In 1510, Balboa and Encino established a town in the Cacique Cémaco territory on the west side of the Atrato River which was originally called La Guardio, but at the insistence of Balboa it was given the name of Santa Maria la Antigua, thus fulfilling the promise made to the Blessed Virgin Mary, venerated under this title in the Cathedral of Seville, Spain.
The Panamanian Episcopal Conference proclaimed Santa Maria la Antigua as patroness of the Republic of Panama on September 9, 2000, the Jubilee Year, which was also ratified by the Holy See by document dated February 27, 2001 and signed by Cardinal Arturo Medina Estévez, prefect of the Congregation aforementioned. On september 9, the feast of Santa Maria la Antigua was established in the whole country, with the rank of a Solemnity and it’s own Mass.
The Diocese of Panama, created on September 9, 1513, is the oldest Church on the mainland and mother of the existing private Churches up to now in the Republic of Panama, from it came the following jurisdictions.
The Diocese of Panama like all the nascent Churches in the new world, was suffragan to Seville until the year 1548. On that date, Pope Paul III, at the request of king Phillip II made it suffragan of the Archdiocese of Lima, which has been established in 1541.
His Excellency Reverend Monsignor José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, O.S.A.
Born in Chitré Panama, on December 24, 1956. He is the third of three sons born to Dagoberto Ulloa and Clodomira Mendieta.
He was ordained a priest on December 17, 1983, by the then Bishop of Chitré, Monsignor José María Carrizo Villarreal, in the San Juan Bautista de Chitré Cathedral.
He entered the Order of St. Augustine in the year 1987, making his solemn vows on August 28, 1991.
February 26, 2014, Saint John Paul II named him titular Bishop of Naratcata and Auxiliary of Panama. His Episcopal Consecration took place in the Metropolitan Cathedral on April 17, 2004, in a ceremony presided by Monsignor José Dimas Cedeño, by the then Archbishop of Panama.
Pope Benedict XVI named him Archbishop of Panama on February 18, 2010. He took Canonical possession on April 18, of the same year. He is the seventh Archbishop of Panama, and the current President of the Episcopal Conference of Panama.