The Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus (FFDI) is an institution of higher education which was founded, and whose Statute was approved, by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education in Seminaries and Institutes of Study (Congregazione per l’Educazione Cattolica dei Seminari e degli Istituti di Studi) through a decree dated July 31st, 1989.
FFDI belongs to the Croatian Province of the Society of Jesus, which provides the Dean, the Vicedean, and a large number of teachers, besides ensuring the necessary conditions for its work. FFDI in its structure and functions is governed according to the existing general canon law of the Catholic Church, and in particular by the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana and its regulations, the Statutes approved by the Congregation for Catholic Education, along with regulations issued by the Faculty itself and the legal regulations of the Croatian state and academic authorities.
The Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia, by a resolution dated October 7th, 1992, included the FFDI in the Register of Scientific Research Organizations and Units as a scientific research organization in the scientific field of philosophy – under registration number 199. This resolution was reissued on August 20th, 1996, and confirmed on October 22nd, 2002.
The Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus continues its own centuries-long tradition of having established itself along the formal university standards of the Society of Jesus, by offering courses in philosophy and teaching philosophy in Zagreb. The lectures in philosophy which began on November 6th, 1662, at the College of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb, led only several years later, on September 23rd, 1669, to the solemn and official establishment of the Faculty of Philosophy within the Academy of Zagreb, by King Leopold I of Habsburg, who granted this academy its formal university status as well as the right to confer all the same academic degrees as given by the other universities of the Empire. The Faculty of Philosophy, alongside the Study of Theology with the same rights at the same Zagreb College S.J., is rightfully considered to be the first beginnings of the University of Zagreb. The Jesuits taught their philosophy at the University of Zagreb until the suppression of their order in 1773.
The re-established Society of Jesus in Zagreb started anew its Study of Philosophy (1920-1922) for the students from the Society of Jesus. Eventually, in 1937, the Institute of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus was founded with its three-year-program in philosophy studies, completely ordered according to the Apostolic Constitution Deus Scientiarum Dominus and Ratio Studiorum S.I. Even though the Institute of Philosophy could not formally confer academic degrees, its education in practice did receive recognition from the Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy abroad, for the purposes of either furthering studies or attaining a doctorate.
The work of the Institute of Philosophy has not been interrupted since then, and is responsible for the formation of hundreds of young people, Jesuits in particular, in the Christian-philosophical reflection, contributing thus by its multifaceted activity to the research and the spreading of philosophical thought among us. Since 1953 the Institute of Philosophy has worked together with the Study of Theology of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb within the Institute of Philosophy and Theology of the Society of Jesus. However, this Study of Philosophy in its three-year-program is independent and autonomous, as it is the case with the Licentiate in Philosophy conferred at Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy. After the renewal of the Ecclesiastical Studies according to the new norms promulgated by the Second Vatican Council, the Study of Philosophy started offering a two-year philosophy course leading to an Ecclesiastical Baccalaureate in Philosophy, according to the first cycle of the curriculum of studies of the Ecclesiastical Faculties of Philosophy, and as such was acknowledged and accredited by the same faculties, notably by the Faculty of Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
In 1983, the Congregation for Catholic Education formally recognized the work and activity of the Study of Philosophy and affiliated it with the Faculty of Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In accordance with the hopes and needs of the local Church, and due to the work and progress of the Study of Philosophy, the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Institutes of Study through its decree dated July 31st, 1989, raised the aforementioned Study of Philosophy to the status of the Faculty of Philosophy “sui iuris,” with the right to confer academic degrees in philosophy in the name of and by the authority of the Holy See.
The Faculty delivers its instruction in two scientific fields (philosophy and religious studies), works on its own premises (the faculty building and the library), holds approved programs and validly issued permanent licenses, hosts teachers, enjoys a great interest from students, and is equipped with computer technology and other necessary equipment. The Senate of the University of Zagreb made a decision on February 8th, 1994, by which the philosophy and theology study program got accepted as part of Croatian Studies at the University of Zagreb. On October 16th, 1997, the University of Zagreb and the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus signed an Agreement on long-term scientific and educational cooperation between the University of Zagreb and the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus, which to this day has remained the fundamental document for regulating the relations between the University of Zagreb and the Faculty of Philosophy.
After the reform of the programs of studies in 2005, a procedure for attaining permits through the University of Zagreb was carried out. All programs of studies of the Faculty of Society of Jesus (undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate) have permanent permits granted by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports. By integrating our two programs of studies into Croatian Studies at the University of Zagreb, our students have become students of the University of Zagreb. Enrollment quota is approved by the Senate of the University of Zagreb, and students get enrolled in accordance with the results achieved on the nationwide secondary school graduation exam “Matura.”
On December 8th, 2015, the Senate of the University of Zagreb accepted the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus as institution to be a constituent member of the University with full rights, under the new name: Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies. On July 29th, 2016, both sides solemnly signed the Agreement on the position and activity of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus (Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies) in the structure of the University of Zagreb.