The history of Adilabad Diocese is inevitably linked with the history of Chanda Mission as it sharess the common legacy and mission thrust. Adilabad Diocese encompasses the rich heritage of orient and apostolic succession of the occident. The blooming of the diocese is the fruit of the hard labour, strenuous efforts and sacrifices of the dedicated Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Missionaries since 1962. The newly joined missionary priests vowed to join the heroic path of the pioneering missionaries.
Chanda Mission/Chanda Diocese
Pope John XXIII established the first Syro-Malabar Ordinariate of Chanda on 31 March 1962 with Msgr. Januarius Palathuruthy CMI as its first Ecclesiastical Superior with the faculties of Apostolic Exarch. It was carved out from the Archdiocese of Nagpur. The Ordinariate was raised to the status of an Apostolic Exarchate on 29 July 1968 and Msgr Januarius was made its Apostolic Exarch.
On 26 February 1977 Pope Paul VI raised it to the status of an Eparchy and Msgr. Januarius Palathuruthy was appointed its first bishop. It comprises the civil districts of Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra state and Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh.
Catholic Diocese of Adilabad
The territory of Diocese of Adilabad is same as that of the civil district of Adilabad (16,210 square kilometers) in Telangana. Pope John Paul II constituted it by his Bull 'Ad Aptius Consulendum', as an independent diocese on July 23, 1999. Most Rev Joseph Kunnath CMI, was appointed the first bishop and consecrated on October 6, 1999.
The CMI (Carmelites of Mary Immaculate) Congregation started evangelization work in this area in 1962 when the Ordinariate of Chanda was established. Prior to 1962, there were only two centres in Adilabad, one at Sirpur Kagaznagar with a resident priest and the other at Bellampally with a priest, visiting from Archdiocese of Nagpur.
The first phase of the history of the Diocese unfolds with the appointment of Bishop Joseph Kunnath CMI, the architect and the first Bishop of Adilabad Diocese. At the time of bifurcation, Adilabad had 18 centers with resident priests and about 60 villages with 10,500 Catholics. At present there are 36 mission centers with residential priests and more than 100 substations, with 16,287 Catholics. Most of the Priests and Nuns are actively involved in Evangelization work besides Education, Social Work and Health Care in the diocese.
Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara is the Patron of the Diocese as he was one of the forerunners of the reformation movements of the 19th century India, especially in the Church in Kerala. The diocese belongs to the Syro-Malabar Church, an Oriental Catholic Church. The Southern boundary of the Diocese is Godavari River and on the East, West and the North borders lie in the State of Maharashtra. The adjacent dioceses are Chanda in the North and the East, Amaravathi in the West and Warangal in the South.
In accordance with the Divine plan, the second phase of the history of the Diocese opens up with the appointment of Rt. Rev. Dr. Prince Antony Panengadan as the second Bishop of Adilabad. Bishop Joseph Kunnath CMI resigned after turning 75 years of age, the canonical year for retirement of bishops. His Excellency’s consecration and installation ceremony was held at St Chavara Pastoral Centre, Thimmapur on the 29th October 2015.
At present Adilabad is a flourishing Diocese where a lot of missionary activities are being carried out by the concerted efforts of priests and nuns. The diocese is having a limited number of priests and they are struggling to maintain the faith formation of the faithful. Since it is the beginning stage of the Church, faithful need to be cared well so that they may grow in good faith. The diocese is in need of many more dedicated priests. The people are really open to the word of God and the missionaries are accepted here.
Right Rev. Antony Prince PanengadenBishop of Adilabad
|Born||:||13 March 1977|
|Priestly Ordination||:||25 April 2007|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 October 2015|
Bishop’s House, Mancherial P. O. - 504 208Mancherial Dist. (Telangana State)
Right Rev. Joseph Kunnath, CMIBishop Emeritus of Adilabad
|Born||:||2 September 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||24 April 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||6 October 1999|
Anudhavana Mancherial P.O. -504208
Mancherial Dt. (Telangana State)
|Languages||:||Telugu, Marathi and Tribal dialects like Gondi,Netakani|
Fr P. Barbe, the pastor of Chittagong, visited Tripura in 1843. Holy Cross pioneering missionaries Fr Louis Augustine Verite and Fr Beboit Adolphe Mercier visited Agartala in 1856 and administered sacraments to the Christians in Mariamnagar village. From 1937 onwards priests began to take permanent residence at Mariamnagar. The first Parish in Tripura was erected at Mariamnagar in 1939. The first permanent Church was blessed in 1952. Because of its geographical proximity, the Archdiocese of Dhaka continued to cater to the spiritual needs of the Catholics in Tripura till the erection of the new ecclesiastical unit in 1952, namely, the Prefecture of Haflong. In 1969, the Prefecture was upgraded to the position of a Diocese with Most Rev. Denzil D' Souza, DD, as the first Bishop of Silchar, which comprised the states of Mizoram and Tripura and the District of Cachar in Assam.
