree essay being “The origins of the evangelical tradition according to the Scandinavian School”. Soon after he would be assigned to studies: first as a grant scholar of the Superior Council of Scientific Investigation (1975-77), in order to study the area: “The Son of Man. A contribution to the study of the Aramaic origins of the gospels”, and later abroad: after a semester in Germany (Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt a. M.), he studied for one year in the French Biblical School of Jerusalem (1978-1979) and finally, he studied Semitic Philology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where he remained from the summer of 1979 until February of 1985, and where he specialised in Syrian language and literature. While there he worked as an assistant teacher to the Professor of Syrian, and obtained his doctorate with a thesis about the Eastern Christian Apocalyptic in the Early Muslim Period.

Throughout these years he continued with his pastoral work, especially with young people. In 1975, together with other young priests, he initiated camps for young people in the Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe), and some summer courses for youth training in Ávila. Also, with the same priests, he created the cultural association Nueva Tierra (New Earth), to educate youths to give a culturally significant testimony of their faith. During his stay in Germany, through a young Jesuit from Frankfurt, he got to know the movement Communion and Liberation, which at that time was also starting up in Spain, and to which many of the priests and young people of Nueva Tierra would finally join. Even in his study years abroad, during the summers, he continued to organize the camps and the training courses in Ávila.

His appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Madrid was announced on the 20th of March, 1985, not long after returning from the United States. He was ordained Bishop the 11th of May, 1985. As Auxiliary Bishop, he was mainly in charge of the University and Youth Pastoral, and of the “San Dámaso” Centre for Theological Studies. He worked as a teacher in that same centre and also in the "San Justino" Diocesan Institute of Classical and Oriental Philology, whose creation he was involved in. In Madrid, he also worked in the areas of Teaching, Catechesis, the Family and Means of Social Communication.

On the 15th of March, 1996 he was named by the Pope as the Bishop of Córdoba, and he inaugurated his ministry on the 18th of May, 1996. On the 15th of March, 2003 his appointment as the Archbishop of Granada was announced and he began his ministry in Granada on the 1st of June of that same year.

When Archbishop Javier Martinez arrived in Granada in 2003, he launched several initiatives. One of them was the Centro Internacional para el Estudio del Oriente Cristiano / Internacional Center for the Study of the Christian Orient (ICSCO). This Center offers courses in some languages of the Christian Orient, as well as trips to countries where Christian traditions of the East have been preserved and to the communities that pass those traditions. In the future, this Center will be located at the Abbey of Sacro Monte, which it is its natural place. In September 2008, ICSCO organizes, along with two Lebanese universities, two major international conferences: the X Symposium Syriacum and the VIII International Congress of Arabic Christian Studies.

Archbishop Javier Martinez also created the Institute of Theology "Lumen Gentium" and the Institute of Philosophy "Edith Stein." The Institute of Theology "Lumen Gentium" is affiliated with the Faculty of Theology of “San Dámaso" in Madrid. In this Institute, the seminarians of the Diocese are formed, and, at the same time, it is open to other people interested in the study of theology. The Institute of Philosophy “Edith Stein” wants to be a place of study and rediscovery of Philosophy, according to the guidelines of the Encyclical “Fides et Ratio.” Furthermore, it is a place of creation and diffusion of Christian thought in today's world. In 2005, the Institute of Philosophy “Edith Stein” organized a meeting attended by about thirty important scholars from both Anglican and Anglo-Saxon Protestant theology (including, especially, John Milbank and Stanley Hawervas). Moreover, in 2007, the Institute of Philosophy organized a congress in collaboration with the Center for Philosophy and Theology from the University of Nottingham (UK) on the theme “Belief and Metaphysics.” One hundred and thirty people around the world attended to it. The conference proceedings have already been published in the Veritas collection of the publisher SCM from London.

Likewise, Archbishop Javier Martinez has created the Publisher “Nuevo Inicio,” which publishes works of Christian thought, and the Cultural Center “Nuevo Inicio,” which helps to create a greater awareness of what is meant by a Christian culture, and it also wants to support to illumine the realities of life and contemporary culture from faith.

At the Episcopal Conference he has been a member of the Teaching and Catechesis Comission, of the Means of Social Communication Comission, of the Doctrine of the Faith Comission, and of the Universities and Family Subcomissions. From 1989 to 1993, he was a member of the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with non-believers, and from 1993 to 1998 he was a member of the new Pontifical Council for Culture, which replaced the former. Since 1998 he has been a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

In the Assembly of the Bishops of the Eclesiatic Provinces of Granada and Seville he was the delegate for the Social and Health Pastoral until December, 2000, and for Catechesis until October, 2005.

He has participated in several international and national congresses related to Eastern Christianity or to the Fathers of the Church (Chicago, Warsaw, Gröningen, Leuven, Catania, Lyon). He is also a member of various scientific and cultural associations, prominent examples of which are, since 1984 the International Association for Coptic Studies; AEDOS (Asociation for the study of the Social Doctrine of the Church), founded in 1989; the Honorary Commitee of the Europe-Near East Centre “Terrasanta” of Bari, founded in 1990; the Comitato Scientifico Internazionale of the magazine “La Nueva Europa” (The New Europe), published by the Christian Russia Centre of Milan, since 1992; the Association Internacional d’études patristiques, since 1992; and a member of the Promotion Committee of the magazine al-Waha (Studium Marcianum, of the Venetian Patriarchy).

For many years, as far as his pastoral responsibilities have allowed him, he has worked on the Spanish translation of the Works of the Doctor of the Church Saint Ephrem of Nisibe.