Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu

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Archdiocese of Cebu

Archidioecesis Nominis Iesu seu Cæbuana

Arkidiyosesis sa Labing Balaan nga Ngalan ni Jesus sa Sugbo
Arquidiócesis del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús de Cebú
Cebu Archdiocese coat of arms.svg
Coat of arms
Country Philippines
Ecclesiastical provinceCebu
Area5,088 km2 (1,964 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2014)
4,079,738 (88.5%)
Parishes164 parishes (including quasi-parishes), 2 mission stations, 5 non-parochial shrines, 1 minor basilica, 2 national shrines
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
  • August 14, 1595 (Diocese)
  • April 28, 1934 (Archdiocese)
CathedralCathedral of Saint Vitales, Cebu City
Patron saint
Current leadership
Metropolitan ArchbishopJose Serofia Palma
Auxiliary BishopsMidyphil Billones
Vicar GeneralMsgr. Vicente Rey Penagunda
Msgr. Daniel Sanico
Bishops emeritusAntonio Rañola Auxiliary Bishop-Emeritus
Emilio Bataclan Auxiliary Bishop-Emeritus[1][2]
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu (or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Cebu) (Latin: Archidioecesis Nominis Iesu seu Cæbuana; Filipino: Arkidiyosesis ng Cebu; Cebuano: Arkidiyosesis sa Sugbo; Spanish: Arzobispado del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus) is a Roman Rite archdiocese of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and one of the ecclesiastical provinces of the Catholic Church in the country. It is composed of the entire civil province of Cebu (Cebu and the nearby islands of Mactan, Bantayan, and Camotes).[3][4][5][6] It is the Mother Church of the Philippines.[7][3][4][5][6] The jurisdiction, Cebu, is considered as the fount of Christianity in the Far East.[3][4][5][6][8][9][10]

The seat of the archdiocese is the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Immaculate Conception, more commonly known as the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. The archdiocese honors Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebú as its patroness while the second Filipino saint Pedro Calungsod as its secondary patron saint. The current archbishop is the Most Reverend José Serofia Palma, DD, STh.D, who was installed on January 13, 2011. As of 2013, the archdiocese registered a total of 4,609,590 baptized Catholics.[11] It is currently the largest archdiocese in the Philippines and in Asia having the most Catholics, seminarians and priests.[12]

Ecclesiastical Province[edit]

Its Ecclesiastical province comprises the Metropolitan's own Archbishopric and the following Suffragan sees :



The history of the future Archdiocese of Cebu began with the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu in 1521.[13] The Church anchored in that year[14] by the native Cebuanos' profession of faith in Christ,[15] baptism,[16] the daily celebration of the Mass,[17] and the chaplain of the expedition, Fr. Pedro Valderrama being the legitimate pastor for their spiritual needs. However, immediately after its inception during the aftermath of Battle of Mactan, the Church of Cebu experienced decadence due to lack of shepherds to enforce and edify the natives on the faith. Most of the natives materially apostatized, while others clung unto the image of the Santo Niño (the first Christian icon in the Philippines given as a baptismal gift by Magellan). The unintended negligence lasted for 44 years until it was re-established in 1565 by the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi and Fray Andrés de Urdaneta. The remnant of the Cebuano Church in 1521, as evident in the person of Rajah Tupas, was resuscitated by the Augustinians as an Abbey nullius (an equivalent of a diocese)[18] when the formal evangelization of the Philippines commenced with Fr. Urdaneta as the first prelate.[19][20][21] The oversight of the natives was then succeeded to Fray Diego de Herrera who would later re-baptized Tupas and his servants in 1568. Adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi established his government in Cebu, thus the first capital of the Philippines.

