Felix Gmür, the 44-year-old general-secretary of the Swiss Bishops Conference, will become the new bishop of Basel.
He replaces Kurt Koch, who is packing his bags for Rome after being appointed a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI at the weekend.
Gmür was chosen by an 18-head advisory council of the cantonal bishopric on September 8, but his nomination had to be approved by the pope.
Basel is Switzerland’s largest bishopric and has a history of choosing young heads. Koch was 45 when he took office in 1996 and his predecessor Hansjörg Vogel was 43 – although he had to step down 14 months later when it turned out he had a daughter.
Gmür, whose doctorate in philosophy was on the aesthetics of Ludwig Wittgenstein, will be installed on January 16, 2011, in Solothurn.
swissinfo.ch and agencies