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Msgr. Philippe Jourdan is of Basque origin. He earned the diploma in mathematics and engineering at the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris and became a member of Opus Dei as a student. After being called to priesthood, he pursued theological studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and was ordained as a priest in the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross by Cardinal Bernard Francis Law on 20 August 1988.
He was appointed a Vicar General of the Apostolic Administration of Estonia in 1996 to replace aging Father Guy Barbier. The Apostolic Administration was at that time governed by the Apostolic Nuncio from Lithuania and the Vicar General was the highest Church official residing permanently in Estonia. From 1999 to 2001 Father Jourdan served also as a parochial vicar of the Cathedral of Sts. Paul and Peter in Tallinn.
On 23 March 2005 he was appointed a Titular Bishop of Pertusa and Apostolic Administrator of Estonia by Pope John Paul II, becoming the second Catholic bishop in Estonia after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Msgr. Jourdan's predecessor Eduard Profittlich, S.J. died in 1942 as a martyr in Soviet prison.
He was consecrated to the episcopate and installed as ordinary of Estonia on 10 September 2005 in Tallinn by Archbishop Peter Stephan Zurbriggen, Apostolic Nuncio to the Baltic states. Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Moscow and Bishop Javier Echevarría, prelate of Opus Dei, were the two co-consecrating bishops at the episcopal ordination and installation.
Msgr. Philippe Jourdan speaks in addition to French fluent Estonian, Russian, English, Italian, Spanish and German. He is completing a doctorate in analytical philosophy.