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Suffragan diocese of Popayan in the Republic of Colombia . It comprises the Provinces of Neiva and Sur, and lies east of Popayan. It is about 140 miles in length, and its breadth varies from 40 to 100 miles. It extends from 1.5&$176; to 4&$176; north latitude, and lies between the 75&$176; and 77&$176; west longitude. The episcopal see is at Neiva, a town of 11,000 inhabitants, situated 150 miles s.w. of Bogota at a height of 1500 feet above sea-level, on the river Magdalena, which is navigable to this point. The diocese originally formed part of that of Tolima, which lay in the midst of the Cordilleras. As the territory was 80 extensive, the population very numerous and the difficulties of visitation too great, the bishop petitioned the Holy See to divide the diocese. This was done by a decree of Leo XIII , 20 June, 1900. The northern half was erected into a new diocese Ibagué, suffragan of Bogotá--and the southern half formed the Diocese of Carzon. Mgr. Estéban Rojas, born at Hato in the Diocese of Popayán, 15 January, 1859, had been raised to the See of Tulima, 18 March, 1895. He was transferred to Neiva as first Bishop of Garzon. the cathedral is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. the population, of which a large part is of mixed origin, is almost entirely Catholic. Till recent years the public autorities neglected education and threw the whole burden on the clergy, but of late government schools are being established. (See COLOMBIA, REPUBLIC OF).
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