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
Country Kuwait
Saudi Arabia
Area 17,900 km2 (6,900 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
2,445,000 (6.7%)
Parishes 4
Denomination Roman Catholic
Sui iuris church Latin Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established 29 June 1953 (As Prefecture Apostolic of Kuwait)
2 December 1954 (As Apostolic Vicariate of Kuwait)
31 May 2011 (As Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia)
Cathedral Holy Family Cathedral, Kuwait
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Apostolic Vicar Camillo Ballin
Emeritus Bishops Francis George Adeodatus Micallef Vicar Apostolic Emeritus (1982–2005)
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 vicariate apostolic (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, Kuwait. The present Ordinary of the vicariate is the Italian Titular bishop Camillo Ballin MCCJ.


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

As per 2014, it pastorally served 2,445,000 Catholics (6.7% of 36,252,722 total) on 2,179,846 km² in 10 parishes with 58 priests (18 diocesan, 40 religious), 2 deacons and 58 lay religious (40 brothers, 18 sisters).[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.

In August 2012, it was decided to transfer the headquarters of the vicariate from Kuwait to Bahrain because Bahrain is closer to Saudi Arabia, where most of the vicariate's laypeople live. Another reason for the transfer was that Bahrain had a more lenient 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 – ...)
  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 – ...)

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 "Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  3. ^ "Vatican moves Gulf seat to Bahrain to simplify logistics". 10 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 

Sources and external links[edit]