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Francesco Colasuonno

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Francesco Colasuonno
Cardinal-Deacon of Sant'Eugenio
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Appointed21 February 1998
Installed29 November 1998
Term ended31 May 2003
PredecessorPaul Poupard
SuccessorJulián Herranz Casado
Ordination28 September 1947
by Marcello Mimmi
Consecration9 February 1975
by Corrado Ursi
Created cardinal21 February 1998
by Pope John Paul II
Personal details
Francesco Colasuonno

2 January 1925
Died31 May 2003(2003-05-31) (aged 78)
Grumo Appula, Bari, Italy
DenominationCatholic (Roman Rite)
Previous post(s)
  • Chargé d'affaires to China (1972–74)
  • Apostolic Delegate to Mozambique (1974–85)
  • Titular Archbishop of Tronto (1974–98)
  • Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Zimbabwe (1981–85)
  • Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Yugoslavia (1985–86)
  • Delegation Chief to Poland (1986–90)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to the Russian Federation (1990–94)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Italy (1994–98)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to San Marino (1995–98)
Alma mater
MottoLaetus serviam

Francesco Colasuonno (2 January 1925 – 31 May 2003) was an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church who served as a Vatican diplomat for more than two decades. He had the personal title of archbishop and at the end of his service became a cardinal.


Colasuonno was born in Grumo Appula, Bari, Italy. He was ordained a priest 1947 and then taught for more than a decade in the seminary in Bari while earning doctorates in theology and canon law.[1]

He served in the office of the Holy See's Secretariat of State beginning in 1958 and then in the Vatican diplomatic corps. After working in the United States from 1962 to 1967[2] and then in India and Republic of China (also known as Taiwan nowadays), his assignments included apostolic delegate to Mozambique from 1974 to 1981; pro-nuncio to Zimbabwe from 1981 to 1985; pro-nuncio to Yugoslavia from 1985 to 1986; papal envoy for Eastern Europe from 1986 to 1990; nuncio to the Soviet Union (and its successor, the Russian Federation) from 1990 to 1994, and nuncio to Italy from 1994 to 1998.He was the first Apostolic Delegate to Mozambique and the first papal nuncio to the Soviet Union. His work in Eastern Europe coincided with the special interest the Vatican took in the region under John Paul II and the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.[1] Much of his work involved locating communities of Catholics that had survived under communism and in persuading governments to permit the Vatican to reestablish churches and especially to appoint bishops. After years of negotiation, he consecrated three bishops in Czechoslovakia in 1988.[2] To locate Catholics in Vladivostok, he walked around the city in his cassock to make himself known.[1]

He was named Titular Archbishop of Truentum in 1975 and consecrated in February.[1] Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal at a consistory on 21 February 1998.[3] He retired that year.[1]

He died in his birthplace, Grumo Appula, on 31 May 2003. He was entombed in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Bari.


  1. ^ a b c d e Corley, Felix (26 June 2003). "Cardinal Francesco Colasuonno". The Independent. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b Bourdeaux, Michael (29 July 2003). "Cardinal Francesco Colasuonno". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Messa solenne del Papa con i nuovi cardinali". La Repubblica (in Italian). 23 February 1998. Retrieved 2 September 2017.

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