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Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zaragoza

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The Archdiocese of Saragossa Latin: Archidioecesis Caesaraugustanus is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical territory located in north-eastern Spain, in the province of Zaragoza Saragossa in English, part of the autonomous community of Aragón The archdiocese heads the ecclesiastical province of Saragossa, having metropolitan authority over the suffragan dioceses of Barbastro-Monzón, Huesca, Tarazona, and Teruel and Albarracín

The diocese was created in Roman times; Pope John XXII elevated it to an archdiocese in 1318


  • 1 Overview
  • 2 History
    • 21 Roman period 1st to 5th centuries
    • 22 Visigoth period 5th to 7th centuries
    • 23 Moorish period 714–1118
    • 24 Christian period 1118–1318
    • 25 Archdiocese of Saragossa 1318–present
  • 3 Bishops of Saragossa
  • 4 Archbishops of Zaragoza
  • 5 Suffergan Diocese
  • 6 References
  • 7 See also


In 1912 the diocese was bounded on the north by Navarre and Huesca; on the east by Huesca, Lerida, and Tarragona; on the south by Valencia and Teruel; on the west by Guadalajara and Soria The episcopal city of Saragossa is situated on the river Ebro

The cathedral is dedicated to the Saviour, as it had been before the Moorish invasion It shares its rank with the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, half of the chapter residing at each of the two churches, while the dean resides six months at each alternately The building of the cathedral was begun by Pedro Tarrjao in the fourteenth century In 1412 Antipope Benedict XIII caused a magnificent baldachinum to be erected, but one of its pillars fell down, and it was reduced to its present condition In 1490 Archbishop Alonso of Aragón raised the two lateral naves, which had been lower, to an equal height with the central, and added two more; Ferdinand of Aragon added three other naves beyond the choir, to counterbalance the excessive width of the building, and thus, in 1550 was the Gothic edifice completed The great chancel and choir were built by order of Archbishop Dalmau de Mury Cervellón 1431–58 In the chapel of Saint Dominguito del Val are preserved the relics of that saint, a boy of seven who was allegedly crucified by the Jews in 1250 The façade of the cathedral is Renaissance, and beside it rises the tower, more modern than the body of the church, having been begun in 1790

The Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar is believed to have originated in a chapel built by the Apostle James Bishop Pedro de Librana 1119–1128 found it almost in ruins and appealed to the charity of all the faithful to rebuild it At the close of the thirteenth century four bishops again stirred up the zeal of the faithful to repair the building, which was preserved until the end of the seventeenth century In 1681 work was commenced on the new church, the first stone being laid by Archbishop Diego de Castrillo, 25 July 1685 This grandiose edifice, 140 metres in length, covers the capella angelica, where the celebrated image of the Blessed Virgin is venerated Though the style of the building is not of the best period, attention is attracted by its exterior, its multitude of cupolas, which are reflected in the waters of the river Ebro, giving it a character all its own

Co-Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar

Saragossa possesses many very noteworthy churches Among them is that of St Engratia, built on the spot where the victims of Dacian were martyred It was destroyed in the Spanish War of Independence, only the crypt and the doorway being left; it was rebuilt in the late 19th or early 20th century, and now serves as a parish church

The University of Saragossa obtained from Charles I the Emperor Charles V in 1542, the privileges accorded to others in Spain Its importance was afterwards promoted by Pedro Cerbuna, Bishop of Tarazona; he gave it a building which lasted until it was blown up by the French in 1808 A separate building has been erected for the faculties of medicine and sciences

The archiepiscopal palace is a splendid edifice erected by Archbishop Agustín de Lezo y Palomeque

There are two ecclesiastical seminaries That of Sts Valerius and Braulius, founded by Archbishop Agustín de Lezo y Palomeque in 1788, was destroyed by an explosion and was rebuilt in 1824 by Archbishop Bernardo Francés Caballero; that of St Charles Borromeo, formerly a Jesuit college, was converted into a seminary by King Charles III


Before the Roman period the site of Saragossa appears to have been occupied by Salduba, a little village of Edetania, within the boundaries of Celtiberia

Roman period 1st to 5th centuries

In 24 BC 727 auc Emperor Octavius Augustus, then in his seventh consulate, founded the colony of Caesar Augusta, giving it the Italian franchise and making it the capital of a juridical conventus Geographer Pomponius Mela called it "the most illustrious of the inland cities of Hispania Tarraconensis"

