1827  — 1894

Timoleon Raimondi

First Catholic bishop of Hong Kong.

Raimondi was born in Milan, Italy. Immediately after his ordination, he entered the newly founded Milan Foreign Missions Seminary in 1850 and was a member of the first group of Catholic missionaries who went to Micronesia/Melanesia in 1852. He began his missionary activity on the island of Woodlark, an extraordinarily difficult and thankless mission field. From 1856 to 1858 he worked on Borneo and Labuan. He was then transferred to Hong Kong, where his real missionary career began.

In 1861 Louis Ambrosi, the prefect apostolic, made him his assistant. When Ambrosi died in 1867, Raimondi took his place, first as pro-prefect, then as prefect, and from 1874 as first bishop of the newly established vicariate apostolic, which, after the Convention of Peking (1860), included the Kowloon peninsula. The rapid growth of the mission was due to his tireless zeal. He got along well with the British administration in Hong Kong. He summoned the Christian Brothers for the education of boys. He worked well with the Canossian Sisters and the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres, who looked after the girls. He founded brotherhoods and associations. He rebuilt the churches and schools destroyed by a cyclone in 1874. He built Hong Kong Cathedral. To collect the necessary funds he made visits to the Philippines, the United States, and Mexico. Raimondi was truly a pioneer missionary; his death meant the “end of an epoch,” in the words of mission historian T. F. Ryan.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


“Die im Jahre 1894 verstorbenen Bischofe,” Die katholischen Missionen (1895): 148; H. auf der Heide, Die Missionsgenossenschaft von Steyl: Ein Bild der Ersten 25 Jahre ihres Bestehens (1900); T. F. Ryan, The Story of a Hundred Years (1959); G. B. Tragella, Le missioni estere di Milano, 3 vols, (1950-1963).

About the Author

Karl Muller

Formerly Director, Society of the Divine Word Missiological Institute, Sankt Augustine, Germany