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Monday, December 19, 2016


At a time when the four minor Roman rite lines have been slowly decreasing, I am pleased to announce that the largest of the four, the d’Estouteville line, has more than doubled in size, from twenty-two bishops to forty-nine bishops.

One can legitimately ask how this could occur so quickly and the answer is:  it did not. These twenty seven bishops were always in the d’Estouteville line, but a document with erroneous information placed them in the Rebiba line.  Last month I found a document from the Archivo General de Indias – a letter from Bishop Juan de la Fuente Yepes, Bishop of Nueva Segovia, The Philippines, from 1753 to 1757, in which he mentioned  the date and place of his episcopal ordination and the name of his ordaining bishop. This first-hand account replaces a document from 1753 emanating from Manila which stated that he had been ordained by the then archbishop of Manila.  Having been preconized on May 28 1753, his bulls could not have arrived before the end of that year. His ordaining bishop, who was named in February 1754 only reached the Mexico City area where he was ordained in late October 1754.

The change in his ordaining bishop moved him from the Rebiba line to the d’Estouteville line and it also caused changes in the lineages of one hundred and eleven bishops, twenty seven of them still living.  The names of the twenty seven bishops are below, followed by the names of the other twenty two bishops in the d’Estouteville line. .

Mariadas Kagithapu, M.S.F.S., Archbishop emeritus of Visakhapatnam
Michael Augustine, Archbishop emeritus of Pondicherry and Cuddalore
Malayappan Chinnappa, S.D.B., Archbishop emeritus of Madras and Mylapore
Francis Kallarakal, Archbishop emeritus of Verapoly
Maria Callist Soosa Packiam, Archbishop of Triandrum of the Latins
Antony Ananadarayar, Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore
Vincent Louis Marie Landel, S.C.J. de Beth., Archbishop of Rabat
Pierre Antoine Jean Bach, M.E.P., Titular Bishop of Tituli in Proconsulari and former Vicar
  Apostolic of Savannakhet, Laos
George Yod Phimphisan, C.Ss.R., Bishop emeritus of Udon Thani, Thailand
Joseph Luechai Thatwisai, Bishop of Udon Thani, Thailand
Philip Banchong Chaiyara, C.Ss.R., Bishop of Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand
Sebastian Thekethecheril, Bishop of Vijayapuram
Selvister Ponnumuthan, Bishop of Punalur
Christudas Rajappan, Titular Bishop of Avitta Bibba, Auxiliary of Trivandrum of the Latins
Mathew Cheriannkunnel, P.I.M.E., Bishop emeritus of Kurnool
Innayya Chinna Addagatla, Bishop of Srikakulam
Paul Maipan, Bishop of Khammam
Singaroyan Sebastianappan, Bishop of Salem
Edward Francis, Bishop of Sivagangai
Peter Remigius, Bishop of Kottar
Jerome Das Varuvel, S.D.B., Bishop of Kuzhithurai
Amalraj Arulappan, Bishop of Ootacamund
Soundaraj Periyanayagam, S.D.B., Bishop of Vellore
Antonysamy Francis, Bishop of Kumbakonam
Joseph Anthony Irudayaraj, S.D.B., Bishop emeritus of Dharamapuri
Devadoss Ambrose Mariadoss, Bishop of Tanjore
Antony Devotta, Bishop of Tiruchirapalli

and the other twenty two:

*Bernard Aubertin, O.Cist., Archbishop of Tours
*Armand Maillard, Archbishop of Bourges
*Guy Thomazeau, Archbishop emeritus of Montpellier
*Laurent Ulrich, Archbishop of Lille
*Pierre Plateau, Archbishop emeritus of Bourges
*Hubert Barbier, Archbishop emeritus of Bourges
*Jean-Christophe Lagleize, Bishop of Metz
*Jean-Marie Le Vert, Bishop emeritus of Quimper
*Gilbert Louis, Bishop emeritus of Châlons
*Michel Pansard, Bishop of Chartres
*Alain Planet, Bishop of Carcassonne et Narbonne
*Yves Boivineau, Bishop of Annecy
*Bernard Housset, Bishop emeritus of La Rochelle
*François Jacolin, M.D.P., Bishop of Mende
*Gérard Coliche, Titular Bishop of Alet and Auxiliary of Lille
*Claude-Joseph Azéma, Titular Bishop of Murcona and Auxiliary of Montpellier
*Jacques David, Bishop emeritus of Evreux
*Jean-Charles Thomas, Bishop emeritus of Versailles
*François-Mathurin Gourvès, Bishop emeritus of Vannes
*Edmond Abelé, Bishop emeritus of Digne
*Yves Bescond, Titular Bishop of Aquae Thibilitane and former Auxiliary of Meaux
*Alphonse Georger, Bishop emeritus of Oran

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.