Jiménez de Enciso, Salvador
JIMÉNEZ DE ENCISO, SALVADOR
Bishop of Popayán, Colombia; b. Málaga, Spain, 1765; d. Popayán, Feb. 13, 1841. Jiménez came to America with the Archbishop of Charcas (Sucre), José Antonio de San Alberto. He graduated from the University of Charcas with degrees in theology and law before returning to Spain where he became a canon in Córdoba and Málaga.
On Feb. 14, 1815, Ferdinand VII presented Jiménez as a candidate for the episcopate of Popayán. Pius VII appointed him on March 13, 1815, and he was consecrated in Madrid. He assumed possession of his episcopate by proxy on May 7, 1818, and entered it on Aug. 6, 1818. When the troops of the cause of independence, victorious at the battle of Boyacá (Aug. 7, 1819), approached Popayán, Jiménez withdrew to Pasto and excommunicated the supporters of the republic from there. The vice president of the republic, Gen. Francisco de Paula Santander, then declared the See of Popayán to be vacant, a measure approved by the congress on Aug. 31, 1821. In Pasto, Jiménez arranged an armistice between the royalists and the republican troops commanded by General Sucre. When Bolívar wrote to him (Jan. 31, 1822) that several bishops had supported the independence movement, he did not reply, but his intervention brought the Pasto fighters, who upheld the king's cause, to sign a capitulation agreement with Bolívar.
Jiménez then requested his passport in order to return to Spain, but Bolívar replied (June 10, 1822) that a bishop could not leave his church for political reasons, and asked him, in the name of the Colombian government, to remain. The prelate, believing that the independence of Colombia was now an accomplished fact, returned to Popayán and gave his obedience to the new government (Sept. 22, 1822). Bolívar then wrote to Santander, praising the bishop's decision: "The bishop of Popayán will be very useful to us because he is sensitive to the best interests of Colombia." Jiménez wrote to Pius VII on behalf of the new republic, asking him to attend to its needs as soon as possible: "I shall not conceal from Your Holiness that there are also some weeds in the fertile field of the Church in Colombia; but the good seed is more abundant, and I should even venture to say that in the history of mankind's revolutions, no other can be said to have inflicted fewer wounds on the sacrosanct religion of our Lord Jesus Christ" (P. de Leturia, Relaciones entre la Santa Sede e Hispanoamérica, 3:268). In 1833, Jiménez wished to return to Spain because he was vexed with several influential persons in Popayán, but again the government dissuaded him.
During his episcopate Jiménez restored the seminary and began the construction of the new cathedral. He consecrated various bishops of Colombia and Ecuador. He maintained friendly relations with the Colombian government, in spite of its frequent meddlings in ecclesiastical matters. Because of the scarcity of clergy, he was often forced to ordain as priests persons who had not completed the necessary studies and nor possessed the required moral qualities.
Bibliography: r. vargas ugarte, El episcopado en los tiempos de la emancipación sudamericana (Buenos Aires 1945). p. de leturia, El ocaso del patronato real la América española: La acción diplomática de Bolívar ante Pío VII … (Madrid 1925). g. garcÍa-herrera, Un obispo de historia: El obispo de Popayán, don Salvador Ximénez de Enciso y Cobos Padilla (Málaga 1961).
[j. m. pacheco]