Kuwait, Apr 13: Bishop Camillo Ballin, the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia passed away on Sunday, April 12 at 10 pm at the age of 76.
Bishop Ballin was born in Fontavia, Italy on June 24, 1944. He was an Italian Roman Catholic bishop, writer, missionary and educator.
He made his first religious profession (Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus) in 1965 and his perpetual profession on September 9, 1968. He was ordained Priest of the Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus on March 30, 1969, at Castelletto Sul Garda, Verona.
After his ordination, in 1970, he learned Arabic in Lebanon and Syria. Bishop Ballin started his priestly apostolate in the Latin parish of St Joseph in Zamalek, Cairo in 1971. The following year, he was appointed parish priest (1972-1977).
From 1981 to 1990, he was a professor at the Institute of Theology in Cairo and Delegation Superior and Provincial Superior of his religious congregation in Egypt. In 1990, he was assigned to the province of Sudan where he opened a Training Institute for the Formation of Religion Teachers in schools (1990-1997).
From 1997 till 2000, he was in Rome for his doctorate on the Church history of Sudan especially in the Mahdiyyah time (1881-1898 – during that period, the practice of any other religion, except the Mahdist Islam, was strictly forbidden) His research was on how Christians and Jews lived in those years of persecution.
Since 2000, he has been director of the Dar Comboni Center of Arab and Islamic Studies in Cairo, Egypt and professor of Church History in the Inter-Rite Major Seminary.
As an ardent writer, Bishop Ballin published several written works. In 2004, he published two of his books in Arabic, ‘The Ways of the Spirit’ and ‘History of the Church’. The first explores, in-depth, the Rule of St Pacomius as the founder of communitarian monastic life. His second publication is a treatise on the history of the Church from its inception in the 15th century, the book particularly aimed at explaining the life of the Church to the Arab world, with special reference to the Eastern Church.
By July 14, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Ballin as the Vicar Apostolic of Kuwait.
On May 31, 2011, Bishop Camillo Ballin became the Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia. He oversaw the territories of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.