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Archdiocese in the Republic of Colombia, Metropolitan of Antioquia and Manizales, in the Departments of Medellín, Antioquia, and Manizales. Prior to 1908, when a new civil territorial division was adopted, the limits of the archdiocese were conterminous with the former Department of Antioquia (from native words meaning the "hill or mountain of gold") which lay in the basins of the Magdalena, Cauca, and Atrato rivers, had an area of over 22,000 square miles, and was divided into ten civil provinces, Aures (capital, Sonson), Centro (cap., Medellín), Fredonia (cap., Fredonia), Nordeste (cap., Sta Rosa de Osos), Norte (cap., Yarumal), Occidente (cap. Antioquia), Oriente (cap., Maranilla), Sopetran (cap., Sopetran), Sur (cap., Manizales), Uraba (cap., Frontino). The territory of the Diocese is comprised in the Andes region; means of communication are poor, owing to the mountainous nature of the country; a railway, however, is being built from Puerto Berrio to Medellín. The Catholic religion is universally professed, but the exercise of all cults not contrary to Christian morality is permitted. The language is Spanish, and the inhabitants are descendants of the Spanish conquistadores, of the mestizos and negroes. There is no race antagonism, chiefly because of the influence and teaching of the Catholic religion. The Indians of the Cauca valley were originally cannibals.

Education is gratuitous and as far as possible compulsory; there are 400 primary schools with 35,000 pupils, besides many schools conducted by religious. During the civil disturbances of the past, many of the monasteries were confiscated, and are still used as public buildings; but the relations between Church and State were amicably settled by the Concordat of 1887.

Previous to 1804, the region was within the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Bogotá. On 31 August, 1804, the See of Antioquia was erected, and on 4 February, 1868, the title of the diocese was removed from Antioquia to the growing town of Medellín. On 29 Jan., 1873, the See of Antioquia (ANTIOQUIENSIS) was re-established, and on 11 April, 1900, a portion of the Diocese of Medellín went to constitute the newly erected See of Manizales (MANIZALENSIS). As the civil districts are now constituted, the Department of Antioquia embraces an area of 11,517 square miles with a population of 160,000; that of Medellín an area of 12,137 with a population of 275,000; that of Manizales an area of 4439 with a population of 242,000 (The Statesman's Year-Book, 1910). There are about 5000 savage Indians scattered in these regions.

MEDELLIN on the River Porce, 147 miles from Bogotá, and 4600 feet above sea-level, is the capital of the Department of Medellín. In 1910 it had a population of 60,000. It was named in 1575 after the Count of Medellín in Spain, but did not begin to prosper until the gold and silver mines were discovered in the neighbourhood early in the nineteenth century. It has 7 churches, 2 chapels, and a pro-cathedral; a new cathedral is being constructed in the Plaza de Bolivar. Among important institutions in the town are a seminary, a university, the College of St. Ignatius, under the Jesuits (founded by Father Friere in the eighteenth century), and the College of St. Joseph, under the Christian Brothers. The Presentation Nuns conduct schools for girls; the Sisters of Charity have charge of a hospital; and the Discalced Carmelites have a convent. Among the periodicals published in Medellín are "Registro Official", "Crónica Judicial", "El Preceptor", "El Elector", and "La Consigna".

The See of Medellín was raised to metropolitan rank on 24 Feb., 1902. The archdiocese has 363,710 inhabitants, 110 priests, 15 regulars, 75 churches and chapels, 141 Catholic schools, in which 16,035 pupils are being educated. The present archbishop is Mgr. Em. José de Cayzedo y Cuero, born in Bogotá, 16 Nov., 1850; chosen Bishop of Pasto, 11 Feb., 1892; transferred to Popayan, 2 Dec., 1895; made archbishop 14 Dec., 1901; and transferred to Medellín 14 Dec., 1905, to succeed Mgr. Pardo Vergara, the first Archbishop of Medellín.

ANTIOQUIA on the Cauca was founded by Jorge Robledo in 1542; until 1826 it was the capital of the Department of Antioquia. Its population is estimated at 10,077. In 1720 a Jesuit college was established at Antioquia under the auspices of Bishop Gomez Friar, of Popayan, and on 5 Feb., 1727, a royal charter was granted to the college, and the fathers were given charge of the church of St. Barbara. A few years later they opened a second college at Buga. Among the more important buildings of the city are the cathedral, the bishop's house, the Jesuit college, and a hospital. On account of malaria the seminary has been removed from Antioquia to San Pedro.

The diocese has a population of 211,315; 75 priests; 80 churches and chapels. The present bishop is Mgr. Em. Ant. Lopez de Mesa, born at Rio Negro in the Diocese of Medellín, 22 March, 1846, and succeeded Mgr. Rueda as Bishop of Antioquia, 2 June, 1902.

MANIZALES is about 100 miles from Bogotá, and 7000 feet above sea-level. Founded in 1848 it has developed rapidly owing to the gold mining operations in the neighbourhood; population in 1905, 20,000. The town suffered severely from earthquakes in 1875 and 1878.

The Diocese of Manizales was created 11 April, 1900, from territory formerly belonging to the archdioceses of Popayan and Medellín. The cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The present and first bishop is Mgr. Gregory Hoyos, born at Vahos, 1 Dec; 1849; appointed 11 May, 1901.


PETRE, The Republic of Colombia (London, 1906); CASSANI, Historia de la Compañía de Jesus; BORDA, Compendio de Historia de Colombia (Bogotá, 1890); HOLTON, Twenty Months in the Andes (New York); NUÑEZ, La République de Colombie (Brussels, 1883); Annuaire Pontifical (1910).

About this page

APA citation. Grey, J. (1911). Medellín. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Grey, James. "Medellín." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Kenneth M. Caldwell. Dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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