Christ the King Seminary (Pakistan)

The Christ the King Seminary is a Roman Catholic seminary in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town, Karachi, Pakistan; located in adjacent to the Portiuncula Friary. In its early years most of the faculty were provided by the Franciscans. It has been described as "the pioneering theological institution for the Catholic Church in Pakistan."[1]

Christ the King Seminary
Established1956; 66 years ago (1956)
Religious affiliation
Academic affiliation
University of Melbourne
RectorFr. Kamran Taj
Students72 (2019)
Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town
, , ,

24°54′33″N 67°4′6″E / 24.90917°N 67.06833°E / 24.90917; 67.06833Coordinates: 24°54′33″N 67°4′6″E / 24.90917°N 67.06833°E / 24.90917; 67.06833
LanguageEnglish and Urdu
Sister institutionNational Catholic Institute of Theology
Students from:Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

The high-water mark of the seminary's 50-year existence was the recruitment of 98 seminarians for the class that entered in 1990.


On 5 April 1957 Pope Pius XII issued a decree through the Congregation of the Faith to build a regional seminary in Karachi.[2]

When the seminary started in 1956 it had only four students. Among them was Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, who later went on to become its Rector. Other alumni include the Archbishop Emeritus of Karachi Evarist Pinto,[3] the late Bishop Anthony Theodore Lobo of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Joseph Cardinal Coutts, the late Bishop Andrew Francis of Multan, and the late Bishop John Joseph of Faisalabad and the late Bishop Patras Yusaf of Multan.

Fifty years on, the seminary has graduated 780 students from Pakistan and abroad, some coming from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. It also expanded over the decades, adding a grassy field for soccer and cricket, a basketball court, a pavilion, a retreat center and a Marian grotto with a fountain.

The National Catholic Institute of Theology (NCIT) was established at the seminary in September 1997, offering academic courses leading to a diploma in theology, as well as programs for laypeople and Religious involved in Church ministries. At the Institute students can now obtain a Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of Melbourne due to the efforts of Yarra Theological Union and the Melbourne College of Divinity.[4]


In 1994 the philosophy studies program for seminarians was separated from the theology program and moved to the St. Francis Xavier Seminary in the Lahore archdiocese.

In addition to dwindling vocations, the seminary has had to deal with a shortage of drinking water over the last 10 years, exacerbated by local authorities appropriation, without compensation, of its old well in November 2005 for the Lyari Expressway project.

The expressway project is part of Karachi's "Cleaning the City" drive, which the Asian Human Rights Commission says has rendered thousands homeless. It adds that 11,000 houses and 3,100 commercial buildings outside the path of the expressway have been evacuated and demolished.

Since 2008 the seminary has been hosting the Cardinal Cordeiro Cricket tournament to promote religious vocations and remember Pakistan's first cardinal. In 2010 there are 43 students from all six dioceses and the Apostolic Prefecture of Quetta.[5]

In 2010, a grant from Aid to the Church in Need was made to the Seminary where it will be used for library books and new air conditioning units.[6]

In 2011 there were 24 seminarians in the institution.[7] By 2014 this had risen to 40.[8]

On 4 May 2012 Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed Fr. Benjamin Shahzad as Rector of the Seminary.[9]

In June 2019 the number of seminarians had risen to 72.[10]


The following individuals have served as rectors of the seminary:

Ordinal Officeholder Term start Term end Time in office Notes
1 Rev. Innocent Laurensse, OFM 1956 1971 14–15 years [11]
2 Rev. Anslem Moons, OFM 1971 1974 2–3 years
3 Rev. Lawrence Saldanha 1974 1979 4–5 years [12]
4 Rev. Emmanuel Asi 1979 1988 8–9 years [13]
5 Rev. Arnold Heredia 1988 1993 4–5 years [14]
6 Rev. Inayat Bernard 1993 2004 10–11 years [15]
7 Rev. Rufin Anthony 2004 2005 0–1 years [16]
8 Rev. Augustine Soares 2005 2012 6–7 years [17]
9 Rev. Benjamin Shahzad 2012 2019 6–7 years
10 Rev. Kamran Taj 2019 incumbent 2–3 years [18]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Hedlund, R. E.; et al. (2011). The Oxford Encyclopaedia of South Asian Christianity. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ "Completion 60 years' Christ the King Seminary in Karachi". Catholics in Pakistan. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  3. ^ "New rector appointed for Christ the King major seminary in Karachi". Archived from the original on 14 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Growing Living Stones". Archived from the original on 19 September 2009.
  5. ^ "Pakistan seminary plays a vocational innings". UCANews. 17 September 2010. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Charity helps persecuted and suffering Christians in Haiti, Iraq and Pakistan". Catholic News Agency. 22 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Archdiocese gets priest after ten years". UCANews. 5 December 2011. Archived from the original on 7 December 2011.
  8. ^ "News article". Aid to the Church in Need. 21 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Appointment of the rector of the Seminary". Agenzia Fides. 18 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Bishop Indrias Rehmat is the new bishop of Faisalabad: We must rienforce education". Asia News. 7 February 2019.
  11. ^ Camps, Arnulf (2000). Studies in Asian mission history, 1956-1998. The Netherlands: Brill.
  12. ^ "PASTORAL LETTER". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lahore.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Teaching theology to Christians and Muslims". Asia News.
  14. ^ "Pakistan Christians Acquitted Of Blasphemy". Catholic Weekly News.
  15. ^ "Ecumenical Graduate Fellowship Helps Students". UCANews. Archived from the original on 8 March 2018.
  16. ^ "Dominican Friars Celebrate 75 Years". UCANews. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  17. ^ "Major seminary celebrates golden jubilee".
  18. ^ "Appointment of the Rector of the Christ the King interdiocesan theological Seminary in Karachi". Agenzia Fides. 22 November 2019.
  19. ^ "Rev. Rufino Anthony appointed rector". Agenzia Fides. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  20. ^ "Papal appointments in Pakistan, India". Vatican Radio. 3 July 2013.
  21. ^ "Former bishops". Chittagong Diocese. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  22. ^ "Muslims and Christians join in prayer for the victims of London bomb blasts". Agenzia Fides. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011.
  23. ^ "29 Catholic Missionaries Killed This Year". Archived from the original on 24 October 2007.
  24. ^ "Blasphemy Law in Pakistan".
  25. ^ "Time has not changed Advani's alma mater". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 5 June 2005. Archived from the original on 1 October 2007.
  26. ^ "Appointment of the Bishop of Faisalabad". Agenzia Fides. 1 July 2019. Archived from the original on 4 July 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Grandson of Goa is new Multan bishop". Times of India. 16 August 2015.

External linksEdit