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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 06.02.2014]


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


SCHÖNBORN Card. Christoph, O.P.




Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P., Archbishop of Vienna and Ordinary for the faithful of the Byzantine rite in Austria, was born on 22 Janaury 1945 in what is now Skalsko, the Czech Republic. He studied theology at Le Saulchoir, philosophy and pyschology at the University of Vienna, Slavic and Byzantine Christianity at the Sorbonne and theology at the Catholic Institute of Paris. He was ordained for the Dominicans on 27 December 1970. He obtained a licentiate in theology in 1971 and a doctorate in theology in 1974 in Paris.

From 1973 to 1975 he was Chaplain at the University of Graz. He taught dogmatic and Eastern Christian theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He was member of the Theological Commission of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference (1980-1991), Swiss Commission for Dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics (1980-1987), Swiss Commission for Dialogue between Roman Catholics and Christians (1980-1984), International Commission of Theologians (since 1980), and the Foundation ‘Pro Oriente’ (since 1984). From 1987 to 1992 he served as secretary of the commission responsible for drafting the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

On 11 July 1991 he was appointed titular Bishop of Sutri and Auxiliary of Vienna and was ordained on 29 September 1991. He was then appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Vienna on 13 April 1995 and became Archbishop of Vienna on 14 September 1995.

In 1996 he preached the Lenten spiritual exercises for the Pope and the Roman Curia. He is the author of many publications.

Since June 1998 he is President of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 February 1998, of the Title of Gesù Divin Lavoratore (Jesus the Divine Worker).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for the Doctrine of the Faith; for the Oriental Churches; for Catholic Education;

  • Pontifical Councils: for Culture; for Promoting New Evangelization; for the Laity.

  • XIII Ordinary Council of the Secretariat General of the Synod of Bishops;

  • Cardinal Commission for the Supervision of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR).


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