In a land area of approximately 12,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the urban area and 3 counties of the sub-provincial city of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province in central China, and four counties of the prefecture-level city of Shangluo.
As of 2010, Xi'an had a population of 8.46 million. The majority of Xi'an residents are Han Chinese, who make up 99.1 percent of the city's total population. There are around 81,500 people belonging to ethnic minorities living in Xi'an, including 50,000 Muslim Hui people concentrated in the Muslim quarter, which is also home to the 1,260 year old Great Mosque of Xi'an.
Mandarin Chinese and Shaanxi dialect are in use in the diocesan territory.
The first evangelization in China took place at Xi'an, one of the oldest cities in Chinese history, which was called Chang'an when a Nestorian Christian bishop from Syria, Alopen, arrived AD 635. He was welcomed by the emperor of Tang Dynasty and Christianity had a flourish development for two centuries.
The period was commemorated with the erection of the Nestorian Stele, a 10-foot-high (279 cm) tablet that describes Christian doctrine and ceremonies, the development of Christianity in China and the support Christianity was given by some emperors of the Tang Dynasty.
The Stele is thought to have been buried in 845, during a campaign of anti-Buddhist persecution, which also affected the Nestorians. It was discovered in the 17th century and is now preserved in a museum in Xi'an.
In 1625, during late Ming Dynasty, French Jesuit Father Nicolas Trigault was invited by a Shaanxi-native bureaucrat Wang Zheng, who received baptism in Beijing, to spread the Gospel to Xi'an. Since then, more Jesuit missionaries went to Xi'an and other parts of Shaanxi. By 1664, there were 62,000 Catholic converts in the province.
In 1696, the Holy See sent Franciscan missionaries to preach in Shaanxi. The ecclesiastical boundaries changed several times between 1707 and 1845 when Qing Dynasty banned Christianity due to the Chinese rites controversy. The number of Catholics dropped to 15,000 after the difficult period.
Xi'an became a part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Central Shaanxi, which was established from the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Shaanxi in 1911. Central Shaanxi was renamed Xi'an in 1924 and lost territories to four newly erected regions - Dali (Weinan), Fengxiang, Sanyuan and Zhouzhi - a decade later. Xi'an was promoted to an archdiocese in 1946, when the Holy See established Church Hierarchy in China.
Xi'an has a well developed transportation network. Xi'an Railway Station is one of eight major national railway stations. Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, located to the north-west of the city, is the main airport serving the city, and ranked ninth in terms of passenger throughput in 2007.
Xi'an enjoys a continental climate. The region is characterized by long, hot summers, and cold, dry winters, with short seasons of spring and autumn in between. The city receives most of its annual precipitation from August to late October in the form of rain. Snow occasionally falls in winter but rarely settles for long. Dust storms often occur during March and April as the city rapidly warms up.
Xi'an is the largest economy of the Shaanxi province, with GDP of RMB 324.1 billion in 2010, up 14.5 percent year-on-year, and accounting for approximately 41.8 percent of the province's total. Equipment manufacturing is Xi'an's pillar secondary industry, while tourism is a pillar business of the city's service industry. In 2010, the tourist reception of Xi'an reached 52 million domestic tourists realizing a total tourism income of RMB 40.52 billion.
Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. The city borders the northern foot of the Qinling Mountains to the south, and the banks of the Wei River to the north. Hua Shan, one of the five sacred Taoist mountains, is located 100 kilometers away to the east of the city. Not far to the north is the Loess Plateau.
Xi'an is rich in high-level talents. It has 48 colleges and universities, with a populace of students numbering around 3.6 million. In 2009, there were 150,400 fresh graduates supplying enough high-level talents for the development of the city.
One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, Xi'an city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang. Xi'an is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.