· Vatican City ·

Archbishop emeritus of Bogotá, Colombia

Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz passes away

 Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz passes away  ING-016
19 April 2024

Upon learning of the death of Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz, Archbishop emeritus of Bogotá, Colombia, Pope Francis expressed his condolences in a telegram addressed to Cardinal Luis José Rueda Aparicio, Archbishop of Bogotá. The following is a translation of the Pope’s telegram which was written in Spanish, accompanied by a brief biography of the late Cardinal.

Upon receiving the sad news of the death of Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz, Archbishop emeritus of this ecclesiastical circumscription, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to all the members of that particular church, his family and all those participating in the funeral rite.

As I offer prayers of suffrage for the eternal repose of this self-sacrificing Pastor who, by his dedication and work, gave his life for the good of the Church, I entrust him to the maternal intercession of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, and I affectionately impart the consoling Apostolic Blessing, as a sign of faith and hope in the Risen Christ.


Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz, Archbishop emeritus of Bogotá, Colombia, was born on 13 September 1932 in Cartago, Colombia. He was ordained for the then-Diocese of Cali on 8 July 1956 following theological studies at Laval University, Québec.

He was a parish priest, chaplain to Marco Fidel Suárez Air Force Academy, St Liberata National College and Our Lady of Remedies Clinic, archdiocesan treasurer and vicar for pastoral ministry, and vice-rector of Santiago College.

On 2 June 1971 he was appointed Bishop of Cúcuta and received episcopal ordination on 11 July. On 26 March 1983 he was promoted to Coadjutor Archbishop of Cali and became the See’s second Archbishop on 7 February 1985. From April 1990 to January 1991 he was also Apostolic Administrator of Popayán.

On 27 December 1994 he was appointed Archbishop of Bogotá, a position he held until stepping down on 8 July 2010.

He was elected President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia for three terms. He was President of the economic committee of celam , from May 2003 to July 2007.

Created and proclaimed cardinal by Saint John Paul ii in the consistory of 21 February 2001, and given the Title of Trasfigurazione di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo (Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ), he participated in the conclave of April 2005, which elected Pope Benedict xvi.

He dedicated his apostolate to fostering national reconciliation in Colombia, during the years marked by guerrilla conflicts and drug trafficking, a period which saw numerous priests and men and women religious fall victim to terrorist attacks or crimes that went unpunished.

As Archbishop of Bogotá, he never abandoned his flock. “A bishop”, he affirmed at the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held at the Vatican from 30 September to 27 October 2001, “as a witness of hope, must proclaim the truth with courage and clarity, defend life, promote human rights. He must use the weapons not of the mercenary”, but those “of the Good Shepherd”. In 1995, he had instituted a national commission for reconciliation, with the aim of placing a socially and politically diversified organism at the country’s service, to help find solutions to armed conflict in Colombia, by accompanying peace efforts and identifying opportunities for dialogue among the various actors. He also spearheaded the creation of an archdiocesan food bank, which has aided millions of people during the more than 20 years since its inception.

Cardinal Rubiano Sáenz died on Monday, 15 April 2024, in the Colombian capital. His funeral Mass was held on Wednesday, 17 April, at the metropolitan cathedral.