Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels

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Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels


Mechelen–Brussel (in Dutch)
Malines–Bruxelles (in French)
Mechelen Margareta voor Sint-Rombouts 02.jpg
Coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels
Coat of arms
TerritoryMechelen, the Brussels-Capital Region, Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant
Ecclesiastical provinceMechelen-Brussels
Coordinates51°1′48.4″N 4°28′43.6″E / 51.030111°N 4.478778°E / 51.030111; 4.478778Coordinates: 51°1′48.4″N 4°28′43.6″E / 51.030111°N 4.478778°E / 51.030111; 4.478778
Area3,700 km2 (1,400 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2015)
Increase 2,842,000 [1]
Increase 1,818,000 (Steady 64%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
Established12 May 1559
CathedralSt. Rumbold (Mechelen) (Primatial cathedral)
Co-cathedralSt. Michael and Gudula (Brussels)
Patron saintSaint Rumbold of Mechelen
Secular priests1812
Current leadership
Metropolitan ArchbishopJozef De Kesel
Auxiliary BishopsJean Kockerols
Jean-Luc Hudsyn
Koenraad Vanhoutte
Vicar GeneralEtienne Van Billoen [2]
Bishops emeritusAndré-Joseph Léonard Archbishop Emeritus (2010-2015)
Jan De Bie Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus (1982-2002)
Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels
Territorial extent of the Archidiocese of Mechelen-Brussels
Source Annuario Pontificio 2007

The Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels is an archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium. It is the Primatial See of Belgium and the centre of the Ecclesiastical Province governed by the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, which covers the whole of Belgium. It was formed in 1559 and the bishop has a seat in two cathedrals, St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen and the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels. The current archbishop is Jozef De Kesel, who was installed in November 2015.


The Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels consists of the Province of Brabant in addition to eight municipalities in the Province of Antwerp, including Bonheiden, Duffel, Mechelen and Sint-Katelijne-Waver.[3]

In 1995, the Province of Brabant was later split into three areas:

The Church did not form new dioceses to fit with this, instead three vicariates general were created, with their own auxiliary bishop, to accommodate the three regional entities.[3]

Language issues[edit]

The name differs in the diocese's two languages; the Dutch name of the see is Mechelen–Brussel and in French, it is called Malines–Bruxelles.

In English, Mechelen was traditionally called Mechlin or Malines but now it more commonly remains being called Mechelen. Both Brussel and Bruxelles are called Brussels.


The duality of the Belgian archbishopric is also reflected in its two active co-cathedrals: St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen and St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral in Brussels.

Collegiate Churches and Chapters[edit]

Former Chapters in the archdiocese.

  • Chapter of Our-Lady: Cathedral of Mechelen
  • Chapter of Saint-Peter: Leuven
  • Chapter of Saint John the Baptist: Diest
  • Chapter of Saint-Sulpicius: Diest
  • Chapter of Our-Lady: Aarschot
  • Chapter of Saint-Leonard: Zouleeuw
  • Chapter of Saint-Germanus: Tillemont
  • Chapter of Saint-Michael and Gudule: Brussels Cathedral
  • Chapter of Saint-Peter: Anderlecht
  • Chapter of Our Lady and Saint-Martin: Aalst
  • Chapter of Saint-Peter: Ninove
  • Chapter of Saint-Peter: Rosmay
  • Chapter of Saint-Hermes
  • Chapter of Saint-Berland: Meerbeek
  • Chapter of Saint-Paul: Nivelles
  • Chapter of Saint-Gertrud: Nivelles


In the territory of the Diocese important abbeys can be found:


The Archbishop of Mechelen–Brussels was historically primate of the whole of the Low Countries following the 1559 reorganisation creating fifteen dioceses. Over time, the two other ecclesiastical provinces broke from Mechelen–Brussels' primacy. Cambrai was already in France and its kings managed gradually to annex French Flanders, and Utrecht and its suffragans in the Dutch republic (later kingdom) would long have their hierarchy suspended because the northern state was a champion of "anti-papist" Calvinism. The Napoleonic 1801 concordat re-drew the whole map again.

The country, by tradition, has the Archbishop of Mechelen made a cardinal.

