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Pope Francis and Archbishop Georg Gänswein at the Vatican in 2023 (CNS/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the former private secretary to the late Pope Benedict XVI, to a diplomatic role in the Baltic states. Source: CNA.

The Vatican announced yesterday that Archbishop Gänswein will serve as the apostolic nuncio, or papal ambassador, to Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia.

The appointment comes after months of speculation and rumour across Rome and the Church in Germany as to Archbishop Gänswein’s future after the death of Benedict XVI.

The relationship between Archbishop Gänswein and Pope Francis has been notably strained.

In a recent Spanish-language interview book, El Sucesor, Pope Francis went so far as to say Benedict was “being used” by Archbishop Gänswein in the context of the publication of a “tell-all” book.

Last year, Pope Francis instructed Archbishop Gänswein to return to Germany, leaving him without any official role in the Church. The 67-year-old has resided in his home region in southern Germany since July 2023, where he is an honorary canon in the Freiburg cathedral.

Before his departure from the Eternal City, Archbishop Gänswein spent many years in Rome. He served as Benedict XVI’s personal secretary from 2003 until the Bavarian pope’s death on December 31, 2022.

Benedict also appointed him to serve as the prefect of the papal household in 2012, a role he carried into the pontificate of Pope Francis and concluded in February 2023.

Hailing from the Black Forest region of Germany, the son of a blacksmith was ordained a priest in 1984 by Archbishop Oskar Saier in Freiburg and holds a doctorate in canon law from Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich.

Archbishop Gänswein succeeds Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, who served as the nuncio to the Baltic states until Pope Francis reassigned him as apostolic nuncio to Austria in 2019.


Pope Francis appoints Gänswein to diplomatic role in Baltic states (By Courtney Mares, CNA)