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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 14.10.2013]


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


ERDŐ Card. Péter

© Arturo Mari/L'Osservatore Romano



Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and Primate of Hungary, was born in Budapest on 25 June 1952, the first of six children in a family of Catholic intellectuals.

He was ordained priest on 18 June 1975 in Budapest. Between 1975-1977 he served in a parish in the city of Dorog. He obtained a Doctorate in Theology in 1976. Between 1977-1980 he studied at the Pontifical Lateran UniversityÂ’s Institutum Utriusque Iuris in Rome, at the end of which he obtained a Doctorate in Canon Law (1980).

Between 1980-1986 he was professor of theology in Esztergom. From 1986 to 1988 he was a lecturer and from 1988-2002 visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University. From 1988 to 2002 he was professor of Canon Law and from 1988 to 2003 Rector of the Péter Pázmány Catholic University. From 1996 to 2003 he was also Dean of the post-graduate Canon Law Institute. During his rectorship, the Péter Pázmány University gained pontifical status and opened a new Faculty of Information Technology.

On 5 November 1999 was nominated by John Paul II titular Bishop of Puppi and Auxiliary of Székesfehérvár, receiving episcopal ordination on 6 January 2000.

On 7 December 2012, Pope John Paul II transferred him to the Metropolitan See of Esztergom-Budapest, appointing him Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, and Primate of Hungary. He was created Cardinal on 21 October 2003.

In 2005 he was elected President of the Hungarian BishopsÂ’ Conference, and was re-elected in 2010 for another five-year mandate. In 2006 he became President of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, and was re-elected in 2011.

He participated in the city missions in the great European cities (Vienna, Paris, Lisbon, Brussels and Budapest). He was one of the initiators and one of the two co-presidents of the Catholic-Orthodox European Forum.

Since 2003 he has participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, including those devoted to Africa (2009) and the Middle East (2010).

His prodigious systematic reading has led to the publication of more than 250 articles and 25 books in the fields of Canon Law and the medieval history of Canon Law. He has also published a number of cultural and spiritual works.

He has received a number of awards and honours: an honorary doctorate from the Institut Catholique de Paris (1996), from the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj Napoca (2001), from the Catholic University of Lublin (2004), from the University of Munich (2007), Constanza (2008), from the Stepan Wyszyiński University in Warsaw (2011) and from the University of Navarra (2011). He has also received the Galileo Galilei prize (Pisa, 1999).

On 14 October 2014 he was nominated General Relator of the third Extraordinary General Assemby of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October 2014), on the theme: Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the consistory of 21 October 2003, of the Title of S. Balbina (St. Balbina).

Member of:

  • Secretariat of State (second section);
  • Congregations: for Catholic Education; for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments;
  • Pontifical Councils: for Legislative Texts; for Culture;
  • Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura;
  • XIII Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops.

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