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Diocesan Officials

A. Ordinary of Taiyuan Diocese

Bishop Silvester Li Jiantang was born into a Catholic family in Dong'ergou, in Yuci diocese near Taiyuan, on Dec. 13, 1925. He received his priestly training at various places in Shanxi because of the political instability of the 1950s. He was ordained a priest of Yuci diocese March 12, 1956, and served there. In recent decades, Dong'ergou has been under Taiyuan diocese. After Beijing restored religious rights in 1979, he was assigned to serve in Taiyuan and later became its vicar general. He was elected Bishop of Taiyuan on Nov. 22, 1994. His episcopal ordination was on Dec. 18, 1994. The Vatican considers Taiyuan an archdiocese, while the government-approved Church authorities in China recognize only dioceses.

Address: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception,
Address: 350, Jiefang Road, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China
Phone: +86 351-304 72 57 (o)


The Sacred Heart Chapel of Shanxi Montecorvino
Major Seminary was blessed on April 19, 2001
Previous Ordinaries
Bishop Bonaventure Zhang Xin, O.F.M. (1981 - 1994, died in 1999)
Father Bishop Li Dehua (1955-1958)
Father Hao Nai (1951-1955)
Vatican-Appointed: Archbishop Dominic Luke Capozi, O.F.M. † (1940 - 1983) (Click here for details)
Vatican-Appointed: Bishop Agapito Augusto Fiorentini, O.F.M. † (1916 - 1938)
Vatican-Appointed: Bishop Eugenio Massi, O.F.M. † (1910 - 1916)
Vatican-Appointed: Bishop Agapito Augusto Fiorentini, O.F.M. † (1902 - 1909)
Vatican-Appointed: Bishop St. Gr†goire Grassi, O.F.M. † ( 1891 - 1900)

B. Other Diocesan Officials


Vicar General: Father Paul Meng Ningyou
Pastor of Immaculate Conception Cathedral (Click here for details)
Phone: +86 351 304 7257


A. Catholic Population
  As of August 2009, Taiyuan diocese had 80,000 baptized Catholics, representing 1.15 percent of all 6,928,000 people in the territory. Now the diocese has 29 churches, 2 pilgrimage sites as well as 110 churches and chapels, according to a book Brief History of Taiyuan Diocese published by the diocese in late 2008.

People in the Diocese
  • Baptized Catholics: 80,000, or 1.15%
  • Members of other Christian denominations: Protestants
  • Followers of other religions: Buddhists, Taoists and Muslims

  • B. Diocesan and Religious Priests
      Diocesan Priests: 57 Chinese

    C. Religious Brothers, Sisters
      Religious Sisters: 27 Chinese

    D. Seminaries, Houses of Formation (Click here for details)
      Minor seminary: none
    Major seminary: 1
    Seminarians: 20
    Houses of Formation and Retreat Centers: 1

    E. There are 25 churches / parishes and over 90 places of worship in the diocese

    The newly expanded and renovated Liuhe Parish in
    Taiyuan diocese now accomodates 5,000 people
          Catholic pilgrims gather at the Our Lady of Portiuncula
    Church on Bansishan, Shanxi province

    Pilgrimage Sites
  • Our Lady of Portiuncula Basilica on Bansishan: The Our Lady of Angels Portiuncula Basilica was built in 1897-98 under the episcopacy of Bishop Grassi. Located at 1,760 meters above sea level, 40 kilometers north of Taiyuan city, the church offers Portiuncula Indulgence on Aug. 2 every year. Tens of thousands of pilgrim flocked to pray at the basilica each year. It has become a popular pilgrimage site for Catholics in different parts of China.
  • Church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows: Local Catholics built a church in Dong'ergou in 1924 and named after Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, which the Church celebrates on Sept. 15. Since religious activities were restored in 1980s, the church was re-built in 1992. On Sept. 15, 1998, the church was consecrated and opened for pilgrimages and local worships.

    Bishop Li celebrating Mass at Our Lady
    of Portiuncula Basilica
          Pilgrims flocking to the Church of Our Lady
    of Seven Sorrows

    Diocesan Activities and Organizations

    Catholic Social Welfare
  • Clinic: 1
  • Homes for handicapped children: 1
  • Kindergarten: 1
  • Orphanage: 2

  • Religious Congregations, Societies and Institutes

    A. Religious Institutes of Men
  • There are no Religious Institutes of Men in China
  • Before 1950s, there was the Order of Friars (Franciscans) in Taiyuan diocese.

  • B. Religious Institutes of Women
  • Before 1950, there was the Franciscans of Missionary of Mary but no more international institutes in Taiyuan now.
  • Local bishop has established the Missionary Sisters of the Seven Sorrows.