The Church expanded from Cebu when the remaining missionaries led by Fr. Diego de Herrera when they were forced northwest temporarily due to conflict with the Portuguese and laid the foundations of the Christian community in the Panay in around 1569.[3][6]

In 1570 the second batch of missionaries reached Cebu. The island became the ecclesiastical "seat" as it was the center for evangelization. A notable missionary was Fr. Alfonso Jimenez, O.S.A., who travelled and penetrated the Camarines region through the islands of Masbate, Leyte, Samar, and Burias and founded the Church there. He was called the first apostle of the region.[3][6]

By 1571, Fr. Herrera who was assigned as chaplain of Legazpi, from Panay advanced further north and founded the local Church community in Manila. There, Legazpi transferred the seat of government though Cebu remained the spiritual capital of the country.[3][6]

In 1572 the Spaniards led by Juan de Salcedo marched from Manila further north with the second batch of Augustinian missionaries and pioneered the evangelization to the communities in the Ilocos (starting with Vigan) and the Cagayan regions.[3][6]

Diocese of Cebu[edit]

On February 6, 1579, the Philippines' first diocese, the Diocese of Manila, had been established as a suffragan of the See of Mexico. On August 14, 1595, Pope Clement VIII issued four bulls to Spain: one with the incipit Super universas orbis ecclesias[22] elevating the See of Manila to metropolitan status; and three with the incipit Super specula militantis Ecclesiae[23] erecting the three suffragan dioceses of Manila, which were the Diocese of Cebu, the Diocese of Nueva Cáceres, and the Diocese of Nueva Segovia.[24] The Diocese of Cebu's first bishop was Pedro de Agurto, an Augustinian.[3][24] As a diocese, Cebú had a very extensive territory which then included the whole of the Visayas, Mindanao[13] and "more southern islands";[25] also it extended farther to the Pacific such as the Marianas,[26] Carolines, and Palau.[27]

However it lost territory repeatedly:

On April 28, 1934, it was elevated to a Metropolitan Archdiocese with the last suffragan bishop Gabriel M. Reyes promoted as its first Archbishop. On November 8, 1941, it lost territory to establish Diocese of Tagbilaran as its suffragan.

Cebu was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1981. Between November 10, 1985 to March 1, 1986, the archdiocese held its Fourth Diocesan Synod of Cebu at the Seminaryo Mayor de San Carlos. Recently, It hosted the 51st International Eucharistic Congress from January 24 to 31, 2016.

Beginnings of Philippine Christian Tradition[edit]

In Cebu the first baptism was made (April 14, 1521), hence, Rajah Humabon and the rest of the natives became the very first Filipino Christians. In the island also was the first Mass in which Filipino converts participated. Also in the territory the first resistance against the Mohammedan advance from the south.[28] The first Philippine Christian feast dedicated to the Sto. Niño was instituted and celebrated there. The first recorded confession and the last rites of an accused inhabitant transpired.[29] The very first temples were erected (the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica del Santo Niño) in the Philippines.[30] The first Christian Marriage transpired with Isabel, the niece of Rajah Tupas and Andres, the Greek caulker of Legazpi, and their children baptized representing the first infant baptisms.[31] By: Chinize Dayne C. Canastra


Cebu's Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño: Mother and Head of All Churches[edit]

In the Apostolic Letter Ut Clarificetur, on the conferring the titles and privileges of the basilica, Pope Paul VI in 1965 described the Cebu's now Basilica del Santo Niño as the "Mother and Head of all Churches in the Philippines" (mater et caput... omnium ecclesiarum Insularum Philippinarum).[32] The same Paul VI also named the basilica the "symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines."[33]

Seat of Philippine Christianity[edit]

Pope John Paul II, in his Homily for Families in Cebu (February 19, 1981), called the island as the birthplace of the faith:

Finding myself in this important city known as the cradle of Christianity in the Philippines, I want to express my deep joy and profound thanksgiving to the Lord of history. The thought that for 450 years the light of the Gospel has shone with undimmed brightness in this land and on its people is cause for great rejoicing.[34]


