Argentina Church History

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Research procedures and genealogical sources are different for each religion. It is helpful to understand the historical events that led to the creation of records that your family was listed in, such as parish registers.

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Both regular and secular priests came with the explorers into Argentina. They worked to establish the Christian doctrine among the natives. And in many cases the conquest and colonization of the country was made easier by their works. The church is organized with archdioceses, the primary one being Buenos Aires, dioceses, and vicaries. In 1938 there was 811 parishes and 451 vicaries in the country.

Following is history of the establishment and divisions of Catholic church in Argentina:

1547: The Jesuits established the first diocese of the Rio de la Plata at Asunción, Paraguay. This diocese included all the coast line of Argentina, Buenos Aires, and Patagonia, the republic of Paraguay and Uruguay, and the region of Rio Grande and Santa Catalina, Brazil. All the occupied regions of the northern Argentinian provinces and the province of Cuyo (which encompassed Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis, and a large part of the territory of Neuquén) which united in the civil administration of the Capitania General of Chile continued as part of the Archdiocese of Cuzco.

1551: Pio Julio III created the dioceses of Charcas (o Chuquisaca o La Plata o Sucre). All northeast Argentina and part of Bolivia and the kingdom of Chile with its jurisdiction all become part of the Charcas Diocese.

1561: The diocese of Santiago de Chile was created. This diocese included all the territory of the actual Republic of Chile with the Argentina province of Cuyo (Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis and part of the territory of Neuquén).

1570: The diocese of Cordoba del Tucumán was created by Pio V, at Santiago del Estero. It encompassed the region of Tarija, Bolivia and the provinces of Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, Catamarca, La Rioja and Córdoba. In 1699 the Archbishop transferred the Holy See to Córdoba.

1617: The province of Rio de la Plata was divided into two parts. One called Guairá or Paraguay at Asunción and including the cities of Villarrica del Espíritu Santo and Santiago de Jerez. The other called Rio de la Plata at Buenos Aires and including the cities of Santa Fe, San Juan de Vera de las Siete Corrientes, and Concepción del Bermejo (no longer in existence).

1620: The diocese of Buenos Aires was created. This included the eastern parts of the provinces of Cordoba and Santiago del Estero. It included the present provinces of Santa Fe, Corrientes, Entre Rios, Buenos Aires, Missiones, and the territory of La Patagonia, Uruguay, Rio Grande, and Santa Catalina, Brasil. This diocese was still under the archdiocese of Charcas. As the territories of Rio Grande and Santa Catalina in Brazil and also territories in Uruguay gained more independence, they began to separate from the Diocese of Buenos Aires.

1806: The diocese of Salta was created. It included the district of Tarija (taken from the diocese of Charcas) and the present provinces of Salta , Jujuy, Catamarca, Tucuman, and Santiago del Estero (taken from the diocese of Cordoba). The diocese of Cordoba retained the provinces of Cordoba and La Rioja. The provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, and San Luis were added to the Cordoba diocese from the diocese of Santiago de Chile. All the provinces of the Patagonia stayed under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Buenos Aires.

1834: The diocese of San Juan de Cuyo was created which included the provinces of San Juan, Mendoza, San Luis, and Neuquén.

1859: The diocese of Paraná was created.

1865: The diocese of Buenos Aires was raised to Archdiocese, taking in the dioceses of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Salta, San Juan, and Paraná.

1897: The dioceses of La Plata, Santa Fe, and Tucumán were created.

1907: The diocese of Santiago de Estero was created. This diocese had been part of the diocese of Tucumán.

1910: The dioceses of Corrientes and Catamarca were created.

1934: The dioceses of Azul, Bahía Blanca, Jujuy, La Rioja, Mendoza, Mercedes, Rio Cuarto, Rosario, San Luis, and Viedma were created. The dioceses of Córdoba, Salta, San Juan Paraná, La Plata and Santa Fe were made into Archdioceses.

1939: The diocese of Resistencia was created.

1947: The diocese of San Nicolás was created.

1957: The dioceses of San Isidro, Morón, Nueve de Julio, Lomas de Zamora, Mar del Plata, Comodoro Rivadavia, Santa Rosa, Gualeguaychú, Posadas, Reconquista, Formosa and Villa María were created. Tucumán and Bahía Blanca were raised to the level of Archdioceses.

For more information on the history of the Catholic church in Argentina see:

Cayetano Bruno. Historia de la Iglesia en la Argentina(History of the Church in Argentina). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Editorial Don Bosco, 1966. (FHL book 982 K2br.)

Archivum, Revista de la Junta de Historia Eclesiástica Argentina (Archivum, Revision of the Congress of Church History in Argentina). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Junta de Historia Eclesiástica Argentina, 195–. (FHL book 982 B2a; film 0897023 item 1.)

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Other Christian Denominations[edit | edit source]

Baptists, Congregational, Calvinistic Methodist, Mennonites, Anglicans, Evangelical Methodists, Independent Protestants, Jews, and other groups have existed in Argentina since the mid1800's.

However, because of the looseness of their organizations, their records are not in any central repository. Each congregation would keep their own records. They usually did not have to answer to a higher level of their church.