Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Díli

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Díli (Latin: Archidioecesis Diliensis, Portuguese: Arquidiocese de Díli) is an archdiocese located in the city of Díli in Timor-Leste.[1]

Archdiocese of Díli

Archidioecesis Diliensis

Arquidiocese de Díli
Badge of the Archdiocese
Country Timor-Leste
MetropolitanArchdiocese of Díli
Area4,755 km2 (1,836 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
561,135 (94.9%)
RiteLatin Rite
  • 4 September 1940
  • 11 September 2019 (Archdiocese)
CathedralImmaculate Conception Cathedral, Dili
Current leadership
ArchbishopVirgilio do Carmo da Silva, S.D.B.
Location of the Diocese of Díli
Location of the Diocese of Díli

The country's only major seminary, the Seminary of SS Peter and Paul, is located within the diocese.[2]

In 1983 Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo S.D.B. took over the administration of the Dili diocese. Then the only diocese in the territory, the 700,000 Catholics were divided into 30 parishes administered by 71 priests.[3]

In 2017 the diocese has 28 parishes with 585,958 Catholics.[4] In 2019 it had grown to 30 parishes in the five districts of Dili, Ermera, Aielu, Ainaro and Manufahi. It has 149 priests, including 63 diocesan priests, 86 religious priests, 132 brothers and 432 nuns.

On 11 September 2019, Pope Francis elevated Díli to the status of a metropolitan archdiocese; the Ecclesiastical Province of Díli will have two suffragan sees, the Dioceses of Baucau and Maliana. Bishop da Silva of Díli will be raised to the rank of archbishop.[5]


  • 4 September 1940: Established by the bull Sollemnibus Conventionibus of Pope Pius XII as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Macau. It was made a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman.[6]
  • On 1 January 1976 with the bull Ad nominum of Pope Paul VI the diocese was given exempt status, which made it immediately subject to the Holy See.[7]
  • 12 October 1989: Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass with crowds of young people of East Timor.
  • On 30 November 1996 it lost a portion of its territory to the newly erected Diocese of Baucau.
  • On 20 June 2002, Portugal's ambassador to East Timor inaugurated the official residence of Dili's archbishop, a 300,000 building financed entirely by the Portuguese government, to replace the archbishop's former home, which had been burned down in September 1999.[8]
  • In 2009 the East Timorese government gave US$1.5 million to two dioceses in East Timor—Dili and Baucau—which they are to receive annually "to run social programs for people". Poverty remains a massive problem since independence in 2002, with about half of the 1 million population unemployed and 45 per cent living on less than US$1 a day.[9]


  • Jaime Garcia Goulart (12 October 1945 – 31 January 1967)
  • José Joaquim Ribeiro (31 January 1967 – 22 October 1977)
Apostolic administrators


  1. ^ Thomas Ora (12 September 2019). "Timor-Leste's First Archbishop Aims to Unite Faithful". UCA News. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  2. ^ "The Year of St Paul in a Community Where the Apostle of the Nations Is a Familiar Figure". Agenzia Fides. 2 July 2008. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Diocese of Maliana". UCAN Directory. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  4. ^ Katharina Reny Lestari (23 October 2017). "Dili Diocese Grows, Helps Timor-Leste Progress". UCA News. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Resignations and Appointments, 11.09.2019" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  6. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. XXXIII. 1941. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  7. ^ Acta Apostolicae Sedis (PDF). Vol. LXVIII. 1976. p. 307. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  8. ^ "Portuguese Ambassador Inaugurates Bishop Belo's New Residence". Lusa. 20 June 2002. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Diocese Distributes Government Grants to Needy People". UCANews. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  10. ^ Webster, David (2020). Challenge the Strong Wind: Canada and East Timor, 1975–99. Vancouver: UBC Press. pp. 89, 95. ISBN 978-0-7748-6300-1.

8°33′30″S 125°34′03″E / 8.5584°S 125.5676°E / -8.5584; 125.5676