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Archbishop Joachim Cardinal Meisner was born on Dec. 25, 1933. He studied in Erfurt, where he was ordained in 1962. From 1963 to 1975 he was chaplain in Heiligenstadt and rector in the Caritas organization. Cardinal Meisner received his doctorate of theology at the Gregoriana in Rome in 1969. In 1975 he was made a bishop and became a suffragan in Erfurt/Meiningen. In 1980 he was named Bishop of Berlin. In 1983 Joachim Meisner was elevated to the College of Cardinals. In 1988 he was elected Bishop of Cologne. He was a member of many Vatican congregations and councils and was chair of several commissions of the German Conference of Bishops.