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The Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo (in Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Aleppensis) is an apostolic vicariate (Latin pre-diocesan missionary jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church, entitled to a titular bishop) and is immediately subject to the Holy See and its missionary Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches[1]

Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo
Country Syria
RiteLatin Rite
Established27 June 1762
CathedralChild Jesus
Secular priests36
Current leadership
BishopGeorges Abou Khazen, OFM
Bishops emeritusGiuseppe Nazzaro, OFM
Former Latin Cathedral of Aleppo, dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi.

The seat of the vicariate is the city of Aleppo (Halab in Arabic), where the Cathedral of the Child Jesus, was opened by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri on 15 January 2011.[2] Its (former?) episcopal see is the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, in Aleppo, Syria's greatest city before the civil war. It is currently ruled by the bishop Georges Abou Khazen, O.F.M..

It is Syria's only Latin jurisdiction, so there is no episcopal conference, but the Apostolic Vicar and the Eastern Catholic hierarchs of five rite-specific Catholic churches (Melkite, Syriac, Maronite, Chaldean and Armenian; all have an Aleppo see, ranking as archepachies except the Chaldean eparchy) form the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in Syria (A.H.C.S.). The Apostolic Vicar is also a member of the Conference of the Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions.



The Apostolic Vicariate extends its jurisdiction over the Catholics of the Latin Rite of all Syria, as per 2014 pastorally serving 13,000 Catholics in 10 parishes and 6 missions with 38 priests (religious) and 243 lay religious (46 brothers, 197 sisters).


From the early decades of the seventeenth century some religious orders, particularly the Order of the Friars Minor Capuchin, the Carmelites and the Society of Jesus, settled in Syria and Aleppo. There were several conversions to Catholicism of the Latin rite, and this led Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples to establish a diocese in Aleppo.

A first attempt to build an apostolic vicariate (pre-diocesan mission under a titular bishop) was in 1645. On 31 July 1645 was appointed bishop the Franciscan Giovanni Battista Dovara, which, however, "that he had achieved such a dignity, otherwise do not bother to go to his residence, despite the replicated excitations that he was moved by the Holy Congregation. Nor from that time on he was thought to depute a Latin bishop in that city".[3]:300 The vicariate so he died in the bud: the jurisdiction of the Latin returned to the Custodian of the Holy Land (traditionally a Franciscan), as it was previously.

The Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo was erected properly (the 'second' time) on 27 June 1762, when Pope Clement XIII appointed the Congregation of the Mission member Frenchman Arnaud Bossu, who had been Apostolic Vicar of Algiers. In a Papal brief,[4] Bossu receives the title of Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo, with jurisdiction over the Eastern Europeans and the Latin Rite of the patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem, including the Maronite and Armenian patriarchates. The vicar, however, did not put his residence in Aleppo, but at Antoura in Lebanon, and never received episcopal consecration. Also on this occasion, the vicariate was short-lived due to the Suppression of the Jesuit Order in 1773 and the French Revolution, which, among other consequences, involved the removal of all French religious orders not only in motherland, but also in mission lands.

After the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815, to settle Europe after the defeat of Naopoleon I Bonaparte), the missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples restored the apostolic vicariate in 1817, with the name of the Apostolic vicariate of Syria, Egypt, Arabia and Cyprus. It had jurisdiction over much of Catholic missions of the central and southern regions of the Ottoman Empire, namely : Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Palestine, the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Abyssinia (then empire of Ethiopia including Eritrea) and Nubia (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and southernmost Egypt). Also included was the south-central part of Anatolia, including the cities of Antioch (Antakya) and Alexandretta (Iskenderun).

On 1824.08.15 it lost Egyptian territory to establish the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria.

On 18 May 1839 it ceded part of its territory for the creation of the Apostolic Vicariate of Egypt and Arabia (today the Apostolic Vicariate of Alexandria of Egypt) and the Apostolic Prefecture of Abyssinia (today Ethiopian Catholic Archeparchy of Addis Abeba in the Ethiopian rite), and simultaneously took the name of the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo.

On October 4, 1847 it ceded Palestine, Cyprus and the areas corresponding to (the current / (Trans)Jordan for the restoration of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

With the end of the Ottoman Empire, the birth of modern Turkey (1923) and especially with the passage of Hatay from Syria to Turkey (1938), under the Papal bull of Pope Pius XII Ad maius christifidelium of 5 October 1939 and Quo sacrorum of 9 December 1939, the Vicariate Apostolic of Aleppo lost the Turkish territories that passed to the Apostolic Vicariate of Istanbul.

On June 4, 1953 it gave another portion of territory for the creation of the Apostolic Vicariate of Beirut. From this moment the Vicariate Apostolic of Aleppo geographically corresponding to the Arab republic of Syria's territory. Only from this territorial change, the apostolic vicars have permanent residence in Aleppo, preferring previously reside in Lebanon.

