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Pope appoints new Polish Primate

Gniezno Cathedral

Gniezno Cathedral

Pope Benedict appointed Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk, Papal Nuncio to Poland, as the country's new Primate, and Archbishop of Gniezno, on Saturday.  The Holy Father also accepted the resignation of Archbishop Henryk Muszynski, 77, who has retired due to age.

The news was announced in Kraków by church spokesman Father Jozef Kloch. Archbishop Kowalczyk is likely to take up his new post in June.

Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk is 71. He was born in Jadowniki Mokre near Tarnow, south-eastern Poland and ordained in Olsztyn in 1962. He has served as the Apostolic Nuncio to Poland since 1989.

Among his duties as Nuncio, Archbishop Kowalczyk negotiated the text of the Concordat between the Holy See and Poland signed in 1993 and ratified in 1998.  He also helped organise the pilgrimages of John Paul II and later Benedict XVI to Poland.