Loaysa, Jerónimo de
LOAYSA, JERÓNIMO DE
First archbishop of Peru; b. Trujillo or Talavera, Spain, 1498; d. Lima, Oct. 25, 1575. In 1540, eight years after the conquest of Peru, the Spanish found it necessary to enlarge the ecclesiastical organization for the area; the bishopric of Cuzco, the only one created thus far, was not enough. That year the Castillan monarch asked papal approval for the erection of a new diocese in Lima, already the seat of the government and later the capital of the viceroyalty. The pope acted on the request in May of 1541 and appointed as first bishop the Dominican, Jerónimo de Loaysa. Loaysa, born of a noble family, had entered the Dominican convent in Córdoba, probably influenced by family connections with the order: his cousin was Fray García de Loaysa, cardinal primate of Spain, master general of the order, and president of the Council of Indies. After making his profession, he studied humanities in Coria and theology in Seville, completing his theological studies at the Dominican college of San Gregorio in Valladolid under some of the outstanding theologians of the period, who were occupied with the moral problems involved in the conquest of the Indies. This influence, added to his Thomistic background, served him well when he was put in charge of the religious organization of the viceroyalty of Peru. After teaching at Córdoba and Granada and serving as prior in Carboneras, he decided to go to the Indies and devote himself to missionary work. He arrived in the New World late in 1529 or early in 1530, but within the year he was back in Spain as missionary commissary of the order, raising funds for the missions. While there, he was nominated bishop of Cartagena and consecrated in Valladolid in June of 1537. He made his solemn entrance into the diocese at the end of 1538 but was there only a few years until his appointment as bishop of Lima.
Loaysa arrived in Lima on July 25, 1543, in the middle of the civil wars in which the viceroy had just been taken prisoner. The bishop tried in vain to reconcile the quarreling factions. In Panama, he met the new governor, La Gasca, sent by the king to pacify the area, and returned to Lima with him. He then proceeded to the canonical organization of the Church, giving it the same constitutions as those of the Diocese of Seville. The civil wars were hardly over, and he was involved in building the cathedral and laying plans for the conversion of the indigenous peoples, when he received the bulls of Paul II raising Lima to an archbishopric and appointing him first archbishop. In December of 1549 he published a much-needed Instrucción in which he set forth in a concrete fashion the means to be followed in missionary work. To further inspire missionary activity and to discuss the problems involved in it, he called the First Provincial Council of Lima in October of 1551. From this council came regulations for systematic evangelization and a code for canonical discipline that remained fundamentally in force until the Third Council of Lima in 1583. With the publication of the Tridentine decrees, Loaysa called the Second Provincial Council in March of 1567 to incorporate them into the ecclesiastical regulations of Peru. This council followed the decrees of Trent very closely, making some attempt to adapt them to the reality of Peru. However, the enforcement of its regulations was negligible.
Bishop Loaysa founded many parishes and furthered the building of many convents. Perhaps his most important work was the founding of the Hospital de Santa Ana, where natives were cared for and given religious instruction. In 1550 he provided for a school there in which the children of caciques were educated. He lived there himself until his death.
Bibliography: m. de mendiburu, Diccionario históricobiográfico del Peru, 11 v. (2d ed. Lima 1931–34) 7:38–66.
[f. de armas medina]