Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia

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Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia

Apostolicus Vicariatus Arabiae Septentrionalis

النيابة الرسولية العربية الشمالية
Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia.gif
Saudi Arabia
Area17,900 km2 (6,900 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
2,445,000 (6.7%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
Established29 June 1953 (As Prefecture Apostolic of Kuwait)
2 December 1954 (As Apostolic Vicariate of Kuwait)
31 May 2011 (As Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia)
CathedralHoly Family Cathedral, Kuwait
Current leadership
Apostolic VicarCamillo Ballin
Apostolisches Vikariat Nördliches Arabien.png
Website of the Apostolic Vicariate

The Apostolic Vicariate (or Vicariate Apostolic) of Northern Arabia (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Arabiæ Septentrionalis Arabic: النيابة الرسولية العربية الشمالية) is a Catholic apostolic vicariate (exempt pre-diocesan Latin missionary jurisdiction) with official seat in Kuwait.[1]

It is exempt, i.e. directly subject to the Holy See and its Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, not part of any ecclesiastical province.

Its cathedral episcopal see is the Holy Family Cathedral, in Kuwait City, capital of Kuwait. The present Ordinary of the vicariate is the Italian titular bishop Camillo Ballin, a member of the Comboni Missionaries.


It covers the peninsular Arabian countries of : Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, although there are no churches on Saudi territory.

As per 2015, it pastorally served 2,553,945 Catholics (6.4% of 39,762,819 total)) on 2,179,846 km² in 11 parishes with 54 priests (12 diocesan, 42 religious), 2 deacons and 61 lay religious (43 brothers, 18 sisters) and a seminarian.[2]


In January 2011, Pope Benedict XVI through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments declared the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Our Lady of Arabia patroness of the Northern Vicariate (feast on the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time).

In August 2012, it was decided to transfer the headquarters of the vicariate from Kuwait to Bahrain, which is in the centre of the vicariate. Another reason for the transfer was that Bahrain had a more permissive visa policy.[3]

Episcopal ordinaries[edit]

(all Roman Rite, so far European members of Latin missionary congregations)[2]

Apostolic Prefect of Kuwait
Apostolic Vicars of Kuwait
  1. Ubaldo Teofano Stella, O.C.D. (born Italy) (see above 2 December 1954 – retired March 1966), Titular Bishop of Antæopolis (1955.06.04 – death 1978.11.09)
  2. Victor León Esteban San Miguel y Erce, O.C.D. (born Spain) (31 May 1976 – retired 5 November 1981), Titular Bishop of Rusubbicari (1976.05.31 – death 1995.04.04); initially as Apostolic Administrator 1966.03.17 – 1976.05.31
  3. Francis George Adeodatus Micallef, O.C.D. (born Malta) (5 November 1981 – retired 14 July 2005), Titular Bishop of Tinisa in Proconsulari (1981.11.05 – death 2018.01.03)
  4. Camillo Ballin, Combonian Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (M.C.C.I.) (born Italy) (14 July 2005 – 31 May 2011 see below), Titular Bishop of Arna (2005.07.14 – ...)
Apostolic Vicars of Northern Arabia
  1. Camillo Ballin, M.C.C.I. (see above 31 May 2011 – ...).


  • Four in Kuwait : the vicar's own Holy Family Cathedral Parish, in Kuwait City; Our Lady of Arabia Parish, in Ahmadi; St. Thérèse Parish, in Salmiya; St. Daniel Comboni Parish, in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh
  • Bahrain : Sacred Heart
  • Qatar: Our Lady of the Rosary

Coat of arms[edit]

The proposal of coat of arms created by Marek Sobola, a heraldic artist from Slovakia. The colors of the new coat of arms are derived from the national colors of the states, which are incorporated into the Vicariate – Bahrain (red), Kuwait (black), Qatar (violet) and Saudi Arabia (green). The letter "M" is the symbol of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Our Lady of Arabia as patron saint of the Northern Vicariate.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Vicariates of the Arabian Peninsula: Introduction". The Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "GCatholic - Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Vatican moves Gulf seat to Bahrain to simplify logistics". 10 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2017.

External links[edit]