Eritrean Catholic Eparchy of Keren

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Eparchy of Keren
Eparchia Kerensis
Old Church of San Antonio (8383371939).jpg
The old Church of San Antonio in the Keren eparchy
Country  Eritrea
Ecclesiastical province Asmara
Area 25,949 km2 (10,019 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2014)
49,538 (11.0%)
Parishes 38
Denomination Eritrean Catholic Church
Rite Alexandrian Rite
Established 21 December 1995 (22 years ago)
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Kidane Yebio
Eritrea - Eparchia di Keren.png

The Eritrean Catholic Eparchy of Keren (Latin: Eparchia Kerensis) is a Roman Catholic eparchy centred in the city of Keren in Eritrea. It is a suffragan of the Archeparchy of Asmara, and a constituent eparchy of the Eritrean Catholic Church.


The first Catholic church in Keren was built in 1865 but was demolished in 1871 by the authorities of the Khedivate of Egypt, who in the 1870s held much of Eritrea. The Apostolic Vicariate of Abyssinia, which from 1870 to 1894 had its headquarters in Keren, was allowed to rebuild the church, began the work on 24 May 1873 and completed it and blessed it on 14 February 1875. Keren was thus an early centre for the nascent Catholic community that uses the Ge'ez liturgical rite and that has been recognized as the Eritrean Catholic Church in 1925.[1][2][3]

On 21 December 1995, with territory taken from the Eparchy of Asmara, Pope John Paul II established the Eparchy of Keren as a suffragan see of the Archeparchy of Addis Ababa.[4][5][6]

With the establishment of the autonomous (sui iuris) Eritrean Catholic Church by Pope Francis on 19 January 2015, the Eparchy of Keren became a suffragan of the Eritrean Catholic Archeparchy of Asmara.[7]


The eparchy covers what at the time of its creation were the Eritrean provinces of Senhit and Sahel, with an area of 25,949 km², and a total population of 448,968, of whom 49,538 Catholics (11.0%) are Catholics.[6]


The present cathedral seat of the eparchy is at Saint Michael's Cathedral, located west of the town centre. A much larger cathedral, also dedicated to Saint Michael, is under construction south of the centre.[8][9]

Successive eparchs

  • Tesfamariam Bedho (21 Dec 1995 – 29 Jul 2002)
  • Kidane Yebio (4 Jan 2003 – present)


  1. ^ Edward Denison, Edward Paice, Eritrea: The Bradt Travel Guide (Bradt Travel Guides 2007 ISBN 978-1-84162171-5), p. 190
  2. ^ Brief History of the Catholic Eparchy of Keren
  3. ^ Lionel Cliffe, Basil Davidson, The Long Struggle of Eritrea for Independence and Constructive Peace (Red Sea Press 1988 ISBN 978-0-93241537-0), p. 15
  4. ^ Apostolic Constitution (papal bull) Communitates in orbe
  5. ^ "Eparchy of Keren (Eritrea)". Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Eritrean Diocese of Keren". Giga Catholic. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  7. ^ "Erezione della Chiesa Metropolitana 'sui iuris' eritrea". 20 January 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2017. 
  8. ^ St Michael Building Progress
  9. ^ Cathedral of St. Michael, Keren, Eritrea (GCatholic)

External links

  • Official website

Coordinates: 15°46′30″N 38°26′55″E / 15.774931°N 38.448618°E / 15.774931; 38.448618

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