Robert F. Taft, S.J.,
born in Providence, RI (USA) Jan. 9, 1932, is a Jesuit priest ordained in the Byzantine Slavonic (Russian) Rite in 1963. He is founder and editor-in-chief of Anaphorae Orientales,
and Professor-emeritus of Oriental Liturgy at the Pontifical Oriental Institute,
Rome, where he served as Vice-Rector from December 20, 1995-April 29, 2001. He received there his doctorate in 1970, followed in 1971-72 by postdoctoral studies in Oriental Philology at the University of Louvain, Belgium. He has also served as Visiting Professor in the Graduate School of the University of Notre Dame since 1974. A prolific writer, the bibliography of his publications and writings comprises over 890 works, written in English, French, and Italian, mostly scholarly publications on Eastern Liturgy, including 20 books, two of them co-authored, plus seven others edited in collaboration with other authors. His writings have been translated into seventeen different languages.
Fr. Taft also serves as Consultor for Liturgy of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches,
and is a member of several Vatican commissions and other editorial and advisory boards.
In recognition of his work, Fr. Taft has received numerous academic awards, including three honorary doctorates, and several ecclesiastical honors. In 2001, he was elected Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy,
the highest honor the Academy confers in recognition of scholarly distinction. He is the only American Jesuit ever to be so honored.
In recent years, since the fall of Communism in 1989, Fr. Taft has been actively engaged in assisting in the restoration of the persecuted and suppressed Eastern Churches in the former Soviet East Bloc. On May 5, 1998, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church elevated Fr. Taft to the dignity of Mitred Archimandrite in recognition of his services to the Eastern Churches. On November 11, 1999, Archbishop Vsevolod of Scopelos, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, conferred on Fr. Taft, in the name of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a second pectoral cross, with the right to wear the double pectoral insignia, in recognition of his scholarly research and writings on the Orthodox tradition.
On his recent visit to Rome, May 8, 2008, His Holiness Karekin II of Etchimiadzin, “Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,” conferred on Fr. Taft a third pectoral cross in recognition of his studies on the Armenian liturgical tradition and his work for the education of their clergy.