Prelates of Cebu [note 1]
Suffragan Bishops of Cebu
  • Pedro de Agurto, O.S.A † (30 August 1595 Appointed - 14 Oct 1608 Died)
  • Pedro de Arce, O.S.A. † (17 Sep 1612 Appointed - 16 Oct 1645 Died)
  • Father Juan Velez † (26 Jan 1660 bishop elect - 1662 Died)
  • Juan López † (23 April 1663 Appointed - 14 Nov 1672), later Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila (Philippines) (1672.11.14 – death 1674.02.12)
  • Diego de Aguilar, O.P. † (16 Nov 1676 Appointed - 1 Oct 1692 Died)
  • Miguel Bayot, O.F.M. † (13 May 1697 Appointed - 28 Aug 1700 Died)
  • Pedro Sanz de la Vega y Landaverde, O. de M. † (26 Jan 1705 Appointed - 17 Dec 1717 Died)
  • Apostolic Administrator Sebastián Foronda, O.S.A. † (2 March 1722 Appointed - 20 May 1728 Died)
  • Manuel de Ocio y Campo † (20 Jan 1734 Appointed - 21 July 1737 Died)
  • Protacio Cabezas † (29 Aug 1740 Appointed - 3 Feb 1753 Died)
  • Miguel Lino de Ezpeleta † (18 July 1757 Appointed - 1771 Died)
  • Mateo Joaquin Rubio de Arevalo † (13 Nov 1775 Appointed - 1788 Died)
  • Ignacio de Salamanca † (24 Sep 1792 Appointed - Feb 1802 Died)
  • Joaquín Encabo de la Virgen de Sopetrán, O.A.R. † (20 Aug 1804 Appointed - 8 Nov 1818 Died)
  • Francisco Genovés, O.P. † (21 March 1825 Appointed - 1 Aug 1827 Died)
  • Santos Gómez Marañón, O.S.A. † (28 Sep 1829 Appointed - 23 Oct 1840 Died)
  • Romualdo Jimeno Ballesteros, O.P. † (19 Jan 1846 Appointed - 17 March 1872 Died); previously Titular Bishop of Ruspæ (1839.08.02 – 1846.01.19) & Coadjutor Apostolic Vicar of Eastern Tonking (Vietnam) (1839.08.02 – 1845.06.20), Coadjutor Bishop of Manila (Philippines) (1845.06.20 – 1846.01.19)
  • Benito Romero, O.F.M. † (28 Jan 1876 Appointed - 4 Nov 1885 Died)
  • Martín García y Alcocer, O.F.M. † (7 June 1886 Appointed - 30 July 1904 Resigned); emeritate as Titular Archbishop of Bostra (1904.07.30 – 1926.05.20)
  • Thomas A. Hendrick † (17 July 1903 Appointed - 29 Nov 1909 Died)
  • Juan Bautista Gorordo † (2 April 1910 Appointed - 19 June 1931 Resigned), succeeded ad former Titular Bishop of Nilopolis (1909.04.29 – 1910.04.02) & Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu (1909.04.29 – 1910.04.02); emeritate as Titular Bishop of Tacapæ (1931.06.19 – 1934.12.20)
  • Gabriel M. Reyes † (29 July 1932 Appointed - 1934.04.28 see below)
Metropolitan Archbishops of Cebu
Basilica Minore Sto. Niño, Cebu City.

Diocesan Seminaries[edit]

  • Pope John XXIII Seminary, Pope John Paul II Avenue, Barangay Luz, Cebu City

Rector: Rev. Fr. Allan Delima

  • San Carlos Seminary College, Pope John Paul II Avenue, Barangay Luz, Cebu City

Rector: Rev. Msgr. Joseph Tan P.C., S.T.L.

  • Seminario Mayor de San Carlos, Pope John Paul II Avenue, Barangay Luz, Cebu City

Rector: Rev. Msgr. Vicente Rey M. Penagunda, P.C., V.G.

  • Spiritual Pastoral Formation Year House, Archbishop's Residence Compound, D. Jakosalem St., Cebu City

Director: Rev. Fr. Alvin Raypan

Archdiocesan Calendar[edit]

