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Sunday, May 1, 2016

The current state of episcopal lineages – updated 1 May 2016

As of May 1, 2016, there are approximately 5, 330 living bishops in the Roman Catholic and the several Eastern Catholic sui iuris Churches; that is, bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome. The overwhelming majority of these bishops trace their orders to Scipione Rebiba who was ordained a bishop in 1541.

Approximately 174 bishops belong to lines of the various Eastern Catholic sui iuris Churches: Chaldeans, Maronites, Melkites, Syro-Malankars, and Ukrainians. Among this small number of bishops are found eleven Roman-rite bishops belonging to the Maronite line and eleven Roman-rite bishops belonging to the Chaldean line.

The bishops of the Armenian, Bulgarian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Ruthenian, Slovak, and Syro-Malabar sui iuris Churches belong to the Rebiban line with the exception of one Slovak bishop who belongs to the Ukrainian line. Similarly, one Maronite bishop – a former apostolic nuncio – and eight Ukrainian bishops belong to the Rebiban line.

The four small active Roman-rite lines account for a total of 45 bishops, divided as follows:

*the Ravizza line – 4 living members
*the de Bovet line – 9 living members
*the von Bodman line – 10 living membes
*the d’Estouteville lines – 22 living members

Lists of the bishops belonging to each of these lines as well as examples of these lineages have been added to this blog. Research to find information which will extend each of these lines as well as the Rebiba line is ongoing.

In summary, approximately 96% of Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic bishops belong to the Rebiba line; 3.2% belong to one of the several Eastern Catholic lines; and 0.8% belong to one of the other four active Roman-rite lines. 
My favorite websites – an update (May 1, 2016)

In my list of favorite websites, posted on 29 August 2014, is a site created by Andreas Brender, an expert on the Roman Catholic bishops of China.  Recently he has updated and expanded his website, including a large amount of new information taken from his book Catholic Hierarchy in China since 1307 (Andreas Brender, Manfred Kierein-Kuenring; Cluj-Napoca, 2012).  He has further enriched the entries with photographic material and documents provided by various agencies, archives, and private collectors.

With the updating and expansion of his website, he has changed the title and the internet address:

Catholic Hierarchy in China since 1307

This website is a valuable source of information on the Catholic bishops of China and I highly recommend it.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

An Excellent Addition to a Library on the Catholic Episcopate

I am the first to admit that one of the virtues which I need to cultivate is patience. In this age of virtually instant informational gratification thanks to e-mail and Google, the wait for books, documents, and letters sent by snail mail taxes my patience. I often have to remind myself of those years before the internet when all of my correspondence departed and arrived via the U. S. Postal Service. I had no choice but to be patient. There was no reasonable or inexpensive alternative to waiting for replies to my inquiries.

Yesterday, after a wait of less than a week, my patience was rewarded with the arrival of a new book on Catholic bishops:  Catholic Bishops of Great Britain. A Reference to Roman Catholic Bishops from 1850 to 2015 by Chris Larsen.

I have spent several hours immersed in the pages of this interesting book and I already know that this book will be on a shelf within easy reach of my desk for frequent consultation. The author provides translations of the apostolic letters which restored the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales (1850) and in Scotland (1878) as well as a section on the Roman Pontiffs since 1800.

The major portion of this book contains short but concise biographical sketches of the bishops and other ordinaries who have served the Church in Great Britain since the respective restorations. After treating national jurisdictions such as the Ukrainian eparchy and the military ordinariate, the author presents the bishops of each diocese beginning with the Archdiocese of Westminster followed by the remainder in alphabetical order. Each entry follows the same basic structure, beginning with the date and place of birth of the bishop, the dates and places of his sacerdotal and episcopal ordinations, any subsequent transfers, promotions, or resignations, and where applicable, the date and place of his death and the place of his burial.

The book also contains contact information for the living bishops and an almanac consisting of several indices. I especially like the Index of Dates which presents the important dates of the lives of the bishops in chronological order.

I am impressed with the precision of this book as well as its overall presentation. It is evident that the author has devoted much time and effort in gathering the information on the many bishops cited in this work and assembling it in a concise and easily readable fashion. It is an important contribution to the history of the post-Restoration hierarchy in Great Britain and an excellent addition to a library on the Catholic episcopate.

I congratulate Mr. Larsen on the publication of this excellent book and I highly recommend it.

This book can be ordered from Sacristy Press   https://www.sacristy.co.uk/

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A New Blog on the Episcopate of Colombia

I am pleased to signal the recent establishment of a blog dedicated to the episcopate of Colombia. 

