St. Joseph's Cathedral, Asmara

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St. Joseph's Cathedral
Catholic Cathedral.jpg
Basic information
Location Asmara, Eritrea
Geographic coordinates 15°20′12″N 38°56′16″E / 15.33667°N 38.93778°E / 15.33667; 38.93778Coordinates: 15°20′12″N 38°56′16″E / 15.33667°N 38.93778°E / 15.33667; 38.93778
Affiliation Roman Catholic (1922-1961),
Ethiopian Catholic Church (1961-2015),
Eritrean Catholic Church (2015-present)
Year consecrated 1922
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Cathedral
Architectural description
Architectural style Lombard Romanesque & Gothic architecture (tower)
Completed 1928

St. Joseph's Cathedral is a large Romanesque style cathedral in the centre of the city of Asmara, Eritrea. It was built in 1922 by the colonial authorities in Italian Eritrea. The edifice was constructed in the Lombard Romanesque style, and is now the seat of the Eritrean Catholic Archeparchy of Asmara.[1] The Catholic Church in Eritrea is a part of the Eritrean Catholic Church, an autonomous particular church in communion with the Pope of Rome.[2]


The building took six years to construct and was consecrated in 1922. The tower rises 52 meters[3] into the sky and it is possible to tour the tower and see fantastic views of the art deco city. On the cathedral site, there is also a primary school, a monastery, and a convent, all of which have existed since the initial construction of the cathedral.

In 1961 the church became the episcopal see of the Eparchy of Asmara (which was a suffragan diocese of the Ethiopian Catholic Archeparchy of Addis Abeba). With the establishment of the Eritrean Catholic Church (and its separation from the Ethiopian Catholic Church) by Pope Francis in January 2015 Saint Joseph's Cathedral became the episcopal see of the head of this new sui iuris Eastern Catholic church.[4]

Menghesteab Tesfamariam, M.C.C.J., is the current eparch.


  1. ^ "Metropolitanate sui juris of Asmara, Eritrea (Eritrean Rite)". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  2. ^ "Den katolske kirke — Chronology of Catholic Dioceses:Eritrea" (in (Norwegian)). 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  3. ^ "The Asmara Cathedral: An Architectural Wonder". Retrieved 2015-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Erezione della Chiesa Metropolitana sui iuris eritrea e nomina del primo Metropolita". Holy See Press Office. January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.