Thursday, March 02, 2006

Baby Bishops...

Today's Bolletino announced the selection of one Fr Yaroslav Pryriz, CSSR as Auxiliary Bishop of the Ukranian-Catholic Eparchy of Sambir-Drohobych. Fr Pryriz was born in 1963, meaning that he's only a few weeks shy of his 43rd birthday.
I was wondering if this made him the youngest bishop in the world and consulting I see that distinction is held by another Ukranian-Catholic Redemptorist: Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh, C.SS.R., Auxiliary Bishop of Kyiv-Vyshhorod who is just about to celebrate his 39th birthday. One wonders whether the Oriental Churchs' selection procedures for bishops might have something to do with the youth of these Ukranian appointments. Scanning the list, one sees that the youngest bishops tend to come from behind the former Iron Curtain, reflecting the fact the relative youth of the clergy due to the fall of Communism. It seems to be a feature of clerical and religious life in Eastern Europe that relatively young people are forced to assume positions of responability due to the dearth of 'middle-aged' priests and religious. One notes a similar phenomenon in other parts of the world where the church is still developing.
The youngest Local Ordinary in Western Europe seems to be the 39 year old Abbot Martin (Stefan) Werlen, O.S.B. of the Abbey of Abbot of Maria Einsiedeln in Switzerland. However, he seems to be a territorial abbot and not a bishop. The distinction of being the youngest Western European bishop belongs to Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann, Auxiliary Bishop of Paderborn who just turned 42. The youngest North American bishop is Bishop David Motiuk, Ukranian (!!!) Auxiliary in the Archeparchy of Winnipeg who is 44 years old.

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