In memoriam: fr. Marius Zerafa, O.P. (1929-2022)

In memoriam: fr. Marius Zerafa, O.P. (1929-2022)

It is with great sorrow that our academic community shares that Father Marius Zerafa, O.P. passed away during the night of October 22.  A Dominican of the Province of Malta, Fr. Zerafa got his doctorate in Social Science from the Angelicum.  He was a beloved teacher, scholar, art historian and member of the Angelicum community for several decades.  May the soul of Fr. Zerafa, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace. 



Biography from the Archdiocese of Malta


Read about how he recovered Caravaggio’s St. Jerome 



Fr. Marius Zerafa, the most interesting man in the world

A reflection by Jill Alexy, Angelicum alumna

Very rarely in life do you meet a friend who loves so selflessly. Who never, really never, wants anything from you other than your presence and your nearness and your friendship. I think that’s a Very Godly love. 

God loves us and wants nothing from us— begs nothing of us— other than our friendship and nearness to Him.

Stealing away like a thief in the night to be near to Our Risen Lord, like the good and faithful servant he was. Could any good and holy death be more fitting for our modern-day Fra Angelico friar? 

Indeed, I can see him overnight this past Saturday night hurrying (he always did walk faster than anyone else in the group) to join the many you see in Fra Angelico’s “harrowing of hell” painting… do you know the one I mean ? He must have a place amongst all those beautiful souls that are being led out of the cave of darkness and night by Christ himself into the dawn of the Sunday Resurrection day.

Yes! I can I see him now with his cane (which he never needed and only used to comedic effect) banging other saints out the way, puffing smoke from his pipe to (not at all subtly) announce his arrival, and greeting our greatest friend we all hold in common, the Risen Lord, with his biggest (and most wiley) smile of all ! 

How I wish I could see that smile!

Until I do, I’ll just look for the reflection of that bright and wondrous grin in all the great cultural beauty that surrounds us. I’ll seek to match that smile at the Mass where we are in one holy communion- always. 

And I’ll try to love my own friends here more selflessly- expecting nothing in return from them other than their own bright smiles. 

I’ll do it for the humble friar who was a great teacher, a great mentor, and a great friend—  and who really and truly smiled the love of God into the world during his time here on earth.