The Calendar of the Archdiocese of Cebu is based on the General Roman Calendar and the Philippine Standard Calendar. Below are the following additions and changes to the calendar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cebu—Cradle of the Philippine Church and Seat of Far-East Christianity." International Eucharistic Congress 2016, December 4, 2014, accessed December 4, 2014,
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b c The Church of Cebu's Basilica del Santo Niño is named by the Vatican as "mother and head of all churches in the Philippines" (mater et caput... omnium ecclesiarum Insularum Philippinarum). See
  6. ^ a b c d e f g John Kingsley Pangan, Church of the Far East (Makati: St. Pauls, 2016),
  7. ^ "[T]here was founded in Zebu . . . the church and ecclesiastical community of these islands" The Philippine Islands 1493-1803, vol. 23, eds. Emma H. Blair, James A. Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903), 209.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Cebu (Archdiocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]
  12. ^ "Archdiocese of Cebu". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2010-07-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Carmelo D. F. Morelos, "'Go… Make Disciples!' – A Pastoral Letter on the Fourth Centenary of the Archdioceses of Manila, Cebu, Cáceres, Nueva Segovia," Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, January 29, 1994, accessed September 6, 2014,
  15. ^ Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan’s Voyage Around the World, vol. 1, trans. James Alexander Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906), 159.
  16. ^ Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan’s Voyage Around the World, vol. 1, trans. James Alexander Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906), 151-155.
  17. ^ Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan’s Voyage Around the World, vol. 1, trans. James Alexander Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906), 157.
  18. ^
  19. ^ The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, vol. 2, eds. Emma Helen Blair, James Alexander Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903), 33, note 5.
  20. ^ Blair, Emma Helen; Robertson, James Alexander, eds. (1903). The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803 vol. 2. Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company. p. 168.
  21. ^ Bartholomé de Letona, OSF, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, vol. 36, eds. Emma Helen Blair, James Alexander Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906), 210.
  22. ^ Siniculus. "Dei praesidio fultus: Philippine Bullary I".
  23. ^ Siniculus. "Dei praesidio fultus: Philippine Bullary II".
  24. ^ a b Philippine Star: "Fray Pedro de Agurto, OSA: The first Bishop of Cebu" By Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA (The Freeman) October 12, 2014
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Felipe Redondo y Sendino, Breve reseña de lo que fue y de lo que es la Diócesis de Cebú en las Islas Filipinas, trans. Azucena L. Pace (Cebu City: University of San Carlos Press, 2014), Breve Reseña, 74.
  28. ^ Juan de Medina, OSA, "Historia de la Orden de San Agustin de estas Islas Filipinas," in The Philippine Islands 1493-1803, vol. 23, eds. Emma H. Blair, James A. Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903), 185.
  29. ^ Résumé of Documents, 153.
  30. ^ Astrid Sala-Boza, "The Contested Site of the Finding of the Holy Child: Villa San Miguel or San Nicolas (Cebu El Viejo)," Philippine Quarterly of Culture Society 34, (2006): 232.; The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, vol. 2, eds. Emma Helen Blair, James Alexander Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903), 121.
  31. ^ Résumé of Documents, 140-141.
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Bartolomé de Letona, OSF (1662), “Description of the Filipinas Islands” in The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803, vol. 34, eds. Emma H. Blair and James A. Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1906), 208. "The Order of St. Augustine entered the islands in the year [1]565; its first superior, and first prelate of all the islands was Fray Andres de Urdaneta - a Vascongado,40 and a son of the convent and province of Mexico; he was the apostle who unfurled the gospel banner, and he planted the faith in the island of Zebu and others."
  36. ^ Bibliography on Legazpi and Urdaneta], Isacio R. Rodriguez, Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints(Ateneo de Manila University:1965).
  37. ^ The Philippine Islands 1493-1803, vol. 23, eds. Emma H. Blair, James A. Robertson (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1903), 209. "In April of the year 1565, there was founded in Zebu (afterward being transferred to Manila) the church and ecclesiastical community of these islands; and its ordinary jurisdiction was allotted to the superiors of the Order of St. Augustine, who were the founders and apostles of this kingdom; they held that dignity up to the year of [15]77".


  1. ^ The religious superiors, in this case the Augustinians in Cebu, functioned as ordinaries in mission territories with no diocese through the papal bull Omnimodam auctoritatem nostram made by Pope Adrian VI. Thus, consequently making the first Augustinian superiors as Prelates of Cebu. Their prelacy are more historical than canonical. The modern equivalent of this is a Territorial Superior. See more in

Sources and external links[edit]

Coordinates: 10°17′45″N 123°54′11″E / 10.2958°N 123.9030°E / 10.2958; 123.9030