File:Hermann Cardinal Volk.jpg
Styles of
Hermann Cardinal Volk
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Mainz (emeritus)

Hermann Cardinal Volk (December 27, 1903—July 1, 1988) was a German prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Mainz from 1962 to 1982, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1973.

Early life and ministry

Hermann Volk was born in Steinheim to Franz Volk, an upholsterer, and his wife Catharina Josepha Kaiser. He received his early education in Steinheim and Hanau, and then entered the seminary in Mainz, where he studied philosophy and theology for four years.

Volk was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Ludwig Hugo on April 27, 1927. He then did pastoral work in Mainz, serving as a chaplain in Alzey (1927-1931) and in St. Ignaz (1932-1935). From 1935 to 1938 he studied at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, from where he obtained his doctorate in philosophy, with a thesis entitled: Die Kreaturauffassung von Karl Barth, and his doctorate in theology, with a thesis on: Emil Brunners Lehre von der ursprünglichen Gottesebenbildlichkeit des Menschen.

Volk was an assistant of a vicariate in Gau-Odernheim from 1940 to 1941, when he was named Vicar of Nidda, where he would then serve as pastor from 1942 to 1945. In 1943 Volk obtained his habilitation in dogmatic theology from the University of Münster, with a work entitled: Emil Brunners Lehre von dem Sinder. He then served as Assistant Professor (1945-1946) and Professor (1946-1962) of Theology, and rector (1954-1955) at the University of Münster. He was raised to the rank of a Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on February 25, 1962.


On March 3, 1962, Volk was elected Bishop of Mainz by the cathedral chapter, and confirmed as such by Pope John XXIII on March 25, 1962. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 5 from Archbishop Hermann Schäufele, with Bishops Karl Leiprecht and Joseph Reuß serving as co-consecrators, in the Cathedral of Mainz.

Bishop Volk then attended the Second Vatican Council until 1965. Known as an advocate of ecumenism, the Bishop was dedicated to reconciling the Catholic Church and Protestant communities[1]. In 1963, he agreed to support a married Lutheran minister who had converted to Catholicism and wished to become a priest[2].


Pope Paul VI created him Cardinal Priest of Ss. Fabiano e Venanzio a Villa Fiorelli in the consistory of March 5, 1973. Volk was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Popes John Paul I and John Paul II respectfully.

After twenty years of service, he resigned as Bishop of Mainz on his seventy-ninth birthday, December 27, 1982. Volk later lost the right to participate in any future papal conclaves upon reaching age 80 on December 27, 1983.

The Cardinal died after a long illness[1] in Mainz, at age 84. He is buried in the Cathedral of Mainz.


  1. 1.0 1.1 New York Times. Herman Volk, Cardinal, 84 July 2, 1988
  2. TIME Magazine. The Married Priest July 10, 1964

External links

Preceded by
Albert Stohr
Bishop of Mainz
Succeeded by
Karl Lehmann
no:Hermann Volk