Cardinal Priest of S Giuseppe all'Aurelio
Cardinal Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky, Archbishop of Berlin (Germany), was born on 9 February 1936 in Warlack, Germany. He was raised in a family rich of children, but already at a young age he lost his mother. Like many other families, even his, at the end of World War II in 1946 was forced to abandon their home to seek refuge in Thüringen. From 1948 he went to school in Erfurt, and in 1954 he began to study philosophy and theology at the regional seminary of Erfurt. On 29 June 1960 he was ordained a priest.
After spending two years at Eisenach, he served for 2 years as an assistant of theology at the seminary of Erfurt. In 1964 he was named Vicar at Heilegenstadt/Eichsfeld. For 15 years, from 1966 to 1981, he was a parish priest of the St. John the Baptist community at the University City of Jena, the most numerous parochial community within the territory of the old German Democratic Republic. On 25 June 1981 he was elected Vicar General to Bishop Joachim Wanke, Apostolic Administrator of the territories of Erfurt-Meiningen. During those years, he carried out an intense pastoral activity by occupying himself with giving assistance to deacons and candidates to the diaconate, catechists and women religious. His constant ecumenical dedication must also be remembered. On 28 May 1989 he was elected Bishop of Berlin and on the following 9th of September he received episcopal ordination. On 27 June 1994 he was named Archbishop of Berlin (Berlin was made a Metropolitan see).
In his although brief pastoral ministry, he already marked an era in the history of the German capital. In fact, as a Bishop he lived the events that had pronounced the end of 1989, in this case, the destruction of the iron curtain and the collapse of the Berlin wall.
On 11 November 1989, John Paul II wrote a letter to the Episcopal Conference of Berlin, stating that within a few days Msgr. Sterzinksy would be made president of the Conference. He was president until 1990, when the Episcopal Conference of Berlin (East Germany) was joined with the German Bishops’ Conference (West Germany) making just one Conference.
Archbishop of Berlin, 27 June 1994.