Former Laureates

Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini


The life and work of Romano Guardini made him a worthy successor to Erasmus. In a variety of ways he made a contribution to the preservation, shaping, deepening, and where necessary, the re-founding and revival of European spiritual life.

Romano Guardini was born in Verona in 1885 but lived in Germany all his life, where he became one of the most important figures in Roman Catholic intellectual circles. He first studied natural science, but after a personal crisis switched to ecclesiastical studies. In 1910 he was ordained as a priest. Until 1923 he was active in spiritual care; he then became Professor of Dogmatic Theology in Breslau, the present-day Wroclaw. He later also taught Catholic Theology in Berlin until he was dismissed by the Nazis. After the war he was Professor at Tübingen and Munich. His first magnum opus Vom Geist der Liturgie (1918) was extremely influential, even on the Second Vatican Council. In 1909 he founded the ‘Quickborn movement’ in which during study-weeks he instructed young men in Christian thought. Romano Guardini died in 1968, in Munich. Romano Guardini can be considered one of the leading Christian humanist cultural philosophers. He strove to find a new position for man in his relation towards God; his ambition, voiced in many writings in the ecclesiastical, liturgical and philosophical fields, was to reconcile Catholicism with modern culture. He was, moreover, well-read in many other areas such as psychology, literature and art.

Romano Guardini put his Erasmus Prize at the disposal of the project Lexikon der Philosophie. It was partly thanks to this contribution that a start could be made on a new revision of the Encyclopedia Filosofica. Romano Guardini was a contributor to this Lexicon.