Archdiocese of Cebu
Archidioecesis Sanctissimi Nominis Iesu sive Cæbuana
|Area||5,088 km2 (1,964 sq mi)|
- Catholics (including non-members)
|(as of 2014)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of Saint Vitalis, Cebu City|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Jose Serofia Palma|
|Vicar General||Msgr. Vicente Rey Penagunda|
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see
The Archdiocese of Cebu (more formally the Archdiocese of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Cebu; Latin: Archidioecesis Sanctissimi 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). It is the Mother Church of the Philippines. The jurisdiction, Cebu, is considered as the fount of Christianity in the Far East.
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, St. Vitalis of Milan as its patron and titular, 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. It is currently the largest archdiocese in the Philippines and in Asia having the most Catholics, seminarians and priests.
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. The Church anchored in that year by the native Cebuanos' profession of faith in Christ, baptism, the daily celebration of the Mass, 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) when the formal evangelization of the Philippines commenced with Fr. Urdaneta as the first prelate. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 elevating the See of Manila to metropolitan status; and three with the incipit Super specula militantis Ecclesiae erecting the three suffragan dioceses of Manila, which were the Diocese of Cebu, the Diocese of Nueva Cáceres, and the Diocese of Nueva Segovia. The Diocese of Cebu's first bishop was Pedro de Agurto, an Augustinian. As a diocese, Cebú had a very extensive territory which then included the whole of the Visayas, Mindanao and "more southern islands"; also it extended farther to the Pacific such as the Marianas, Carolines, and Palau.
However it lost territory repeatedly:
On April 28, 1934, Pope Pius XI promulgated an apostolic constitution with the incipit Romanorum Pontificum semper separating the dioceses of Cebu, Calbayog, Jaro, Bacolod, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro from the ecclesiastical province of Manila. The same constitution elevated the diocese into an archdiocese while placing all the newly separated dioceses under a new ecclesiastical province with Cebu as the new metropolitan see. The last suffragan bishop, Gabriel M. Reyes, was 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.
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. 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. The very first temples were erected (the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica del Santo Niño) in the Philippines. 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.
The ecclesiastical arms of the Archdiocese of Cebu was redesigned by a professional Italian Heraldic artist, Sig. Marco Foppoli, as commissioned by the priests-secretaries of the Office of the Archbishop in the first quarter of 2021, with the facilitation and benefaction of Rev. Msgr. Jan Thomas V. Limchua.
The re-designed coat of arms of the Archdiocese consists of a simple yet traditional shield, which is the most commonly used form in ecclesiastical heraldry. In a chapé (“mantled”) ployé partition, which is formed by two arched lines drawn from the center chief to the sides, the shield itself is divided into two fields: the upper field, in red (gules); and the lower field, in blue (azure).
The upper field of red represents the Sñr. Sto. Niño de Cebu (Bato Balani sa Gugma, or Magnet of Love), whose very image, which at first was a gift during the First Baptism five hundred (500) years ago, has now become the symbol of Faith in Cebu.
On this same field are two lions: the first lion, in gold, is emblazoned with the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Castile; while the other, in silver, is emblazoned with the personal coat of arms of Ferdinand Magellan—these two elements were present in the original coat of arms granted to the Archdiocese. Both refer to the Hispanic origin and nascent beginning of Catholicism in Cebu, the Cradle of Christianity in the Philippines.
These two lions support the stylized monogram of the Holy Name of Jesus inside a stylized image of the sun—symbolizing Christ as the light of the world. It is deliberately placed at the top center of the arm, representing the titular of the Archdiocese. It also recalls the life and ministry of Jesus in the words of St. Paul (Letter to the Philippians): “…he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:7-11)
The field of red also honors the Visayan Proto-Martyr, San Pedro Calungsod.
The lower field of blue symbolizes Our Lady and her motherly mantle of love and compassion for the Cebuano faithful as also portrayed by the monogram "Auspice Maria" (Under the Protection of Mary) with a gold crown (above), a silver crescent (below), and gold gloriole (around the monogram). This imagery specifically refers to her image and title, Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu, through whose intercession, and by God’s grace flowing from above, has saved Cebu from the cholera epidemic of 1902. On 16 July 2006, Virgen de Guadalupe de Cebu was canonically crowned by the authority of Pope Benedict XVI as Patroness of the Archdiocese.
