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9 Bishops who have led Seychelles' Catholic church through the years

Victoria, Seychelles | May 18, 2017, Thursday @ 10:46 in Entertainment » SEYCHELLES BUZZ | By: Sharon Ernesta Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2547
9 Bishops who have led Seychelles' Catholic church through the years

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) 

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - The Catholic faith was brought to Seychelles by the first settlers, but was formally established in 1852 as the Apostolic Prefecture of Seychelles and was promoted in August 1880 as Apostolic Vicariate of Seychelles. In July 1892 Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) elevated the Vicariat Apostolic to the diocese of Port Victoria.

As the diocese celebrate its 125th anniversary this year, SNA looks at the different Catholic Bishops at the helm of the Seychelles diocese throughout the last 125 years.

 

Marc Hudrisier

He became the first titular bishop of Port Victoria.  Hudrisier initiated the construction of the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the same site at La Rosière, in Victoria, the capital, where in 1854 Father Jeremie Giantommaso -- then the Prefect Apostolic -- had constructed a chapel.  A belfry was erected on a hillock behind the cathedral and a separate residence built for the bishop.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

 

Bernardin Clark

On April 11, 1910 Bernardin Clark was appointed the new bishop of Port Victoria.  He was an Englishman who had converted to Catholicism.  On March 9, 1908, Hudrisier wrote “what is certain is that after me, the Government will never allow the appointment of a non-English Bishop.” Clark was loved by all especially the fishermen and he fought hard for the construction of public schools. The first World War broke out during his time as bishop of the Seychelles.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 


Jean Damascene Lachavanne

He served as the bishop from 1916 to 1920 and his tenure was difficult with the world at war. A lot of French missionaries were recalled home to fight for their countries. Bishop Lachavanne had no option but to get missionaries from Switzerland. The first in a long line of Swiss Capuchins priests started their mission in Seychelles from then on.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

 

Justin Gumy

Swiss Capuchin Justin Gumy served as the archipelago’s bishop from 1921-1934. He was nominated as bishop in March 1921 by Pope Benoit XV. He became bishop after serving with the mission for the last 17 years. It was during his time that Brother Gelase was given the task of building the Domus, one of Victoria’s majestic buildings which served as residence for the catholic priests. The building is today a national monument.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

 

Ernest Joye

He came to the island nation In 1933 as the deputy of Bishop Gumy. When Gumy went back to Switzerland, Joye was appointed the new bishop until 1937. During his mission, Bishop Joye also took time to visit the exiles working on the outer islands of Amirantes. His time as Bishop was shortened due to illness.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

 

 

Olivier Maradan

He was nominated as bishop in 1937 and was to serve the longest years -- 35 in all. During that time there was a boom in the construction of schools and churches. For health reason Bishop Maradan resigned in 1972 to return to Lausanne Switzerland where he passed away in 1975. A Street in Victoria, the capital of the island nation, is named after him.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

 

Felix Paul

Weeks after the death of Olivier Maradan, the first Seychellois Bishop of the Diocese of the Port Victoria, Felix Paul was ordained -- 17 March 1975. Bishop Paul was ordained as a priest in December 1960 and several other Seychellois were ordained as priests. Bishop Paul resigned in May 1994 and passed away in November 2001. Felix Paul is buried under the floors of the cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

 

Xavier Baronnet

After Bishop Paul resigned, Xavier Baronnet a French national, became the new Bishop. He took up the post 3rd March 1995 and was consecrated on 25 June, 1995 by Bishop Gilbert Aubry of Saint Denis, Reunion, a French department in the Indian Ocean. Due to his age, 75, he resigned in June 2002. Baronnet died in Paris on September 8, 2012.

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

 

Denis Wiehe

Still Bishop today, Denis Wiehe was first appointed on April 24, 2001. Born in Mauritius, Wiehe was ordained priest August 17, 1969. He became the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Victoria of Seychelles, in June 2002. 

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
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