His Excellency Most Rev. John Tong Hon – Bp. of Hong Kong

An appropriate photo of the new Bishop of Hong Kong, His Excellency Most Rev. John Tong Hon.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. How interesting, especially given the green hat behind him. Some Chinese bishops use a purple galero on their
    arms–technically incorrect, but due to the fact apparently ‘wearing a green hat’ is an idiomatic expression in Chinese
    meaning…I can’t remember but it’s something bad. Perhaps Fr. Selvester can comment.

  2. Matthew: Green is correct for a bishop. An archbishop gets the violet. Hong Kong is a Diocese, not an Archdiocese. But in Chinese, if memory serves, “dài lùmào to wear a green hat” is the equivalent of “putting on horns”… to be a cuckold.

  3. RBrown says:

    If he were a US elected official, he would be Hon John Tong Hon–a nice chiasmus.

  4. Dr. Eric says:

    A green hat is the sign of a cuckold. And from some of the readings from my google search (Caveat Lector)on why it is the sign of the cuckold, in the Yuan and Ming Dynasties men whose female relatives were known to be prostitutes were made to wear green hats.

  5. RBrown: Instead, he must settle for Mons John Tong Hon

  6. I suppose this would make an enthusiastic American-style St. Patrick’s celebration a little problematic.

  7. Dr. Eric says:

    Fr. Z,

    From a video I saw, there was a delegation from Taiwan who came for business and the American company thought they’d do it up really clever and have a St. Patrick’s Day party with Pot’s O’ Gold, Leprechauns, and Green Hats for everyone!

    The Taiwanese group embarrassingly wore the green hats. But complained to management that they had to wear the hats and the deal with the American company was off!

  8. At least outside of China, archbishops also have green galleri, just with more tassels.

    I think some of various prelates and monsignori are permitted violet ones.

  9. Maureen says:

    That’s not a green galero, is it? More like aqua blue or teal.

  10. LCB says:

    I know little of Bp. Hon, but Cdl. Zen is one of my heroes.

    Fr. Z, perhaps you can tell us a bit about the man?

  11. Thanks for posting the photo. I just got the news through your post. I was born in Hong Kong. I met the new Bishop a few times years ago. Will keep him in prayers.

  12. Dr. Eric says:

    In ancient Chinese, there was only one word for green and blue and all colors in between- Qing (Cheeng.) Later came Lan for blue and Lu (with the Umlaut over the U) for green.

  13. James says:

    I have just one small minor little detail. It it is improper to use two honorific prenomial titles. You can say The Most Rev. Archbishop X, or His Excellency, Archbishop X, but not His Excellency, the Most Rev. X, and certainly not His Excellency, the Most Rev. Archbishop X (granted that should be objected to because it\’s gaughty). Reasoning? Most Rev. and Excellency are honorific titles, while Archbishop is Jurisdictional.

  14. teresa says:

    it is quite amusing to read the discussion about the green hat here.

    Thanks to Dr. Eric now I know the etymology behind it, having always taken it for granted without asking why.

    We have real experts here, including father Z.

  15. Timbot says:

    The green/blue color problem in Chinese bedevils scholars to this day. It is particularly vexing because usages of “qing” vary so much over place, time, and context. Now, as far as antiquity, we actually have the use of “lan” (as in indigo) appearing as early as the Classic of Poetry, and Chinese literature does not get any older then that (although “qing” might appear on oracle bone writings, though here it might mean “young”)Etymologically “qing” seems to be associated with the color of a newly shooted plant (hence its secondary association with youth). “qing” can also mean “black”. Like “sheng”, “qing” seems to be one of those words that has simply worn many hats over the centuries, and defies easy definitions.

  16. Gregor says:


    how interesting. Is that a particular rule of English? Other languages certainly can and do. In Latin it is “excellentissimus ac reverendissimus dominus”, in Italian “Sua Eccellenza Reverendissima”, and in German “Seine Hochwürdigste Exzellenz” or even the exact equivalent of what you object to in English “Seine Exzellenz, der Hochwürdigste Herr (Erz-)Bischof NN.”.

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