Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti to head the Dicastery for Eastern Churches. The change in leadership comes after 15 years with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as prefect, who recently turned 79. Pope Benedict XVI entrusted Cardinal Sandri with the post of prefect in June 2007, and he was reconfirmed by Pope Francis in 2014. Archbishop Gugerotti, 67, will succeed the cardinal as prefect in mid-January.
Born in Verona in 1955, Archbishop Gugerotti joined the Pious Society of Don Nicola Mazza and was ordained a priest in 1982. At the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice he received a degree in Eastern languages and literature, as well as a licentiate in Liturgy at the Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo and a doctorate at the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He teaches at universities in Venice, Padua and Rome, as well as at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Archbishop Gugerotti worked at the Congregation for Eastern Churches, currently the Dicastery for Eastern Churches, in his wide-ranging service at the Holy See starting in 1985. In 1997, Pope John Paul II appointed him undersecretary of the congregation. He served as a consultant to the Office for Papal Liturgical Celebrations from 1990 to 2001, the year in which the pope appointed him titular archbishop of Ravello in December. He was ordained a bishop by John Paul II in 2002. He then began his service in various nunciatures around the world, serving as apostolic nuncio to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine and, most recently, Great Britain.
In addition to numerous articles and essays, Archbishop Gugerotti is author of several books in Italian on the Eastern churches and Eastern Liturgy.