Monday, 17 October 2011

Gordon Anthony Pantin - archbishop of Port of Spain

Rev Gordon Anthony Patin – 8th Archbishop of Port of Spain

27 Aug 1929 - Born - Port of Spain
3 Jul 1955 - Ordained Priest Priest of Congregation of the Holy Spirit
29 Nov 1967 - Appointed Archbishop of Port of Spain,
19 Mar 1968 - Ordained Bishop Archbishop of Port of Spain,
11 Mar 2000 - Died Archbishop of Port of Spain,

The living water website has a very nice article taken from the Sunday Guardian of March 19th 2000 about the man Archbishop Anthony Pantin after his death.

Anthony Gordon Pantin was born in Port of Spain in August 27, 1929, the second son of Julian Andrew Pantin, a business executive and his wife Agnes, nee Mazeley.

He received his primary education at Sacred Heart School and Belmont Intermediate School (now the Belmont Boys’ Secondary RC School). From the latter he won a Government Scholarship, (called a Government Exhibition in those days) to St Mary’s College. Also among the group of Exhibition winners from that school was Ellis Clarke who would become first President of independent Trinidad and Tobago.

He also took part in sports, playing cricket and football and was a member of the Sixth Trinidad Sea Scouts, under the direction of the saintly Fr Cristobal Valdez. At St Mary’s, Anthony Pantin was in the top academic stream and although considered a strong contender for the open island scholarship, the young Pantin decided to enter the priesthood at age 17 and was anxious to begin his priestly studies.
His elder brother, Fr Gerald “Gerry” Pantin once observed that “Tony” wanted to be a priest from the time he was seven years old. He had been an acolyte at St Patrick’s Church from an early age.

He spent a short time teaching at St Mary’s College before embarking for Canada.
Archbishop Pantin entered the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Congregation in Canada in 1946 and attended the University of Montreal, graduating with his BA degree. He returned to Trinidad in 1949 for a three-year teaching stint at St Mary’s College.
In 1952 he left for Dublin, Ireland, where he pursued studies in Theology. He was ordained priest on the 3rd July, 1955 and was sent to Guadeloupe as a missionary priest until 1959. He returned to Trinidad to teach at Fatima College in Port of Spain until 1964.

In 1965 he returned to St Mary’s College where he was elected to the post of Religious Superior, where he served until 1967. In November of that year, he was requested to accept responsibilities as head of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, a post which was left vacant by the resignation of the legendary Count Finbar Ryan.

Father Anthony Pantin’s Episcopal consecration took place on March 19, 1968.
As Archbishop he took the motto, “All things to all men” which would today be translated, “All things to all people”. During his 32 years as Archbishop, he made strenuous efforts to fulfill the expectations of that motto.

Bishop Galt, who was a close friend from school days remembers him as having the ability to meet people of all classes on equal terms. He was also able to censure anyone if he thought that that person had done something wrong, but his admonitions were always made in a charitable manner. He was especially concerned with enriching the lives of the disadvantaged and underprivileged. He insisted on seeing anyone who visited, took all telephone calls, and wrote innumerable letters to people at home and abroad.

It was his great pleasure to visit the hospitals, and homes for the elderly and destitute on Christmas Day, where he would chat and sing with the inmates.
He founded the Mary Care Centre to provide a home for pregnant unmarried teenagers. In his sermons he usually called attention to the lot of the homeless and the lonely.
He is remembered as a mediator in the troubled times of both the Black Power crisis and the attempted coup. Many people also refer to the encouragement they received from him during times of personal crisis.

He was instrumental in forming the Inter-Religious Organization and took an active role in that group. He also took an active role in the activities of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, the association of Caribbean Bishops.

He was a humanist, the people’s priest.

The National Library website has another interesting article about Gordon Anthony Pantin.

The Roman Catholic Church has accepted the Government's offer for an official funeral for Archbishop Anthony Pantin.

Pantin's funeral rites will be spread over a three-day period, beginning on Thursday with an official service and ending with his burial on Saturday at the Cathedral crypt.

The Catholic Church has also accepted the proposal of acting Prime Minister Lindsay Gillette that there be a national day of prayer.

Pantin, 70, died in his sleep on Sunday of acute heart failure. He was the third bishop to die at the Archbishop's House at 27 Maraval Road, Queen's Park West.

The last burial of a Roman Catholic bishop in T&T took place over 59 years ago. Bishop John Pius Dowling also died in his sleep in a chair at the house on June 6, 1940. Bishop Patrick Vincent Flood, who built the house, was the first bishop to die there on May 17, 1907. Bishop Finbar Ryan, who followed Dowling, was buried in Ireland.

