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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 10.07.2012]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.


DUKA Card. Dominik, O.P.


Cardinal Dominik Jaroslav Duka, Archbishop of Prague, was born on 26 April 1943 at Hradec Králové in the then Czechoslovakia. 

In 1960, following high school and unable to continue his vocational studies, he worked in a factory and served 2 years in the military. Then, in 1965, he was admitted to Sts Cyril and Methodius Theological Faculty in Litomĕřice. On 5 January 1968, he secretly entered the Order of Friars Preachers - then illegal in Czechoslavakia -  and  was given the name Dominik. He holds a licence in theology.

He  was ordained a priest on 22 June 1970 and made his solemn profession in the Order of Friars Preachers on 7 January 1972. In 1975 his state permit as a "spiritual administrator" was withdrawn and for the following years he worked as a designer in an automobile factory. While he worked in the factory, he continued to study and attended clandestine meetings with the Dominicans at his own risk. From 1975 to 1986 he served as provincial vicar and from 1976 to 1981, taught seminarians. He also helped set up the clandestine religious studies centre and organized activities for young Dominicans. In 1981 he was sentenced to 15 months in prison at Plzeň-Bory, accused of "religious activities".

In 1986 he was superior of the Dominican Provincial. In November 1989 he was elected president of the Conference of Major Superiors of the Czech Republic and, in 1992-1996, vice president of the Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors. He also taught biblical theology at Palacký University, Olomouc, and was a member of the Accreditation Commission with the government from 1990 to 1998.

He received episcopal ordination on 26 September 1998, subsequent to his appointment as Bishop of Hradec Králové on 6 June 1998. He promoted various initiatives in his diocese, including founding the theological institute in Skuteč. In 2002 he convoked the second diocesan Eucharistic congress. He published the new statutes of the Holy Spirit Cathedral Chapter and appointed nine canons. From 2000 to 2004 he was vice-president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference and organized the celebrations for the seventh centenary of Holy Spirit Cathedral.

On 13 February 2010, Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Prague. He is also Grand Chancellor of the city’s Theology Faculty.

On 21 April 2010, he was elected president of the Czech Bishops’ Conference. He is a member of the Czech Ethical Forum and of the Scientific Council of the Theology Faculty of Prague. He is president of the administrative Council of the Catholic Biblical Society and of the Centre for Biblical Studies, a member of the Confederation of Political Prisoners and assistant editor of the journals Salve and Communio. He made a major  contribution to translating the Jerusalem Bible into Czech.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 18 February 2012, of the Title of Santi Marcellino e Pietro (Sts. Marcellinus and Peter).

Member of:

  • Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
  • Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace



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