Relatively little has been written on the history of the evangelization in the Archdiocese of Songea. However the following account will highlight the successes and shortcomings, advances and regressions of the dedicated men and women who explored the avenues and preserved the gains made, and effectively moved more securely into the evangelization of the whole of the Archdiocese of Songea.
The Fathers and Heroes of the History of our Faith, the Benedictine Missionaries of St. Ottilien, Germany who started to evangelize our people on 31st July 1898 at Peramiho.
The Mothers played their golden role. The Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing who first arrived in 1901 in Peramiho
Our people responded positively and humbly
It is a story of the Kingdom of God in the pilgrimage of His People - Diocesan Priests on Pilgrimage on first Centenary of evangelization. On the hill of Msalaba Mkuu - Nambehe in 1998.

A Benedictine Evangelization which grew into a large Jurisdiction

Our Journey in the Catholic faith has been a process brought about by the arduous missionaries, by the positive response of our people and above all by the prudent and paternal governance and planning of the Holy See. To reach our maturity as a People of God constituted in a local Church, one can say that in terms of names, Songea has  undergone several baptisms and confirmations. Since 1612  the area which was to cover the present Dioceses of Songea and Mbinga canonically  belonged to the Prelature Nullius of Mozambique and was thus canonically outside the territory which was now being entrusted to the Benedictines. To solve this canonical obstable which rendered evangelization difficult,  Rev. Fr. Maurus Hartmann undertook the necessary steps to have it changed. On 10th July, 1897 a Papal decree was issued incorporating that  South Western part of the country into the Prefecture Apostolic of South Zanzibar. Areawise the Prefecture was now enlarged by incorporating the southern part of Tanganyika which was taken from the Prelature Nullius of Mozambique.  It was on 16th November 1887 when the Prefecture Apostolic of South Zanzibar was officially erected by the Apostolic See and was entrusted to the Congregation of the Missionary Benedictines of St. Ottilien in Southern Germany.  Thus before 1897 we in Songea belonged to the Prelature Nullius of Mozambique and ecclesiastically we were known as such. But from 1897 we belonged to the Prefecture Apostolic of Southern Zanzibar and that became our new name. 
Prefecture Apostolic of South Zanzibar before 1897
(from: Peramiho 1898-1998 ed. Lambert Doerr OSB)
In the beginning of 1898 Fr. Maurus Hartmann dispatched the first two missionaries from Dar Es Salaam to Songea. These were Rev. Fr. Cassian Spiss OSB and Rev. Br. Laurent Brenner OSB. Rev. Fr. Cassian Spiss played a very important role in establishing Peramiho Mission on 31st July, 1898 and then Kigonsera Mission in 1899. On 15th September 1902,  the Prefecture Apostolic of South Zanzibar was raised to a Vicariate Apostolic. Thus we changed names again. Our zealous Missionary and first Parish Priest of Peramiho was nominated as the Vicar Apostolic of the same. He was consecrated Bishop in his home Monastery in St. Ottilien, Germany and  had to take  Dar Es Salaam as his residence.  Unfortunately, this zealous missionary Bishop was killed during the Majimaji resistance in 1905 on his way coming to us. He was killed in Mikukuyumbu, Liwale District, (now in Lindi Diocese)  together with the other missionaries; Peramiho and  Kigonsera missions were destroyed. However, the Right Reverend Bishop Thomas Spreiter who became the new Vicar Apostolic reconstructed the two missions.
Prefectuer Apostolic of South Zanzibar after 1897
(from: Peramiho 1898-1998 ed. Lambert Doerr OSB)
The Vicariate Apostolic of Southern Zanzibar
(from: Peramiho 1898-1998 ed. Lambert Doerr OSB)
On the 12th of November, 1913 the Prefecture Apostolic of Lindi was erected,  and Rev. Fr. Willibrod Lay was the first Prefect of Apostolic of Lindi. Our name now became Prefecture Apostolic of Lindi.
Prefecture  Apostolic of Lindi before World WarI
(from: Peramiho 1898-1998 ed. Lambert Doerr OSB)
