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Friday, August 29, 2014

Other lines of succession

In addition to the Rebiban line, there are four other active Roman-rite lines of succession: the d’Estouteville line, ending in 1440; the von Bodman line, which ends in 1686, the Ravizza line, which ends in 1667, and the de Bovet line, which ends in 1789.

The Maronite, Greek Melkite, Chaldean, and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Churches account for the majority of Eastern Catholic lineages. However, there are several Eastern Catholic bishops who belong to the Rebiban line, while a handful of Roman-rite bishops belong to either the Maronite or Chaldean lines.

The current state of episcopal lineages

As of 27 July 2015, there are approximately 5,288 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 168 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, ans 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 48 bishops, divided as follows:

*the Ravizza line – 4 living members
*the de Bovet line – 9 living members
*the von Bodman line – 11 living membes
*the d’Estouteville lines – 23 living members

Lists of the bishops belonging to each of these lines as well as examples of these lineages will be added to this blog in the next few days. Research to find information which will extend each of these lines as well as the Rebiba line is ongoing.

In summary, approximately 95.8% of Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic bishops belong to the Rebiba line; 3.3% belong to one of the several Eastern Catholic lines; and 0.9% belong to one of the other four active Roman-rite lines. 

Roman-rite bishops belonging to Eastern Catholic lines

Twenty two Roman-rite bishops belong to an Eastern Catholic line: eleven to the Chaldean line and eleven to the Maronite line. The reason for this departure from the norm has to do with the conferral of episcopal ordinations by two diplomats of the Holy See.

Father Antonin-Fernand Drapier, O.P., was serving in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) when he was named Titular Archbishop of Neocaesarea in Ponto and Apostolic Delegate to Mesopotamia. He chose to be ordained bishop in Mesopotamia by the Chaldean bishop of Amadiyah, Bishop François David, who was assisted by Syriac Archbishop Athanase Georges Cyrille Dallal of Mossul, and Armenian Archbishop Jacques Nessimian of Mardin. On November 19, 1936 he was named Apostolic Delegate to Indochina and it was during his service there than he ordained nine bishops for Viêt Nâm and one for Laos.

Of those ten bishops, two conferred episcopal ordination on other bishops and as those bishops ordained others, the Chaldean line was continued in Viêt Nâm and Laos. Today we find nine bishops in Viêt Nâm and one bishop in Italy – a retired missionary bishop in Laos – in the Chaldean line begun there by Archbishop Drapier.  They are:

*Etienne Nguyên Nhu Thê, Archbishop emeritus of Huê
*Pierre Nguyên Soan, Bishop emeritus of Quy Nhon
*Francois-Xavier Le Van Hong, Archbishop of Huê
*Vincent Nguyên Van Ban, Bishop of Ban Mê Thuôt
*Jean Baptiste Bui Tuân, Bishop emeritus of Long Xuyên
*Joseph Ngô Quang Kiêt, Archbishop emeritus of Hà Nôi
*Joseph Trân Xuân Tiéu, Bishop of Long Xuyên
*Joseph Dang Duc Nang, Bishop of Lang Son et Cao Bang
*Laurent Chu Van Minh, Titular Bishop of Thinisa in Numidia and Auxiliary of Hà Nôi
*Joseph Tran Van Toan, Titular Bishop of Acalissus and Auxiliary of Long Xuyên
*Alessandro Stacciolo, O.M.I., Titular Bishop of Tauriano, former Vicar Apostolic of Luang Prabang, Laos, and former Auxiliary of Siena-Colle di Val d'Elsa-Montalcino, Italy.

Monsignor Paul Fouad Naim Tabet, a member of the Holy See’s diplomatic service, was named Titular Archbishop of Sinna and Apostolic Nuncio to several countries in the Caribbean on 9 February 1980.  Monsignor Tabet, a Maronite, was ordained bishop on 30 March 1980 in Lebanon by His Beatitude Antoine Pierre Khoraiche, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites and a future cardinal, assisted by two Maronite bishops: Bishop Chucrallah Harb of Jounieh and Bishop Roland Aboujaoudé, Titular Bishop of Arca in Phoenicia of the Maronites. Archbishop Tabet served in the Caribbean until he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria on 8 September 1984. He subsequently served in the Secretariate of State and as Apostolic Nuncio to Greece, retiring from the Holy See’s diplomatic service in early 2005.

During his service in the Caribbean he ordained three bishops, one of whom was created a cardinal by Pope Francis, and while in Nigeria he ordained three more bishops. Two of the Caribbean bishops ordained by him in turn ordained other bishops and there are now eight living bishops of the Maronite line in the Caribbean and three in Nigeria.  They are:

*Kelvin Edward Felix, Cardinal and Archbishop emeritus of Castries
*Edward Joseph Gilbert, C.Ss.R., Archbishop emeritus of Port of Spain
*Patrick Christopher Punder, Archbishop of Nassau
*Joseph Everard Harris, C.S.Sp., Archbishop of Port of Spain
*Gabriel Malzaire, Bishop of Roseau
*Francis Dean Alleyne, O.S.B., Bishop of Georgetown
*Charles Jason Gordon, Bishop of Bridgetown and of Kingstown
*Ernest Mesmin Lucien Cabo, Bishop emeritus of Basse Terre et Pointe-à-Pitre
*Joseph Effiong Ekuwem, Archbishop of Calabar
*Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, Bishop of Umuahia

*Vincent Valentine Ezeonyia, C.S.Sp., Bishop of Aba