Bishop John Coleridge PattesonPrint Page
A brass plaque commemorates John Coleridge Patteson, the first Bishop of Melanesia who was killed by natives at Nukapu in 1871.
|Address:||Douglas Drive, St. Barnabas Chapel, Norfolk Island, 2899|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -29.034207|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
In memory of John Coleridge Patteson, D.D., eldest son of Sir John Patteson, Knight, Judge of the Queen's Bench, born April 1, A.D. 1827; consecrated the first Bishop of Melanesia February 24th, A.D. 1861; murdered by natives of Nukapu in the South Pacific Ocean on the Eve of the Feast of Saint Matthew, September 20, A.D. 1871.
In childhood and in youth he was chiefly distinguished among his fellows by a rare purity, integrity and simplicity of character. His natural powers of mind and body had been slowly matured by culture, and not without patient self-discipline, when, in the prime of early manhood he dedicated himself to lifelong missionary labour, leaving his Devonshire home without thought of return.
At first he served under the Bishop of New Zealand, carrying the Gospel to shores heretofore untrodden by Europeans, and educating native youths entrusted to his charge under a collegiate system conducted by himself in the faith of Christ, and in the industrial arts of civilization. When he afterwards undertook the vast diocese of Melanesia, he seemed to be endowed with new gifts and energies, acquiring a matchless knowledge of native tongues, and yearly navigating his mission ship through perilous seas to seek converts among wild races, softened by his influence, and bear home fresh scholars to his native college at Norfolk Island, where he renewed the studies and interests of his English life. [34/36]
In these Apostolic voyages and administrations, carried on with unflagging zeal for more than sixteen years, without rest, without regret, without earthly reward, he displayed a calm resolution in the presence of danger, an instinctive judgment in overcoming difficulty, a tender compassion for the sick, and suffering, and a liberal Catholicity of spirit and sympathies, which not only won for him the deep reverence and affection of his spiritual brethren and children, but made his name beloved through all the isles of the South Pacific, until he fell by the hand of one who knew not what he did, in the midst of his career, at the post of duty, continuing the faithful soldier and servant of Christ unto his life's end.