On the night of 26 November 2021, well-known art historian Father Heinrich Pfeiffer SJ passed away in the Peter Faber House in Berlin-Kladow.
Father Pfeiffer was born on 22 February 1939 in Tübingen. After graduating from high school in 1958, he first studied art history in Tübingen and Berlin and joined the Society of Jesus on 22 April 1963. He was ordained a priest on 13 July 1969.
He studied art history, classical archaeology, Romance studies, philosophy and theology in Tübingen, London, Florence, Berlin, Munich, Rome and Basel, and was ordained a priest in 1969 in Berlin by Monsignor Hans Ludvig Martensen S.J. (+2012), then Bishop of Copenhagen.
In 1970, Pfeiffer received his Lic. theol. from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and his Dr. phil. in art history from the University of Basel in 1973.
From 1973 until his retirement in 2009, he was Professor of Art History and Christian Iconography at the Faculty of Church History of the Pontifical Gregorian University. From 2014 to 2017 he taught at the Faculty of Theology in Palermo.
Pfeiffer was a consultant to the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Goods of the Church from 1999 to 2004. He became famous through publications on Raphael, the Sistine Chapel and Christian iconography.
His studies of the Shroud of Turin, the Veronica image and the Holy Face of Manoppello were groundbreaking. Since 2019, he lived in in Berlin.
Pfeiffer was associated with the Focolare movement and for many years helped out in the summer at Liebfrauen parish in Zurich. In Rome he was connected with the Dorothea Sisters founded by Saint Paola Frassinetti.
Requiescat in pace!