Diocese of Bruges
Bisdom Brugge (Dutch)
Diocèse de Bruges (French)
Bistum Brügge (German)
|Metropolitan||Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels|
|Area||3,145 km2 (1,214 sq mi)|
|(as of 2015)|
|Sui iuris church||Latin Church|
|Established||27 May 1834|
|Cathedral||St. Salvator's Cathedral in Bruges|
The diocese of Bruges, coextensive with the province of West Flanders
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bruges, (Bisdom Brugge in native Dutch) is a suffragan diocese in ecclesiastical province of the primatial Metropolitan archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels (which covers all the Roman Catholic church in Belgium).
The Renaissance diocese since 1558 was suppressed in 1801 during the Napoleonic and Dutch eras and restored in 1834 a pre-diocesan stage as Apostolic vicariate since 1832. Its territory coincides with West Flanders.
Its cathedral episcopal see is the Sint-Salvator Cathedral, dedicated to Our Savior, in Bruges (Brugge), West Flanders province, a minor basilica a minor World Heritage Site. Its patron saint however is Saint Donatian, hence the cathedral is also known as Sint-Salvators- en Donaaskathedraal after both saints.
As per 2014, it pastorally serves 965,000 Catholics (82.1% of 1,174,752 total) on 3,145 km² in 362 parishes and 65 missions with 708 priests (499 diocesan, 209 religious), 91 deacons, 1,986 lay religious (290 brothers, 1,696 sisters) and 7 seminarians.
An earlier diocese of Bruges was established on 12 May 1558, on territory split off from the Diocese of Tournai, as part of the great Habsburg reform of the church in the then Spanish Low Countries. Its cathedral see, St. Donatian's Cathedral, was destroyed in a fire in 1799 during the aftermath of the French Revolution.
On 1832.12.17, shortly after the independence of Belgium, it was restored as (pre-diocesan) Apostolic Administration of West-Vlaanderen ('West Flanders', the name of the Belgian province it coincides with, as most Belgian bishoprics), regaining its territory from Ghent. On 1834.05.27, this was promoted to Diocese again and renamed after its see, Brugge, while the incumbent Apostolic Administrator was promoted Suffragan Bishop. On 1967.05.31 it lost a bit of territory to the Ancient Diocese of Tournai, shortly after a reshuffle of province borders involving a few municipalities, notably Moeskroen being transferred to Hainaut (which Tournai bishopric covers).