Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

DIOCESE OF CEBÚ (CEBUANENSIS); DIOECESIS NOMINIS JESU

Located in the Philippine Islands . Cebú, the diocesan city, spelled also Sebú and Zebú, in the province of the same name, is so called from the island on which it is situated, in turn so called from the Indian ox ( bos indicus ), on account of a fancied resemblance between that animal and the outline of the island. Magellan discovered Cebú in April, 1521, but he lost his life in a foolhardy battle on the island of Mactan, opposite Cebú, and no trace of his expedition was left except the celebrated statuette of the Holy Child, called the Santo Niño , still held in the greatest veneration.

The Diocese of Cebú was separated from the Diocese of Manila, which originally included the whole Philippine archipelago, 14 August, 1595. The new territory comprised the present Dioceses of Cebú and Jaro, and the Vicariate Apostolic of the Marian Islands. The diocese now consists of the islands of Cebú, Leyte, Samar, Bohol, Siquijor, Camaguin, and the smaller islands adjacent. Since its establishment in 1595, twenty-two bishops have governed the Church of Cebú. The northern half of the island of Mindanao remains under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Cebú, until the appointment of a bishop at Zamboanga, as provided for (1903) by Leo XIII, in the Bull "Quæ Mari Sinico". Cebú was the birthplace of the Christian religion in the Philippine Islands . It was here that it made its first stand against the gradually advancing forces of Mohammedanism. Father Urdaneta, an Augustinian friar, accompanied by six others of the same order, went to Cebú in April. 1565, and immediately began his work of evangelization. The first convert was a niece of Tupas, a native chief of great influence. Two other friars, Fathers Juan de Vivero and Juan de Villanueva, arrived with Salcedo in 1567. Shortly afterwards the Jesuits went to Bohol, in 1595, and also to Leyte, Samar, and Mindanao. They built fortified churches for defense against the Moros everywhere, and forts at Cebú, Iloilo, Misamis, Zamboanga, and other places. They also began, in 1595, the College of San Ildefenso, now called San Carlos College, in Cebú. The work of the missionaries was facilitated by the disposition of the brave but naturally peaceful Visayan people, who occupied most of the territory. The missionaries were opposed by the ferocious tribes of the Mohammedans, who for centuries had been gradually extending their sway eastwards, and by 1521 were strongly established in the western part of the island of Mindanao, in the Sulu archipelago. The efforts of the missionaries were threefold in character : defensive against the bloodthirsty Moros, who roamed over these seas in flotillas of ships; active in the evangelization of the tribes; and also didactic in the arts of peace, agriculture, trades, and the rudiments of learning. The natives, already well forward in trades, soon became expert carpenters, masons, workers in metals, weavers — in a word, well equipped to make the best use of the natural resources at hand. As the missionaries advanced, the domination of the Moros was gradually restricted, though even as late as 1856 occasional fleets of Moro boats appeared, striking terror into the peaceful Visayans. With the beginning of steam navigation, the Spanish ships of war at once assumed offensive tactics against the Moros, whose vessels were easily captured and destroyed.

After the insurrection of 1898, and the Spanish-American War that followed, the people suffered greatly, not only from the evils of war, but also from the loss of their cattle and horses by epidemics. Many of their churches were destroyed, not only by the insurrectos , but also by United States troops. The chief evil, however, was the lack of priests. The parishes average about ten thousand souls. In the mountainous regions about half a million of souls were without spiritual succour. The Franciscans, by whom many churches were formerly supplied, began to return, and the Jesuits worked with great success in Mindanao. Redemptorist Fathers from Ireland are exclusively occupied in giving missions to the people. The Lazarists have two colleges for boys, one in Cebú with 600, another in Samar with 350 pupils. The same Fathers have also charge of the ecclesiastical seminary , in which there are 85 students. A college for girls is conducted in Cebú by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul , with 500 pupils. An orphan asylum and trade school under the same Sisters care for 85 girls and a few small boys. A leper hospital was maintained for fifty years until 1906. The diocese contains 135 secular priests and 123 religious, of the following communities: Augustinians, Recollects, Franciscans, Benedictines, Jesuits, Lazarists, and Redemptorists. There are fifty-five schools in the diocese, with an attendance of about 12,000 pupils. The people are practically all Catholics, and are very devout and loyal to the Church. Estimated population, 2,145,679. The Right Rev. Thomas Augustine Hendrick, the first American bishop, was consecrated at Rome, 23 Aug., 1903, and took possession 6 March, 1904.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter