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The Protopriest of the College of Cardinals (Italian: protopresbitero, and, rare, Italian: protoprete) — in the College of Cardinals, is the first Cardinal-Priest in the order of precedence, hence directly after the Cardinal-bishops.
This title is always attached to the most senior Cardinal Priest according to date of his creation. From the 17th century until the end of 19th century, the Protopriest usually opted for the Titular church (titulus) of San Lorenzo in Lucina.
The protopriest has the honor of pronouncing the formal prayer for the new pope at the papal inauguration after the protodeacon (most senior Cardinal deacon) bestows the pallium and before the Dean of the College of Cardinals (most senior Cardinal-bishop) presents the Ring of the Fisherman: this happened at the inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI. This did not happen at the inauguration of Pope Francis due to the absence of the protopriest.
Protopriests since 1920
- James Gibbons (1920 – 1921)
- Michael Logue (1921 – 1924)
- Giuseppe Francica-Nava de Bontifè (1924 – 1928)
- Lev Skrbenský z Hřiště (1928 – 1938)
- William Henry O'Connell (1938 – 1944)
- Alessio Ascalesi, 1944–May 1952
- Michael von Faulhaber, June 1952
- Alessandro Verde, 1957–1958
- Jozef-Ernest van Roey, 1958–1961
- Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, 1961–1977
- Norman Thomas Gilroy, 1977
- Josef Frings, 1977–1978
- Antonio Caggiano, 1978–1979
- Carlos Vasconcellos Motta, 1979–1982
- Giuseppe Siri, 1982–1989
- Paul-Émile Léger, 1989–1991
- Franz König, 1991–2004
- Stephen Kim, 2004–2009
- Eugênio Sales, 2009–2012
- Paulo Evaristo Arns, 2012 – ...
- The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church: Title of S. Lorenzo in Lucina. The last protoprete who opted for that title was Mieczysław Halka Ledóchowski in 1896.
- Ceremony of Papal Inauguration of Pope Benedict XVI [24.04.2005] on YouTube Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Inaugural Mass of the Pontificate (Vatican video of Pope Francis' papal inauguration) on YouTube