The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hangzhou (Hangchow) belongs to the city of Hangzhou. Hangzhou is a sub-provincial city, whose history dates back to 200 BC. It has 10 districts, one county-level city, and two counties, and is one of the oldest cities in China. The current bishop of Hangzhou, Matthew Cao Xiangde, was appointed by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) but he has not been approved by the Holy See. The Archdiocese of Hangzhou has not had a bishop recognized by the Holy See since 1956.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hangzhou was first established as the Apostolic Vicariate of Western Chekiang on May 10, 1910, from the Apostolic Vicariate of Chekiang. It was later renamed on December 3, 1924, as the Apostolic Vicariate of Hangzhou. On April 11, 1946, the Apostolic Vicariate was promoted to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Hangzhou.
Located towards the northwest of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou city situates at the southern end of the Grand Canal of China. The administrative area of Hangzhou covers the mountainous parts of the Anhui province towards the west and the coastal plain near Hangzhou Bay towards the east. The eastern and northern parts of the West Lake form the city centre.
Li Zhizao and Yáng Tíngyún, two of the Three Great Pillars of Chinese Catholicism, were from the city of Hangzhou. The early 21st-century history records Christian persecution in the area.