Episcopal ordinariesEdit

(all Roman Rite; until 2013 Europeans and/or members of missionary Latin -mostly Franciscan- congregations)

Apostolic Vicars of Aleppo (first period)
Apostolic Vicars of Syria, Egypt, Arabia and Cyprus
  • Aloisio Gandolfi, C.M. (13 January 1818 – death 25 August 1825), Titular Bishop of Icosium (Algeria) (1815.08.11 – 1825.08.25), also Apostolic Delegate (papal diplomatic envoy) to Syria (1815.08.11 – 1825.08.25)
  • Giovanni Pietro Losana (23 January 1827 – 30 September 1833), later Bishop of Biella (?)
  • Jean-Baptiste Auvergne (March 29, 1833 – death September 14, 1836), Titular Archbishop of Iconium (1833.03.29 – 1836.09.14), also Apostolic Delegate to Egypt and Arabia (1833.03 – 1836.09.14) and Apostolic Delegate to Syria (1833.03 – 1836.09.14)
  • Angelo Giuseppe Fazio, Capuchin Franciscans (O.F.M. Cap.) (15 December 1837 – death 13 December 1838), Titular Bishop of Tipasa (1836.04.26 – 1838.12.13) (initially as Coadjutor Apostolic Vicar of Tibet-Hindustan (British India), 1836.04.26 – 1837.12.15); also Apostolic Delegate to Syria (1837.12.15 – 1838.12.13)
Apostolic Vicars of Aleppo (again)
  • Villardel Francisco, O.F.M. (8 March 1839 – death 19 June 1852), Titular Archbishop of Philippi (1839.03.08 – 1852.06.19), also Apostolic Delegate to Syria (1839.03.08 – 1852.06.19)
  • Paul Brunoni (July 4, 1853 – November 23, 1858), Titular Archbishop of Tharona (1853.07.12 – 1868.06.25), ? appointed Apostolic Vicar of Constantinople), later Latin Titular Patriarch of Antioch (1868.06.25 – 1877.01.02)
  • Giuseppe Valerga (1858 – death 2 December 1872 deceased) (apostolic administrator)
  • Serafino Milani, O.F.M. (23 January 1874 – 21 December 1874 appointed Bishop of Pontremoli) (bishop-elect)
  • Luigi Piavi, O.F.M. (November 13, 1876 – August 28, 1889), Titular Archbishop of Siunia (1876.11.18 – 1889.08.28), also Apostolic Delegate to Syria (1876.11.13 – 1889.08.28); later residential Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins (Palestine) (1889.08.28 – death 1905.01.24) and Grand Master of Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (1889.08.28 – 1905.01.24)
    • Auxiliary Bishop Gaudenzio Bonfigli, O.F.M. (18 August 1890 – 25 February 1896), Titular Bishop of Casium (1881.08.19 – 1890.08.19), later Apostolic Delegate to Syria (1890.08.19 – 1896.02.25) and Titular Archbishop of Cabassa (1890.08.19 – 1904.04.06), Apostolic Delegate to Egypt and Arabia (1896.02.25 – 1904.04.06)
  • Pierre Gonzales Charles Duval, Dominican Order (O.P.) † (February 25, 1896 – death July 31, 1904), Titular Archbishop of Petra (1895.11.29 – 1904.07.31), also Apostolic Delegate to Syria (1896.02.25 – 1904.07.31)
  • Frediano Giannini, O.F.M. (January 20, 1905 – resigned February 12, 1936), also Apostolic Delegate to Syria (1905.01.16 – 1935), Titular Archbishop of Serræ (1905.01.16 – 1939.10.25); earlier Custos of the Holy Land (1900 – 1906); later Vice-Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church of Reverend Apostolic Camera (1936? – death 1939)
  • Vacant seat (1936–1967)
  • Apostolic administrator Akiki Bonaventure, O.F.M. (28 June 1967 – 1 March 1973 see below), Titular Bishop of Larissa in Syria (1973.03.01 – death 1987.09.09), no previous prelature
  • Akiki Bonaventure, O.F.M. (see above 1 March 1973 – 1979 Retired)
  • Guerino Domenico Picchi, O.F.M. (20 June 1980 – 9 July 1992 Retired), Titular Bishop of Sebaste in Palæstina (1980.06.20 – death 1997.07.19)
  • Armando Bortolaso, Salesians (S.D.B.) (9 July 1992 – 21 November 2002 Retired), Titular Bishop of Raphanea (1992.07.09 – ...)
  • Giuseppe Nazzaro, O.F.M. (21 November 2002 – 15 April 2013 Retired), Titular Bishop of Forma (2002.11.21 – death 2015.10.26); previously Custos of the Holy Land (1992.04.10 [1992.05.08] – 1998.01.16)
  • Apostolic Administrator Georges Abou Khazen, O.F.M. (15 April 2013 – 4 November 2013 see below), Titular Bishop of Rusadus (2013.11.04 – ...)
  • Georges Abou Khazen, O.F.M. (see above 4 November 2013 – ... ).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo" Gabriel Chow. Retrieved February 29, 2016
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Leonardus Lemmens, Hierarchia latina Orientis, mediante S. Congregatione de propaganda fide instituita (1622-1922), in Orientalia Christiana, vol. IV, n° 10 (1924), pp. 296-301
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Archbishop Giovanni Battista Aresti de Dovara, O.F.M" David M. Cheney. Retrieved July 21, 2016

Sources and external linksEdit

  • - data fro all sections
  •, AAS 32 (1940), p. 115
  • Pius Bonifacius Gams,, AAS 32 (1940), p. 116
  • Hubert Jedin, ed. (2002). Storia della Chiesa. VIII/1. Jaca Book. pp. 181–186.
  • C. Karalevsky, v. Alep, in,, vol. XII, Parigi 1953, coll. 110-112 e 114-115