On 15th December, 1927 the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Lindi became "Abbatia Nullius de Lindi an on 15th February, 1928 Rev. Fr. Gallus Steiger became the First Abbot Nullius of Lindi."  From that year our name was Abbatia Nullilus de Lindi. The date 22nd December, 1931 saw the creation of the Abbey Nullius of Ndanda and Abbey Nullius of Peramiho that means Abbatia Nullius de Lindi was split into two Abbeys Nullius, Abbot Gallus Steiger became Abbot-bishop of Abbey Nullius of Peramiho. Songea came to be known as Peramiho Abbey with its first Bishop in the person of Abbot Gallus Steiger OSB. By surface area this jurisdiction included the present Mbinga Diocese, Songea Archdiocese and Njombe Diocese (except parishes taken from the Iringa Diocese).   Under Abbot Bishop Gallus the Seminary was founded, the Convent of diocesan Sisters was also founded. Thanks be to God  in 1943 there was the first ordination of the two local priests. On 23rd September, 1953 Abbot-bishop Eberhard Spiess was nominated as the Abbot-bishop of Abbey Nullius of Peramiho. And in 1962 Reverend Fr. James Komba was appointed as an auxiliary bishop of Peramiho. In May 1968 Njombe had was  erected as an independent Diocese. Songea continued to be known by the name of Peramiho Abbey. The  following year on 6th February 1969,  the Apostolic Constitution "Quod Sancta" raised the Abbey Nullius of Peramiho to the status of a Diocese with its See at Songea and with the former auxiliary Bishop James Komba as the first Ordinary of Songea Diocese. We therefore  took the name SongeaDiocese and  the seat of the Diocese had to move from Peramiho to Songea.
Abbatia Nullius Peramiho in the 1960's
(from: Peramiho 1898-1998 ed. Lambert Doerr OSB)
Songea Diocese by 1969
(from: Peramiho 1898-1998 ed. Lambert Doerr OSB)
On 24th December, 1986 Songea diocese was divided into Mbinga and Songea Dioceses; Tr. Rev. Bishop Emmanuel Mapunda being the first bishop of the new Diocese of Mbinga and Bishop James J. Komba the Ordinary of Songea Diocese.
On 18th November, 1987 the diocese of Songea was raised to the status of an Archdiocese and on 10th March 1988 the Most Reverend Bishop James J. Komba was accordingly installed as the first Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Songea with its seven suffragan bishops, namely, the Most Rev. Bishop Norbert W. Mtega of Iringa, the Most Reverend Bishop James D. Sangu of Mbeya Diocese, the Most Rev. Bishop Emmanuel Mapunda of Mbinga Diocese, the Most Rev. Bishop Raymond Mwanyika of Njombe Diocese, the Administrator of Tunduru-Masasi Rev. Fr. John B. Mrope and the Administrator of Lindi Diocese Rev. Fr. Makarius Nambunga.  The name now changed from Songea Diocese to Songea Archdiocese.
Songea Archdiocese after 1987
Songea Cathedral: the Songea Cathedral reveals a german architecture, designed by Mr. L. Spaenle but erected by Brother Adolar Behl OSB, a benedictine Brother very much known as a mason who had constructed many institutional houses in this Archdiocese of which Likonde Seminary (now in Mbinga Diocese)  and Chipole Convent are the most important. The work of building the cathedral began in 1965 and came to completion in 1968 when on the 22nd of August the Most Reverend James J. Komba, the then Auxiliary  Bishop of Peramiho, consecrated  and dedicated  it to St. Matthias Mulumba Kalemba, one of the 22 Martyrs of Uganda.  Until then Peramiho was the episcopal see, not of a Diocese but of an Abbey Nullius. It was in Peramiho which is 25 Kilometers away from Songea town that the first  german missionaries to this region offered the first Holy Mass about 90 years ago. In the course of years, the place grew to a center  of religion and learning. At present, it has the biggest church  in the diocese, several schools, and a big hospital which attracts patients from Songea town. On 6th February 1969, however, the abbey Nullius of Peramiho gave birth to Songea Diocese; the episcopal See was transferred from Peramiho to Songea and the then Auxiliary Bishop was appointed the first Ordinary of the new diocese. to date the catholic population of Songea Parish is ca. 29 500. 
Pope John Paul II erected Songea as Archdiocese and this Ecclesiastical Province on 3rd September 1990


The History of Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Songea






































































































Important Dates:

Already since 1612 Propaganda Fide had entrusted the part of the land which now forms the Dioceses of Songea,Njombe, and Mbinga to the Prelature of Mozambique.

