About the Archdiocese
On August 14, 1595, Pope Clement VIII raised the Diocese to the status of an Archdiocese and created three new dioceses as suffragan to Manila: Nueva Caceres, Nueva Segovia, and Cebu. With the creation of these new dioceses, the territory of the Archdiocese was reduced to the city of Manila and the ten civil provinces near it. Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bataan, Zambales, and Mindoro.
Manila was established as a suffragan diocese of Mexico on February 6, 1579, by Pope Gregory XIII by virtue of the Apostolic Constitution “Illius fulti praesido,” following the first successful missionary efforts.
In 1578, Fray Domingo Salazar, OP was appointed the first Bishop of the diocese, taking possession of his ecclesiastical seat in 1581. The church which was earlier built by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi on the site where the Manila Cathedral now stands became the seat of the diocese under the patronage of La Purisima Imaculada Concepcion de Nuestra Señora. Under him, the First Synod of Manila was held among whose decisions were the teaching of catechism in the native dialect and the declaration of the human rights of the native Christians and non-Christians.
Since Bishop Salazar, thirty prelates have governed the ecclesiastical territory. Salazar was succeeded by Ignacio de Santibañez, a Franciscan. He was replaced by the Dominican Miguel de Benavidez in 1603. Diego Vazquez de Mercado, who was appointed in 1610, was the first secular to head the Archdiocese. Following him was a succession of Archbishops coming from three religious congregations, Augustinians, Dominicans, Franciscans, with some secular priests being appointed in between among whom was Basilio Sancho de Sta. Justa y Rufina, who headed the Archdiocese from 1767-1787. He adopted the policy for the training of native secular priests to replace those from the religious orders in the parishes of the Archdiocese. In 1903, following the establishment of American sovereignty in the Philippines, the first non-Spanish archbishop was appointed. He was Jeremiah Harty, a secular priest, who succeeded the Dominican Bernardino Nozaleda, the last of the Spanish archbishops. Michael O’Doherty became archbishop of Manila in 1916 following a stint as the first bishop of Zamboanga. In 1949, Gabriel M. Reyes, a Filipino, was appointed the First Filipino Archbishop of Manila. Succeeding him, in 1953, was Rufino J. Santos who, in 1960, was elevated to the cardinalate, to become the first Filipino Cardinal Archbishop of Manila.
Jaime L. Sin, who was then archbishop of Jaro in Iloilo was appointed archbishop of Manila in 1974 following the death of Cardinal Santos in 1973. Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales succeeded Cardinal Sin and was appointed Archbishop of Manila on September 14, 2003. He was elevated to the Cardinalate on February 22, 2006. After Cardinal Rosales, Luis Antonio G. Tagle became the next archbishop of Manila. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on October 13, 2011, and was installed on Dec. 12, 2022, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On December 8, 2019, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal Tagle was appointed as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. After he went to Rome for his new assignment, the Holy Father Pope Francis appointed Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo as Apostolic Administrator of Manila on February 10, 2020. On March 25, 2021, Pope Francis named Capiz Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula as the 33rd Archbishop of Manila. He was installed on June 24, 2021.
On August 14, 1595, Pope Clement VIII raised the Diocese to the status of an Archdiocese and created three new dioceses as suffragan to Manila: Nueva Caceres, Nueva Segovia, and Cebu. With the creation of these new dioceses, the territory of the Archdiocese was reduced to the city of Manila and the ten civil provinces nearest to Manila namely Tondo, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bataan, Zambales, and Mindoro in addition to the small island of Corregidor.
On April 10, 1910, the province of Mindoro was established as an independent diocese by virtue of a Decretum Consistoriale executed by Pope Pius XI implementing the Bull “Quae Mari Sinico” of Pope Leo XIII. Eighteen years later, on May 19, 1928, Pope Pius XI established the Diocese of Lingayen, dividing Manila and Nueva Segovia. In this division 26 parishes were separated from Manila.
On December 11, 1948, the Apostolic Constitution, “Probe noscitur” further divided the Archdiocese of Manila by separating the northern part of the Archdiocese and establishing it as the Diocese of San Fernando.
On November 25, 1961, the Archdiocese of Manila was again divided. The civil provinces of Bulacan in the north and Cavite in the south were separated from the archdiocese. Bulacan became the Diocese of Malolos and Cavite became the Diocese of Imus.
The Eastern part of the province of Rizal was removed from the Archdiocese of Manila on January 24, 1983. Fifteen towns and two barangays were separated from Manila to form the diocese of Antipolo.
On December 7, 2002, two more dioceses were carved out of the Archdiocese of Manila. These are the Diocese of Novaliches, comprising the Northern parts of Quezon City and Caloocan City and the Diocese of Paranaque in the south also comprising the cities of Parañaque, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa. In 2003, the Diocese of Cubao comprised the Southern part of Quezon City; the Diocese of Kalookan comprised the cities of Caloocan (South) and Malabon and the municipality of Navotas; and the Diocese of Pasig comprised the cities of Pasig and Taguig together with the municipality of Pateros were created.
The Archdiocese of Manila is made up of five (5) cities, namely, Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay, and San Juan. It covers a land area of 117.23 sq. km. It is bounded by the Diocese of Kalookan and the Diocese of Novaliches in the north; the Diocese of Antipolo (Rizal) and the Diocese of Pasig in the East; the Diocese of Parañaque in the south; and the Manila Bay in the west.