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Diocese of Sibolga

Diocese of Sibolga
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Prefecture Apostolic of Sibolga was officially established on Nov. 17, 1959. Monsignor Gratianus Grimm, OFMCap, who then worked in Gunung Sitoli, was appointed as the first prefect and started to serve on Aug. 15, 1960.

On Nov. 18, 1980, Prefecture Apostolic of Sibolga was elevated to diocese. Prefect Anicetus Bongsu Sinaga, OFMCap was appointed as its first bishop and ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II on Jan. 6, 1981.

On March 1, 2004, Bishop Sinaga was appointed as coadjutor archbishop of Medan. Father Barnabas Winkler, OFMCap later was appointed as administrator of Sibolga diocese and served until 2007.

On March 13, 2007, Father Ludovikus Simanullang, OFMCap was appointed as bishop of Sibolga and ordained a bishop on May 20, 2007.

A Church which is independent and solidary and has the liberating power.

To empower pastoral workers so that they are able to proclaim the Good News.
To develop the more-effective economic models.
To fight for a more-siding-with-people state system.
To create a critical awareness among Catholics and society for the sake of common welfare.
To empower Catholic families so as to be Christian basic communities which boost Christian values.
To empower custom communities so that they can produce a new agreement according to new values and Christian tradition as well as new awareness on human rights.

Empowering pastoral workers, both ordained and lay ones.
Empowering basic communities, both territorial and categorical.


The areas in the diocese can be reached via different transportation means. In general, people can travel by land, sea and air. Sibolga city, where the diocese is centered, has an airport and sea port.


Diocese of Sibolga is located in North Sumatera province, western Indonesia. However, it is not the only diocese in such a large province with over 14 million population. Archdiocese of Medan is also serving the faithful in the province.

Sibolga diocese - which is centered in Sibolga city - serves an area of 26,413-square kilometers, covering the districts of Nias, North Nias, South Nias, West Nias, South Tapanuli, and Central Tapanuli.

Combined population of these districts is estimated to have reached more than 3 million people from 2,329,853 in 2003.


The districts served by Sibolga diocese have various potentials. Majority of people depend their livelihoods on plantation (rubber, coconut, cacao, palm oil), fishery, tourism (land and maritime tourism), forestry (plywood industry), animal husbandry (pig), and sea weed.

Sibolga city which has turned to be a prospective business center is developing port facilities including warehouses, fish preserving facility, fish process facility, maritime tourism, and central business district.

To support manpower in fishery industry, Sibolga Fishery Academy was established in 2001.

State own electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) also continues to expand its services in the area.


Some of Indonesia's major cellular companies expand their coverage in the region. More and more base transceiver stations are established to enable more people - even in the remote places - use mobile phones.


Schools are managed by the government, Church, and Muhammadiyah. In Sibolga itself there are 60 elementary and high schools, of which 44 are state run schools and 16 are managed by private foundations including Church-owned.

Apart from government efforts, companies are also encouraged to direct their CSR funds on education. PT. PLN for instance has offered scholarship to high performance students in six schools in Sibolga city and Central Tapanuli.


Majority of people in Sibolga diocese inherit the culture and traditions of Batak and Nias.

People of Central Tapanuli and Sibolga live the culture of Batak Pesisir (coastal life), while the people of South Tapanuli live the culture of Batak Mandailing/Angkola.

Tapanulis is a general name given to the area along west coast of North Sumatera province. The name is related to 'Tapian Nauli' bay. It is separated by Bukit Barisan mountain range from its neighboring east coast area which is also called Melayu Deli.

Nias is an ethnic group living in Nias Island. They call themselves 'Ono Niha' (Ono=descendant; Niha= humans).

'Ono Niha' recognizes cultural laws and social castes. Its traditional law - so called fondrako - encircles human life from birth to death.

Ancient Nias has proved to be one of prominent megalithic culture in the archipelago which is seen from historical heritage such as carvings on megastones that can be found in remote areas in present days. Nias also recognizes 12 social castes, and the highest class is called 'Balugu'. In order to reach the peak, a person must conduct big fiesta and invite thousands of people and must butcher thousands of pigs for days. One of its popular traditions - which is now one of Indonesia's well-known attractions - is called Hombo Batu or stone-jump where a man jumps over a 2-meter stone-structure without touching it. In ancient Nias, it was the final test for new recruits to be security guards or soldiers.

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