Biography of Péter Erdő
Jan 16, 2006
Péter Erdő, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, primate of Hungary, was born in Budapest on 25th of June, 1952. He is the first of six children an intellectual family, the parents being Dr. Sándor Erdő and Mária Kiss.
(magyarkurir.hu, Sept. 7 2005) He received has secondary education at the Piarist Secondary Grammar School in Budapest. For one year, he prepared for the priestly vocation in the Archiepiscopal Seminary in Esztergom, and continued in the Central Seminary in Budapest. He pursued his theological studies first at the Archiepiscopal School of Theology, then at the Roman Catholic Academy of Theology. In 1950 the Institute succeeded the Faculty of Theology of the university, which was founded in 1635 by Péter Pázmány and had at that time the legal status of a pontifical faculty of theology.
He was ordained a priest on 18th of June, 1975, in Budapest. Between 1975 and 1977 he was working as a parochial vicar in Dorog, receiving in 1976 from the Academy of Theology his doctorate (PhD) in theology summa cum laude. As a scholarship student of the Pontifical Hungarian Institute in Rome, he studied Canon Law at the Institutum Utriusque Iuris of the Pontificia Universitá Lateranense from 1977 to 1980, concluding his studies by obtaining a doctorate (PhD) degree in Canon Law.
He was teacher of theology at the Archiepiscopal School of Theology in Esztergom between 1980 and 1986, and habilitated (i.e. qualified for being professor) in theology at the Academy of Theology in Budapest in 1983. First as a temporary lecturer from 1986 to 1988, and later as professor he was an invited to the Pontificia Universitá Gregoriana in Rome from 1988 to 2002. In 1987 he was the acting rector of the Pontifical Hungarian Institute in Rome. From 1988 to 2002 he worked in the status of professor as well as the head of department at the Péter Pázmány Academy of Theology (which in 1993 assumed the name of its founder, Pázmány Péter, and is called Faculty of Theology of the Péter Pázmány Catholic University). He was elected its dean for the period 1996-1998. Between 1998 and 2003 he held the office of rector of the Péter Pázmány Catholic University, while also being the president of the Postgraduate Institute of Canon Law of the same university from 1996 to 2003.
He was twice (1995, 1996) awarded a research scholarship of the University of California. In 1994-1995 he was judicial vicar at the Archiepiscopal Court of Esztergom, between 1994 and 1998 an episcopal vicar in the Archdiocese of Esztergom–Budapest. He taught as visiting professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentína (Buenos Aires, 1996) and the Pontificia Universitá Lateranense (Rome, 1997).
In 1990 he was appointed prelate of honour by His Holiness, and in 1994 became apostolic protonotary. Promoted to titular bishop of Puppi and nominated auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Székesfehérvár by pope John Paul II on 5th of November, 1999. He was ordained a bishop by His Holiness on 6th January 2000 in St Peter's Basilica in Rome. He held the post of auxiliary bishop from llth of January 2000 to 7th of December, 2002.
From 1986 he first served as secretary, and later, in 1999 as president of the Commisson on Ecclesiastical Law of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops' Conference. He is a consultor to three dicasteries of the Apostolic See: the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifcal Council for Legislative Texts and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
He is a member of the board of directors of the Consociatio Internationalis Studio Iuris Canonici Promovendo (Rome), the Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law (Munich) and the Associatio Winfried Schulz (Berlin), as well as of the Fédération des Universités Catholiques Européennes (FUCE, Paris–Barcelona), and the Hungarian Rectors' Conference (Budapest). Between 1990 and 2001 he served as a member of various boards of curators and bodies on higher Education, such as the Scholarly Council of Higher Education (FTT, Budapest). As a representative of the Catholic Church, he participated in the preparation of numerous legal statutes, and as a member of the Church Delegation took part in the preparation of various agreements between the Republic of Hungary and the Apostolic See. Since 2001 he has been a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Salzburg).
In the meantime he pursued a considerable scholarly activity, which resulted in cca. 200 papers and 20 volumes in the field of Canon Law and the history of medieval Canon Law. The most significant items of these are as follows: Az ókeresztény kor egyházfegyelme (Church discipline of the Early Christianity), Budapest 1983; Az Egyházi Törvénykönyv (Hungarian translation and commentary of the Code of Canon Law), Budapest 1985, 2001; L'ufficio del primate nella canonistica da Graziano ad Uguccione da Pisa, Roma 1986; Introductio in kistoriam scientiae canozicae, Roma 1990 (in Spanish: Buenos Aires 1993), revised edition in Italian: Roma 1999 (English and German translations in press); Egyházjog (Ecclesiastical law), Budapest 1992; Egyházi alkotynányjog (The constitutional law of the Church), Budapest 1993, 1996 (in Ucrainian: Lviv 1998); Egyház és vallás a mai magyar jogban (Church and religion in contemporary Hungarian law, with Balázs Schanda), Budapest 1994; Az egyházjog teológiája (Theology of ecclesiastical law), Budapest 1995 (in Italian: Torino 1996, in German: Münster 1999, in Spanish: Budapest 2002); Bonn-Budapest. Kanonistische Erträge einer Zusanamenarbeit (editor), Würzburg 1997; Az egyházjog forrásai. Törtérzeti bevezetés (The sources of ecclesiastical law. An historical introduction), Budapest 1998 (in German: 2002); Egyházjog a középkori Magyaroszágon (Ecclesiastical law in medieval Hungary), Budapest 2001.
His activity is completed by the founding, initiating and editing of various reviews and series (Folia theologica, Folia Cazzonica, Kánonjog, Teológia between 1996 and 1998; Studia Theologica Budapestinensia, Bibliotheca Instituti Postgradualis Iuris Canonici, Pázmány Könyvek). He is currently editor or member of the scientific board of the following reviews and series: Communio. Nemzetközi katolikus folyóirat (Budapest); Revista Espanola de Derecho Canónico (Salamanca), Magyar Felsőoktatás (Budapest), Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law (Munich–Rome), Amateca Teológiai Kézikönyv Sorozat (Milan, Hungarian edition: Szeged).
As a recognition of these outstanding scholarly achievements he has been awarded the following prizes and honours: honorary doctorate of the Institut Catholique de Paris (1996); Stephanus Prize, Budapest (1997); Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (1998); Galileo Galilei Prize, Pisa (1999); honorary doctorate of the Babes–Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca/ Kolozsvár (2001).
On 7th of December, 2002, he was transferred by pope John Paul II to the metropolitan see of Esztergom-Budapest and nominated archbishop of Esztergom–Budapest, primate of Hungary. The new primate, the 82nd archbishop of Esztergom, was installed in the Cathedral Basilica of Esztergom on 11th January 2003 and met the faithful of the capital in the Concathedral Basilica of St. Stephen in Budapest on 2nd February 2003. On Szeptember 28th, 2003, His Holiness, John Paul II, maid him a member of the college of Cardinals. On Oktober 10th, 2003 he defended the doctorate degree from at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.