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Aloys Grillmeier

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His Eminence
 Aloys Grillmeier
See San Nicola in Carcere
Enthroned 26 November 1994
Reign ended 13 September 1998
Predecessor Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle
Successor Zenon Grocholewski
Ordination 24 June 1934
Created Cardinal 21 October 2003
Rank Cardinal Deacon
Personal details
Born January 1, 1910(1910-01-01)
Pechbrunn, Germany
Died September 13, 1998 (aged 88)
Unterhaching, Germany
Buried Pullach im Isartal
Nationality Germany
Profession Theologian

Aloys Grillmeier (1 January 1910 - 13 September 1998) was a theologian and cardinal-deacon of the Catholic Church. Born in Pechbrunn, Germany, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 24, 1937, for the Society of Jesus. Pope John Paul II created him cardinal-deacon of San Nicola in Carcere on November 26, 1994.[1]


Grillmeier entered the Jesuit order in April 1929 after completing grammar school in Regensburg. He studied philosophy in Munich and theology in Valkenburg in the Netherlands. He was ordained priest in June 24th 1937 in the middle of further theological studies in Frankfurt am Main. He gained his doctorate in February 1942 in Freiburg after studying in Rome. Two days after the graduation ceremony he was conscripted into the army and trained as a medical orderly in Ulm. He was then sent to the Eastern Front where he treated the casualties of the bitter fighting against Soviet forces. He was released from further military service in April 1944 as a member of the Jesuits. Grillmeier then began a long teaching career in fundamental and dogmatic theology, most of which was spent as Professor of Dogmatics at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology (Frankfurt am Main), where the German Jesuits received their theological education.[2]

He became known at the Second Vatican Council, where he acted as theological adviser to Bishop Wilhelm Kempf of Limburg. From 1963 to 1965 he was also on the theology commission of the Council itself. He had a particular input into the drafting of the document "Lumen Gentium", the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. It was here that he first met Cardinal Woytyla and worked with him in writing various works, papers and documents including "Gaudium et Spes", "Lumen gentium", "Dei verbum" and "Dignitatis humanae".[3] He retired in 1978 on his 68th birthday, but continued to write and lecture. He died on September 13, 1998 in Unterhaching, Germany.


Grillmeier was committed to ecumenism. In the 1970s he became an adviser to the Pro Oriente Institute in Vienna, which promoted contact with other Christian Churches, especially in the East, and he took part in several unofficial theological dialogues with the Oriental Orthodox Churches.


Grillmeier's written output - 12 major books and several hundred academic articles - is a part of his legacy. His magnum opus "Christ in Christian Tradition" looked at the development of Christology from early Christian times to the ninth century, drawing particularly on the traditions of the Eastern Christian Church. Volume one was published in 1965 (with a revised version in 1975) and volume two in 1987. In a rare event, the work was published in English before the original German. Grillmeier published expanded versions of the second volume in the 1990s in collaboration with Theresia Hainthaler.




  1. Obituary on Aloys Grillmeier, in "The Independent"
  3. "Catholic", "Aloys Grillmeier"
  4. For bibliography see
la:Aloisius Grillmeier

no:Alois Grillmeier

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