City of Vigan
Province of Ilocos Sur
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The Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia is an archdiocese of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. It covers the province of Ilocos Sur, on the island of Luzon. The seat of the archdiocese is the city of Vigan.
The archdiocese was erected in 1595 in the city of Nueva Segovia (modern-day Lal-lo, Cagayan). The see was moved in 1758 to Vigan because of its relative distance, at the request of Bishop Juan de la Fuente Yepes, during the pontificate of Benedict XIV. It became an archdiocese in 1951.
The Archdiocese is known for its pastoral thrusts of the evangelisation work, namely the formation of area-fixed SISA (Ilocano, Simbaan Sangkakarrubaan, “Church in the Neighbourhood”), and establishing barangay-based catechisms for children, youth, adults and families. Fr. Albert Rabe has also his own program of BEC called “Gimong.”
The Archdiocese features the only Archbishop’s Residence in the Philippines built during the Spanish Era. It is located just beside the Vigan Cathedral. The rear of the convent also had an access to nearby Govantes Dike, apparently a convenient exit point by sea, but it is no longer in use as the dike is no longer navigable. Both the Archbishop’s Residence and the Cathedral itself remains to be one of the greatest contributions of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Philippines.
The Church in Nueva Segovia spans through more than 400 years of Christianity. As in other parts of the archipelago, the Christianization of the locale of Nueva Segovia came with colonization. It has been a distinctive journey of a people shaped by varied historical, political, social, cultural and religious factors.
The Diocese of Nueva Segovia was established together with Cebu and Nueva Caceres by Pope Clement VIII on August 14, 1595 by virtue of the Papal Bull, Super Specula Militantis Ecclesia under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception. Its first bishop was Fray Miguel de Benavides, OP. The ecclesiastical jurisdiction extended to the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Batanes, Mountain Province and five northern towns of Tarlac.
Although Vigan was the oldest town created by the Spaniards in the north, it was not made the seat of the Diocese which was created for Northern Luzon since the preferred locale, Nueva Segovia, a city at the mouth of the Ibanag River in Cagayan, was by then already a flourishing Spanish settlement while Vigan was then only a pueblo, a town. Eventually however, the city of Nueva Segovia was gradually effaced by the floods of Rio Grande, and the seat was provisionally transferred to the nearby town of Lal-lo, Cagayan. On September 7, 1758, the seat was permanently transferred to Vigan, retaining the old name, up to the present. The transfer was made at the request of Bishop Juan de la Fuente Yepes during the Pontificate of Benedict XIV. The year 2008 marks the 250th year since the transfer.
Nueva Segovia was elevated to an archdiocese, separated from Manila on June 29, 1951, by virtue of the Papal Bull of Pope Pius XII, Quo in Philippina Republica. As the other local Churches matured, there was eventual weaning from the archdiocese. Presently, it covers the civil Province of Ilocos Sur, with the Dioceses of Laoag, Bangued and Baguio, and the Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe as suffragans. The Most Reverend Santiago C. Sancho was the first archbishop of the newly elevated metropolitan church. Since Archbishop Sancho, there had been five other Ordinaries of Nueva Segovia – Archbishops Juan C. Sison, Jose T. Sanchez, Orlando B. Quevedo, Edmundo M. Abaya, Ernesto A. Salgado and currently, Marlo Mendoza Peralta who is 37th bishop and 7th archbishop. – From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Archdiocese_of_Nueva_Segovia