Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, archbishop of Jakarta, Indonesia, third cardinal in the history of the Indonesian Church, was born on 9 July 1950 in Sedayu, archdiocese of Semarang, in the heart of the Island of Java, in one of the four regencies, that of Bantul, of the region of Yogyakarta, around 500 kilometres from the capital. The seventh of ten children, he grew up in a large family, fruitful in vocations: indeed, one brother is a monk, and two sisters are nuns. At the age of 11 he entered the minor seminary of Mertoyudan, obtaining a diploma in 1968; he then transferred to Yogyakarta to continue his studies in philosophy and theology, which he completed in Rome at the Pontifical Urban University, where he obtained a licentiate and a doctorate in 1979 and 1981 respectively.
On 26 January 1976 he was ordained a priest by Cardinal Darmojuwono in the chapel of the major seminary of Yogyakarta, where he returned immediately after completing the cycle of studies, with the role of formator. He provided this service until 1997, and during the same period also covered the roles of professor of catechetics in the local faculty of philosophy (from 1981 to 1991), head of the department of philosophy and sociology at the Sanata Dharma Jesuit university (from 1983 to 1993), and dean of the faculty of theology (from 1993 to 1997). In this period, as a priest he followed and accompanied the sufferings of a population prostrated by dictatorship.
He was appointed as archbishop of Semarang by John Paul II on 21 April 1997, receiving episcopal consecration from Cardinal Daarmatmadja the following 22 August. He selected the motto Serviens Domino cum omni humilitate (“Serving the Lord with all humility”), from the Acts of the Apostles (20: 19).
For three years, until 2000, he led the Commission for Interreligious Dialogue within the Indonesian Episcopal Conference (Kwi), of which he became secretary general from 2000 to 2006, the year in which he was appointed by Benedict XVI as military ordinary for Indonesia and became vice president of the country’s Conference of Bishops, until 2012.
On 25 July 2009 he was appointed coadjutor to Cardinal Darmaatmadja, archbishop of archdiocese of Jakarta. He inherited his pastoral legacy by succession on 28 June 2010.
Since 2012 he has served as president of the Episcopal Conference, renewed for three terms, in the last of which (up to 2021) he was elected in derogation of the regulation which provides for only two consecutive terms.
He has participated in various assemblies of the Synod of Bishops: in 1998 in the first Special Assembly for Asia, called by John Paul II; in 2008 and 2012 in the twelfth and thirteenth Ordinary General Assemblies, called by Benedict XVI on the themes of the Word of God and the New Evangelization; in 2014 – the year in which he was also appointed as member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples – and in 2015 in the third Extraordinary and fourteenth Ordinary Assemblies, both convoked by Pope Francis on the theme of the family.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 5 October 2019, of the Title of Spirito Santo alla Ferratella.
- Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.