.- Pope Benedict XVI appointed today Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, adjunct prefect of the Pontifical Household and former Pope John Paul II's personal Secretary, as the new Archbishop of Krakow, the second largest diocese in Poland.
"Don Stanislao," as he was known in Rome’s circles, was born in Raba Wyzna, Poland, in 1939. From 1966 to 1978 he acted as private secretary to Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow and, following the latter's election as Pope John Paul II, continued to act as his private secretary throughout his pontificate from 1978 to 2005.
He was ordained a bishop by John Paul II in 1998 and elevated to the dignity of archbishop in 2003.
He succeeds Cardinal Franciszek Macharski, whose resignation was accepted by the Vatican 3 years after it was submitted.
In 1981, when John Paul was shot by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca, Dziwisz held him in his arms as he was rushed from St. Peter's Square to hospital. Many believe his cold blood saved the Pope's life. He has since published a book about the assassination attempt.
Archbishop Dziwisz was Pope John Paul's closest confidant and his influence increased greatly as the pontiff's health diminished.
Nevertheless, he moved into a modest Polish religious house in Northern Rome following John Paul's death in April.
Yesterday, Archbishop Dziwisz celebrated mass at John Paul's tomb in the crypts beneath St. Peter's Basilica.
"I accept the decision with apprehension, indeed trepidation, aware of the great responsibility for the spiritual heritage of the archdiocese until now run by such illustrious pastors," Dziwisz told ANSA news agency.
Since the archbishop of Krakow is usually a cardinal, Pope Benedict promote Dziwisz at the next consistory.
“I have been waiting for this moment for years,” said Cardinal Macharski after the appointment was officially announced. “I have never felt so mach gratitude to God like today,” he added.
Archbishop Dziwisz’ installation will take place on August 27 at the Cathedral of the Wawel Castle.