Diocese of Changzhi
Diocese of Changzhi

In a land area of approximately 23,348 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the prefecture-level cities of Changzhi and Jincheng in the southwestern part of Shanxi province. Their administrative area includes 3 urban districts, 2 county-level cities (Lucheng and Gaoping) and 14 counties.


Changzhi has a population of 3.3 million, while Jincheng has 2.1 million.


There are 4 colleges and universities in Changzhi city, with a total of 24,600 enrolled students and 7,116 graduates.


Changzhi was formerly called Luanfu when it was erected as a vicariate apostolic in 1924. Before that, it was a part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Shansi (Shanxi) from 1838 and then Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Shansi from 1890. It was entrusted to Franciscan missionaries.

Bishop Alberto Odorico Timmer, the third bishop of Luanfu, ordained the first batch of Chinese priests in 1903. During his office of 25 years (1901-1926), the development of the vicariate apostolic entered its climax. More than 300 churches were built and the number of Catholics multiplied.

From 1932 to 1936, Hongtung (Hongtong) and Jiangzhou (Xinjiang) were erected as new vicariates apostolic from Luanfu, after which it covered 19 counties with some 30,000 Catholics. In 1943, Japanese invaders forced foreign missioners to go home, leaving the Church to Chinese priests.

Lu'an became a diocese when the Chinese Church Hierarchy was established in 1946. However, since the same year, most churches in the diocese had been occupied by Communists. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), all priests were imprisoned or sentenced to reform-through-labor and religious activities were suspended.

Since 1980, the Church had gradually revived. Father Anthony Li Weidao became the first Chinese bishop of Changzhi (Lu'an) in 1992. He fell sick from overwork and died in 1998. Father Andrew Jin Daoyuan received episcopal ordination without apostolic mandate in 2000. The diocese became divided, as there is already the Vatican-approved Bishop Paul Li Yi, who was secretly ordained in 1997. The Holy See recognized Bishop Jin as "a legitimate bishop without jurisdiction" in mid-2008.


Changzhi city enjoys a very convenient transportation system. The Taiyuan-Jiaozuo Railway and the Handan-Changzhi Railway go through the city, while State Highway 207, State Highway 208, State Highway 309 and the Changzhi-Handan Highway traverse the city. Changzhi Wangcun Airport provides daily flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an. Taiyuan Wushu Airport and Datong Airport are situated within 3 hours' drive.


Changzhi has a continental monsoon climate, with dry winters and abundant rainfall in summers. The average temperature is between 4.9 to 10.4 degrees Celsius.


In 2010, the GDP of Changzhi rose 13.7 percent from a year earlier to RMB 92.02 billion, ranking second in Shanxi, after Taiyuan. The secondary sector, the strongest sector, realized RMB 60.17 billion in value-added output, contributing 65.4 percent to the city's economy.

Coal mining and dressing, metallurgy, coking, electricity production and supply, raw chemicals and chemical products are the major industries in the city.


Changzhi is located in the southeast part of Shanxi Province. It is adjacent to Hebei Province and Henan Province to the east, Jincheng to the south and Jinzhong to the north. The Taihang Mountains and the Taiye Mountains lie to the east and the west of the city, respectively.


There are 4 colleges and universities in Changzhi city, with a total of 24,600 enrolled students and 7,116 graduates.


Changzhi is one of the birthplaces of Chinese culture. It was the place, where Yandi, the ancestor of the Chinese people, tried diverse medical herbs and taught people how to farm. During the reign of the emperors Yao and Shun, the region was part of Jizhou. During the Shang Dynasty (1600-1100BC), it was the territory of the Li State. During the Warring States Period (476-221BC), it was called Shangdang. In the Northern Zhou Dynasty, its name was changed to Luzhou. It was not until Ming Dynasty that the territory was named "Changzhi", which means "long-term peace and stability". Changzhi city was officially founded in 1946.

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