Apostolic Vicariate of Sudan

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The Vicariate Apostolic of Sudan (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Africae Centralis), or in full Vicariate Apostolic of Sudan or Central-Africa, was a Roman Catholic missionary jurisdiction in North-Eastern Africa, including parts of several (semi-)colonial states.


The Vicariate Apostolic was erected on 3 April, 1846, by pope Gregory XVI. It included the whole Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, the (equally Nubian) part of Egypt south of Assuan, the French territory from Fezzan to 10° N. latitude, parts of Adamaua and Sokoto on Lake Tchad, and the Nile Province of Uganda Protectorate. In 1851 the Emperor Francis Joseph I of Austria (a Catholic monarchy without overseas colonial interests) took the mission under his protection.

From 1883 to 1898, the Sudan (then an Egyptian province) was closed by the insurrection of the Mahdi Mohammed Ahmed and his successor Abdallahi ibn Muhammad, and the missionaries were compelled to work outside the circuit of their jurisdiction in Egypt. On 2 September 1898, the Anglo-Egyptian army, which in 1896 had begun operations for the recovery of the lost provinces, completed the overthrow of the Khalifa, although he was not slain until November of the following year. The country suffered long from the effects of the 'Dervish' (Mahdist) oppression, during which it was largely depopulated, wide tracts having gone out of cultivation and trade having been abandoned.

In 1899 mission work was recommenced. The two religious congregations, the Sons of the Sacred Heart and the Pious Mothers of Nigritia, furnished missionaries and sisters to the vicariate, and the two periodical papers La Nigrizia (The Negritude, in Verona, Italy) and Stern der Neger (Star of the Negroes, in Brixen, then Austria) print articles about this mission. The number of inhabitants is uncertain, perhaps about eight millions. Missionary work was limited to the southern and heathen part with the Shillouki Dinka, Nuer, Jur, Golo, Nyam Nyam and other negro (often Nilotic) tribes. In the northern and Mohammedan part were some European and Oriental Catholic immigrants.


In the early 20th century it included: — stations at Assuan (now in Egypt), Omdurman, Khartoum (central station); Lul and Atigo (White Nile); Wau, Kayango and 'Cleveland' (Bahrel-Ghazal); Omach and Gulu (Uganda); besides twenty-five localities provided excurrendo.

Catholics, 3000; catechumens, 1030; priests, 35; brothers, 28; sisters, 45. Vicar Apostolic was Francis Xavier Geyer, Titular Bishop of Trocmade.