Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang
|Apostolic Vicariate of Luang Prabang
Vicariatus Apostolicus Luangensis Prabangensis
|Metropolitan||Immediately subject to the Holy See|
|Area||83,700 km2 (32,300 sq mi)|
|(as of 2010)
|Established||1 March 1963|
|Apostolic Vicar||Sede Vacante|
|Apostolic Administrator||Tito Banchong Thopanhong|
Vicariate Apostolic of Luang Prabang (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Luangensis Prabangensis) is an apostolic vicariate of the Roman Catholic Church in northern Laos. It was established on March 1 1963, when it was split off from the Vicariate Apostolic of Vientiane. It covers an area of 83,700 km² of northern Laos, 2,560 of 1.2 million citizen in the area are member of the Catholic Church.
Since the communist takeover of Laos in 1975 the Catholic Church in the vicariate of Luang Prabang has been strongly suppressed. Three churches were existing in Luang Prabang 1975, of which one was destroyed, one became a police station and one is used as a residential home. Also the bishop is only allowed to travel to two of the six provinces, namely Luang Prabang and Xaignabouli, and also has to stay in Vientiane as the government doesn't give him a permanent staying permit for the north. However recently the situation starts to improve, in 2005 the first church built since 1975 could be consegrated in Ban Pong Vang (Xaignabouli), also in 2003 the church was allowed to buy land in Luang Prabang to build a residence within the vicariate.
The seat of the apostolic vicar has been vacant since 1975. Since then the vicariate has been led by an Apostolic Administrator.
- Tito Banchong Thopanhong, since April 1999
- Jean Khamsé Vithavong, O.M.I, 1984-1999
- Thomas Nantha, 29 November 1975 - 7 April 1984
Before becoming vacant, the apostolic vicars were
- Alessandro Staccioli, O.M.I., 26 September 1968 - 29 November 1975
- Lionello Berti, O.M.I., 1 March 1963 - 24 February 1968
- Religious freedom in the Democratic People's Republic of Laos (PDF document, in German, English and French)
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