Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga

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Archdiocese of Zamboanga

Archdiocesis Zamboangensis

Arquidiócesis de Zamboanga (Chavacano and Spanish)
Arkidiyosesis ng Zamboanga (Filipino)
Archdiocese of Zamboanga coat of arms.svg
Archdiocesan coat of arms
Country Philippines
TerritoryZamboanga City
MetropolitanZamboanga City
Area1,638 km2 (632 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2010)
570,000 (77.6%)
Parishes27 (with one quasi-parish)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 10, 1910 (as diocese)
May 15, 1958 (as archdiocese)
CathedralImmaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral
Patron saintNuestra Seňora del Pilar
Current leadership
Metropolitan ArchbishopRomulo T. Dela Cruz
SuffragansApostolic Vicariate of Jolo
Diocese of Ipil
Territorial Prelature of Isabela
Bishops emeritusCarmelo Dominador Flores Morelos Archbishop Emeritus (1994-2006)
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.
Website of the Archdiocese

The Archdiocese of Zamboanga (Latin name: Archdiocesis Zamboangensis) is a Catholic archdiocese in the Philippines. Its present jurisdiction includes Zamboanga City, with suffragans in Basilan (Territorial Prelature of Isabela, Basilan), and Zamboanga Sibugay (Diocese of Ipil); although for apostolic cooperation, Sulu Archipelago (Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo) is included in this ecclesiastical province. It became Mindanao's first diocese in 1910, and was established as the second archdiocese of Mindanao in 1958. Today the archdiocese covers a land area of 1,648 square kilometers and has a population of 442,345, of which 81 per cent are Catholics. The archdiocese includes 27 parishes and one quasi-parish served by 49 diocesan and 18 religious priests. There are also 51 religious sisters working in the archdiocese.


From 1607 to 1910 the entire island of Mindanao was under the Diocese of Cebu and Jaro. On April 10, 1910, Pope Pius X created the Diocese of Zamboanga and gave it jurisdiction over the whole island of Mindanao, including the adjacent islands of the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Cagayan de Sulu.

The Catholic faith was brought to Zamboanga by Jesuit missionaries Melchor de Vera and Alejandro Lopez in 1635. The efforts of the Spanish authorities to subdue the Muslims resulted in reprisal raids in Zamboanga and the Visayan Islands. In 1636 Fort Pilar, in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar, was constructed by priest-engineer Fr. de Vera. Jesuit Frs. Francesco Palliola and Alejandro Lopez died as martyrs in their efforts to win the tribespeople through diplomacy. The establishment of Fort Pilar gave birth to the future city of Zamboanga.

On January 20, 1933, Pope Pius XI divided Mindanao into two areas. Southern Mindanao including the Sulu Archipelago became under the jurisdiction of Zamboanga. Northern Mindanao became under the Diocese of Cagayan de Oro. In 1951 Cagayan de Oro became an archdiocese, the first in the island of Mindanao. All episcopal jurisdictions in Mindanao and Sulu, including Zamboanga, became suffragans of this archdiocese.

The Diocese of Zamboanga was further divided when the Prelature Nullius of Davao was established and separated in 1949; the Prelature of Cotabato in 1950; the Prelature of Isabela, Basilan, in 1963, and the Prelature of Ipil in 1979.

Zamboanga was established an archdiocese on May 15, 1958 by Pope Pius XII. As an ecclesiastical province, the Archdiocese of Zamboanga included Zamboanga City and had as suffragans the Prelature of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay, the Prelature of Isabela in Basilan and the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo. Its titular patroness is Our Lady of the Pillar, and its secondary patron is Saint Pius X.

The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines adopted the Community of Disciples as the prime model of the Church, with focus on being a Church of the Poor. The challenge for the archdiocese in Zamboanga is to incarnate the vision of PCP II.

An Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly was held early in 1995, formalizing preparations for the Second Archdiocesan Pastoral Assembly of Zamboanga in 1996.

Among the Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga are 2 colleges, 6 secondary schools, 6 elementary schools, and 8 kindergarten schools. Charitable and social institutions include a leprosarium, 5 free clinics, 1 orphanage and 1 child center.

In 2010 the Zamboanga archdiocese celebrated the 100th anniversary of its establishment as the first diocese in Mindanao with a commemorative mass on April 12, 2010. The 50th or golden anniversary of its establishment as an archdiocese (1958-2008) was part of this celebration.

Suffragan Diocese and Territorial Prelature[edit]

List of Bishops and Archbishops[edit]

The Diocese of Zamboanga (1910-1958)[edit]

  • Michael James O'Doherty (1911-1916)
  • James Paul McCloskey (1917-1920)
  • José Clos y Pagés, S.J. (1920-1931)
  • Luis Del Rosario, S.J. (1933-1958)

The Archdiocese of Zamboanga (1958-present)[edit]

Facts and Information[edit]

  • The city's primary patroness is Our Lady of the Pillar, whose shrine is located at the old Fort Pilar. Her feast day is October 12, the city's official holiday.
  • Bishop Michael O'Doherty was the first bishop of the diocese in 1910 until he was appointed Archbishop of Manila in 1916.
  • Romulo T. dela Cruz, DD, the newly appointed archbishop of Zamboanga, has the same name and designation as his predecessor. He succeeded Romulo G. Valles, DD as the bishop of Diocese of Kidapawan when the latter was appointed as the Archbishop of Zamboanga. The same happened when Dela Cruz was appointed as archbishop after serving Kidapawan for 6 years.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Coordinates: 6°54′32″N 122°04′34″E / 6.9089°N 122.0760°E / 6.9089; 122.0760