Roman Catholic Diocese of Reykjavík

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Reykjavík is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church which covers the whole of the country of Iceland, and numbered 11,454 Catholics on January 1, 2014.[1] It reports directly to the Holy See of Rome.[2]

Dioecesis Reykiavikensis

Biskupsdæmi Reykjavíkur
Country Iceland
MetropolitanImmediately Subject to the Holy See
Area103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2014)
Increase11,454 (Increase3.5%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
Established18 October 1968
CathedralCathedral Basilica of Christ the King
Patron saintSaint Thorlak
Secular priests6
Current leadership
BishopDávid Bartimej Tencer
Vicar GeneralPatrick Breen


The Cathedral of Christ the King in the upper right.

The Apostolic Prefecture of Iceland was created in 1923 and this was elevated to an Apostolic Administration in 1929, which in turn was elevated to the status of a diocese in 1968. In 2015 the then bishop, Pierre Bürcher retired and Father Dávid Bartimej Tencer, OFM Cap., was appointed to succeed him as the fifth bishop of the diocese. The bishop of Reykjavík participates in the Scandinavian Bishops Conference. The vicar general is Fr. Patrick Breen, rector of Landakot Cathedral, Christ the King Parish.

The Diocese of Reykjavík is a modern creation. The medieval church was represented by the sees of Skálholt (created 1056) and Hólar (1106), but these became Lutheran during the Reformation. (These two sees were amalgamated in 1801 into a single diocese under the Bishop of Iceland in the Lutheran Church of Iceland.) Iceland remained without Roman Catholic prelates until the Apostolic Prefecture was established at Reykjavík in 1923.[3]

Episcopal ordinariesEdit

Apostolic Prefecture of IcelandEdit

  1. Martin Meulenberg, SMM (12 June 1923 – 3 August 1941)
  2. Jóhannes Gunnarsson, SMM (23 February 1942 – 14 October 1967)

Diocese of ReykjavíkEdit

  1. Hendrik Hubert Frehen, SMM (18 October 1968 – 31 October 1986)
  2. Alfred James Jolson, SJ (12 December 1987 – 21 March 1994)
  3. Joannes Gijsen (24 May 1996 – 30 October 2007)
  4. Pierre Bürcher (30 October 2007 – 18 September 2015)
  5. Dávid Bartimej Tencer, OFM Cap. (18 September 2015 – )

Coat of armsEdit

The proposal of coat of arms created Marek Sobola, a heraldic specialist from Slovakia, who also made a coat of arms for the new Bishop Tencer recently. These are based on the Icelandic flag and an older stamp of the Diocese. He prepared three different variations. Then the priests, nuns and the staff at the Bishop᾿s office, a total of 42 persons, were involved in choosing the ones they thought were best, and thus the final selection was made.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Stat Iceland
  2. ^ Catholic Hierarchy
  3. ^ New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Iceland
  4. ^ Steinvor. "A New Coat of Arms and Flag for the Diocese of Reykjavík". Retrieved 2016-02-22.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 64°08′51″N 21°56′55″W / 64.1474°N 21.9486°W / 64.1474; -21.9486