Joannes Gijsen

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His Excellency
Joannes Baptist Matthijs Gijsen
Bishop of Reykjavík
Johannes Gijsen.jpg
Bishop Gijsen in 2010
Church Roman Catholic Church
Diocese Diocese of Roermond
Diocese of Reykjavík
In office
  • Roermond: January 20, 1972 – January 23, 1993
  • Reykjavík: May 24, 1996 – October 30, 2007
Personal details
Born (1932-10-07)October 7, 1932
Oeffelt, Netherlands
Died June 24, 2013(2013-06-24) (aged 80)
Sittard, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch

Joannes Baptist Matthijs Gijsen (October 7, 1932 – June 24, 2013) was a Dutch bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.[1] After being Bishop (emeritus) of Roermond, Limburg, the Netherlands, he became Bishop (emeritus) of the Diocese of Reykjavík (Iceland). His episcopal motto is Parate viam Domini (Prepare the way of the Lord).

Early life[edit]

Gijsen was born in Oeffelt. He obtained a doctorate (Ph.D) in Church History.

Roermond, the Netherlands[edit]

Pope Paul VI appointed Gijsen as bishop of Roermond in 1972. In 1993 he resigned for health reasons.

Reykjavik, Iceland[edit]

After a few years at the titular see as bishop of Maastricht, (Traiectum ad Mosam), Gijsen's health improved. In Roermond, he had already been succeeded by bishop Frans Wiertz but in Reykjavik, the diocese with few priests for an enormous area, happened to have been vacant for two years, due to the rather sudden death of the American bishop, Alfred Jolson.

Bishop Gijsen moved from the heavily Catholic Dutch diocese to Reykjavik, where the Catholic population is very small and rising solely due to immigration. Gijsen remained bishop in Iceland for another ten years. On October 30, 2007, the Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation from the pastoral government of the Diocese of Reykjavík, presented by Joannes Gijsen, in accordance with canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law. Since then the bishop lived in Sittard (Limburg) as pastor of the Carmelite Sisters. In Reykjavik, he was succeeded by the Swiss-born bishop Pierre Bürcher.[2]


Gijsen died in Sittard on 24 June 2013, aged 80.[3] He died only 2 months after another Dutch bishop, Muskens, died.

In 2014 two complaints against Gijsen for sexual abuse dating from the period 1958–1961 were deemed valid by the complaints commission of the Catholic Church.[4][5][6] The determination that complaints were valid was the first time against a Dutch bishop. Gijsen's successor in the diocese of Roermond, Frans Wiertz, apologized for Gijsen's behaviour.[5]


  1. ^ (in Dutch)
  2. ^ Holy See Press Office, Daily Bulletin of 30.10.2007, Rinunce e nomine, Rinuncia del Vescovo di Reykjavik (Islanda) e nomina del successore (in Italian)
  3. ^ "Oud-bisschop Gijsen (80) overleden" (in Dutch). 24 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Bert van Doorn (11 April 2014). "Oud-bisschop Jo Gijsen betastte geslachtsdelen jongens" (in Dutch). Omroep Brabant. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Anna Vossers (11 April 2014). "Bisdom Roermond erkent misbruik door bisschop Jo Gijsen" (in Dutch). Elsevier. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "Klachtencommissie verklaart misbruikklachten Gijsen 'gegrond'" (in Dutch). Katholiek Nieuwsblad. Retrieved 7 June 2015. 

External links[edit]