SYNOD OF BISHOPS
His Excellency, Most Rev. Nikola ETEROVIĆ
General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops
His Excellency, Most Rev. Nikola Eterović was born on 20 January 1951 in Pučišća, on the Island of Brač, Croatia, the fifth of six children of the late Ante Eterović and Franka Martinić. He was baptized in the parish Church of St. Jerome, 4 February 1951.
After completing elementary school in his birthplace, he enrolled in the Metropolitan Seminary in Split, where, from 1965-1969, he pursued a classical high school education. He then undertook two years of philosophy in the Major Seminary at Split, followed by two years of military service in the Navy.
In 1972, he was sent by his bishop, Most Rev. Celestin Bezmalinović, to continue his theological studies in Rome, living at the Capranica College and frequenting classes at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
On 26 June 1977, he was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Hvar (Croatia).
During his initial years of priesthood, he pursued studies in Rome and was chosen by the competent ecclesiastical authorities to enter the diplomatic service of the Holy See, becoming an alumnus of the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastics. He enrolled in the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Lateran University and, in 1979, successfully completed his licentiate in Canon Law. On 19 February 1980, he obtained his doctorate in Missiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University and, the following month, underwent final examinations at the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastics, effectively entering the diplomatic service of the Holy See on 25 March 1980.
From 1980 to 1983, he was Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ivory Coast, with its seat in Abidjan, whose jurisdiction extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sahara Desert, including also Niger and Burkina Faso. He spent the following four years, 1983 - 1987, in the Apostolic Nunciature in Madrid (Spain), and then, from 1987 to the beginning of 1990, in Managua in the Apostolic Nunciature in Nicaragua.
From February 1990 to May 1999, he worked in the Vatican Secretariat of State, in the Section for Relations with States. He was part, among other things, of the entourage of Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Visits to Croatia (10-11 September 1994, 2-4 October 1998) and Romania (7-8 May 1999).
Archbishop Eterović was appointed Chaplain to His Holiness on 2 February 1984 and Prelate of Honor on 25 January 1996.
On 22 May 1999 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Titular Archbishop of Sisak and Apostolic Nunzio in Ukraine. After being ordained on 10 July, in the Cathedral of Hvar by His Eminence, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, he began his mission as papal representative in Ukraine, 25 August 1999, presenting letters of credence to the President of the Republic, Mr. Leonid Kuchma. From 23 to 27 June 2001 he welcomed Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Visit to Ukraine.
After five years of service as Apostolic Nuncio, on 11 February 2004, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II appointed Archbishop Eterović, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops (Vatican City).
Under the Presidency of Pope Benedict XVI, he coordinated the preparation and celebration of three Ordinary General Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops: the Eleventh, from 2 to 23 October 2005 which treated the topic: The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church; the Twelfth, from 5 to 26 October 2008, on The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church; and the Thirteenth, from 7 to 28 October 2012, on the topic of The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. He also organized two Special Assemblies: that for Africa, from 4 to 25 October 2009, on the topic of The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace; and that for the Middle East, from 10 to 24 October 2010, on the topic of The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.
He took part in the signing ceremonies of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortations of Pope Benedict XI: Sacramentum caritatis (25 February 2008); Verbum Domini (11 November 2010); Africae munus (19 November 2011); and Ecclesia in Medio Oriente (14 September 2012).
He accompanied the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, on his Apostolic Trips to Cameroon and Angola (17-23 March 2009), Cyprus (4-6 June 2010, Croatia (4-5 June 2011), Benin (18-20 November 2011) and Lebanon (14-16 September 2012).
His Excellency, Archbishop Nikola Eterović is also a member of various entities of the Holy See: the Congregation for Bishops, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He participated in the 48th International Eucharistic Congress in Guadalupe, Mexico (10 - 17 October 2004 and the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, Brazil (13-31 May 2007).
In December, 2009, with the erection of the Diocese of Sisak as a residential See, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI transferred him to the new Titular See of Cibale (Vinkovci in Croatia).
During his diplomatic activity through the years, Archbishop Eterović, when possible, also engaged in pastoral work in the parish of St. Theresa of Marcory in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and the parish of St. Martin de Porres in Managua (Nicaragua). While on assignment in Madrid, he regularly celebrated Holy Mass at the Generalate of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. In Rome, he celebrated Sunday Mass in the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, associated with the Congregation of Calasanctius Sisters and affiliated with the parish of St. Linus, Pope and Martyr.
In addition to his mother-tongue, Croatian, the Archbishop is fluent in Italian, French, Spanish, English, German, Ukrainian and is also acquainted with Polish and Russian.
He has published many articles and the following works:
- Cristianesimo e religioni secondo Henri de Lubac (Città Nuova Editrice, Rome 1981), which is his doctoral thesis.
- The Observations and Discoveries of Captain John Puljizić, Military Engineer” (Književni krug, Split 1998);
- Accords Between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia (Glas Koncila, Zagreb 2001) with comments on the four agreements between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia: on matters of law; on collaboration in the fields of education and culture; on religious assistance to the Catholics in the Armed Forces and Police of the Republic of Croatia and on economic matters; and
- Diplomacy and Theology: Studies, Essays and Articles (Crkva u svijetu, Split 2002) which sets forth his contribution with those of others in the fields of theology, concordat law and history.
- The Holy See (Vatican City) and Ukraine (Duh i Litera, Kiev 2004); and
- On the Streets of Ukraine (Svichado, Lviv 2007), on the pastoral and social aspects of his mission as Nunzio.
On the subject of Synod of Bishops:
- Preface to the Enchridion del Sinodo dei Vescovi, I (1965-1988), II (1989-1995), III (996-2007 (compiled under the auspices of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops); Edizioni Dehoniane, Bologna, 2005-2006, 2008);
- Il Sinodo dei Vescovi, 40 anni di storia 1965-2005, ed. (Lateran University Press, Vatican City 2006);
- La Parola di Dio. Riflessioni sulla XII Assemblea Generale Ordinaria del Sinodo dei Vescovi. Papa Benedetto XVI e il Sinodo (Vatican Publishing House, Vatican City 2010);
- La Parola di Dio nella vita e nella missione della Chiesa, ed. (Lateran University Press, Vatican City 2011);
- Il Vescovo servitore del Vangelo di Gesù Cristo per la speranza del mondo, ed. (Lateran University Press, Vatican City 2012); and
- Sinodi Continentali. I Consigli Speciali del Sinodo dei Vescovi (Vatican Publishing House, Vatican City 2013).