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Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia

Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia

Apostolicus Vicariatus Arabiae Meridionalis

النيابة الرسولية من جنوب الجزيرة العربية
Area929,969 km2 (359,063 sq mi)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
CathedralSt. Joseph's Cathedral, Abu Dhabi
Current leadership
Vicar ApostolicPaolo Martinelli
Website of the Apostolic Vicariate
Vicar of Southern Arabia
Coat of arms of the Vicar of Southern Arabia
Coat of arms
Paolo Martinelli
Installed 2 July 2022
CountryUnited Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen
First holderPaul Hinder
CathedralSt. Joseph's Cathedral, Abu Dhabi

The Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Arabiæ Meridionalis) (Arabic: النيابة الرسولية من جنوب الجزيرة العربية) is an apostolic vicariate of the Catholic Church with territorial jurisdiction for Oman, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.[6]

The vicar apostolic of the vicariate is Paolo Martinelli.[7]

It was first established in 1888 (as the Apostolic Vicariate of Aden) and took its current name in 2011. The see of the vicar apostolic is in St. Joseph's Cathedral in Abu Dhabi. Since 1916 it has been in the care of the Capuchins of Florence.


The territory was originally part of the Vicariate Apostolic of the Gallas, but it was separated into an apostolic prefecture by Pope Pius IX on 21 January 1875. On 25 April 1888, Pope Leo XIII made the Apostolic Vicariate of Aden, located in Yemen. On the 28 June 1889, the name was changed to the Vicariate Apostolic of Arabia, responsible for the countries of the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding region: Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Somalia and Yemen.[8]

On 29 June 1953, the then Apostolic Prefecture of Kuwait (which has become the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia) was separated from the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia. In 1973, the see of the jurisdiction was transferred from Aden to St. Joseph's Cathedral in Abu Dhabi.[9] A subsequent redrawing of boundaries in 2011 reduced its jurisdiction to the countries of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The vicariate has been governed by the Capuchin friars since 1916.[8]

Apostolic Vicars of Arabia

  1. Louis-Callixte Lasserre (1888 – April 1900)
  2. Bernard Thomas Edward Clark (21 March 1902 – 18 June 1910)
  3. Raffaele Presutti (13 September 1910 – 1915)
  4. Evangelista Latino Enrico Vanni (15 April 1916 – 1925)
  5. Pacifico Tiziano Micheloni (25 April 1933 – 6 July 1936)
  6. Giovanni Tirinnanzi (2 July 1937 – 27 January 1949)[10]
  7. Irzio Luigi Magliacani (25 December 1949 – 1969)
  8. Giovanni Bernardo Gremoli (2 October 1975 – 21 March 2005)
  9. Paul Hinder (21 March 2005 – 31 May 2011) [11]

Apostolic Vicars of Southern Arabia

  1. Paul Hinder (31 May 2011 – 1 May 2022)[12]
  2. Paolo Martinelli (1 May 2022 – present)



  • 929,969 km2


  • Total population: 42,948,063
  • Total Catholic Population: 998,500
  • Parishes: 16
  • Diocesan priests: 17
  • Priests belonging to Religious Institutes: 51
  • Total Priests: 68
  • Permanent deacons living in the diocese: 1
  • Professed non-priest Men Religious belonging to Religious Institutes: 1
  • Professed Women Religious belonging to Religious Institutes: 53

List of churches under the jurisdiction of the vicar

United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi - St. Joseph's Cathedral

Mussafah - St. Paul's Church

Al Ain - St. Mary's Church

Ruwais - St. John the Baptist Church

Dubai - St. Mary's Catholic Church

Jebel Ali - St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

Sharjah - St. Michael's Catholic Church

Ras Al Khaimah - St. Anthony of Padua Church

Fujairah - Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church


Muscat - Holy Spirit Church, Sts. Peter and Paul Church

Salalah - St. Francis Xavier Church

Sohar - St. Anthony's Church


Aden - Proto-Cathedral St. Francis of Assisi

Hodeidah - Sacred Heart Church

Sana'a - St. Mary Help of Christians Church

Taiz - St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Mass Schedule". St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Jebel Ali.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "::: St Joseph's Cathedral :: Abu Dhabi, UAE :::". Archived from the original on 2020-07-06. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mass Timings and Devotions". Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Mass Timings".
  5. ^ a b c d "Mass Schedule". St. Anthony's Catholic Church.
  6. ^ "History of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia". St. Mary's Catholic Church. Retrieved 2023-06-01.
  7. ^ "Bishop Martinelli named Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia - Vatican News". 2022-05-02. Retrieved 2023-06-01.
  8. ^ a b  Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Vicariate Apostolic of Arabia". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  9. ^ Vicariate Apostolic of Arabia Archived 2006-08-25 at the Wayback Machine, url accessed September 10, 2006
  10. ^ "Bishop chancery". Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
  11. ^ "Southern Arabia (Vicariate Apostolic)". David M. Cheney. 20 February 2023. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  12. ^ "Communique from Apostolic Nunciature in UAE: Appointment of New Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia". Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia. Retrieved 2022-05-06.
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Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia
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