    Catholics from Taiyuan city in northern China conduct
    a medical check-up for more than 700 villagers
    end of May/beginning of June 2009 in
    Guoyang parish, northern China
          Lay evangelizers attending class at Liuhe village parish
    in Qingxu county. Liuhe, a Catholic village,
    is an hour'sdrive from Taiyuan,
    capital of Shanxi province

    History of Taiyuan Diocese
    Catholicism was introduced into Taiyuan in 1633 during the Ming Dynasty. The first church in Taiyuan was built by Belgian Jesuit Father Michael Trigault in 1635, but was confiscated during the Qing Dynasty. Another church was built in 1870 by Italian Franciscans but was demolished during the Boxer Movement in 1900. The present Cathedral of Immaculate Conception was built on the first site 1905 by Italian Franciscan Bishop Agapito Augusto Fiorentini. Since then, the church survived the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). In 1980s, the churches were gradually returned to Taiyuan diocese as religious activities were restored. In 2005, the diocese celebrated the centennial of the cathedral after its renovation.

    Martyrdom in the History of Taiyuan Diocese
    According to the Brief History of Taiyuan Diocese, the Boxer Movement was widespread in Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and northeastern China. The Boxer Movement or "The Righteous and Harmonious Society Movement" was a Chinese rebellion from Nov. 1899 to Sept. 7, 1901, against foreign influence in trade, politics, religion and technology that occurred in China during the final years of the Qing Dynasty. Within months in 1900, more than 4,000 Catholics in Shanxi, including 3,000 from Taiyuan diocese, were killed.

    Among the 120 Chinese Martyrs canonized in 2000, dozens martyrs from Taiyuan including Franciscan Bishops Gregorius Grassi and Francescus Fogolla, 3 priests, 7 sisters, 7 seminarians, and more than 10 laypeople who were killed in 1900, were beatified by Pope Pius XII on Nov. 24, 1947, and canonized by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 1, 2000.

    Bishop Silvester Li of Taiyuan wrote in the preface of the "Brief History" at Lent 2008 that the courageous missionaries who came afar to preach the Gospel and the numerous martyrs who sacrificed their lives to defend the faith have nurtured the children of God generation after generation in this diocese with 300 years of history

    General Characteristics of the Diocese

    In a land area of about 12,400 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the 6 districts of Xinghualing, Yingze, Wanbailin, Jinzaoping, Xiaodian, Jinyuan and the 3 counties of Qingxu, Yangqu and Leifan.

    Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, 400 kilometers southwest of Beijing, had a population of 3.4 million at the end of 2004. The population of the diocese is 6,928,000. (The population of the whole country is 1,3 billion).

    Taiyuan has continental climate in north temperate zone, no bitterly cold days in winter and no broiling hot days in summer, with a quite temperature difference between day and night and a long frost-free period and plenty of sunshine hours in a year. There is much rain in the summer and it is dry and windy in spring. It is warm and fine in autumn. Average temperature yearly is 9.5 degrees Celsius.

    Taiyuan is located in the middle reaches of the Yellow River in North China and is surrounded by hills in its west, north and east. The city covers an area of 6,998 square kilometers. The Fenhe River, a key tributary of the Yellow River, runs through the territory of Taiyuan City with a long distance of 100 kilometers. Taiyuan lies in the valley basin of both mountains of the Taihang Mountain Ranges in east and the Luliang Mountain in west.

    In the early founding of the People' s Republic of China, Taiyuan was an industrial base. After more than 50 years, it has been built to possess a complete industrial system with various of industries as the pillars of energy, metallurgy, machinery and chemical, and other industries as textile, light industry, medicine, electronics, food, building materials, precise instruments, etc. Agriculture is also much developed, especially in the Taiyuan basin at 800 meters, which is flat, fertile and easy to irrigate. It is part of China's loess plateau. Loess is a fertile kind of soil.

    Laypeople offer a piece of coal and other special Shanxi
    products during Offertory for Taiyuan cathedral's
    centenary anniversary Mass in December 2005
    Railway and highway lines link up all parts of the city. Taiyuan railway station is a hub of the six trunk railway lines of Tong-Pu, Shi-Tai and Jing-Yuan, etc. It is also the largest freight station in the province. The railway Da-Yun crosses through the city. The 8 highway lines such as Tai-Mao and Shi - Tai link up all parts of the province and outside the province. The expressways such as Tai-Jiu bring about Taiyuan more convenient to communicate with other regions in the whole country. Now, it has more than 50 air routes to other airports both at home and abroad, such as to Hong Kong and large and middle cities and regions in the country.

    Shanxi Bangzi (a kind of opera in Shanxi), Huagu (Flower Drum), and Yangge (popular rural folk dance), etc. Taiyuan has 16 art performance troupes, 12 mass art and cultural centers, 2 museums, 10 public libraries with total reserves of 3. 302 million books, 19 file centers with file information of 1.709 million volumes, 2 broadcasting stations, 2 television stations according to the city administration.

    Mandarin is used.

    < Last updated on: September 16, 2009 >