Styles of
Giovanni Cardinal Colombo
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Milan (Emeritus)

Giovanni Colombo (December 6, 1902—May 20, 1992) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Milan from 1963 to 1979, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1965.


Giovanni Colombo was born in Caronno Pertusella, Lombardy, as the sixth of the seven children of Enrico and Luigia (née Millefanti) Colombo. His mother worked as a shirt-maker and embroiderer. Colombo was baptized on two days later, on December 8.

Initially studying with the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Ivrea, he then attended seminaries in Seveso, Monza, and Milan (where he obtained a doctorate in theology in 1926), and received a doctorate in letters from the Catholic University of Milan in 1932. Receiving the clerical tonsure on May 26, 1923, Colombo was eventually ordained to the priesthood by Eugenio Cardinal Tosi, OSSCA, on May 29, 1926 in the Cathedral of Milan. He was then made Professor of Letters at the Seveso seminary in October of that same year.

At the seminary in Venegono Inferiore, he served as Professor of Italian (named in October 1931), Professor of Sacred Eloquence (1932-1944), and rector (August 2, 1939-1953). Professor of Italian language and literature at the Faculties of Education and of Letters and Philosophy of the Catholic University of Sacro Cuore of Milan, 1937-1939. Colombo was raised to the rank of Monsignor on December 7, 1948, and later Rector Major of the Seminaries of Milan on July 23, 1953. On August 30, 1954, he administered Extreme Unction to Ildefonso Schuster, who would be beatified in 1991.

On 25 October 1960, Colombo was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Milan and Titular Bishop of Philippopolis in Arabia. He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 7 from Giovanni Cardinal Montini, with Archbishop Anacleto Cazzaniga and Bishop Giuseppe Schiavini serving as co-consecrators. Sitting on the Conciliar preparatory commissions for seminaries and universities, Colombo attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), during the course of which he was named by Pope Paul VI to succeed him as Archbishop of Milan on August 10, 1963. Along with Bernard Alfrink, he assisted Achille Liénart in delivering one of the closing messages of the Council on December 8, 1965[1].

He was created Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Silvestro e Martino ai Monti by Pope Paul in the consistory of 22 February 1965, and was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978. In the latter conclave, the ill Cardinal obtained many votes as a compromise candidate between Giuseppe Siri and Giovanni Benelli, but he stated that he would decline the papacy in the event of his election[2] and so Karol Cardinal Wojtyla was elected instead. He retired as head of the Milanese see on 29 December 1979.

Colombo died in Milan, at age 89. He is buried under the pavement of the right side nave in front of the altar that contains the remains of Blessed Cardinal Schuster in the Milan Cathedral.



  1. Christus Rex. To Rulers
  2. Thomas J. Reese, SJ; Inside The Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church; page 99, published 1996 by Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674932617
  3. Lefebvre, Marcel. "They Have Uncrowned Him." 4th ed. Kansas City: Angelus Press, 1988.

External links

Preceded by
Giovanni Battista Montini
Archbishop of Milan
Succeeded by
Carlo Martini, SJ
la:Ioannes Colombono:Giovanni Colombofi:Giovanni Colombo

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.