Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow Dies Suddenly at Age 70

Archbishop Tartaglia, who had led the archdiocese since 2012, tested positive for COVID-19 after Christmas and was self-isolating.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia gives a blessing at a commemoration of the founding fathers of Celtic F.C. at St Peter’s Cemetery, Dalbeth, Glasgow, Nov. 2, 2013.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia gives a blessing at a commemoration of the founding fathers of Celtic F.C. at St Peter’s Cemetery, Dalbeth, Glasgow, Nov. 2, 2013. (photo: PaulVIF / CC BY-SA 3.0)

GLASGOW, Scotland — The Catholic archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland, died suddenly on Wednesday two days after his 70th birthday.  

The Archdiocese of Glasgow announced that Archbishop Philip Tartaglia died at his home on Jan. 13, the feast of St. Mungo, patron saint of Glasgow.

Archbishop Tartaglia, who had led the archdiocese since 2012, tested positive for COVID-19 after Christmas and was self-isolating. 

The archdiocese said that the cause of his death was currently unclear.

“Please pray for the repose of the soul of Archbishop Philip, for his family and friends and people of the archdiocese,” it said.

The archdiocese will be run by an administrator until Pope Francis chooses a new archbishop of Glasgow.

Archbishop Tartaglia was born to a family of Italian heritage in Glasgow on Jan. 11, 1951.

It is with the greatest sorrow that we announce the death of our Archbishop Philip. He died suddenly at his home in Glasgow, this morning, the feast of St Mungo. He was 70 years old. Requiescat in pace
Full statement https://t.co/RWSke3m31c pic.twitter.com/puDC1YScpM

— Archdiocese of Glasgow (@ArchdiocGlasgow) January 13, 2021

He studied at the national junior seminary at St. Vincent’s College, Langbank, and later at St. Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeen. 

He completed his ecclesiastical studies at the Pontifical Scots College and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

He was ordained to the priesthood on June 30, 1975, by the then Archbishop Thomas Winning, archbishop of Glasgow from 1974 to 2001.

After his ordination, Archbishop Tartaglia returned to Rome to work on a doctorate in Sacred Theology.

After completing his doctorate, he served in parishes and as a lecturer. From 1987 to 1993, he was rector of Chesters College, Bearsden.

In 2004, he was appointed rector of the Pontifical Scots College. A year later, Pope Benedict XVI named him Bishop of Paisley. He was ordained bishop on Nov. 20, 2005, by Archbishop Mario Conti.

He took the mottoDa robur, fer auxilium” (“Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow”), from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Eucharistic hymn “O Salutaris Hostia.”

Benedict XVI named Archbishop Tartaglia archbishop of Glasgow on July 24, 2012. He succeeded Conti, who led the archdiocese from 2002 to 2012.

Archbishop Tartaglia was installed at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, on Sept. 8, 2012, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

He spoke out last year about forced evictions of refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow, describing them as  “regrettable and harsh.”

“I appeal to you not to make refugees and asylum seekers homeless, but to provide for them decent accommodation in accordance with their human dignity and human rights,” he wrote to the U.K.’s Home Secretary.

We are saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia who was a huge supporter of the club and regularly attended matches at Celtic Park.

Everyone at Celtic offers their sincere condolences to Philip‘s family and Scotland’s Catholic community at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/R9Hu9DJaoq

— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) January 13, 2021

Celtic F.C., a soccer team founded in Glasgow in 1887, paid tribute to the archbishop on its official Twitter account.

“We are saddened to hear of the death of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia who was a huge supporter of the club and regularly attended matches at Celtic Park,” the club said.

“Everyone at Celtic offers their sincere condolences to Philip‘s family and Scotland’s Catholic community at this sad time.”

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