James Patterson Lyke

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The Most Reverend

James Patterson Lyke O.F.M.
Archbishop of Atlanta
InstalledJune 24, 1991
Term endedDecember 27, 1992
PredecessorEugene Antonio Marino
SuccessorJohn Francis Donoghue
Other postsAuxiliary Bishop of Cleveland (1979–1990)
Apostolic Administrator of Atlanta (1990–1991)
OrdinationJune 24, 1966
ConsecrationAugust 1, 1979
Personal details
Born(1939-02-18)February 18, 1939
Chicago, Illinois
DiedDecember 27, 1992(1992-12-27) (aged 53)
Atlanta, Georgia
BuriedArlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs, Georgia
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
Coat of armsJames Patterson Lyke O.F.M.'s coat of arms

James Patterson Lyke, O.F.M. (February 18, 1939 – December 27, 1992) was an African-American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Atlanta from 1991 to 1992.


James Lyke was born on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, the youngest of seven children of Amos and Ora (née Sneed) Lyke.[1] His father abandoned the family, and his mother was left to raise the children in impoverished surroundings, relying on welfare checks.[2] The family lived in a flat, where there were no beds and the only source of heat was a coal stove, before moving to Wentworth Gardens, a Chicago housing project.[2] His mother, a Baptist, sent James to a Catholic school in the fourth grade in order to keep him out of trouble, and did the church's laundry to help pay the tuition. Shortly afterwards, she and six of her children, including James, converted to Catholicism.[2]

He joined the Franciscan order in 1959, studying at St. Francis Novitiate in Teutopolis, Illinois, later obtaining his B.A. degree in philosophy at Our Lady of Angels House of Philosophy through Quincy College in Illinois. He held a master's of divinity from St. Joseph Theological Seminary in Teutopolis and received a Ph.D. in theology in 1981 from the Union Graduate School in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland[edit]

While serving as Auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Cleveland, Bishop Lyke coordinated the hymnal project which produced Lead Me, Guide Me: the African American Catholic Hymnal in 1987.

Apostolic Administrator of Atlanta[edit]

After the resignation of Archbishop Eugene Marino due to scandal in 1990, Bishop Lyke was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

Archbishop of Atlanta[edit]

He was then appointed archbishop there, and was installed as such on June 24, 1991. Lyke died of cancer in 1992. At the time of his death, he was the highest-ranking black Catholic clergyman in the nation.


  • Lyke House - the Catholic (Newman) Center in the Atlanta University Center - is named for him.
  • Archbishop Lyke Catholic Elementary School in Cleveland-Garfield Heights is named after him. In 1994, Saints Catherine and Henry in Cleveland and Saint Timothy in Garfield Heights which are predominantly African-American Catholic parishes merged their grade schools into Archbishop Lyke Elementary. They have a two campus system in which St.Henry has grades k-4 and St. Timothy grades 5-8.


  1. ^ Keiser, Gretchen (1993-01-07). "Archbishop James Lyke, OFM -- 1939-1992". The Georgia Bulletin.
  2. ^ a b c Keiser, Gretchen (1991-07-02). "From Chicago Projects To Priesthood: A Faith Journey". The Georgia Bulletin.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Eugene Antonio Marino
Archbishop of Atlanta
Succeeded by
John Francis Donoghue