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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 30.11.2013]


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


WOELKI Card. Rainer Maria


Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Archbishop of Berlin, was born on 18 August 1956 in Cologne, Germany.

He was ordained a priest on 14 June 1985. He holds a doctorate in theology. From 1985 until 1989 he served as parish vicar at St. Marien in Neuss. In 1989 he was appointed military chaplain in Münster and in 1990 parish vicar at St. Joseph’s in Ratingen.

In 1990 he was appointed secretary of the Archbishop of Cologne.

In 1997 he became director of the Collegium Albertinum in Bonn for the seminarians studying theology at the University of Bonn.

On 24 February 2003 he was appointed titular Bishop of Scampa and Auxiliary of Cologne. He received episcopal ordination on 30 March 2003.

On 2 July 2011 he was appointed Archbishop of Berlin. Less than a month after being installed as Archbishop he welcomed Benedict XVI on the Pope’s third Visit to his homeland.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 18 February 2012, of the Title of San Giovanni Maria Vianney (St. John Vianney).

Member of:

  • Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

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