Roman Catholic Diocese of Bruges

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Diocese of Bruges
Dioecesis Brugensis
Diocèse de Bruges (French)
Bistum Brügge (German)
Bisdom Brugge (Dutch)
Turm St Salvator.JPG
Country Belgium
Ecclesiastical province Mechelen-Brussels
Metropolitan Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels
Area 3,145 km2 (1,214 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2012)
960,000 (81.8%)
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 27 May 1834
Cathedral St. Salvator's Cathedral in Bruges
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Lode Aerts
from 4 December 2016
Metropolitan Archbishop Jozef De Kesel
Emeritus Bishops Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop Emeritus (1984-2010)
The diocese of Bruges, coextensive with the province of West Flanders
The diocese of Bruges, coextensive with the province of West Flanders

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bruges, (Bisdom Brugge in native Dutch) is a suffragan diocese in ecclesiastical province of the primatial Metropolitan archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels (which covers all the Roman Catholic church in Belgium).

The Renaissance diocese since 1558 was suppressed in 1834 during the Napoleonic and Dutch eras and restored in 1834 a pre-diocesan stage as Apostolic vicariate since 1832.[1] Its territory coincides with West Flanders.

Its cathedral episcopal see is the Sint-Salvator Cathedral, dedicated to Our Savior, in Bruges (Brugge), West Flanders province, a minor basilica a minor World Heritage Site. Its patron saint however is Saint Donatian, hence the cathedral is also known as Sint-Salvators- en Donaaskathedraal after both saints.


As per 2014, it pastorally serves 965,000 Catholics (82.1% of 1,174,752 total) on 3,145 km² in 362 parishes and 65 missions with 708 priests (499 diocesan, 209 religious), 91 deacons, 1,986 lay religious (290 brothers, 1,696 sisters) and 7 seminarians.


An earlier diocese of Bruges was established on 12 May 1558, on territory split off from the Diocese of Tournai, as part of the great Habsburg reform of the church in the then Spanish Low Countries. Its cathedral see, St. Donatian's Cathedral, was destroyed in a fire in 1799 during the aftermath of the French Revolution.

During the Napoleonic Concordate-period reforms, it was suppressed on 1801.07.15 and its territory merged into the Diocese of Gent (Ghent).

On 1832.12.17, shortly after the independence of Belgium, it was restored as (pre-diocesan) Apostolic Administration of West-Vlaanderen ('West Flanders', the name of the Belgian province it coincides with, as most Belgian bishoprics), regaining its teritoy from Ghent. On 1834.05.27, this was promoted to Diocese again and renamed after its see, Brugge, while the incumbent Apostolic Administrator was promoted Suffragan Bishop. On 1967.05.31 it lost a bit of territory to the Ancient Diocese of Tournai, shortly after a reshuffle of province borders involving a few municipalities, notably Moeskroen being transferred to Hainaut (which Tournai bishopric covers).

In May 1958 it enjoyed a papal Visit from Pope John Paul II. A pederasty scandal saw its self-confessed, hardly remorseful bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe forced into 'early emeritate', traumatizing the entire Belgian church.


Franciscus-Renatus Boussen, eighteenth bishop of Brugge
the current bishop
Suffragan Bishops (first diocese)
Apostolic Administrator of West-Vlaanderen
Suffragan Bishops (present diocese)

External links and sources[edit]


  1. ^ "Diocese of Brugge {Bruges}". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 

Coordinates: 51°12′18″N 3°13′21″E / 51.204977°N 3.222416°E / 51.204977; 3.222416