The diocese is one of the oldest in Spain, for its origin dates back to the coming of the Apostle James — a fact of which there had never been any doubt until Caesar Baronius, influenced by a fabulous story of García de Loaisa, called it in question Pope Urban VIII ordered the old lesson in the Breviary dealing with this point to be restored

Closely involved with the tradition of St James's coming to Spain, and of the founding of the church of Saragossa, are those of Our Lady of the Pillar and of Sts Athanasius and Theodore, disciples of St James, who are supposed to have been the first bishops of Saragossa

About the year 256 there appears as bishop of this diocese Felix Caesaraugustanus, who defended true discipline in the case of Basilides and Martial, Bishops, respectively, of Astorga and Mérida

St Valerius, who assisted at the Council of Iliberis, was bishop from 290 to 315 and, together with his disciple and deacon St Vincent, suffered martyrdom in the persecution of Dacian

It is believed that there had been martyrs at Saragossa in previous persecutions as Prudentius seems to affirm; but no certain record is to be found of any before this time, when, too, St Engratia and the "numberless saints" santos innumerables, as they are called, gained their crowns

It is said that Dacian, to detect and so make an end of all the faithful of Saragossa, ordered that liberty to practice their religion should be promised them on condition that they all went out of the city at a certain fixed time and by certain designated gates As soon as they had thus gone forth, he ordered them to be put to the sword and their corpses burned Their ashes were mixed with those of criminals, so that no veneration might be paid them But a shower of rain fell and washed the ashes apart, forming those of the martyrs into certain white masses These, known as the "holy masses" las santas masas were deposited in the crypt of the church dedicated to St Engratia, where they are still preserved

St Vincent was taken to Valencia, where he suffered a long and terrible martyrdom St Valerius was exiled to a place called Enet, near Barbastro, where he died, and whence his relics were translated first to Roda, the head and arm being brought thence to Saragossa when that city had been reconquered

Before the Moorish invasion three national councils were held at Saragossa The First Council of Saragossa was held in 380, earlier than those of Toledo, when Valerius II was bishop, and had for its object the extirpation of Priscillianism

Visigoth period 5th to 7th centuries

In 452, Saragossa fell under the power of the Suevian king Reciarius; in 466, under that of the Visigoth king Euric St Isidore extolled it as one of the best cities of Spain in the Gothic period, and Pacensis called it "the most ancient and most flourishing"

In 542, when the Franks laid siege to Saragossa to take vengeance for the wrongs of the Catholic princess, Clotilde, the besieged went forth in procession and delivered to the enemy, as the price of their raising the siege, a portion of the blood-stained stole of St Vincent, the deacon

From 592 to 619 the bishop was Maximus, who assisted at the Councils of Barcelona and Egara Under his episcopate the Second Council of Zaragoza was held in 592 against Arianism Maximus' name, combined with that of the monk Marcus, has been used to form an alleged Marcus Maximus, the apocryphal continuator of Flavius Dexter

The See of Saragossa was occupied during the Gothic period by two illustrious bishops: St Braulius 631–651, who assisted at the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Councils of Toledo; and Taius Tajón 651–664, famous for his own writings and for having discovered at Rome the third part of St Gregory's "Morals"

The Third Council of Saragossa was held in 691 under Bishop Valderedus, and provided that queens, when widowed, should retire to some monastery for their security and for the sake of decorum

Moorish period 714–1118

During the Moorish occupation Catholic worship did not cease in this city; the churches of the Virgin and of St Engratia were maintained, while that of the Saviour was turned into a mosque

Of the bishops of this period the names are preserved of Senior, who visited St Eulogius at Cordoba 849, and of Eleca, who in 890 was driven from the city by the Muslims and took refuge at Oviedo

Paternus was sent by king Sancho the Great to Cluny to introduce the Cluniac reform into Spain in the monasteries of San Juan de la Peña and San Salvador de Leyre, and was afterwards appointed Bishop of Saragossa 1040–1077

Christian period 1118–1318

King Alfonso I the Battler of Aragon reconquered the city on 18 December 1118, and named as bishop Pedro de Librana, whose appointment was confirmed by Pope Gelasius II

