Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Diocese of Tehuantepec

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(Tehuantepecensis)

Diocese in the Republic of Mexico, suffragan of Oaxaca. Its area covers the southern part of the States of Oaxaca and Vera Cruz, through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Its population is about 202,000; the residence of the bishop, the city of Tehuantepec, has 10,000 inhabitants.

Burgoa relates the following, which he deciphered from ancient Zapotecan pictures: A short time before the Spanish set foot on Mexican soil the subjects of the King of Tehuantepec begged him to make a sacrifice to their gods, and in particular to Guiscipocoche. This the king did and then said: "The great God announces that the time has come when he shall be driven from this earth because his enemies shall soon arrive from the regions of the rising Sun; these men will be white, and none of the Kings of these regions shall be able to resist their strength or their arms. They will subject us to misery and shall bring in their wake men who will be our priests and to whom those of us who shall remain will be forced to disclose our sins on bended knees".

On 24 April, 1522, Fray Bartolomé de Olmedo with Pedro de Alvarado arrived at Tehuantepec. The monarch, Cosijopii, a relative of the Emperor Montezuma, received them with open arms. He embraced the Catholic Faith, and a few years later erected at his expense in his royal city the convent of S. Domingo. The Franciscan Fathers, as well as the famous Dominican Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Bishop of Chiapas, preached the Gospel in Tehuantepec. The first priests to settle there were Fray Gregorio Beteta and Fray Bernardo de Albuquerque. A few years later an attempt was made by the descendants of the King Cosijopii to return to paganism, but this plot when discovered was quickly suppressed (see Mexico). When the See of Oaxaca was created in 1535, all the territory on which the city of Tehuantepec is situated belonged to it and remained so until 1891 when Leo XIII made of it a separate see, suffragan of Oaxaca or Antequera. There are 5 parochial schools with about 600 pupils, 4 Protestant colleges with 70 pupils, and 3 Protestant churches. In the capital, Tehuantepec, there are 14 churches, among which that of Santo Domingo is noted for its phenomenal size and splendid construction. Coatzacoalcos (to-day known as Puerto Mexico) is known for the tradition that from this port the celebrated Quetzalcoatl sailed for his native land.

Camillus Crivelli.