Émile Biayenda

Émile Biayenda (1927 – 23 March 1977) was the Archbishop of Brazzaville in Congo from 1971 to 1977 and was also a cardinal of the Catholic Church.

Émile Biayenda

Archbishop of Brazzaville
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In office14 June 1971 – 23 March 1977
PredecessorThéophile Mbemba
SuccessorBarthélémy Batantu
Other post(s)
  • Cardinal-Priest of San Marco in Agro Laurentino (1973–1977)
  • President of the Congo Episcopal Conference (1971–1977)
Ordination26 October 1958
by Michel-Jules-Joseph-Marie Bernard
Consecration17 May 1970
by Sergio Pignedoli
Created cardinal5 March 1973
by Pope Paul VI
Personal details
Émile Biayenda

Mfinkabitungu, Malela-Bombe, Kindamba, Democratic Republic of Congo
Died23 March 1977 (aged 50)
Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo
Previous post(s)
MottoIn verbo Tuo laxabo rete ("At Your word I will let down the net")
Coat of armsÉmile Biayenda's coat of arms
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Title as SaintServant of God
Ordination history of
Émile Biayenda
Priestly ordination
Ordained byMichel-Jules-Joseph-Marie Bernard
Date26 October 1958
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated bySergio Pignedoli
Date17 May 1970
Elevated byPope Paul VI
Date5 March 1973
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Émile Biayenda as principal consecrator
Godefroy-Emile Mpwati7 December 1975
Styles of
Émile Biayenda
Template-Cardinal (Bishop).svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal

He was born in 1927 in Mpangala, Vindza. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1958 and was consecrated as a bishop in 1970. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope Paul VI in 1973. He was murdered in 1977.

His cause of canonization has commenced – he now has the title of Servant of God with the initiation of the cause in 1995 under Pope John Paul II.



Émile Biayenda was born in 1927 in Mpangala, Vindza


Biayenda attended several institutions for education for his childhood studies and his studies for the priesthood.

  • Catholic Mission School at Kindamba, 1937–1942.
  • Catholic Mission School at Bjoundi, 1942–1944.
  • Minor Seminary of St. Paul at Mbamou, 1944–1950.
  • Major Seminary of Brazzaville, 1950–1959.
  • University of Lyon in France, 1966–1969.

During this time in France, he obtained a licentiate in sociology and in Catholic theology.[1]

Church careerEdit

He was ordained to the priesthood in 1958 and was later consecrated a bishop on 17 May 1960 by Cardinal Sergio Pignedoli. Biayenda was known for radical social views throughout his pastoral ministry. This was a contributing factor to his abduction and murder.[1]

His views on humanitarian issues were quite critical of his nation's government. This strained relations between the church and state. He spoke out against state injustices and on persecution. He also participated in the Synod of Bishops in 1971 and sent a pastoral letter in Congo on the theme of development and the role of Catholics in the nation.[1]

Pope Paul VI created him the Cardinal-Priest of San Marco Agro in Lauretino in the consistory of 5 March 1973. His elevation made him the first cardinal from Congo.


He was abducted from his residence next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Brazzaville in the afternoon of 22 March 1977 and was killed on the night of 23 March 1977 by a group of soldiers. The real cause for this is still undetermined.[2][3]

Beatification causeEdit

A cause for canonization was opened at the behest of Pope John Paul II via the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 20 March 1995. He was granted the posthumous title of Servant of God as a result of the opening.

The diocesan process for the late cardinal's beatification spanned from 21 October 1996 and was finished on 14 June 2003. A historical commission was assigned to the cause and completed its work in 2014.[3] The Congregation later validated the diocesan process on 29 May 2015. The next step would be for him to be declared Venerable with the recognition of his heroic virtues.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c "Biayenda, Emile, Congo, Roman Catholic". DACB.org. 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  2. ^ Gislain Wilfrid Boumba, "36ème anniversaire de la mort du cardinal Emile Biayenda : Le prélat vénéré à travers une neuvaine nationale", La Semaine Africaine, 22 March 2013 (in French).
  3. ^ a b "archdiocese of Brazzaville commemorates Cardinal Emile Biayenda abducted and murdered 27 years ago". Agenzia Fides. 24 March 2004. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Home". biayenda.lautre.net.
  5. ^ "Biayenda, Emile". Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.

External linksEdit