2013-10-26 Vatican - Pope Francis on Saturday presented the 2013 Ratzinger Prize to joint recipients: a German lay theologian and an Anglican English Biblical scholar.

In his address, the Pope reflected on the works of Benedict XVI, after whom the award is named. Highlighting the Jesus of Nazareth series, written by Benedict during his pontificate, Pope Francis said his predecessor had given to the Church and to all people a precious gift: his understanding of Jesus, the fruit of years of study, prayer and theological engagement, in a way that is widely accessible.

The recipients of this year’s Ratzinger Prize are: Christian Schaller, professor of dogmatic theology and deputy director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute of Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing the complete works of Joseph Ratzinger, and Rev Canon Professor Richard Burridge, dean of King's College London and a minister in the Anglican Communion.Burridge also participated this week in a symposium of the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, entitled “The Gospels: History and Christology”, which took place at the Pontifical Lateran University, 24-26 October. The symposium's starting point was the research of Joseph Ratzinger.

Burridge received the honour for his contribution to the historical and theological recognition of the Gospels' inseparable connection to Jesus of Nazareth.In sharing his reaction to receiving the prize with Vatican Radio's Lydia O'Kane, Burridge explained he was already expecting to be in Rome for another conference when he received the news.

“We got a letter – actually on my birthday in June – from the Apostolic Nuncio, asking me if I would accept the honour. Everybody thought that this was a practical joke from the students, but it was such a joy to discover that, a real surprise, and a terrific honour,” he said.As the first non-Catholic to receive the award, he said that his receiving the award “says something about the importance of what has been happening over the last two or three decades, not just in Anglican and Roman Catholic dialogue, but internationally in Biblical studies, as we have been working more and more closely together.”