Archdiocese of Lipa

Archidioecesis Lipaensis

  • Arsidiyosesis ng Lipa
  • Arquidiócesis de Lipa
Coat of arms
Country Philippines
Ecclesiastical provinceLipa
Coordinates13°56′27″N 121°09′47″E / 13.9408°N 121.1630°E / 13.9408; 121.1630
Area3,165 km2 (1,222 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2021)
3,041,821[1] (97.4%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 10, 1910; 114 years ago (1910-04-10) (Diocese)
June 20, 1972; 51 years ago (1972-06-20) (Archdiocese)
CathedralMetropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian
Patron saintJoseph the Patriarch (Primary)
Our Lady of Caysasay (Titular Queen)
Sebastian (Lipa City)
Secular priests123
Current leadership
Major ArchbishopGilbert Armea Garcera
Metropolitan ArchbishopGilbert Armea Garcera[2]
SuffragansMarcelino Antonio Malabanan Maralit Jr. (Boac)
Sede Vacante (Gumaca)
Mel Rey Minoga Uy (Lucena)
Bernadino Cruz Cortez (Infanta)
Moises Magpantay Cuevas (Calapan)
Pablito Martinez Tagura (San Jose)
Vicar GeneralRuben Dimaculangan
Judicial VicarWilfredo Rosales
Bishops emeritusGaudencio Borbon Rosales
(Archbishop, 1993–2003)
Ramon Cabrera Arguelles (Archbishop, 2004–2017)
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.

The Archdiocese of Lipa (Latin: Archidioecesis Lipaensis; Filipino: Arsidiyosesis ng Lipa; Spanish: Arquidiócesis de Lipa) is a Latin Church ecclesiastical territory or archdiocese of the Catholic Church in the Philippines comprising the civil province of Batangas. Its cathedral is the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian located in Lipa, Batangas. First created on April 10, 1910 from the Archdiocese of Manila, the diocese was elevated into its present status on June 20, 1972. Today, the Archdiocese of Lipa's ecclesiastical province covers Batangas and the suffragan territories in the civil provinces of Quezon, Marinduque, and Aurora. The archdiocese itself is divided into 14 vicariates forane further comprising a total of 65 parishes.

In addition, the Archdiocese of Lipa also serves as the de facto overseer of the Apostolic Vicariates of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro and San Jose in Occidental Mindoro, all the exempt dioceses of the Holy See (with the vicariates under the jurisdiction of the Dicastery for Evangelization).


Historical marker installed at the cathedral by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 2011 commemorating the diocese.

Creation as a diocese

Former Coat of arms of then-diocese of Lipa (as illustrated in Philippine Studies)

The Diocese of Lipa was created on April 10, 1910, separating it from that of Manila under the supervision of Pope Pius X and with Giuseppe Petrelli as its first bishop. The diocese then covered the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Tayabas (now Quezon, Marinduque, and Aurora), and Mindoro (now Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro). There were initially very few priests for the large diocese.

Petrelli invited different Roman Catholic religious institutes to come to his diocese and help minister to the spiritual needs of the faithful. He also conceived the building of a seminary in the diocese. In June 1914 a diocesan seminary was built in Bauan, which was later transferred to San Pablo in Laguna. This initiative of the first bishop was continued by the next bishop, Alfredo Verzosa, the diocese's first Filipino bishop, who served a long term from 1916 to 1950. He invited priests from the Vincentian Fathers to help in the administration of the new seminary.

On July 2, 1936, Mindoro Island was separated and came under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic Prefecture of Mindoro, making it the first territorial re-organization of the archdiocese. On March 28, 1950, Lucena became a diocese of its own covering the southern portion of Quezon and Marinduque. About a month later on April 25, the Prelature of Infanta was created, comprising the remaining part of Quezon, including the Polillo Islands and what is now the province of Aurora.

In 1950, Rufino Santos took over the diocese. Described as a financial administrator of great acumen, Santos applied for bank loans to help construct some buildings. This way he continued the construction work of the Lipa Cathedral and built a major seminary beside it.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo was separated on November 28, 1966, seated in the city of San Pablo and becoming a suffragan of Manila. This left the Diocese of Lipa covering only the province of Batangas.

Elevation into an archdiocese

With the departure of Santos for the Archdiocese of Manila came a young bishop, Alejandro Ayson Olalia, who stayed with the diocese from 1953 to 1973. It was during his term that the Diocese of Lipa, on June 20, 1972, became the country's tenth archdiocese and ecclesiastical province by order of Pope Paul VI of the papal bull Qui Sumi Nominis. This same order elevated Olalia to the rank of archbishop on August 15, 1972.

Olalia died in 1973 and was replaced by Bishop Ricardo Jamin Vidal who stayed with the diocese until 1981. During his incumbency Vidal organized the Pastoral Council, and initiated the construction of the Lipa Archdiocesan Formation Center.