Auxiliary Bishop John Mendes has taken over responsibility of the diocese, in keeping with Code 419 of the Code of Canon Law.

Yesterday, Mendes, Fr. Christian Pereira, Fr. Clyde Harvey, Fr. Joseph Harris, Fr. Garfield Rochard and Abbot Francis Alleyne of Mt St Benedict were at Archbishop's House overseeing funeral arrangements. Some of these senior clergymen represent the College of Consultors, which acts in emergency cases in administration of the church.

Pereira said, "The Archbishop has contributed tremendously to the country. It is up to us to make sure that his passing is not a loss, but that we are able to build and to integrate his contribution into the fabric of our national life. We will lose something if we throw it away."

The Archbishop's body will arrive at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Independence Square, on Thursday at 6 p.m. for a Pontifical Mass presided over by the Papal Pro-Nuncio Archbishop Eugenio Sbarbaro DD. Archbishop Edgerton Clarke, president of the Antilles Episcopal conference, will deliver the homily.

Government officials, the diplomatic corps and representatives of religious groups are expected to attend this service.

The body will lie in state at the Cathedral on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for public viewing and services will also be held for schoolchildren.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday the church will say farewell to Pantin after the Archdiocese of Port of Spain celebrates a Solemn Eucharist with Mendes as chief celebrant. This will be followed by Pantin's entombment in the Cathedral crypt below the sacristy to the southwestern end of the altar.

A condolence book will be opened at Archbishop's House today to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Another Article at the National Library website gives us some more insight:

Fr. Pereira and workmen descended eight stone stops into a stifling, dimly lit room, measuring ten by 15 feet.

There they found two caskets, one of zinc and badly deteriorated, the other of lead and still intact. The caskets are thought to contain the remains of the fifth and sixth archbishops of Port of Spain: Patrick Vincent Flood, in office till 1907, and John Pius Dowling, who died in 1940.

Only two coffins were found then, so it seems it will be necessary to break through the walls of the crypt to find the other tombs beneath the cathedral.

Priests and church officials, others than archbishops may have been interred beneath the cathedral as well.

Before Port of Spain became an archdiocese, run by an archbishop, in 1851, a number of bishops were in charge.

Those buried in the crypt could include James Bukley, bishop till 1828; Daniel McDonnell, bishop till 1844; Guillaume le Goff, cure till his death in 1855; Michael Monaghan, apostolic administrator till 1855; James Etheridge, apostolic administrator till 1861; Abbe Francois Cuenat, apostolic administrator till 1869; William O'Carroll, coadjutor till 1884; and George Vincent King, coadjutor till 1886.

Archbishop Pantin always said "It is all God's work" - 2 Cor 5:18.

He touched many lives and lived up to his motto: “Omnia Omnibus,” All things to All!

At his passing the headline of the front page of the Catholic News issue of Sunday, March 19, 2000 read: “We Remember How You Loved Us”.

Below is the Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession for Archbishop Pantin.
• Archbishop Gordon Anthony Pantin, C.S.Sp. † (1968)
• Archbishop Marie-Joseph Lemieux, O.P. † (1936)
• Paolo Cardinal Marella † (1933)
• Pietro Cardinal Fumasoni Biondi † (1916)
• Domenico Cardinal Serafini, O.S.B. † (1900)
• Serafino Cardinal Vannutelli † (1869)
• 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 †


  1. Great work at chronicling events. My head is bursting with informating. I was at Mass at the Cathederal on Brian Lara Promanade when Ft Pereira interrupted and announced Pantin's death. I recall him saying that when the Archbishop did not answer he climbed throught the window and found him dead. Pereira was visibly shake. Pantin was a good man and is really missed. May his soul rest in peace.

  2. thanks. I tried to get as much infomration as i could.

  3. The late Archbishop Anthony Pantin has been declared a National Icon of Trinidad and Tobago by the Government. The announcement was made last Monday (20th May 2013) night at an awards ceremony at Hilton Trinidad, hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development. Archbishop Pantin was one of 60 Icons honoured on the night, which was the Government’s last major activity in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Independence.

  4. When you check the apostolic linage - it is strange that a bishop from french Canada should ordain Anthony Pantin Bishop. What about this guy : from 1966-1968 he was Apostolic Nuncio in Haiti and then in 1969 simultaneously the Apostolic Delegate to the Antilles.