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Zapata de Cárdenas, Luis


Archbishop of Bogotá, Colombia, supporter of native vocations; b. Llerena, Spain, c. 1515; d. Bogotá, Jan. 24, 1590. Of a noble family, Luis Zapata fought in the Spanish infantry regiment. About 1542 he entered the Franciscan Order in Hornachos. He was commissary general in Peru in 1561 and provincial of San Miguel Province in 1566. Having been named bishop of Cartagena de Indias in 1569, he was designated archbishop of Bogotá on Nov. 8, 1570. He assumed that post on March 28, 1573, and then made the pastoral visit to the archdiocese.

In 1576 he made a new distribution of the native Columbian doctrinas and, to unify the missionary work, ordered Canon Miguel de Espejo to write a catechism, a practical pastoral manual containing detailed rules of un-usual anthropological, social, and catechetical value with respect to the indigenous culture. He was noted for the establishment of the native clergy. He ordained more than 100 Creole and mestizo priests, in spite of attempts to prevent his doing so. In 1583 he founded the Colegio-Seminario de San Luis, the first seminary in Colombia, where he taught courses in the Muysca language, in compliance with the royal decree of Philip II of 1580, which forbade priests who did not know the language from being appointed to serve in native parishes. His substituting secular Creole clergy for religious from Spain in the native parishes caused disputes with Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians, who were supported by the audiencia. In 1584 he convoked a provincial council, which he was not able to hold. During his episcopate the Poor Clares were established in Tunja and the Conceptionist Sisters in Bogotá. He approved the miraculous restoration of the painting of Our Lady of Chiquinquirá, patroness of Colombia. During the smallpox epidemic of 1587 his works of charity were distinguished.

Bibliography: j. restrepo posada, "Ilmo. Sr. Don Fray Luis Zapata de Cárdenas," Revista javeriana 46 (1956) 181198. a. lee lÓpez, "Clero indígena en el arzobispado de Santa Fé en el siglo XVI," Boletín de historia y antigüedades 50 (1963) 186.

[a. lee lÓpez]

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