Archbishop Montúfar and Guadalupe

Archbishop Montúfar and Guadalupe

“The Archbishop and the Virgin: Alonso de Montúfar and the Early Cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe”

Magnus Lundberg 

Article published online in 2015 (but based on a chapter of my doctoral dissertation, defended in 2002).

In this article, I critically assess a number of documents related to the cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Tepeyac in the mid-sixteenth century. It seeks to counteract the many bad scholarly contributions on Guadalupe, published in both theologically “conservative” and “radical”/”contextual” circles.

It is, of course, interesting to study how Guadalupe has been interpreted throughout the ages and what role she plays today. Still, to establish facts about the origin of a cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe requires a very close assessment of the existing sources. There are so many farfetched interpretations of documents (and “silences”) that have been made into truths and there are even fabricated sources that support certain ideological views. Thus, a source critical study of a very traditional kind can do much good.

In the documents that without a doubt can be dated to Alonso de Montúfar’s time as archbishop of Mexico (1554-1572), I have not found any foundation for the story about Juan Diego and Bishop Zumárraga that, at least since the 1640s, has been associated with the cult. Still, there are indications that at least an outline of story of about the miraculous origin of the image and the direct imprint of the Virgin on an indigenous man’s cloak, was known by the 1610s or 1620s (but that will be the subject of another article)

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Concilios provinciales mexicanos

Concilios provinciales mexicanos

“Las actas de los tres primeros concilios mexicanos Historia diplomática y estudio de su itinerario”

Magnus Lundberg

Publicado en Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia, 15 (2006)

En 1546 la Santa Sede erigió las arquidiócesis de México, Lima y Santo Domingo. En consecuencia, las diócesis de las Indias dejaron de ser sufragáneas del arzobispo hispalense y formaron tres nuevas provincias eclesiásticas al otro lado del mar. Este evento marcó el inicio de la época dorada de los concilios provinciales en Hispanoamérica.

En la provincia mexicana se celebraron tres concilios en 1555, 1565 y 1585, que salvo un cuarto sínodo provincial reunido en 1771, fueron los únicos concilios celebrados en la Nueva España durante la colonia. Además, dada la relativa ausencia de sínodos diocesanos mexicanos, los decretos de los primeros concilios deben ser considerados como fuentes indispensables para el estudio de la historia eclesiástica novohispana.

Por mucho tiempo los decretos originales de los tres conciliares se guardaron en el archivo de la catedral mexicana. Sin embargo, ahora se encuentran en Bancroft Library en Berkeley, Estados Unidos de Norteamérica. Entre los llamados Mexican manuscripts de la dicha biblioteca, existen cuatro volúmenes, que incluyen tanto los decretos de los tres concilios novohispanos como muchos papeles de trabajo del tercer concilio.

En este artículo no intentaremos analizar el contenido legislativo de los concilios mexicanos. Nuestro enfoque se va a circunscribir a las actas conciliares como tales, o sea, vistos como diplomas. Por eso, analizaremos las actas de los concilios mexicanos, tanto sus versiones manuscritas como las tempranas ediciones impresas. Nuestro propósito principal es, en definitiva, estudiar las peregrinaciones de las actas originales para averiguar cómo pasaron del archivo de la catedral de México a la Bancroft Library.

El artículo completo se encuentra aquí

Alonso de Montúfar

Alonso de Montúfar

Magnus Lundberg

Unification and Conflict. The Church Politics of Alonso de Montúfar OP, Archbishop of Mexico, 1554-1572

Uppsala: Swedish Institute of Missionary Research, 2002, 268 pp.


Traducción al español por Alberto Carrillo Cázares

Unificación y conflicto. La gestión episcopal de Alonso de Montúfar, O. P., Arzobispo de México, 1554-1572,

Zamora, Michoacán: El Colegio de Michoacán, 2009, 303 p.

My doctoral dissertation (defended at Lund University in 2002) focuses on Archbishop Alonso de Montúfar OP (ca. 1489-1572). It seeks to explore two decades of sixteenth century Mexican Church History mainly through the study of documents found in Spanish and Mexican archives. Born outside Granada in Southern Spain, just after the conquest from the Muslims, Alonso de Montúfar assumed teaching and leading positions within the Dominican order.

After more than forty years as a friar, Montúfar was elected archbishop of Mexico and resided there from 1554 until his death eighteen years later. From the 1520s onwards, many missionaries went from Spain to Mexico in order to christianise the native inhabitants and to administer the church’s sacraments to them. Many of the missionaries were members of three mendicant orders: the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the Augustinians.

Alonso de Montúfar’s time as archbishop can be seen as a period of transition and a time that was filled with disputes on how the church in Mexico should be organised in the future. Montúfar wanted to strengthen the role of the bishops in the church organisation. He also wanted to improve the finances of the diocesan church and promote a large number of secular clerics to work in the Indian ministry. All this meant that he became involved in prolonged and very animated disputes with the friars, the members of the cathedral chapter, and the viceroy of Mexico. One chapter of this dissertation is devoted to a detailed study of Archbishop Montúfar’s role in the early cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tepeyac, which today has become of the most important Marian devotions in the world.

The dissertation is available in fulltext here

In 2009, the Spanish translation of the book was published by the Colegio de Michoacán