Johannes Zwijsen

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Johannes Zwijsen

Johannes Zwijsen (28 August 1794, Kerkdriel, Gelderland – 16 October 1877, Den Bosch) was the first Roman Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht after the reestablishment of the episcopal hierarchy in the Netherlands in 1853.

Zwijsen was ordained a priest on 19 January 1817. On 17 April 1842, he was consecrated Titular bishop of Geras and Coadjutor of the Apostolic vicar of s-Hertogenbosch, at Church of Saint Denis in Tilburg, by baron Cornelius Ludovicus van Wijkerslooth, ordaining bishop for the Netherlands. Zwijsen took as his episcopal motto: Mansuete et fortiter, mild and strong. He founded the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy as a teaching order, and the Brothers of Our Lady Mother of Mercy to carry out works of charity and works of mercy. In 1847 he was appointed Apostolic vicar of the Dutch Mission (Hollandse Zending), until 1848. When Pope Pius IX, with the apostolic letter "Ex qua die", reorganized the Catholic Church of the Netherlands, Utrecht was raised once more to an archbishopric, and Zwijsen was named the first archbishop; as administrator he also ruled the diocese of 's-Hertogenbosch.

He took up with great energy and caution the organization of the restored archdiocese. By numerous excellent decrees he provided for the improvement of discipline, the encouragement of orders and of church associations and for the establishment of Catholic schools. In 1857 opened the diocesan seminary for the training of a competent clergy. In 1858 the cathedral chapters of the archdiocese were organized and in 1864 the first provincial synod was held. In 1868 he resigned, retaining only the direction of the diocese of 's-Hertogenbosch.


Catholic Church titles
Vacant see Archbishop of Utrecht
Succeeded by
Andreas Ignatius Schaepman