Today's Ordained - do they have the trail back to Pentecost?

For a deacon, bishop, or priest ordained today - are they able to track back their “lineage” all the way back to the first Pentecost?




If there are any ordained out there - I’d love to see your list!!!

Thanks again!

If you are looking for documentary evidence, probably not. Given that Christians didn’t document much in the first few centuries of the Church. But that said, back then they easily know who ordained who, and have at least a few “generations” of ordinations taken to heart (or memorized by mind). And ordinations are always done publicly, at least in the presence of other Christians. So there are always witnesses and guarantee that the proper people are doing the ordination.

There is a website that shows this. You put the bishop’s name and they show the list of those who ordained him. But as mentioned by my last post, it only goes back as much.

This is a very useful website but beware. I had a clash with the fellow who runs it, he had a Wikipedia account. And he was putting bishops in their posts before they were installed, before they were even ordained. So at any given time, the most recent information on this website may be inaccurate due to the interim between appointment and installation. But for historical and other factual biographical information, it is an invaluable resource.

As you browse various bishops and trace their episcopal lineage, you will notice a peculiar thing. Almost all of them trace back to one Scipione Cardinal Rebiba. This is very interesting to me. I am not sure why they all trace back to him, but it is an interesting fact!

As I recall, they are all descended from him because at one time, he performed a great number of ordinations, far more than other Bishops contemporary to him, and the other lines of succession died out.


Either that or the others weren’t just documented very well.

If you have a bishop that enjoys history or genealogy, doing a pedigree chart showing his ordination trail would be a great gift for him.

on a practical level, they may not be able to, but yes, each priest, bishop and deacon today can theoretically trace his lineage back to the 12 apostles.

A priest in my diocese who was ordained in North Carolina has his full record. His bishop loved history and such. He made a hand caligraphy chart dating back to Peter and the Apostles. It was mainly just Pope and Cardinals.

Simple and accurate answer is yes. Bishop Sam ordained me to the diaconate. His lineage can be traced back to Cardinal Rebiba. Before him there was no need to document the lineage, it was all Catholic in succession from Peter.

I’m sure there are other sources of records, but it is not something I have the time or need to explore; maybe one day.

Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession:

Bishop Sam Gallip Jacobs (1989)
Archbishop Francis Bible Schulte (1981)
John Joseph Cardinal Krol † (1953)
Amleto Giovanni Cardinal Cicognani † (1933)
Raffaele Carlo Cardinal Rossi, O.C.D. † (1920)
Gaetano Cardinal De Lai † (1911)
Pope St. Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto † (1884)
Lucido Maria Cardinal Parocchi † (1871)
Costantino Cardinal Patrizi Naro † (1828)
Father Carlo Odescalchi, S.J. † (1823)
Giulio Maria Cardinal della Somaglia † (1788)
Hyacinthe-Sigismond Cardinal Gerdil, B. † (1777)
Marcantonio Cardinal Colonna (Jr.) † (1762)
Pope Carlo della Torre Rezzonico † (1743)
Pope Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini † (1724)
Pope Pietro Francesco (Vincenzo Maria) Orsini de Gravina, O.P. † (1675)
Paluzzo Cardinal Paluzzi Altieri Degli Albertoni † (1666)
Ulderico Cardinal Carpegna † (1630)
Luigi Cardinal Caetani † (1622)
Ludovico Cardinal Ludovisi † (1621)
Archbishop Galeazzo Sanvitale † (1604)
Girolamo Cardinal Bernerio, O.P. † (1586)
Giulio Antonio Cardinal Santorio † (1566)
Scipione Cardinal Rebiba †

Sometimes entire branches were lost due to records being destroyed in fire, war, etc.

Documentation is/was not always complete.


Not Rebiba himself, but Pope Benedict XIII, who was descended from Rebiba. It was Pope Benedict XIII who ordained bishops for major sees in Europe and the New World, who in turn ordained the bishops in their respective countries. This caused the other lines to mostly die out. Today, more than 90% of western Catholic bishops trace their lineage through Rebiba via Pope Benedict XIII.

We don’t know who Rebiba’s consecrator was so our knowledge ends there.

This is also because, unlike the past and present practice, Pope Benedict XIII personally ordained most of the European bishops, so other lineages became extinct.

That too. The Romans should have done a better job of having an internet in the First Century :smiley:

Interestingly still, Wikipedia (and some other places) claim that Benedict XIII repealed a worldwide ban on smoking which had been instituted by Urban VIII. I guess you can’t win them all.

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