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Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia


Nueva Segovia is the name of the archdiocese now located in the venerable and historic town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur. The town of Vigan was founded by Juan de Salcedo, a grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi who founded the city of Manila. Salcedo went to the Ilocos in northern Luzon to put up a military settlement in Vigan in 1572. In 1574 he established a Spanish residence in the poblacion in honor of Prince Ferdinand, the first born son of King Philip II of Spain, and named it Villa Fernandina.

The city of Nueva Segovia, however, was founded in 1581 by Pablo Carreon in the Cagayan Valley, near the mouth of the Ibanag River (Rio Grande de Cagayan). Nueva Segovia, named after the old city of Segovia in Spain, was the capital and principal port of the region.

As a diocese Nueva Segovia was canonically erected by Pope Clement VIII with a papal bull on August 14, 1595 with Miguel de Benavides, OP, as its first bishop. Its territorial jurisdiction extended over all the provinces of northern Luzon. It was placed under the principal patronage of the Immaculate Concepcion of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Together with the diocese of Cebu and Caceres, it was made a suffragan to the new Archdiocese of Manila.

Because of distance and the need for a site at the center of the diocese, the See of Nueva Segovia was transferred to Vigan in 1758 at the request of Bishop Juan de la Fuente Yepes, during the pontificate of Benedict XIV. The city of Nueva Segovia was slowly being washed away by the river. Vigan, on the other hand, was rising as a center of Spanish culture, politics and economy. The bishops therefore preferred to stay in Vigan. The villa then became Ciudad Fernandina de Vigan in honor of the reigning king of Spain.

After more than 400 years of evangelization, there have been 34 canonically appointed bishops in Nueva Segovia, 27 of them Spaniards, 3 Americans and 4 Filipinos. Nueva Segovia was canonically elevated into an archdiocese on June 29, 1951 by Pope Pius XII with the papal bull Quo in Philippina Republica. From the original Diocese of Nueva Segovia, 2 archdiocese, 11 dioceses, 2 prelatures nullius, and 3 apostolic vicariates have already been created.

The present territorial jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia is the civil province of Ilocos Sur. It lies along the northwestern coast of the island of Luzon, with the China Sea to the west and the Cordillera mountain ranges to the east, Abra and Ilocos Norte to the north, and La Union and Benguet to the south. With a land area of 2,579 square kilometers and a population of 549,212 people, of which 94 per cent are Catholics, Nueva Segovia has 38 canonically established parishes, 21 of which were established before the 1900's.

At present the parishes are served mainly by the diocesan clergy, with the help of CICM missionaries in the interior parts. Divided into 6 vicariates, the archdiocese is served by 84 diocesan and 8 religious priests. Archdiocesan schools are operated by the diocesan clergy with the help of religious sisters and lay leaders. There are two Catholic colleges managed by the Divine Word Missionaries and the Saint Paul de Chartres sisters.

The social apostolate of the archdiocese is in the lands of Caritas Nueva Segovia . The media apostolate is served by Radio Station DZNS and the weekly newspaper Timek Ti Amianan. The Archdiocesan Commissions Office coordinates the other apostolates on the laity, the family, the youth, the liturgy, vocations, tribal Filipinos, the Bible, catechesis, and the cultural heritage of the Church.

The current pastoral thrusts of the evangelization work in the archdiocese is the formation of SISA's or Simbaan Sangkakarrubaan (BEC's), and establishing barangay-based catechesis for children, youth, adults and families.

The First Nueva Segovia Pastoral Assembly was convoked on April 11-17, 1993 by Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, D.D., which was a truly Pentecost event. Through it the Catholic Church in Ilocos Sur experienced the renewing love of the Holy Spirit. The decrees formulated speak of transforming Church and society through renewed proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord, and with it His Gospel. Authentic discipleship was the key aspiration of the assembly. The Church that it envisions is an evangelically-based Church of the Poor, where everyone is moved by the preferential love of Jesus for the poor.

The political, economic and cultural values of the people need to be reoriented to what Jesus did and taught, lived and died for. Out of this, it is hoped, will emerged "a new way of being Church" in Nueva Segovia, in its journey "toward a new life in Christ."

In the year 1995 the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in the Ilocos celebrates its fourth centennary as a diocese.


Ordained priest: March 21, 1953
Ordained bishop: January 19, 1979
Appointed Archbishop of Nueva Segovia:


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