Catholic Church in Bahrain

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The Catholic Church in Bahrain is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

20th century[edit]

The first Catholic church built in the Persian Gulf in modern times was constructed in 1939 on land given by the Emir of Bahrain.[1] Sacred Heart Church serves approximately 140,000 Catholics.[2]

Bahrain established diplomatic relations with the Vatican in 1999.[3]

21st century[edit]

In August 2012, the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia was created by the Holy See, with its headquarters in Bahrain.[4] The largest Catholic church in the Persian Gulf is to be constructed in Awali, south of Manama, the country's capital.[1] The land for the church is being provided by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa due to a request from Pope Benedict XVI in December 2008, and will cover 9,000 square meters.[1][3] It will be the headquarters for the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia, and also open to other Christian denominations.[1] Protests from various Islamist groups have occurred over the donation.[1] Although Bahrain does have a small native Christian population, most Catholics in Bahrain are expatriates from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, and Western countries.[3] Many parishioners cross the border from Saudi Arabia, where there are no churches and practising Christianity publicly is forbidden.[3] There are currently two churches in the country; Sacred Heart Church, Manama, and Our Lady of the Visitation in Awali in central Bahrain.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Plan for Catholic church makes waves in Bahrain". Associated Press. 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  2. ^ a b Habib Toumi (2011-11-17). "Bahrain is home to 19 churches". Gulf News. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d Habib Toumi (2008-12-26). "Bahrain will donate land to build new Catholic church". The Gulf News. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  4. ^ "Catholic vicariate moves from Kuwait to Bahrain". Catholic News Agency. 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2013-02-11.