Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Salvador

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Archdiocese of San Salvador

Archidioecesis Sancti Salvatoris in America

Arquidócesis de San Salvador
Catedral de San Salvador.jpg
Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador
CountryEl Salvador
Area3,295 km2 (1,272 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
2,322,000 (74%)
RiteRoman Rite
CathedralCatedral Metropolitana de San Salvador
(Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Savior)
Current leadership
Metropolitan ArchbishopJosé Luis Escobar Alas
Auxiliary BishopsCardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez
El Salvador - Arcidiocesi di San Salvador.jpg

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Salvador is the chief ecclesiastical jurisdiction of El Salvador, serving the Salvadoran capital, San Salvador, and surrounding region.

The current Metropolitan Archbishop of San Salvador is José Luis Escobar Alas. His cathedral archiepiscopal see is in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Saviour (Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador). The city also has a Former Cathedral: Basílica del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a Minor basilica: Basílica de la Ceiba de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, dedicated to the Virgin of Guadelupe.

The Archdiocese of San Salvador has an unusual arrangement in which the Auxiliary Bishop (Gregorio Rosa Chávez) is a Cardinal. This technically means that he ranks higher than the Archbishop in the Church hierarchy; however, the Archbishop still has authority over archdiocesan affairs.


As per 2014, it pastorally served 2,322,000 Catholics (74.0% of 3,137,000 total) on 3,295 km² in 163 parishes and 6 missions with 354 priests (158 diocesan, 196 religious), 1 deacon, 1,471 lay religious (343 brothers, 1,128 sisters) and 107 seminarians.


What is currently the territory of the Republic of El Salvador previously was part of the Spanish colonial Captaincy General (governorship) of Guatemala and, ecclesiastically, of the Archdiocese of Guatemala. Until 1842, there were four church regions in El Salvador, which reported to the San Salvador region, the most important one: Santa Ana, Sonsonate, San Vicente and San Miguel.

Twentieth century policy[edit]

Under three archbishops, Luis Chávez y González, Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez, and Arturo Rivera y Damas (see picture), the archdiocese saw over fifty years of a progressive pastoral ministry influenced by the currents of the Second Vatican Council and a Latin American church trend that later was known as Liberation Theology. Critics interpreted the Church's advocacy for the poor as fomenting a socialist revolution and targeted the clergy for assassination. Two bishops, including Archbishop Romero, were assassinated, as were twenty six priests (including Fr. Rutilio Grande, pictured), three nuns and countless catechists and Church workers.

The post-Civil War period saw a return to traditional spirituality under the watch of the conservative Archbishop Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, a former military chaplain and member of Opus Dei.

Ecclesiastical province[edit]

This comprises the whole country, consisting of the Metropolitan's archbishopric and the following suffragan sees :


Bishops of San Salvador[edit]

Archbishops of San Salvador[edit]

Coadjutor Bishops[edit]

  • Mariano Ortiz y Urruela (1866-1873)
  • Luis Cárcamo y Rodríguez (1971-1972)

Auxiliary Bishops[edit]

  • Santiago Ricardo Vilanova y Meléndez (1913-1914), appointed Bishop of Santa Ana
  • José Alfonso Belloso y Sánchez (1919-1927)
  • Pedro Arnoldo Aparicio y Quintanilla, S.D.B. (1946-1948)
  • Rafael Valladares y Argumedo (1956-1961)
  • José Eduardo Alvarez Ramírez, C.M. (1965-1968)
  • Arturo Rivera y Damas (1960-1977), appointed Bishop of Santiago de María and later Archbishop of San Salvador
  • Saint Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (1970-1974)
  • Marco René Revelo Contreras (1978-1981), appointed Bishop of Santa Ana
  • Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez (1982-present)

See also[edit]

Sources and external links[edit]