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Archdiocese of Quito

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The city of Quito, formerly known as San Francisco de Quito, capital of the Republic of Ecuador, is situated 14' south of the Equator, and 114 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. It stands at an elevation of about 9300 feet, and has a population of some 70,000, mostly mestizos. It was the capital of the Incas Huaynacapac and Atahualpa, and was burnt by Rumiñahui in 1533. Sebastián de Belalcázar captured Quito the following year. In 1541 it was made a city by Charles V; in 1565 it became the headquarters of a separate Franciscan province. Quito formed part of Peru till 1718, when it was included in Nueva Granada. The seminary in charge of the Jesuits was the centre of ecclesiastical studies for all middle and northern South America. The Dominicans and Augustinians had high schools in Quito. In 1735 the city was ruined by an earthquake. Independence was declared there on 19 August, 1809; and the following year witnessed a terrible massacre of the nobility, even women and children being put to the sword. President Montes defeated the patriots two years later in the Panecillo; Sucre gained his great victory hard by in 1822. In 1829 Quito became the capital of Ecuador.

The city is built on very uneven ground, and the streets run in parallel lines. The most important square is the Plaza Mayor, on the southern side of which is the cathedral, on the eastern the city ball, and on the western the government house. The square was turned into a beautiful garden by President Garcia Moreno, who was assassinated here 6 Aug., 1875. Quito is remarkable for its many beautiful churches, especially the old seventeenth-century Jesuit Church of Santa Ana, San Francisco, La Merced, and El Sagrario. The present university, which was founded by Sixtus V and Philip II in 1586, but opened only in 1621 by the Jesuits, still occupies a portion of the old Jesuit college and has an excellent library, formed in part from that of the San Luis seminary. There are 32 professors and 216 students. The observatory was erected under the direction of the celebrated astronomer Father Menten. García Moreno invited the German Jesuits to lecture in the university; they have since been expelled by the Masonic parties. The College of St. Ferdinand contains a tablet with a Latin inscription commemorative of the French and Spanish mathematicians who measured the degree of the meridian here in 1736-41. The chief manufactures of the city are woollens, laces, rugs, carpets, and tobacco. There is also a large export trade in religious oil-paintings.

The Diocese of Quito was erected by Paul III on 8 Jan., 1545, at the request of Charles V, and made suffragan of Lima. The first bishop was Mgr. Garcidia, who died in 1563. In 1853 the Holy See proceeded to the beatification of Maria Ana de Jesù de Paredes y Flores, the "Lily of Quito" (b. 31 Oct., 1618; d. 26 May, 1645). By the Bull "Nos semper Romanis Pontificibus" of 13 Jan., 1848, Pius IX made Quito a metropolitan see, with the Dioceses of Cuenca and Guayaquil as suffragans, to which have since been added the Sees of Ibarra, Riobambo, Loja, and Portoviejo. The first archbishop, Mgr Francisco Xavier de Garaycos, previously Bishop of Guayaquil, was appointed 5 Sept., 1851. The present archbishop, Mgr Gonsález y Francisco Suárez, was born at Quito 2 Jan., 1845; consecrated Bishop of Ibarra, 30 July, 1895; transferred to Quito, 14 Dec., 1905, and entered into possession on 6 July, 1906, succeeding Mgr Pedro Rafael Gonsález (b. at Quito, 14 Oct., 1839; Bishop of Ibarra, 29 Sept., 1876; coadjutor titular Archbishop of Synnade, 15 June, 1893, succeeding to the archbishopric in Aug., 1893). The Archdiocese of Quito includes the provinces of Pichincha, Leén, and Tunguragua, and contains 81 parishes, 195 priests, and 420,560 Catholics. The seminary is in care of the Lazarists.


WOLF, Geografía y geología del Ecuador (Leipzig, 1893); CEVALLOS, Resumen de la historia del Ecuador (Guayaquil, 1870-89); GONSÁLEZ Y SUAREZ, Historia ecclesiástica del Ecuador (Quito, 1881); MEDINA, La imprenta en Quito (Santiago, 1904); HERRERA, Apuntes para la historia de Quito (Quito, 1874); VELASCO, El reyno de Quito (Quito, 1841-4); Boletín eclesiástico, the official organ of the church province of Quito.

About this page

APA citation. MacErlean, A. (1911). Archdiocese of Quito. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. MacErlean, Andrew. "Archdiocese of Quito." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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

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