López, in his Historia de Zaragoza, says that Pedro de Librana first resided at the Church of the Pillar, and on 6 January 1119, purified the great mosque, which he dedicated to the Saviour, and there established his episcopal see Hence the controversy which began in 1135, in the episcopate of García Guerra de Majones, between the canons of the Pillar and those of St Saviour as to the title of cathedral

Archdiocese of Saragossa 1318–present

In 1318 the See of Saragossa was made metropolitan by a grant of Pope John XXII 14 June, Pedro López de Luna being bishop

In the factions which followed upon the death of King Martin I, Archbishop García Fernández de Heredia 1383–1411 was assassinated in 1411 by Antonio de Luna, a partisan of the Count James II of Urgell

For more than a century 1458–1577 princes of the royal blood occupied the see:

  • 1458–1475 : Juan of Aragon, natural son of king Juan II;
  • 1478–1520 : Alonso de Aragón or Alfonso de Aragón, illegitimate son of Ferdinand the Catholic and also Archbishop of Valencia in 1512–1520
  • 1520–1530 : Juan of Aragon
  • 1539–1577 : Fernando of Aragon, who had been the Cistercian abbot of Veruela

On 15 September 1485, Pedro Arbués, canon of the Cathedral of Zaragoza and one of the driving forces behind the Tribunal of the Inquisition, was attacked in the cathedral by some relapsed Jews who were led by Juan de la Abadia and died two days later In response to the assassination, hundreds were arrested and between one and two hundred were put to death, including the assailants

Bishops of Saragossa

  • 39–59 : St Athanasius
  • ca 66 : : St Theodore
  • ca 105 : Epictetus
  • ca 256 : Felix
  • ca 277 : Valerus
  • 290–315 : St Valerius
    • St Vincent Coadjutor de St Valerius
  • ca 326 : Clement
  • ca 343 : Castus
  • ca 380 : Valerius II - Mentioned in 380
  • ca 516 : Vincent I - Mentioned in 516
  • 540–546 : John
  • ------------- : Vincent II - In times of Leovigild
  • 589–592 : Simplicius
  • 592–619 : Maximus
  • 619–631 : John II
  • 631–651 : St Braulius
  • 651–664 : Taius Tajón
  • 683–701 : Valderedus
  • 839–863 : Senior
  • 864–902 : Eleca
  • 1040–1077 : Paternus
  • 1077–1110 : Julian
  • -------–1111 : Vincent III
  • -------–1112 : Peter
  • 1113–1118 : Bernardo
  • 1119–1128 : Pedro de Librana
  • 1128–1130 : Esteban
  • 1130–1137 : García Guerra de Majones
  • -------–1137 : Guillermo
  • 1137–1152 : Bernardo Jiménez
  • 1152–1184 : Pedro Tarroja
  • 1184–1199 : Ramón de Castellazuelo
  • -------–1200 : Rodrigo de Rocabertí
  • 1201–1216 : Ramón de Castrocol
  • 1216–1236 : Sancho de Ahonés
  • 1236–1239 : Bernardo de Monteagudo
  • 1239–1244 : Vicente Sola
  • 1244–1248 : Rodrigo de Ahonés
  • 1248–1271 : Arnaldo de Peralta
  • 1271–1272 : Sancho de Peralta
  • 1272–1280 : Pedro Garcés de Jaunas
  • 1280–1289 : See vacant
  • 1289–1296 : Hugo de Mataplana
  • 1296–1317 : Jimeno de Luna
  • 1317–1318 : Pedro López de Luna

