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Monday, November 14, 2016

A change in one of the four small, active Roman-rite lines (November 13, 2016)

The von Bodman line suffered a loss on November 13, 2016, with the death of Bishop Aloysius Ferdinandus Zichem, C.Ss.R., Bishop emeritus of Paramaribo, Suriname. May he rest in peace.

There are now nine living bishops in the von Bodman line.  The three other small lines remain unchanged.  The de Bovet line has nine living members, the Ravizza line is the smallest with four living members, and the d’Estouteville line is the largest with twenty two living members.

The lists of these bishops can be found in the appropriate lineages in the column to the right.

Friday, October 28, 2016


A Milanese friend who is an excellent researcher has discovered a document which includes the names of the co-consecrators of Cardinal Pietro Vito Ottoboni, the future Pope Alexander VIII. The information has been added to the episcopal lineage of Pope Alexander VIII along with an indication of the source. 


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.