German Version

September 13th 1998 - Grillmeier, Alois Cardinal
† in Unterhaching

Alois Grillmeier was born on January 1st 1910 in Pechbrunn in Upper Palatinate. His parents were farmers. He grew up together with four brothers and three sisters. His somewhat younger brother John became also Jesuit, three years after Alois. The secondary school was visited by Alois in Regensburg.

After the final examination he entered on April 11th 1929 the noviciate of the Society of Jesus in Tisis (Vorarlberg). After his studies of philosophy in Pullach near Munich, and theology in Valkenburg (the Netherlands) and in Frankfurt/M., he was ordained priest on June 24th 1937 by Cardinal Michael Faulhaber in Munich, together with Father Alfred Delp.

His further theological studies were war conditioned difficult ones. Several times he had to change his domicile due to the expulsions by the National Socialists. Finally he could finish his graduation in Freiburg on February 9th 1942. For two years he was a soldier, but in April 1944 he was dismissed from the military service because of his affiliation to the Society of Jesus. In the same year he began his theological teaching, which led him over short stages in Pullach and Büren to Frankfurt, Sankt Georgen. That university became the centre of his extremely fruitful working - up to his retirement in 1978, and far beyond that.

During the Second Vatican Council Limburg's Bishop Wilhelm Kempf assigned him to his theological advisor. In 1963 he became a Council Theologian, and co-operated in a commission with Karol Wojtyla, the later Pope John Paul II.

He became internationally known by the co-editorship of the three volumes 'The Council of Chalkedony', and finally - beside many other publications - by the work in several volumes 'Jesus Christ in the Faith of the Church', which has been translated into several languages. This work is characterized by its ecumenical orientation. It wants to make a contribution to the overcoming of the schisms of the first centuries. For him personally Father Grillmeier regarded it always as a grace to be allowed to work on such a work, since it revolved round Jesus Christ, the centre of his faith. By that scientific work he was, as it were, predestined to work as advisor in numerous ecumenical commissions, and in many discussions among the churches.

He got several honours. In 1977 the University of Mainz, and in 1990 the University of Bamberg bestowed the honorary doctor on him. In 1993 he was elected corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. 1994 brought the culmination: on November 26th he was created Cardinal by Pope Johannes Paul II. That honour met him at a time, when he had already had to take leave from the scientific work - which was not easy for him. Due to a paralysis he was bound to the wheelchair. In 1994 he moved from Frankfurt to Munich into the ward of the Berchmans College, and three years later into the home for aged Jesuits of the South German Province in Munich-Unterhaching, where he gave his life back into the hands of God on September 13th 1998.


[back to Otto Syre's SJ-Calendar]

Link to 'Public Con-Spiracy for the Poor'