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Diocese of Garzon

Suffragan of Popayan in the Republic of Colombia

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Garzon, Diocese of (GARZONENSIS), suffragan of Popayan in the Republic of Colombia. It comprises the provinces of Neiva and Sur, and lies east of Popayan. It is about 140 miles in length, and its breadth varies from 40 to 100 miles. It extends from 1° to 4° north latitude, and lies between the 75° and 77° west longitude. The episcopal see is at Neiva, a town of 11,000 inhabitants, situated 150 miles S. W. of Bogota, at a height of 1500 feet above sea-level, on the river Magdalena, which is navigable to this point. The diocese originally formed part of that of Tolima, which lay in the midst of the Cordilleras. As the territory was so extensive, the population very numerous, and the difficulties of visitation too great, the bishop petitioned the Holy See to divide the diocese. This was done by a decree of Leo XIII, June 20, 1900. The northern half was erected into a new diocese—Ibague, suffragan of Bogota—and the southern half formed the Diocese of Garzon. Msgr. Esteban Rojas, born at Hato in the Diocese of Popayan, January 15, 1859, had been raised to the See of Tolima, March 18, 1895. He was transferred to Neiva as first Bishop of Garzon. The cathedral is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. The population, of which a large part is of mixed origin, is almost entirely Catholic. Till recent years the public authorities neglected education and threw the whole burden on the clergy, but of late government schools are being established.

A. A. MACERLEAN


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