John Joseph Frederick Otto Zardetti

Otto Zardetti, 1890

John Joseph Frederick Otto Zardetti (Rorschach, Switzerland January 24, 1847 Rome, Italy May 10, 1902) was a Roman Catholic priest and Bishop in both Europe and the United States during the 19th century. He was an Auxiliary Bishop of Dakota Territory under Bishop Martin Marty, the first Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Archbishop of Bucharest, Romania and Archbishop of Mocissus, Cappadocia. At the time of his death, he was allegedly being groomed to become the Papal Nuncio to Canada.[1]

Early life

Otto Zardetti was born in Rorschach, Switzerland, to Eugen Zardetti and his wife Annette Anna, born von Bayer, an upper-middle-class family who dealt incanvas and colonial goods. His ancestors had moved to Switzerland from Villa, Val Anasca, Italy, at the end of the eighteenth century, because his grandfather had married into the patrician family von Bayer.[2]

Zardetti attended the local primary- and secondary school in Rorschach, then the Stella Matutina (Jesuit School) in Feldkirch, Austria, after which he again returned to Switzerland where he attended the episcopalian boy's seminary in St. Georgen next to the city of St. Gall. He received his university education in Theology and Philosophy from Innsbruck. Because of his talent for languages, he was offered the opportunity to accompany Bishop Greit to the First Vatican Council in Rome from November 1869 to Easter 1870. He graduated with a doctor in Theology from Innsbruck in 1870 and was ordained the same year in St. Gall.[3]


His talent in French, English and Italian as well as in his native language German brought him a post as professor in Rhetoric in St. Georgen. After that he was first librarian and then canon at the diocese of St. Gall. In 1879 he embarked upon his first travels to the United States, where he was invited by Archbishop Heiss of Milwaukee to teach dogmatics at the Metropolitan Seminary of Wisconsin. Pope Leo XIII then appointed him in 1889 to be the first bishop of St. Cloud in Minnesota. But because Zardetti did not take the many travels and changes of climate very well he soon expressed the wish to return to Europe. The pope appointed him as archbishop of Bucharest in 1894, but the climate there agreed even less with him so that he resigned two years later. He was then appointed titular archbishop of Mocissus and took an apartment in Rome as a member of the curia. He left numerous travel accounts and religious writings.[4]


  1. "Archbishop John Joseph Frederick Otto Zardetti". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  2. Emmerich Gmeiner Eugen Zardetti und die Auto-Voralberger (Hard 2007)
  3. Emmerich Gmeiner Eugen Zardetti und die Auto-Voralberger (Hard 2007)
  4. Emmerich Gmeiner Eugen Zardetti und die Auto-Voralberger (Hard 2007)
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