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Diocese of Jinzhou

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Diocese of Jinzhou
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The diocese covers an area of 14,100 square kilometers, covering the cities of Jingzhou, Tianmen, Xiantao, Honghu, Qianjiang, counties of Gongan, Jianli, Jiangling and counties of Songzi, Shishou and Honghu.


The whole area has a population of 6.4 million.


Mandarin and local dialect are in use in the diocesan area.


Jinzhou diocese is the formerly Apostolic Prefecture of Shashi, which was split from Yichang diocese in 1936.

The Apostolic Prefecture of Shashi or Shasi / Shasien(sis) (Latin adjective) was established on 7 July 1936, on territory split off from the then Apostolic Vicariate of Yichang (now a diocese), bordering on that, on the dioceses Hanyang and Puqi and on the Apostolic prefecture of Lixian.

The apostolic prefecture was entrusted to the management of the Order of Franciscan Minor. Franciscan Father Julius Dillon became the first prefect apostolic of Shasi, receiving the title of monsignor. The following year, the Japanese and Chinese were engaged in a fierce war, and Father Julius' life was labeled as "heroic" throughout those years. Refugees poured into Shasi and he consoled, protected and fed them.

In 1944, he arrived in New York City in a daze and suffering malnutrition. After the war, Father Julius returned to China and again worked to build up the mission from 1945 through 1949. In 1949, Father Julius was imprisoned by the communists, subjected to a public trial and expelled in 1951.

Father Zheng Deqing from Shandong became the administrator in the 1950s. When Church activity revived in Hubei in the 1980s, Father Zhou Leshi became the administrator of Shashi diocese until he died in 2001. The current administrator is Father Chen Yongfa.

In 1999, the provincial Church of Hubei readjusted the dioceses' territories. The apostolic prefecture of Shashi was renamed as Jingzhou diocese. After the readjustment, the cities of Tianmen, Xiantao, Qianjiang, Honghu and Jinzhou were combined to the now Jinzhou diocese. The Catholic population also increased from 4,000 to 14,000.


Jinzhou is a transportation hub since ancient time. It has very convenient sea, land and air traffics. Shashi Port is one of the four earliest inland ports being open to outside world. It can accommodate cargo ships of 5,000 ton.

The airport in Shashi has 15 regular chartered flight routes to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Changsha and Shenzhen. The Jingsha railway reaches different parts of China. The National Expressways No. 207 and 318 also pass the city.


Jinzhou belongs to the subtropical monsoon humid climate with four distinct seasons. It has abundant sunlight and rainfall as well as long frost-free period of more than 250 days. Annual sunshine ranges between 1,823 and 1,978 hours. Average annual temperature is around 16.4 degree Celsius. Annual precipitation is about 1,100 ~ 1,300mm.


Agricultural production in the area accounts for 13 percent of Hubei province's total. Foodstuffs, cotton, edible oils and seafood all top the rest of Hubei in terms of total production.


Jinzhou is located in the central and southern part of Hubei province on the central part of the plain of Hanjiang. The Yangtze River flows through the city from west to east. Jingzhou city is located at the longitude 111-114 degree and latitude 29-31 degree.


The area has the richest education resources in the province, with nine higher educational institutions, with around 100,000 undergraduates.


Jinzhou is an ancient city with a very long history and brilliant culture. It is the cradle of the Empire of Chu, which is also called Jing in ancient times. A legend says that when Yu the Great (2200-2100 BC) planned nine districts in the territory of China, Jinzhou was one of them.

A lot of famous people came from this area. Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet and an official of Chu (340-278 BC), held a post in Jingzhou for more than 20 years during the Warring States Period. Other famous people include the "Tea Sage" Lu Yu in the Tang Dynasty, Zhang Juzheng, who was regarded as the "most excellent prime minister in China" in the Ming Dynasty and contemporary writer Cao Yu.

Jinzhou has always been an area of strategic military importance. During the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD), it was a strategic point where the states of Wei, Shu, and Wu competed. That period of time has engendered lots of wonderful sayings like "Liu Bei borrowed Jinzhou but never gave it back," and "Guan Yu lost Jinzhou due to negligence." The historic sites include Cao Cao Bay and Wulin Village in Honghu, Zilong Hillock and Hua Rong Dao in Jianli, Xiulin Town and Liulang Pu in Shishou, Madame Sun City in Gong'an etc.

Jinzhou also has a well-preserved ancient city wall dating around 1646 during the Qing Dynasty. It was considered to be about the biggest and best preserved ancient city wall in southern and central China. Other historic spots include Taoist's Kaiyuan Temple and Xuanmiao Temple built in the Tang Dynasty, Taihui Temple built in the Ming Dynasty, and Wen Temple, Guan Temple and Tienu Temple built in the Qing Dynasty. Mingxian Tomb is the graves of the parents of the Emperor Jiajing. These are the only Ming Dynasty royal tombs in the central and southern part of China.

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