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His Eminence Adrianus Johannes Simonis
  • Cardinal
  • Archbishop Emeritus of Utrecht
  • Primate Emeritus of the Netherlands
Simonis in 1982
See Utrecht
Enthroned 3 December 1983
Reign ended 14 April 2007
Predecessor Johannes Willebrands
Successor Wim Eijk
Other posts Cardinal Priest of San Clemente
Ordination 15 June 1957
Consecration 20 March 1971
by Bernardus Johannes Alfrink
Created Cardinal 25 May 1985
Rank Cardinal priest
Personal details
Born (1931-11-26)26 November 1931
Lisse, Netherlands
Died 2 September 2020(2020-09-02) (aged 88)
Voorhout, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
  • Bishop of Rotterdam (1970–1983)
Motto Ut cognoscant te
('So that they may know you')
Styles of
Adrianus Johannes Simonis
Coat of arms of Adrianus Simonis.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Utrecht

Adrianus Johannes Simonis (26 November 1931 – 2 September 2020) was a Dutch cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Utrecht from 1983 to 2007, and was made a cardinal in 1985.


Simonis was born in Lisse, South Holland, the second eldest of eleven children. He studied at the Seminary of Hageveld from 1945 to 1951, and at the Major Seminary, Warmond, from 1951 to 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Martien Jansen on 15 June 1957, and then did pastoral work in the Diocese of Rotterdam until 1959, serving as curate at the parish of Saint Victor in Waddinxveen and later at the parish Holy Martyrs Gorinchem in Rotterdam.

From 1959 to 1966, he furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) and the Pontifical Biblical Institute, from where he obtained a doctorate cum laude in biblical exegesis with a thesis entitled: "Jesus as the Good Shepherd in the Gospel of Saint John". Following his return to the Netherlands, he served as pastor of the parish of Blessed Sacrament in The Hague (1966–1970) and chaplain in the Red Cross Hospital. He became a canon of the cathedral chapter of Rotterdam in March 1969.

He was associated with the conservative side of the Dutch church, which was very divided in the years following the Second Vatican Council. He later disputed the label, telling an interviewer: "They say 'conservative', but I say with Saint Paul: 'Test all things; hold fast what is good'. In that sense I am conservative." Pope Paul VI named him Bishop of Rotterdam on 29 December 1970, at the age of 39.

Pope John Paul II appointed Simonis Archbishop Coadjutor of Utrecht on 27 June 1983 and he succeeded as archbishop there upon the resignation of Cardinal Johannes Willebrands on 3 December 1983. On 6 December he was made a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

A former president of the Dutch Bishops' Conference, Simonis was a major supporter of Pope John Paul's visit to the Netherlands in 1985.

He was elevated to the College of Cardinals during the consistory of 25 May 1985, as Cardinal-Priest of the Basilica of San Clemente, making him the seventh cardinal of the Dutch Church. He was a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and of the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He held these memberships until his 80th birthday on 26 November 2011.

Simonis was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

Simonis sent his letter of resignation as Archbishop of Utrecht to Pope Benedict on 13 November 2006, and the Pope accepted it on 14 April 2007, two months before Simonis celebrated his golden jubilee as a priest on 15 June. Simonis continued to govern the archdiocese as Apostolic Administrator until his successor, Wim Eijk, who was appointed on 11 December of the same year, took possession of the see on 28 January 2008.

Simonis died on 2 September 2020 at a care centre in Voorhout.

See also

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