Cardinal-Count Don Rutherford I, Anglo-Italian Imperial Patriarch

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H.I.R.H. Count Don Rutherford Cardinal Johnson-ffairclogh-de Sainte Animie, Archprince-Bishop of St. Stephen and Anglo-Italian Imperial Patriarch shepherds the Imperial Patriarchate of St. Stephen (Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church). As an Imperial Old Roman Catholic Patriarchate with Anglican tradition, it descends from the See of Utrecht, which was granted autonomy by the Holy See in 1145. The Imperial Patriarch previously served as 6th Bishop of the Diocese and Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of the Southwest. Cardinal Johnson was elected Imperial Patriarch of Saint Stephen in 2011 by the Patriarchal Electors. By his office, he is titular Elector of Würzburg in the Holy Roman Empire, Cardinal Deacon of Santa Maria Antiqua in camera persona, 3rd Cardinal Prince of Florence in succession of office from Leo X and Ferdinand I de' Medici, and 108th Imperial Vice-King of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire in succession from Countess Matilda, Margravine of Tuscany. After more than twenty years of chief executive leadership and service to the Imperial Patriarchate and its subsidiaries, the chief administrative and operational duties were accepted by the newly appointed Prefect-General in 2019. The realignment enhances administrative efficiency and improves processes while encouraging greater focus on service to others consistent with the ancient traditions and modern mission of the Patriarchate.

Confirmed in the Roman Communion, Don Rutherford's priestly formation began as a youth and continued through his formal secular education. His Eminence was raised in Rancho la Costa, California, and the southern United States, travelling regularly to his ancestral Europe, including Italy, France, the Holy See, Germany, England, Scotland, and the Netherlands. The Patriarch possesses a diverse, multi-disciplinary education and holds a Graduate Certificate in Business Communications from Harvard University Extension School, a Bachelor's degree in Applied Physics and a Masters degree in Economic from Georgia Tech, a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky, a Licentiate and Doctorate of Canon Law, and a Licentiate and Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Pontifical Georgian College, the Patriarchal See's principal seminary. In addition to being a canon attorney and jurist, he is an economics professor and former university chaplain, and now serves as Regent of Pontifical Georgian College. He was inducted into the famed Explorers Club and is a Fellow of the P.R. Society of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

An Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, Don Rutherford remains active in service and philanthropy supporting various charitable outreach programs and apostolates. He has been honoured by the Governors of Kentucky, Alabama, and Texas for his leadership and service and is a recipient of the U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award Gold Medal and the U.S. President's Lifetime Achievement Award. The Cardinal served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He participated in homeland defense efforts during the Global War on Terrorism and is a plankowner (charter member) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As part of his ministry in the Patriarchate of St. Stephen, he serves in the Walsingham Guard, the humanitarian wing of the Patriarchate with a military heritage dating back to 1190 in Acre during the Crusades. By virtue of his office, he holds the honourary rank of First Marshal of the Patriarchate and the honourary post of First Captain of the Naval Guard. He hold several uniformed service qualifications, including patrol boat command, navigation, signals operations, search and rescue, and flood rescue operations. His Eminence's own Germanic-Franco-Italian heritage parallels the patrimony heritage of the Patriarchate he shepherds. In addition to English, the Patriarch speaks his ancestral languages of Italian, French, and German as well as Spanish, Russian, and Latin.


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