Archbishops of Zaragoza

  1. 1318–1345 : Pedro López de Luna
  2. 1345–1347 : Pedro de Jugie
  3. 1347–1350 : Guillermo de Aigrefeuille
  4. 1351 – c1380 Lope Fernández de Luna
  5. 1383–1411 : García Fernández de Heredia
    • 1411–1415 : See vacant
  6. 1415–1419 : Francisco Clemente Pérez Capera - 1st time
  7. 1419–1429 : Alfonso de Argüello
    • 1429–1430 : Francisco Clemente Pérez Capera - 2nd time
  8. 1431–1456 : Dalmacio de Mur y de Cervelló
  9. 1458–1475 : Juan de Aragón, natural son of king John II of Aragon
  10. 1474–1478 : Ausias Despuig
  11. 1478–1520 : Alonso of Aragón or Alfonso de Aragón, illegitimate son of Ferdinand the Catholic and also Archbishop of Valencia in 1512–1520
  12. 1520–1530 : Juan de Aragón II
  13. 1532–1539 : Fadrique de Portugal
  14. 1539–1577 : Fernando de Aragón y Gurrea
  15. 1577–1578 : Bernardo Alvarado de Fresneda
  16. 1579–1585 : Andrés Santos de Sampedro
  17. 1586–1592 : Andrés de Bobadilla
  18. 1593–1602 : Alonso de Gregorio
  19. 1603–1610 : Tomás de Borja y Castro
  20. 1611–1615 : Pedro Manrique de Lara archbishop
  21. 1616–1623 : Pedro González de Mendoza
  22. 1624–1629 : Juan Martínez de Peralta
  23. 1630–1631 : Martín Terrer de Valenzuela
  24. 1633–1634 : Juan Guzmán archbishop
  25. 1635–1643 : Pedro Apaolaza Ramírez
  26. 1644–1662 : Juan Cebrián Pedro
  27. 1663–1674 : Francisco de Gamboa
  28. 1676–1686 : Diego de Castrillo
  29. 1687–1710 : Antonio Ibáñez de la Riva Herrera
  30. 1714–1726 : Manuel Pérez de Araciel y Rada
  31. 1727–1742 : Tomás Crespo Agüero
  32. 1742–1764 : Francisco Añoa Busto
  33. 1764–1767 : Luis García Mañero
  34. 1768–1777 : Juan Sáenz de Buruaga
  35. 1779–1782 : Bernardo Velarde
  36. 1783–1796 : Agustín de Lezo y Palomeque
  37. 1797–1800 : Joaquín Company Soler
  38. 1800–1816 : Ramón José de Arce
  39. 1816–1823 : Manuel Vicente Martínez Jiménez
  40. 1824–1843 : Bernardo Francés Caballero
  41. 1847–1858 : Manuel María Gómez de las Rivas
  42. 1858–1881 : Manuel García Gil
  43. 1881–1895 : Francisco de Paula Benavides y Navarrete
  44. 1895–1901 : Vicente Alda Sancho
    • 1901 : Antonio María Cascajares y Azara – Elected
  45. 1902–1923 : Juan Soldevilla y Romero
  46. 1924–1955 : Rigoberto Doménech Valls
  47. 1955–1964 : Casimiro Morcillo González
  48. 1964–1977 : Pedro Cantero Cuadrado
  49. 1977–2005 : Elías Yanes Álvarez
  50. 2005–2014 : Manuel Ureña Pastor
  51. 2014–present: Vicente Jiménez Zamora

Suffergan Diocese

Zaragoza in dark green suffragan in light green
Diocese Notes Cathedral Photo Co Cathedral Photo
Zaragoza Cathedral Zaragoza
Barbastro-Monzón Barbastro Cathedral Co-Cathedral Monzón
Huesca Huesca Cathedral
Tarazona Tarazona Cathedral
Roman Catholic Diocese of Teruel and Albarracín Cathedral TorreSanPedro AlbarracínCathedral


  1. ^ "Metropolitan Archdiocese of Zaragoza" GCatholicorg Gabriel Chow Retrieved February 29, 2016
  2. ^ "Archdiocese of Zaragoza" Catholic-Hierarchyorg David M Cheney Retrieved February 29, 2016
  3. ^ http://wwwcatholic-hierarchyorg/bishop/bmanrphtml "Archbishop Pedro Manrique de Lara, OSA"] Catholic-Hierarchyorg David M Cheney Retrieved September 5, 2016
  4. ^ "Archbishop Juan Guzmán, OFM" Catholic-Hierarchyorg David M Cheney Retrieved August 27, 2016
  • Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912: Saragossa in English
  • IBERCRONOX: Obispado y Arzobispado de Zaragoza Caesaraugusta in Spanish

See also

  • List of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Spain

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed 1913 "article name needed" Catholic Encyclopedia New York: Robert Appleton 

Coordinates: 41°39′17″N 0°52′33″W / 416547°N 08758°W / 416547; -08758

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