Vidal was replaced in 1981 for Cebu's new prelate by his successor Bishop Mariano Garces Gaviola, who stayed with the diocese from 1981 to 1993. He was at the helm of the archdiocese as it celebrated its 75th anniversary and on March 19, 1993, the reins of the archdiocese were again transferred, this time to Bishop Gaudencio Borbon Rosales, a native of Batangas City. He was ordained priest in Lipa in 1958, then he became as Auxiliary Bishop of Manila in 1974, and then he serves as Bishop in the Diocese of Malaybalay in 1982, and on December 30, 1992 he was elected Archbishop of Lipa. Gaudencio Rosales founded the Aral Batangueño and the small giving foundation which is Pondong Batangan.[3]

With the resignation of Cardinal Jaime Lachica Sin in 2003, Rosales was chosen by Pope John Paul II to be the Manila's new prelate, leaving the See of Lipa under the apostolic administration of its Auxiliary Bishop Jose Paala Salazar (d. May 30, 2004). On May 14, 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Ramon Cabrera Arguelles of the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, another native of Batangas City as the fifth Archbishop of Lipa.

In his 13 years in office, Arguelles canonically erected new parishes in Lipa City, Lemery, Taysan, Tanauan City and Batangas City and organized Marian events such as the annual Taal Lake Marian Regatta and National Days of Prayer in Lipa, both held every September. He is a strong opponent of the passage of RH Law, the operation of motorist lodges in the province, the possible mining activities in the municipality of Lobo, and the construction of a coal-fire power plant in Batangas City. He also led the establishment of a local election watchdog separate from the church-based PPCRV.

On April 10, 2010, the Archdiocese of Lipa celebrated the 100th anniversary of its elevation as a diocese by launching the coffee table book, A Century of Faith: The Local Church of Lipa. The event was held at the historic Basilica of St. Martin of Tours in Taal, Batangas.[4]

Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Arguelles on February 2, 2017, and then appointed Bishop Gilbert Armea Garcera, the Bishop of the Diocese of Daet in Camarines Norte as its sixth Archbishop and eighth Local Ordinary.[5]

Coat of arms

The cross and arrows are symbols of Saint Sebastian the Martyr, patron of the cathedral. The two white long-stemmed lilies are symbols of Saint Joseph, head of the Holy Family, to whom the faithful of the diocese are ardently devoted.[6] The bottom of the shield shows the lake and volcano of Taal in Batangas.


Metropolipan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lipa

The archdiocese has jurisdiction over the Catholic faithful in the province of Batangas. The province's land area is 3,165 square kilometers (1,222 sq mi) and the population as of the 1994 census is 1,668,480 of which 99.5 per cent are Catholics. The archdiocese also has general supervision over the suffragan dioceses and territorial prelatures for the provinces of Quezon and Marinduque.

The archdiocese is divided into 14 vicariates, each headed by a vicar forane. Except for the parishes in the 4th district of Batangas (excluding Taysan) which are run by the Oblates of St. Joseph, all other parishes are run by the diocesan clergy. There are 64 parishes in all, served by 291 priests. 123 of them diocesan. There are 331 religious brothers and 491 religious sisters.[7] There are 23 Catholic schools within the archdiocese, two high school seminaries, and three college seminaries. Two pastoral centers are being maintained.


Further information: Archbishop of Lipa

The seat of the archbishop is in the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian. The archbishop also oversees the suffragan dioceses of Boac, Gumaca, Lucena, Prelature of Infanta, and also serves as de facto overseer of the apostolic vicariates of Calapan, and San Jose.

List of bishops and archbishops of Lipa

No. Picture Name From Until Notes Coat of arms
1 José (Giuseppe) Petrelli April 12, 1910 March 30, 1915 Appointed as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Lipa; later appointed as Apostolic Delegate to the Philippines
2 Alfredo Florentin Versoza September 6, 1916 February 25, 1951 Retired from office
3 Alejandro Ayson Olalia December 28, 1953 January 2, 1973 Elevated to the rank of Archbishop when Lipa became an Archdiocese on 20 June 1972; died in office
4 Ricardo Jamin Vidal August 22, 1973 April 13, 1981 Later appointed Archbishop of Cebu, and Cardinal
5 Mariano Garces Gaviola April 13, 1981 December 13, 1992 Retired from office
6 Gaudencio Borbon Rosales December 13, 1992 September 25, 2003 Later appointed Archbishop of Manila, and Cardinal
7 Ramon Cabrera Arguelles May 14, 2004 February 2, 2017 Retired from office
8 Gilbert Armea Garcera February 2, 2017 present


Gilbert GarceraRamon ArguellesGaudencio RosalesRicardo VidalAlfredo VersozaGiuseppe Petrelli

Auxiliary bishops


On August 18, 1995 after much review, and meetings presided over by Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales himself, the archdiocese's vision was conceived:

A people of God called by the Father in Jesus Christ to be communities of totally developed human persons in the world, witnessing to the Kingdom of God by living the Paschal Mystery in the power of the Holy Spirit.

See also


  1. ^ "Lipa (Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese)". Retrieved September 16, 2023.
  2. ^ "Pope Francis names new archbishop of Lipa". February 3, 2017.
  3. ^ admin. "Pondong Batangan Community Foundation, Inc". Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  4. ^ "A Hundred Years' Journey in Faith," Starweek Magazine, July 8, 2012
  5. ^ "Rinunce e nomine". Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  6. ^ Madriaga, Mariano (1957). "The Coats-of-Arms of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions in the Philippines: Part II. The Suffragan Sees in the Luzon Area". Philippine Studies. 5 (4): 420–430. JSTOR 42719342. Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  7. ^ "Cebu (Archdiocese)". David M. Cheney. Retrieved May 13, 2023.