The Archdiocese of Mechelen was renamed the Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels on 8 December 1961 as part of a restructuring of the Catholic dioceses in Belgium.[4] Two new dioceses were created. On the same day, the Diocese of Antwerp was created from areas previously administered by the Archdiocese of Mechelen. Six years later the Diocese of Hasselt was also created.[5] This meant that the new dioceses largely corresponding to the provinces of Belgium. Most of the Catholic Church's presence in the Province of Antwerp (except in the municipality of Mechelen) was made into the Diocese of Antwerp.

Archbishop André-Joseph Leonard succeeded Cardinal Danneels in January 2010. On 22 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed: Fr. Jean Kockerols, Fr. Jean-Luc Hudsyn, and Fr. Leon Lemmens as Auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels.[6] Upon reaching 75 years Leonard tendered his resignation, which was accepted. In the autumn of 2015 Pope Francis appointed the bishop of Bruges, Jozef De Kesel, as the new archbishop, who was created Cardinal in 2016.


Coat of arms of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels
Blason de l'Archidiocèse de Malines-Bruxelles (Belgique) avec ornements extérieurs.svg
1961, when the name of the Archdiocese was changed.[7][8]
Quarterly 1st and 4th, Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory-counter-flory of the second (Scotland), 2nd and 3rd quarterly, Gules St-Michael Or, slaying the demon Sable (the City of Brussels).[7][8][9]
Previous versions
From 1559 to 1961: Or a lion rampant Gules armed and langued Azure within a double tressure flory-counter-flory of the second (Scotland)[7][8]
Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland.svg



Archbishops of Mechelen[edit]

  1. Cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle (1561–1582)
  2. Joannes Hauchin (1583–1589)
  3. Mathias Hovius (1596–1620)
  4. Jacobus Boonen (1621–1655)
  5. Andreas Creusen (1657–1666)
  6. Joannes Wachtendonck (1667–1668)
  7. Alphonse de Berghes (1670–1689)
  8. Humbertus Guilielmus de Precipiano (1690–1711)
  9. Thomas-Philippe d'Alcase (1715–1759) (Cardinal in 1719)
  10. Joannes-Henricus von Franckenberg (1759–1801) (Cardinal in 1778)
  11. Jean-Armand de Bessuéjouls Roquelaure (1802–1809)
  12. Dominique-Georges-Frédéric Dufour de Pradt (1809–1817)
  13. François Antoine Marie Constantin de Méan et de Beaurieux (1817–1831)
  14. Engelbert Sterckx (1832–1867) (Cardinal in 1838)
  15. Victor-Auguste-Isidore Dechamps (1867–1883) (Cardinal in 1875)
  16. Pierre-Lambert Goosens (1884–1906) (Cardinal in 1889)
  17. Desiré-Félicien-François-Joseph Mercier (1906–1926) (Cardinal in 1907)
  18. Jozef-Ernest van Roey (1926–1961) (Cardinal in 1927)

Archbishops of Mechelen-Brussels[edit]

  1. Leo Joseph Suenens (1962–1979), see name changed 2 weeks after 1961 appointment (Cardinal in 1962)
  2. Godfried Danneels (1979–2010) (Cardinal in 1983)
  3. André-Joseph Léonard (2010–2015)
  4. Jozef De Kesel (2015–present) (Cardinal in 2016)

Coadjutor Archbishop[edit]

Auxiliary Bishops[edit]

Other priests of this diocese who became bishops[edit]


  1. ^ Municipal population figures, Federal Ministry of interior Archived 2009-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Organigramme de l'Archidiocèse (in French)
  3. ^ a b "Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  4. ^ Cheney, David. "Mechelen-Brussel {Malines-Brussels} (Archdiocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  5. ^ Cheney, David. "Hasselt (Diocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  6. ^ Service, VIS. "VIS news - Holy See Press Office: Tuesday, February 22, 2011". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  7. ^ a b c "Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussel - Arms, armoiries, escudo, wappen, crest of Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussel". Retrieved 2019-12-16.
  8. ^ a b c Duerloo ., Luc; Cheron, Marc (2011). Heraldiek van het Aartsbisdom Mechelen-Brussel. Wijnegem Homunculus.
  9. ^ "L'Archevêché (ou archidiocèse) de Malines-Bruxelles". Vicariat du Brabant wallon (in French). Retrieved 2019-12-16.


External links[edit]