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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 16.12.2013]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press, for the exclusive use of accredited journalists.


KOCH Card. Kurt


Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was born on 15 March 1950 in Emmenbrücke, diocese of Basel (Switzerland).

He studied theology at the University of Munich and at the University of Lucerne, graduating in 1975.

He was ordained a priest on 20 June 1982. He served as parish priest of St. Marien in Bern until 1985, as well as lecturer in fundamental theology at the Faculty of Fribourg.

In 1987, he completed his doctorate in theology and in 1989 became professor of dogmatic theology and liturgy at the University of Lucerne, eventually becoming rector of the faculty of theology in 1995.

On 6 December 1995 he was appointed bishop of Basel and was consecrated on 6 January 1996 in Rome.

From 1998 to 2006, he was vice-president of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference and president from 2007 to 2009.

On 1 July 2010 he was appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity with the title of archbishop. 

At the end of August 2010, Pope Benedict XVI entrusted him with the role of Principal-Relator to the so-called Ratzinger Schülkreis, a group of the Pope’s former students who meet annually at Castel Gandolfo, and held two conferences on the correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council and on liturgical reform.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 20 November 2010, of the Deaconry of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart)

Member of:

  • Congregations: for the Doctrine of the Faith;  for the Oriental Churches, for the Causes of Saints; for Bishops; for Catholic Education;

  • Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.


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