Fr. Prof. Dr. Roman Malek S.V.D (1951 – 2019) Founding Direktor of China-Zentrum e.V.
Fr. Roman Malek was born in Bytów (Kashubia, Poland) on 3 October 1951. He entered the Society of the Divine Word (S.V.D.) in 1969. He moved to the S.V.D. Mission house at Sankt Augustin in 1976 to pursue a degree in Sinology, Japanology, Comparative religious studies and Church history at the nearby University of Bonn. He finished his studies in 1984 receiving a doctoral degree in Sinology. In 1998, Fr. Malek was appointed Professor of the History of Religions at the Philosophical-Theological Faculty S.V.D., St. Augustin. After completing his post-doctoral work (Habilitationsschrift) at the University of Bonn in 2003, he wasengaged as a lecturer for Sinology and Religious Studies there and at other universities until 2011.
Fr. Malek in 1988 was the founding director of the then established China-Zentrum e.v., which he led for ten years in a charismatic way and with remarkable creative power. In those years he built up manifold contacts with the Church as well as the academic world in China. Intensive were also Fr. Malek’s publication activities, thus e.g. as Chief-editor of the journal China heute and its Polish pendant Chiny dzisiaj as well as of many book publications, partly together with the Monumenta Serica Institute, whose director he also was during that time. As Chief-editor of the publications of Monumenta Serica he published a large number of important monographs on the history of Christianity in China within its monograph series.
In April 2011 he suffered a severe stroke, which abruptly put the brake on many of his creative activities. Despite his physical limitations, he continued to work on several book projects, among them two supplementary volumes of the book series The Chinese Face of Jesus Christ initiated by him, vols. 4a and 4b, published in 2015 and 2019, respectively.
In recognition of his efforts for the Church in China Fr. Malek was awarded the prize "Heart without borders" of the Polish Cardinal-Adam-Kozłowiecki Foundation in June 2016. On the occasion of his 65th birthday in October 2016 Fr. Malek was presented with a two volume Festschrift entitled Rooted in Hope: China – Religion –Christianity in an official ceremony in Sankt Augustin.
After having lived in Sankt Augustin for more than four decades, in April 2018 he moved to the S.V.D. mission house in Górna Grupa in his native Poland where he passed away after a short illness on 29 November 2019 and was buried on 2 December 2019.
We will publish a detailed obituary in China heute. R.i.P.