Biography of Cardinal Péter Erdő

Erdő Péter bíboros, prímás, esztergom-budapesti érsek
Péter Erdő, Cardinal, Primate of Hungary, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest
Photo: Merényi Zita/Magyar Kurír

Péter Erdő (1952-) is a cardinal, theologian, canonist, university professor, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Chairman of the St., Stephen Scientific Academy, and has been the Archbishop of the Esztergom-Budapest Archdiocese and Primate of Hungary since 2002. His motto is: Initio non erat nisi gratia – In the beginning there was nothing but grace.

Péter Erdő obtained a PhD in Theology at the Budapest Academy of Theology summa cum laude in 1976. Between 1977 and 1980, he studied canon law at the Pontificia Università Lateranense Utriusque Iuris Institution with a scholarship awarded by the Hungarian Papal Institute and obtained a PhD in canon law in 1980. Between 1986 and 1988, he worked as an appointed university professor at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana and then as a guest professor until 2002. Péter Erdő was a Head of Department at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University’s Faculty of Theology from 1988 and 2002 and was the Dean between 1996 and 1998. Between 1996 and 2003, he was President of the University’s Postgraduate Institute of Canon Law, and served as the Pázmány Péter Catholic University’s rector from 1998 until 2003.

He was awarded a research scholarship by the University of California (1995, 1996) and is a guest lecturer at, among others, the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1996) and the Pontificia Università Lateranense (Rome, 1997). He is a judge of the Signatura Apostolica and a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Péter Erdő served as the President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe between 2006 and 2016.

He is a member of the board of the Consociatio Internationalis Studio Iuris Canonici Promovendo (Rome), the Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law (Munich), the Association Winfried Schulz (Berlin), the Fédération des Universités Catholiques Européennes (Paris-Barcelona), and the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference. Between the years of 1990 and 2001, he was the member of a number of state higher education boards of trustees and associations, including the Higher Education and Scientific Council. He participated in the preparation of a number laws regarding the freedom of religion and the Church as a representative of the Catholic Church as well as in the preparatory works for a number of conventions between Hungary and the Holy See as a member of the Church delegation. Péter Erdő has been a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Salzburg) since 2001. He holds an honorary doctorate from, among others, the Catholic University of Paris, the Babeş-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca, the Catholic University of Lublin, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and the University of Navarra.