Archdiocese of Yangon

Brief History

st-maryYangon is the Capital City of Myanmar. There are altogether 14 States and Divisions. Yangon Archdiocese comprises of the whole of Yangon (Superior) Division, parts of Bago Division, Ayeyawaddy Division, Kayin State and Mon State. It is bounded with Thailand too. It comprises of the Capital city, urban areas, satellite towns, towns and villages, near and remote, including undeveloped places. We can see different races of people, different levels of living standard, different nationalities. It covers an area of 77,355 square kilometers with hills, mountains, fields. According to the 2004 Statistics, the total number of Catholics in the whole diocese is 79843.

Buddhism is the most dominant religion in the Archdiocese of Yangon. About 15% of the population are Christians, 85% are Buddhists and the rest, Muslims, Hindus and animists. Of the Christian population, 30% are Catholics. In the entire Myanmar, there are about 600,000 Catholics. Out of this number 79843 live in Yangon Diocese. This means that about 14% of the entire Catholic population of Myanmar live in Yangon Archdiocese. There are 47 parishes comprising around 400 villages.

In 1954 the Catholic Hierarchy of Burma (Myanmar) was established by Pope Pius XII, and the Vicariate of Southern Burma was further divided.  The larger eastern portion of the Vicariate became the Archdiocese of Rangoon (Yangon).  The western portion, comprising the three districts of Bassein (Pathein), Myaungmya  and  Henzada was erected into the diocese of Bassein (Pathein). Presently there are 3 Suffragan Dioceses in the Archdiocese of Yangon: Pathein Diocese, Pyay Diocese, and Mawlamyine Diocese.

Archbishop Victor Bazin was appointed as the head of the Archdiocese of Rangoon in 1954.  On the 19th June 1971, Archbishop Victor Bazin retired and returned to France in the same year.  Archbishop Gabriel Thohey Mahn-Gaby succeeded him as the Archbishop of Rangoon. On the 28th September 2002, Archbishop Gabriel Thohey Mahn-Gaby retired and Bishop Sotero Phamo (Bishop of Loikaw diocese) was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Yangon.

On 24 May 2003, His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Charles Bo as the Archbishop of Yangon. He was installed on 7 June 2003 as the Archbishop of Yangon by His Excellency Msgr. Adriano Bernardini, the Apostolic Delegate to the Union of Myanmar. He was appointed first Cardinal of Myanmar by His Holiness Pope Francis on 4 January 2015 and consistory was held on 14 February 2015.

On 4 December 2015, His Holiness Pope Francis erected an Auxiliary Bishop named John Saw Yaw Han for Archdiocese of Yangon.