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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 Berlin 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.
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").
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