Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels

Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels
Mechelen-Brussel (Dutch)
Malines-Bruxelles (French)

Country Belgium
Territory Mechelen, the Brussels-Capital Region, Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant
Ecclesiastical province Mechelen-Brussel
Coordinates 51°1′48.4″N 4°28′43.6″E / 51.030111°N 4.478778°E / 51.030111; 4.478778Coordinates: 51°1′48.4″N 4°28′43.6″E / 51.030111°N 4.478778°E / 51.030111; 4.478778
Area 3,700 km2 (1,400 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2013)
2,815,842 [1]
1,801,000 (64%)
Parishes 659
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Latin Rite
Established 12 May 1559
Cathedral St. Rumbold (Mechelen) (Primatial cathedral)
Co-cathedral St. Michael and Gudula (Brussels)
Patron saint Saint Rumbold of Mechelen
Secular priests 1812
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Metropolitan Archbishop Jozef De Kesel
Suffragans Antwerp
Auxiliary Bishops Jean Kockerols
Jean-Luc Hudsyn
Leon Lemmens
Vicar General Etienne Van Billoen [2]
Emeritus Bishops Godfried Danneels Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus (1979-2010)
André-Joseph Léonard Archbishop Emeritus (2010-2015)
Paul Lanneau Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus (1987-2009)
Jan De Bie Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus (1982-2002)
Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels

Territorial extent of the Archidiocese of Mechelen-Brussels
Source Annuario Pontificio 2007

The Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels is an archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium. It is the Primatial See of Belgium and the centre of the Ecclesiastical Province governed by the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, which covers the whole of Belgium. It was formed in 1559 and the bishop has a seat in two cathedrals, St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen and the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels. The current Archbishop is Jozef De Kesel, who was installed in November 2015.


The Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels consists of the Province of Brabant in addition to eight municipalities in the Province of Antwerp, including Bonheiden, Duffel, Mechelen and Sint-Katelijne-Waver.[3]

In 1995, the Province of Brabant was later split into three areas:

The Church did not form new dioceses to fit with this, instead three vicariates general were created, often with their own auxiliary bishop, to accommodate the three regional entities.[3]

Language issues

The name differs in the diocese's two languages; the Dutch name of the See is Mechelen-Brussel and in French, it is called Malines-Bruxelles.

In English, Mechelen was traditionally called Malines but now it more commonly remains being called Mechelen. Traditionally, in English, it was changed into Mechlin. Both Brussel and Bruxelles are Brussels.


Main article: Co-cathedral

The duality of the Belgian archbishopric is also reflected in its two active co-cathedrals: St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen and St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral in Brussels.


The Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels was historically primate of the whole of the Low Countries following the 1559 reorganization creating fifteen dioceses. Over time, the two other ecclesiastical provinces broke from Mechelen-Brussels' primacy. Cambrai was already in France and its kings managed gradually to annex French Flanders, and Utrecht and its suffragans in the Dutch republic (later kingdom) would long have their hierarchy suspended because the northern state was a champion of 'anti-papist' Calvinism.

The Napoleonic 1801 concordat re-drew the whole map again.

The country, by tradition, has the Archbishop of Mechelen made a cardinal.

The Archdiocese of Mechelen was renamed the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels on 8 December 1961 as part of a restructuring of the Catholic dioceses in Belgium.[4] Two new dioceses were created. On the same day, the Diocese of Antwerp was created from areas previously administered by the Archdiocese of Mechelen. Six years later the Diocese of Hasselt was also created.[5] This meant that the new dioceses largely corresponding to the provinces of Belgium. Most of the Catholic Church's presence in the Province of Antwerp (except in the municipality of Mechelen) was made into the Diocese of Antwerp.

Archbishop André-Joseph Leonard succeeded Cardinal Danneels in January 2010. On 22 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed: Fr. Jean Kockerols, Fr. Jean-Luc Hudsyn, and Fr. Leon Lemmens as Auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels.[6] Upon reaching 75 years Leonard tendered his resignation, which was accepted. In the autumn of 2015 Pope Francis appointed the bishop of Bruges, Jozef De Kesel, as the new archbishop.



  1. Municipal population figures, Federal Ministry of interior
  2. Organigramme de l'Archidiocèse (French)
  3. 1 2 "Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  4. Cheney, David. "Mechelen-Brussel {Malines-Brussels} (Archdiocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  5. Cheney, David. "Hasselt (Diocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  6. Service, VIS,. "VIS news - Holy See Press Office: Tuesday, February 22, 2011". Retrieved 2015-06-08.


External links

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