Giovanni Coppa

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His Eminence
Giovanni Coppa
Cardinal-Deacon of San Lino
Cardinal giovanni coppa 01.jpg
Cardinal Coppa in 2012
Ordination 2 January 1949
Consecration 6 January 1980
by Pope John Paul II
Created Cardinal 24 November 2007
by Pope Benedict XVI
Rank Cardinal-Deacon
Personal details
Born (1925-11-09)November 9, 1925
Alba, Italy
Died 16 May 2016(2016-05-16) (aged 90)[1]
Nationality Italian
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Titular Archbishop of Serta (1980–2007)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Czechoslovakia (1990–1993)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Czech Republic (1993–2001)
  • Apostolic Nuncio to Slovakia (1993–1994)
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Giovanni Coppa
Coat of arms of Giovanni Coppa.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal

Giovanni Coppa (9 November 1925 – 16 May 2016) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as a diplomat of the Holy See, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007.


Born in Alba, Giovanni Coppa attended the seminary there before studying at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, where he obtained his doctorate in modern letters (with a dissertation entitled: "The iconography of the Most Holy Trinity from the origins to the 14th century"). He was ordained to the priesthood on 2 January 1949, and then served as a diocesan delegate for the aspirants of Catholic Action. In 1952, he entered the Roman Curia in the Apostolic Chancery. Coppa became the director of the Rome-based monthly retreats of the nuns of the Holy Family of Spoleto in 1954, and began work in the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1958.

During the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), Coppa served as an expert for the Latin language. He was named an honorary canon of the chapter of St. Peter's Basilica in 1965, and assessor of the Secretariat of State on 19 November 1975. He was also Vice-Chaplain of the Palatine Guard of Honor and responsible of the Conference of Saint Vincent of Paul. When the Association of Saints Peter and Paul was instituted at the Vatican, the Secretariat of State named Coppa as its counselor. He wrote several works on Saint Ambrose, the Gospels, and the Fathers of the Church, as well as contributing to works such as L'Osservatore Romano.

On 1 December 1979, Coppa was appointed delegate for the Secretariat of State's pontifical representations and Titular Archbishop of Serta. He received his episcopal consecration on 6 January 1980 from Pope John Paul II himself, with Archbishop Eduardo Martínez Somalo and Bishop Ferdinando Maggioni serving as co-consecrators, in St. Peter's Basilica. Coppa was later named Nuncio to Czechoslovakia on 30 June 1990, and to the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993. He retired his post in Slovakia on 2 March 1994, and in the Czech Republic on 19 May 2001.

Pope Benedict XVI created him Cardinal-Deacon of S. Lino in the consistory of 24 November 2007. As he was beyond the age of 80 at the time of his elevation, Coppa was never eligible to participate in a papal conclave.

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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Saverio Ritter
Nuncio to Czechoslovakia
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Apostolic Nuncio to the Czech Republic
Succeeded by
Erwin Josef Ender
Preceded by
Nuncio to Slovakia
Succeeded by
Luigi Dossena