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Indonesia - 01

St Augustine : Volcanic island of Ternate North Moluccas Indonesia (see text)
Volcanic island of Ternate
North Moluccas
Indonesia (see text)

The Catholic Church in Indonesia is both old and young. In the seventh century there were already Catholic communities of the Chaldean Rite in North Sumatra.


There was a flourishing Portuguese mission in Eastern Indonesia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

 

In the year 1900 the number of Catholics in Indonesia was about 50,000. In the course of that century, there came to be thirty-three dioceses and over three million Catholics.  

 

Almost half of these Catholics live on the island of Flores, where the Portuguese mission continued unhindered until the area was taken over by the Dutch in 1859.

 

The first members of the Order of Saint Augustine to reach or to minister in any part of the territory that now comprises the nation of Indonesia happened over 450 years ago.

 

In 1542 there were four Augustinians aboard the ships of the Spanish nautical expedition from Mexico to the Spice Islands (now part of Indonesia).


The expedition was led by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, and the four Augustinians were Jeronimo de Santisteban O.S.A. (an advisor to Villalobos), Nicolas de Perea O.S.A., Sebastian Reina (or de Trasierra) O.S.A. and Alonso de Alvarado O.S.A.

 

They were present when the Spanish ships had to surrender to the superior Portuguese forces in the Moluccas (Spice Islands) on 4th November 1545.

These four Augustinians also assisted St Francis Xavier is his work at the Portuguese-Spanish army camp at Nusaniwi.


Jeronimo de Santisteban O.S.Aseems to have been the first Augustinian to reach West Papua (and one of the first priests to sail around the world).


In May 1545 he was aboard a Spanish warship, San Juan, commanded by the Spaniard, Ynigo Ortiz de Retes, when it sailed along its northern coast.

 

Commissioned to explore by King Phillip II of Spain, Ortiz de Retes was the one who gave the land the name of Nueva Guinea ("New Guinea").

(Continued on the next page.)

Photo Gallery

For the Augnet photo gallery on the ministry of the Order of Saint Augustine in Papua, Indonesia, click here.

Another three Papua photo galleries called Papua: Ayawasi, Papua:Senopi and Papua:Sorong are available by clicking on http://www.augnet.org/default.asp?ipageid=6
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