|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Sterzinsky was born in Warlack (earlier also Wurlacken, Warlaucken, now Worławki, Olsztyn County), Landkreis Heilsberg, in German East Prussia. He lost his mother as a child and his family took refuge in Thuringia, due to the expulsions following the end of World War II; his homeland of Warmia is now within Poland.
Priest and bishop
Sterzinsky was ordained a priest in 1960. After serving as a parish priest for fifteen years, he became Vicar General to the Bishop of Erfurt in 1981. In 1989, he himself was appointed Bishop of Berlin and, in 1994, while remaining at the See of Berlin, he was promoted to the position of Archbishop of Berlin.
Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal Sterzinsky's retirement as Metropolitan Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin on 24 February 2011, for reasons of age (he had reached the age limit of 75, at which all bishops must write a letter to the Pope, offering to resign if the Pope wants).
No successor was immediately named for Cardinal Sterzinsky upon his retirement, so the Archdiocese of Berlin was a vacant see (sede vacante) at the time. On 2 July 2011, two days after the Cardinal's death, Pope Benedict XVI, named Rainer Maria Woelki as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Berlin.
In April 2011 Cardinal Sterzinsky was transferred to a rehabilitation clinic. Since the Cardinal's resignation, Auxiliary Bishop Matthias Heinrich had been the apostolic administrator until the new Archbishop was named. In May 2011 it was reported that his condition was very serious after he developed pneumonia and had to be brought from the rehabilitation centre back to the hospital. Cardinal Sterzinsky died on 30 June. Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram of condolence to Auxiliary Bishop Heinrich, expressing his closeness to the people of the Archdiocese and praising Sterzinsky's efforts in serving the people of Berlin during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transition to a united Germany.
In November 2004, Sterzinsky criticized the notion of "gay marriage". He argued in a sermon that it could be necessary for Catholics to protest and resist gay marriage laws "die dem Gesetz Gottes widersprechen" ("that are contradictory to the laws of God").
- "Berliner Erzbischof Sterzinsky gestorben". Berliner Morgenpost. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
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|Catholic Church titles|
Bishop, then Archbishop of Berlin
Rainer Maria Woelki
|Chairman of the Berlin Conference of Catholic Bishops
Members of Berlin Conference joined German Bishops' Conference