10th July 1897: Propaganda Fide entrusted the lands of Ungoni, Ubena, Uyao to the newly founded german Benedictine Congregation of St. Ottilien. This is the land of the later to be Abbatia Nullius de Peramiho, to be later Songea Archdiocese.

31st July 1898 P. Cassian Spiss OSB arrives on Peramiho hill and founds Peramiho Mission, the first and mother station of catholic faith in Ungoniland, the first for the dioceses of Songea, Njombe and Mbinga.

6th April 1902: Blessing of the first stone cum brick Church of Peramiho.

15th September 1902 the Prefecture of Zanzibar is raised to become a Vicariate of Southern Zanzibar. Songea was part of this Vicariate. ecclesiastically

16th November 1902 P. Cassian Spiss OSB is consecratedas first Bishop of the Vicariate of S. Zanzibar.

1st May 1906 P. Thomas Spreiter OSB is consecrated as second Bishop of the Vicariate. The name of the Vicariate changes to Vicariate of Dar Es Salaam

22nd December 1922 P. Gallus Steiger OSB is nominated as Acting Prefect Apostolic of the Prefecture of Lindi.

15 February 1928 P. Gallus Steiger OSB is nominated first Abbot of Abbatia Nullius of Lindi.

1934 Consecration of Abbot Gallus Steiger as first Bishop of Peramiho.

28th July 1943: The first two indigneous seminarians are ordained priests: Fr. Gervas Ntara and Fr. Simon Kapinga

1946: The total number of Catholics of the Abbatia Nullius Peramiho reaches 109 000.

3rd December 1953: Abbot Bishop Gallus Steiger OSB retires,and Abbot Bishop Eberhard Spies takes over

3rd May 1962: Father James J. Komba is ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Peramiho Abbatia Nullius

1968: The Northern part of Peramiho is separated and erected as the new Diocese of Njombe and P. Bruno Swissler OSB becomes the Apostolic Administrator.

1969: The Benedictine Missionaries handed over the leadershipof Peramiho Diocese to Bishop James J. Komba and the seat of the Diocese moves from Peramiho to Songea Town. The Church of Peramiho remains as an Abbey and Parish Church.

25 April 1971: Fr. raymond Mwanyika is consecrated as the first Bishop of Njombe Diocese

9th December 1976: P. Lambert Doerr OSB is blessed as the third Abbot of Peramiho.

24th December 1986: Erection of the new Diocese of Mbinga and Bishop emmanuel Mapunda becomes its first Ordinary.

1987: Songea is raised to the status of an Archdiocese of eight dioceses with seven Suffragans under it: Lindi, Mtwara, Tunduru-Masasi, Mbinga, Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya. Bishop James J. Komba becomes its first Archbishop.

1st February 1992: Sudden death of Archbishop James J. Komba. Funeral took place on 4th February.

28th July 1992: Bishop of Norbert Wendelin Mtega of Iringa is nominated as second Archbishop of Songea.

15th January 1993: Hanga Conventual Priory is raised toan Abbey and Rev. Fr. alcuin Nyirenda OSB was chosen as its first Abbot.

1996: Formation of the the Council of the Laity at all levels.

31st July 1997: Inauguration of the first Centenary of Evanglization in the three Dioceses of Songea, Njombe, Mbinga which constituted the former Peramiho Diocese (1898-1998). His Eminence Polycarp Cardinal Pengo wasthe Guest of Honour of the celebrations.

2nd August 1998: Centenary Mass and Celebrations at the Majimaji Stadium in Songea. Attended by the Metropolitan Bishops.

October 1998: Centenary Mass and Celebrations at Peramiho. Attended by all the Abbots of the Congregation of St. Ottilien.