Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum (Latin: Khartumen(sis)) is the Latin Metropolitan archbishopric with See in national capital Khartoum whose Ecclesiastical province, including the suffragan Obeid, covers Sudan.


On the 3 of April in 1846 it was established by pope Gregory XVI as Apostolic Vicariate of Central Africa, on vast territory split off from the Apostolic Vicariate of Egypt and Arabia (now reduce to the Apostolic Vicariate of Alexandria) in Egypt. Although it was initially headquartered in Egypt, it covered only the part of Egypt south of Assuan, where the population was primarily Nubian, and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan as well as French colonies Chad and Niger. It also included parts of Adamaua and Sokoto on Lake Chad, 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.

It was also known as the Apostolic Vicariate of Sudan (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Africae Centralis), or in full Vicariate Apostolic of Sudan or Central-Africa, by the early 20th-century. It lost territory on 1880.09.27 to establish the Apostolic Vicariate of Tanganyika and again in October 27, 1880 to establish the Apostolic Vicariate of Nyanza (now the Archdiocese of Kampala), in Uganda.

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 in Sudan. 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 Africaness, in Verona, Italy) and Stern der Neger ('Star of the Africans', in Brixen, then imperial Austria) print articles about this mission. The number of inhabitants is uncertain, perhaps about eight millions. Missionary work was limited to the southern and animist part of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (primarily now in South Sudan) with the Shillouki Dinka, Nuer, Jur, Golo, Nyam Nyam and other Nilotic tribes. In the northern Muslim 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.

The membership under Apostolic Vicar Francis Xavier Geyer was Catholics, 3000; catechumens, 1030; priests, 35; brothers, 28; sisters, 45.

On the 30th of May 1913 it was renamed the Apostolic Vicariate of Khartum after its see, the present Sudanese capital, as its southern territory was split off to establish the Apostolic Prefecture of Bahr el-Ghazal, which is now the Diocese of Wau, somewhat approximating the split between Sudan and South Sudan. However it continued to cover Niger, Chad and stretched into modern Nigeria and Cameroon.

On 28 April 1914 the Apostolic Prefecture of Adamaua (now the Diocese of Nkongsamba) was formed, taking territory from the Apostolic Vicariate of Khartoum.

It lost territories again to establish missionary jurisdictions becoming current dioceses :

On 12 December 1974 it was promoted as Metropolitan Archdiocese of Khartoum.

In February 1993 in enjoyed a Papal visit from Pope John Paul II.

Special churches

The cathedral see of the Archbishop is St. Matthew's Cathedral, Khartoum.

Episcopal ordinaries

(all Roman Rite, Latin Church)

Apostolic Vicars of Central Africa
  • Annetto Casolani (1846.04.03 – retired 1847.05.02), Titular Bishop of Mauricastrum (1846.04.03 – death 1866.08.01)
  • Daniele Comboni, Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus (F.C.C.I.) (1872 – 1881.10.10), Titular Bishop of Claudiopolis (1877.07.02 – death 1881.10.10), previously Founder of Sons of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Comboni Fathers) (1867.06.01)
  • Francesco Sogaro (1882.10.04 – resigned 1895), Titular Bishop of Trapezopolis (1885.07.10 – 1894.08.18), promoted Titular Archbishop of Amida (1894.08.18 – 1912.02.06), later President of Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (1903 – 1912.02.06)
  • Antonio Maria Roveggio, F.C.C.I. (1895.02.08 – death 1902.05.02), Titular Bishop of Amastris (1895.02.08 – 1902.05.02)
  • Franz Xavier Geyer, M.C.C.I. (1903.08.06 – 1913.05.30 see below), Titular Bishop of Trocmades (1903.08.06 – death 1943.04.02)
Apostolic Vicars of Khartoum
  • Franz Xavier Geyer, F.C.C.I. (see above 1913.05.30 – retired May 1922)
  • Paolo Tranquillo Silvestri, F.C.C.I. (1924.10.29 – retired July 1929), Titular Bishop of Jerichus (1924.11.05 – death 1949.01.22)
  • Francesco Saverio Bini, F.C.C.I. (1930.11.20 – retired 1952), Titular Bishop of Vallis (1930.11.20 – death 1953.05.11)
  • Agostino Baroni, F.C.C.I. (1953.06.29 – 1974.12.12 'see below), Titular Bishop of Balecium (1953.06.29 – 1974.12.12)
Metropolitan Archbishops of Khartoum


Its ecclesiastical province comprises the Metropolitan's own archdiocese and one remaining suffragan see :

See also


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