Leonidas Proaño

Leonidas Eduardo Proaño Villalba (1910 in San Antonio de Ibarra, Ecuador – 1988 in Quito, Ecuador) was an Ecuadorian prelate and theologian. He served as the bishop of Riobamba from 1954 to 1985. He was a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize and is considered one of the most important figures in Ecuadorian liberation theology.[1]

Leonidas Proaño
Bishop of Diocese of Riobamba
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
SeeDiocese of Riobamba
In office1955 - 1985
PredecessorAlberto Maria Ordóñez Crespo
SuccessorVictor Alejandro Corral Mantilla
Ordination29 June 1936
Consecration26 May 1954
by Cardinal Opilio Rossi
Personal details
Born29 January 1910
Died30 August 1988(1988-08-30) (aged 78)
Quito,  Ecuador
Nationality Ecuadorian
Coat of armsLeonidas Proaño's coat of arms
Styles of
Leonidas Proaño
Mitre plain 2.png
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleMonsignor
Posthumous stylenone


Proaño was ordained as a priest in 1936 and soon became interested in the latest trends Catholic social doctrine. Within the Ibarra diocese, he created the Juventud Obrera Cristiana (Christian Youth Workers). He was named bishop of Riobamba in 1954. From his cathedral in Riobamba, he fought constantly to introduce social justice in relations with indigenous people and to promote indigenous access to public life and political power (he thus became known as "the bishop of the Indians").[2]

He enthusiastically adopted the thesis of liberation theology. In 1960, he created the Escuelas Radiofónicas Populares, with a clear educational goal. In 1962, he created the Center of Studies and Social Action to aid the development of indigenous communities. In 1973, he was accused of guerrilla warfare and had to stand trial in Rome, but he was cleared of all charges. In 1976, he was jailed during the dictatorship of Guillermo Rodríguez Lara.

In 1985, he renounced the bishopric and was named president of the Pastoral Indígena.[3]


  • Rupito (1953)
  • Creo en el Hombre y en la Comunidad (1977)
  • El Evangelio Subversivo (1987)
  • Concienciación, Evangelización y Política (1987).


  • Leonidas Proaño: el obispo de los pobres, 1989, Francisco Enríquez Bermeo,


  1. ^ "Leonidas Proaño Villalba". diccionariobiograficoecuador.com. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Il marxismo, la teologia della liberazione e l'effetto di sdoppiamento". lacinarossa.net. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Taita Proaño". santantonio.org. Il Messaggero di Sant'Antonio. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Bolívar
1954-1955 -
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bishop of Riobamba
1955 - 1985
Succeeded by