Mirador Vaticano - http://ricardozuluagagil1.blogspot.com.co/ - is a well-written and well-researched blog authored by Dr. Ricardo Zuluaga Gil, a distinguished Colombian constitutional lawyer with a keen interest in history, especially the regional history of Antioquia and the history of the Church.

I thank Doctor Zuluaga for sharing information on the Colombian episcopate by means of his interesting blog.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

The completion of an old episcopal ordination

I am pleased to announce that the details of the episcopal ordination of Flavio Cardinal Chigi have finally been completed with the addition of the place where it took place and the names of the two principal co-ordaining bishops.  

Cardinal Chigi figures in the papal episcopal lineages primarily because he conferred episcopal ordination on Lorenzo Cardinal Corsini, the future Pope Clement XII.  Today I came across the missing details while reading issues of the Gazzetta di Bologna.  The complete account of his episcopal ordination was published in the issue of 10 April 1686, in the third paragraph of the first page. 

The episcopal lineage of Pope Clement XII can be found in the lineage menu on the right side of this page.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thank you – Molte grazie

I wish to take the opportunity to thank Father Roberto Fornaciari, O.S.B., distinguished ecclesiastical historian, author, and researcher, and Doctor Isabella Farinelli, esteemed Archivist of the Archdiocese of Perugia-Città della Pieve and distinguished author, for their assistance in bringing to light the details of the episcopal ordination of Giulio Cardinal Boschi (1838-1920), successively Bishop of Todi and of Senigallia, Archbishop of Ferrara, and Bishop of the suburbicarian Diocese of Frascati.

I mentioned to Father Fornaciari my until then fruitless search for the full details of the episcopal ordination of this cardinal.  Knowing that Cardinal Boschi was a native of Perugia, he contacted Dr. Farinelli and she found a complete account of the ceremony in the June 16, 1888 issue of the weekly newspaper Il Paese.

I am extremely grateful to Father Fornaciari and Dr. Farinelli for their kind and thoughtful assistance and for taking the time out of their busy schedules to assist me. 

For the record, here are the details of Cardinal Boschi’s episcopal ordination:

1888, 11 June, at Rome, in the Church of Santissima Trinità a Montecitorio

Carlo Cardinal Laurenzi
assisted by Federico Pietro Foschi, Archbishop of Perugia
and Francesco Trotta, Bishop of Teramo
ordained Giulio Boschi, Bishop of Todi.

Information on Cardinal Boschi may be found on Salvador Miranda’s website, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, on this page:


and on David Cheney's website, The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, including his abbreviated episcopal lineage, on this page: 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Twentieth Century Bishops of Reggio Emilia

The year 2014 has seen the publication of two excellent works on the episcopate.  The already mentioned three volume Episcopologio Agustiniano came to us from Spain and now we have an equally excellent book on the twentieth century bishops of Reggio Emilia which includes bishops native to the diocese and province and notes on a bishop of Reggio who governed that diocese from the last years of the sixteenth century through most of the first quarter of the seventeenth century.

Le genealogie episcopali dei Vescovi di Reggio Emilia del secolo XX is the result of the meticulous research of Father Roberto Fornaciari, a monk priest of the Camaldolese Congregation of the Order of Saint Benedict.  Father Fornaciari has presented us with a work whose scope is a specific diocese and region during a defined period in its history. 

The author’s erudition is evident in the precision of the details for each bishop and the number and richness of the footnotes. Father Fornaciari includes the episcopal lineage of each bishop as well as the names of the bishops for whom each bishop served as either the consecrator or co-consecrator.

The book includes an appendix which provides information on Bishop Claudio Rangoni, Bishop of Reggio Emilia from 1592 to 1621.  This Bishop Claudio Rangoni – there were two, both from Modena and cousins – is notable because it is through him that Pope Pius XI and a large number of Polish bishops finally found their way into the great line of Scipione Rebiba.  Father Fornaciari provides a short but precise account of how this came about, citing the research of Dr. Krzysztof Rafal Prokop in identifying Bishop Rangoni as a key consecrator in that line and the author’s own research which found the consecrator of Bishop Rangoni and which provided the connection to the Rebiba line. I previously mentioned Father Fornaciari’s research on Bishop Rangoni elsewhere on this blog.

The book is completed by interesting notes on episcopal lineages, an index of names, and a general index.  It can be ordered from the publisher, Antiche Porte editrice.  Information can be found on the publisher’s website:  http://www.anticheporte.it/web/

I congratulate Father Fornaciari on the publication of this well-researched and interesting book. I am delighted to have it in my library and I heartily recommend it.