Hubert Coppenrath


August 13, 2022

Hubert Coppenrath (born 18 October 1930 in Papeete in Tahiti in French Polynesia, died 31 July 2022 in the same place) was a Catholic priest and Archbishop of Papeete.

Life and work


Hubert Coppenrath's ancestors descended from the German Westphalian Münster family patriarch Joseph Heinrich Coppenrath, founder of the Coppenrath publishing house. His grandfather Caspar Coppenrath (born 10 May 1849 in Münster; died in the same city during a home visit) had settled in Tahiti as a merchant, and there he fell in love with the English Esther Bambridge. They had twelve children and through them Tahiti gained a large share of Coppenrath citizens. His was was Clement Coppenrath (1888–1957); he was married to Martha Servant. Hubert Coppenrath is the younger brother of his immediate predecessor as archbishop, Michel-Gaspard Coppenrath. Another older brother Gérald Coppenrath (1922–2008) was a French senator for Tahiti from 1958 to 1962.


Hubert Coppenrath was a priest student at the Saint-Sulpice seminary in Issy-les-Moulineaux in France, and studied theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris. He was ordained a priest on 27 June 1957 in Tahiti. From 1959 to 1967 he was vicar in the cathedral in Papeete and chaplain in Arue. From 1961 to 1971 he led the Catholic education sector in Tahiti and from 1967 to 1997 he was parish priest of the cathedral congregation. Moreover, from 1977 to 1997 he took over the diaconate training, and from 1989 to 1997 was a member of the Curé des îles de l'Est. In 1993 he became vicar general.

Coadjutor Archbishop of Papeete

On 21 November 1997, Hubert Coppenrath was appointed by Pope John Paul II as coadjutor archbishop of Papeete, next to the ordiareie archbishop who was his own elder brother Michel-Gaspard Coppenrath. The brother consecrated him on 21 February 1998. The co-consecrators were the Archbishop of Nouméa, Michel-Marie Calvet, and the Bishop of Taiohae o Tefenuaenata, Guy Chevalier.

Archbishop of Papeete

When his elder brother stepped down for age-related reasons, he succeeded him on 4 June 1999 as Archbishop of Papeete. During the serious political crisis that shook French Polynesia in October 2004, where the UMP politician Gaston Flosse stood against the separatist Oscar Temaru, Archbishop Hubert Coppenrath asked the central power to take responsibility. On 31 March 2011, Pope Benedict XVI granted Archbishop Hubert Coppenrath's age-related resignation application.

Episcopal Genealogy

His episcopal genealogy is: Cardinal Scipione Rebiba (1504-1577) Cardinal Giulio Antonio Santori (1532-1602) * episcopate 1566 Cardinal Girolamo Bernerio (1540-1611) *1586 Archbishop Galeazzo Sanvitale (1566-1622) *1604 Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi (1595-1632) *1621 Cardinal Luigi Caetani (1595-1642) *1622 Cardinal Ulderico Carpegna (1595-1679) *1630 Cardinal Paluzzo Paluzzi Altieri degli Albertoni (1623-1698) *1666 Pope Benedict XIII (1649-1730) *1675 Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758) *1724 Pope Clement XIII (1693-1769) *1743 Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna (1724-1793) *1762 Cardinal Hyacinthe-Sigismond Gerdil (1718-1802) *1777 Cardinal Giulio Maria della Somaglia (1744-1830) *1788 Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi (1785-1841) *1823 Cardinal Costantino Patrizi Naro (1798-1876) *1828 Cardinal Lucido Maria Parocchi (1833-1903) *1871 Pope Pius X (1835-1914) *1884 Bishop Alcime-Armand-Pierre-Marie Gouraud (1856-1928) *1906 Bishop Pierre-Marie-David Le Cadre, SS.CC. (1875-1952) *1921 Archbishop Paul-Laurent-Jean-Louis Mazé, SS.CC. (1885-1976) *1939 Archbishop Michel-Gaspard Coppenrath (1924-2008) *1968 Archbishop Hubert Coppenrath (1930-2022) *1982