In the canon law of the Catholic Church, a mission sui iuris (Latin: missio sui iuris, pl. missions sui iuris), also known as an independent mission, can be defined as: "an ecclesial structure erected from a previous territory, with explicit boundaries, under the care of a religious community or other diocese, responding to a missionary exigency and headed by a superior nominated by the Holy See, under the aegis of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples."[1]

It is generally applied to an area with very few Catholics, or in areas where Christianity (in particular Roman Catholicism) is either outlawed or undergoing persecution, often desolate or remote, and ranks below an apostolic prefecture and an apostolic vicariate.

The clerical head is styled Ecclesiastical Superior and can be a regular cleric, titular or diocesan bishop, archbishop or even a cardinal, but if of episcopal rank often resides elsewhere (notably, in another diocese or the Vatican) in chief of his primary office there.

It can either be exempt (i.e. directly subject to the Holy See, like apostolic prefectures and apostolic vicariates), or suffragan of a Metropolitan Archbishop, hence part of his ecclesiastical province.

Current missions sui iuris

As of March 2017, the only remaining cases — all of the Latin Church — were:

In Asia :

In the Atlantic Ocean :

In the Caribbean :

In Oceania :

Those for which no province is named are exempt, i.e. directly under the Holy See.

Former missions sui iuris

by continent and (present/colonial) country

In Europe
In Asia
In America
In Oceania
In Africa

See also


  1. ^ Joseph V. McCabe, M.M. (2015). "The Missio sui Iuris: To be or Not to be a Particular Church (c. 371 §1): Historical Development of the Missio sui Iuris in Mission Territories (1896–2002) and the Praxis of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Erecting Them". The Jurist: Studies in Church Law and Ministry. 75 (2): 313–385. doi:10.1353/jur.2015.0024.

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