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Aidan Nichols

Nichols in 2014
Ordination7 July 1976
Personal details
Born (1948-09-17) 17 September 1948 (age 74)
DenominationCatholic (Roman Rite)
ResidenceCambridge Blackfriars
OccupationPriest, academic, theologian
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Blackfriars, Oxford
University of Edinburgh
Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas

John Christopher "Aidan" Nichols OP[1] (born 17 September 1948) is an English academic and Catholic priest.

Nichols served as the first John Paul II Memorial Visiting Lecturer at the University of Oxford for 2006 to 2008, the first lectureship of Catholic theology at that university since the Protestant Reformation. He is a member of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) residing in the Priory of St Michael the Archangel in Cambridge, England.

Early life

Nichols was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, on 17 September 1948. He graduated with first-class honours from Christ Church, Oxford, with a degree in modern history.

Religious life

Nichols entered the Dominican Order in 1970. He spent the next seven years at Blackfriars, Oxford, during which time he was ordained to the priesthood. He then moved to Edinburgh, where he served as a chaplain at the University of Edinburgh. He received his doctorate at Edinburgh in 1986.[2] Between 1983 and 1991, Nichols was Lecturer in Dogmatics and Ecumenics at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. In 1990 he was awarded the degree of Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the university. In 2003, the master of the Dominican Order conferred on Nichols the degree of Master of Sacred Theology.

From Rome. Nichols moved back to England and to Cambridge, where he began as assistant Catholic chaplain, then as an affiliated university lecturer (1998) as prior of St Michael's for two terms between 1998 and 2004, and again for a third term from 2013.

Academic work

Nichols began his academic work in the Russian theological tradition and has written on many figures, including Sergei Bulgakov. However he is best known for his work on Hans Urs von Balthasar, publishing three analytic volumes on von Balthasar's famous trilogy: The Word Has Been Abroad: A Guide Through Balthasar's Aesthetics (1998), No Bloodless Myth: A Guide Through Balthasar’s Dramatics (2000) and Say It Is Pentecost: A Guide Through Balthasar’s Logic (2001). He was also one of the contributors to the Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar (2004). He has also written The Theology of Joseph Ratzinger (1988), a book on the theological history of Anglicanism in The Panther and the Hind (1992) and a more general work on religion in the modern world, Christendom Awake (1993).

In April 2019, Nichols was among nineteen Catholic scholars and clergy who signed a 20-page open letter to the bishops of the world accusing Pope Francis of heresy.[3]

Selected books


  1. ^ "Sophia Institute: Fr. Aidan Nichols". Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  2. ^ Nichols, Aidan John Christopher (1987). "The ecclesiology of N. N. Afanasev, patristic ressourcement and ecumenical prospect in the Russian tradition". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "Theologians Accuse Pope Francis of Heresy". Catholic News Agency. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.