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Archdiocese of Zamboanga

Archdiocesis Zamboangensis

Arquidiócesis de Zamboanga
Arkidiyosesis ng Zamboanga
Coat of arms
Country Philippines
TerritoryZamboanga City
Ecclesiastical provinceZamboanga
Area1,638 km2 (632 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2020)
774,800 (72.5%)
Parishes28 (with two quasi-parishes)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 10, 1910 (as diocese)
May 15, 1958 (as archdiocese)
CathedralImmaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral
Patron saintOur Lady of the Pillar
Secular priests57
Current leadership
Metropolitan ArchbishopJulius Sullan Tonel
Vicar GeneralMaximo A. Campo
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.
Jurisdiction of the metropolitan see within the Philippines.

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) and Zamboanga Sibugay (Diocese of Ipil). 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 two quasi-parishes 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 de Vera. The Jesuit priests 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.

On April 28, 1934, 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 of Cebu into an archdiocese while placing all the newly separated dioceses under a new ecclesiastical province with Cebu as the new metropolitan see.[1]

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 two colleges, six secondary schools, six elementary schools, and eight kindergarten schools. Charitable and social institutions include a leprosarium, five free clinics, one orphanage and one 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 Territorial Prelature and Apostolic Vicariate


Bishop of Zamboanga (1910–1958)

Bishop Period in Office Coat of Arms
1. Charles Warren Currier 1910, did not take effect
2. Michael James O'Doherty 1911–1916
3. James Paul McCloskey 1917–1920
4. José Clos y Pagés 1920–1931
5. Luis Del Rosario 1933–1958

Archbishop of Zamboanga (1958–present)

Bishop Period in Office Coat of Arms
1. Luis Del Rosario 1933–1958
2. Lino Gonzaga y Rasdesales (1966–1973)
3. Francisco Raval Cruces 1973–1994
4. Carmelo Dominador Flores Morelos 1994–2006
5. Romulo Valles 2006–2012
6. Romulo de la Cruz 2014–2021[2]
7. Julius S. Tonel 2023–

Auxiliary bishops

Feasts proper to the Archdiocese of Zamboanga

August 21 – Memorial of Saint Pius X, pope and secondary patron of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga[6]

October 12 – Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar), Patroness of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga

See also


  1. ^ Pope Pius XI, Apostolic Constitution separating some dioceses from the ecclesiastical province of Manila to form the new ecclesiastical province of Cebu Romanorum Pontificum semper (28 April 1934), Acta Apostolicae Sedis 27 (1935), pp.263–264. PROVINCIA ECCLESIASTICA MANILANA DISMEMBRATIO ET NOVA CAEBUANA PROVINCIA ERIGITUR.
  2. ^ "Zamboanga's Archbishop De la Cruz dies at 74". CBCP News. 11 December 2021. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  3. ^ "Bishop Antonio Realubin Tobias [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  4. ^ "Pope Francis appoints Fr. Moises Cuevas auxiliary bishop of Zamboanga". Manila Bulletin News. Retrieved 2020-06-18.
  5. ^ "Pope names Bishop Cuevas as Zamboanga's apostolic administrator". CBCP News. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  6. ^ Diwa, Fr. Genaro, ed. (2020). ORDO 2021: The Order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist for the Dioceses of the Philippines, Cycle B, Year I. Intramuros, Manila: Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (CBCP); Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission of Manila. pp. 158, 188.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. ((cite encyclopedia)): Missing or empty |title= (help)

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