The upward, arrow tip-like shape of the blue field can be understood as a reminder to the Cebuano faithful that a deep devotion to the Virgin Mary inevitably leads to a greater love for her Divine Son, Our Lord. This is reminiscent of the traditional aphorism, "Ad Jesum per Mariam" (to Jesus, through Mary).
The entire shield is surmounted by the conventional heraldic elements identifying it to be the coat of arms of an Archdiocese, namely a Miter, and the crossed Crozier and Archiepiscopal Cross.
Written on a scroll, below the arms, is the Motto of the Archdiocese: “Sanctum Nomen Eius,” which means “Holy is His Name,” taken from Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:49). 
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). The same Paul VI also named the basilica the "symbol of the birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines."
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.
|Bishop||Period in Office||Coat of Arms||Notes|
|1.||Gabriel M. Reyes †||April 28, 1934 – August 25, 1949
(15 years, 119 days)
|Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Manila & Titular Archbishop of Phulli|
|2.||Julio Cardinal Rosales y Ras †||December 17, 1949 – August 24, 1982
(32 years, 250 days)
|Created Cardinal by Pope Paul VI on April 28, 1969|
|3.||Ricardo Cardinal Vidal †||August 24, 1982 – October 15, 2010
(28 years, 52 days)
|Created Cardinal by Pope John Paul II on May 25, 1985|
|4.||Jose S. Palma||October 15, 2010 – Present
(12 years, 36 days)
|Bishop||Period in Office||Titular See||Coat of Arms||Notes|
|1.||Juan Durán, O. de M. †||1680 -1681||Zenopolis in Lycia|
|2.||Juan Bautista Gorordo y Perfecto †||1909-1910||Nilopolis||Succeeded as Bishop of Cebu|
|3.||Manuel Sandalo Salvador||1960-1969||Nasbinca
Zarna (As Titular Archbishop)
|4.||Nicolas Mollenedo Mondejar||1970-1974||Grumentum||Appointed Bishop of Romblon|
|5.||Jesus Armamento Dosado, C.M.||1977-1979||Nabala||Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cagayan de Oro, later Archbishop of Ozamis|
|6.||Angel Nacorda Lagdameo||1980-1986||Oreto||Appointed Bishop of Dumaguete|
|7.||Camilo Diaz Gregorio||1987-1989||Girus||Appointed Bishop of Bacolod|
|8.||Leopoldo Sumaylo Tumulak||1987-1992||Lesvi||Appointed Bishop of Tagbilaran|
|9.||Emilio Layon Bataclan||1990-1995; 2004-2015||Gunela (1900-1995)
|Appointed Bishop of Iligan, Reappointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu|
|10.||Antonio Racelis Rañola||1990-2003||Claternae|
|11.||Jose Serofia Palma||1997-1999||Vazari-Didda||Appointed Bishop of Calbayog, later Archbishop of Cebu|
|12.||Precioso Dacalos Cantillas||1995-1998||Vicus Caesaris||Appointed Bishop of Maasin|
|13.||John Forrosuelo Du||1997-2001||Timici||Appointed Bishop of Dumaguete; later Archbishop of Palo|
|14.||Antonieto Dumagan Cabajog||1999-2001||Reperi||Appointed Bishop of Surigao|
|15.||Julito Buhisan Cortes||2001-2013||Severiana||Appointed Bishop of Dumaguete|
|16.||Isabelo Caiban Abarquez||2002-2004||Talaptula||Appointed Bishop of Calbayog|
|17.||Oscar Jaime Llaneta Florencio||2015-2019||Lestrona||Appointed Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines|
|18.||Dennis Cabanada Villarojo||2015-2019||Gisipa||Appointed Bishop of Malolos|
|19.||Midyphil Bermejo Billones||2019- present||Tagarata|
|20.||Ruben Caballero Labajo||2022- present||Abbir Maius|
Rector: Rev. Fr. Allan Delima
Rector: Rev. Msgr. Joseph Tan P.C., S.T.L.
Rector: Rev. Msgr. Vicente Rey M. Penagunda, P.C., V.G.
Director: Rev. Fr. Alvin Raypan
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.