Georg Sterzinsky

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His Eminence
Georg Sterzinsky
Cardinal, Archbishop of Berlin
Georg Sterzinsky.jpg
Church Roman Catholic
Archdiocese Berlin
See Berlin
Installed 9 September 1989
Term ended 24 February 2011
Predecessor Joachim Meisner
Successor Rainer Woelki
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of San Giuseppe all’Aurelio
Ordination 29 June 1960
by Hugo Aufderbeck
Consecration 9 September 1989
by Joachim Wanke
Created Cardinal 28 June 1991
by John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1936-02-09)9 February 1936
Warlack East Prussia (Present day Poland)
Died 30 June 2011(2011-06-30) (aged 75)
Berlin Germany
Nationality German
Motto Deus Semper Major (God Ever Greater)
Coat of arms
Styles of
Georg Sterzinsky
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Berlin (emeritus)

Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky (9 February 1936 – 30 June 2011[1]) was a German cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Berlin.

Early life[edit]

Sterzinsky was born in Warlack (earlier also Wurlacken, Warlaucken, now Worławki, Olsztyn County), Landkreis Heilsberg, in German East Prussia. He lost his mother as a child and his family took refuge in Thuringia, due to the expulsions following the end of World War II; his homeland of Warmia is now within Poland.

Priest and bishop[edit]

Sterzinsky was ordained a priest in 1960. After serving as a parish priest for fifteen years, he became Vicar General to the Bishop of Erfurt in 1981. In 1989, he himself was appointed Bishop of Berlin and, in 1994, while remaining at the See of Berlin, he was promoted to the position of Archbishop of Berlin.


Sterzinsky was proclaimed Cardinal-Priest of S. Giuseppe all'Aurelio on 28 June 1991. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal Sterzinsky's retirement as Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin on 24 February 2011, for reasons of age (he had reached the age limit of 75, at which all bishops must write a letter to the Pope, offering to resign if the Pope wants).

No successor was immediately named for Cardinal Sterzinsky upon his retirement, so the Archdiocese of Berlin was a vacant see (sede vacante) at the time. On 2 July 2011, two days after the Cardinal's death, Pope Benedict XVI, named Rainer Maria Woelki as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Berlin.

In April 2011 Cardinal Sterzinsky was transferred to a rehabilitation clinic. Since the Cardinal's resignation, Auxiliary Bishop Matthias Heinrich had been the apostolic administrator until the new Archbishop was named. In May 2011 it was reported that his condition was very serious after he developed pneumonia and had to be brought from the rehabilitation centre back to the hospital. Cardinal Sterzinsky died on 30 June. Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolence to Auxiliary Bishop Heinrich, expressing his closeness to the people of the Archdiocese and praising Sterzinsky's efforts in serving the people of Berlin during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transition to a united Germany.


In November 2004, Sterzinsky criticized the notion of "gay marriage". He argued in a sermon that it could be necessary for Catholics to protest and resist gay marriage laws "die dem Gesetz Gottes widersprechen" ("that are contradictory to the laws of God").


  1. ^ "Berliner Erzbischof Sterzinsky gestorben". Berliner Morgenpost. Retrieved 2011-07-08. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joachim Meisner
Bishop, then Archbishop of Berlin

Succeeded by
Rainer Maria Woelki
Preceded by
Joachim Wanke
Chairman of the Berlin Conference of Catholic Bishops
Title extinct
Members of Berlin Conference joined German Bishops' Conference