Mobile Menu

A relative says that 94-year-old Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian, has died. Photo courtesy of

Chinese Bishop Shi, held in secret for years, dies at 94

  • February 2, 2015

HONG KONG - Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian, 94, a member of the so-called underground Catholic Church who has not been seen since his arrest in 2001, has died, a relative said.

Born in Hebei province, Bishop Shi was arrested April 13, 2001, Good Friday, at his niece's home in Beijing. He was held without charge in a secret location.

"We were informed by Baoding city government officials on Friday morning (Jan. 30), but they did not say when he died exactly or the cause of his death," Shi Chunyan, the bishop's great-niece, told the Asian Catholic news portal Jan. 31.

"We are now waiting for the prelate, whether it be his body or ashes, to be returned to Shizhuang, our hometown, before we decide what to do next," she said.

"My parents and the bishop's other siblings are particularly sad. They had been unsuccessfully trying to discover his whereabouts for many years. Now the answer to their questions is that he is dead," she added.

It was unclear whether authorities would return the late prelate's body to his family.

Bishop Shi was born in 1921 and ordained to the priesthood in 1947. He first was arrested in 1954 and experienced other periods of imprisonment between 1957 and 1980. He spent much of his detention performing hard labor, first at a labor camp in Heilongjiang province, then in coal mines in Shanxi province, reported.

After returning to Hebei, he was arrested and imprisoned briefly again in 1981 for practicing his ministry.

He was secretly ordained auxiliary bishop of Yixian in 1982 and became the ordinary in 1995 after his predecessor, Bishop Liu Guandong, retired.

In 1989, Bishop Shi was arrested again and later released in 1993 after concerns about his detention were raised internationally. He was arrested for the final time in 2001.

With Bishop Shi's death, Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding is the only remaining bishop affiliated with the underground Catholic Church -- whose church leaders refuse to register with the government -- still being secretly held. He was arrested in 1997.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.