By the Papal Bull "Venerabiles Frates Nostri" dated January 11, 1996, Pope John Paul II decreed the erection of the Diocese of Agartala. The new Diocese of Agartala which comprises the entire state of Tripura was bifurcated from the erstwhile Diocese of Silchar. Most Rev. Lumen Monteiro CSC, DD, was appointed the first Bishop of the new Diocese. He was ordained and installed on May 26, 1996. The Diocese of Agartala is dedicated to Christ the Light of the World with St. Francis Xavier as the Patron. The motto is "Lead us Onward".
Today the Diocese of Agartala has 20 Parishes and a Catholic population of over 45,000 in total of 3.7 million people. The Diocese of Agartala which comprises the entire State of Tripura with 8 Civil Districts has 30% of its population comprising of the indigenous tribal people who come from 19 major tribes. To mention a few: Debbarma, Reang, Darlong, Halam, Garo, Jamatia, Tripura, Molsom, Rupini, Kaipeng, Hrangkhawl, Bongcher, Mog, Munda and Santhal.
Right Rev. Lumen Monteiro CSCBishop Of Agartala
|Born||:||1 February 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 October 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||26 May 1996|
Bishop's House, Durjoy Nagar P.O. Agartala-799009 ( Tripura)
|Languages||:||Bengali, KokBorok, and other dialects|
Agra Archdiocese consists of the following districts in Uttar Pradesh: Agra, Aligarh, Auraiya, Budaun, Bulandshahr, Etah, Etawah, Farrukabad, Fathegarh, Firozabad, Gautambudha Nagar, Hathras, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Mathura and in Rajasthan, Bharatpur and Dholpur.
The Emperor Akbar, wishing to have some learned Christian priests at his Court, invited the Jesuits from their College at Goa. The first Church work with the Moghul was thus formed by Blessed Rudolf Aquaviva (later a martyr at Goa), Anthony Monserrate and Francis Henriquez, who arrived at the Moghul Court, then at Fatehpur Sikri in 1580. A second and a third Church work followed. The Jesuits enjoyed the patronage of Akbar and his son Jahangir; but under Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb this disappeared. Though there were no Christian congregations of importance in Moghul India, there were a number of individuals who wielded considerable influences in Court and elsewhere.
When in 1773 the Jesuits were suppressed, two Carmelite Fathers from Bombay succeeded them in Agra, who in turn, were replaced by the Capuchins after a very short while. By a decree of the Sacred Congregation, dated May 17, 1784, the Vicariate - Apostolic of the Great Moghul was constituted.
The history of the Agra Archdiocese under the Capuchins was closely linked with their work in Tibet.
St. Peter's College
Early in 1708, four Capuchins, starting from Kathmandu, reached Lhasa after two months. More Capuchins followed them and took up their residence at Lhasa until April 20, 1745, when, owing to relentless persecution by the Tibetan Priesthood, they had to leave Tibet, and return to Nepal. Thus the capuchin Church work in Lhasa came to an end. But the Church work continued its existence in Nepal until 1768.
The whole chain of Capuchin stations, embracing the greater part of North India from Chandernagore to Lhasa, from Sind to Bengal, from the Himalayas to Narbada river, now the Diocese of Ajmer - Jaipur, Allahabad, Indore, Jhansi, Lahore, Lucknow, Meerut, Patna, Varanasi, Delhi, Jalandar, Simla - Chandigarh, Bijnor and Jammu & Kashmir, (formerly Rawalpindi) all came to be known as the Tibet Hindustan Church work. The Cathedrals of Agra, Ajmer, Allahabad, Delhi, Lahore (before the new one), Madras, Patna and Simla, are symbols and monuments of the untiring zeal of the Capuchins for the extension of the faith and the progress of the Catholic Church in India.
The prefecture Apostolic of Tibet-Hindustan was in 1820, constituted into the Vicaritae Apostolic of Agra, with Msgr. Maria Zenobio Benucci, ofm cap. as its first Vicar Apostolic, who was succeeded by Msgrs. Anthony Pezzoni and Anthony Borghi.
Most Rev. RAPHY MANJALYArchbishop Of Agra
|Born||:||7 February 1958|
|Priestly Ordination||:||11 May 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||30 April 2007|
Wazirpura Road, Agra - 282 003 (Uttar Pradesh)
Most Rev. Albert D’SouzaArchbishop Emeritus of Agra
|Born||:||4 August 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 December 1974|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 February 1993|
Agra - 282 003 (Uttar Pradesh)
|Area||:||69, 162 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Hindi and English.|
The present Ahmedabad Diocese covers the entire area of the three civil districts of Ahmedabad, Anand and Nadiad. Areawise, Ahmedabad is the smallest of the four dioceses in Gujarat but with 63,962 Catholics Ahmedabad is the biggest diocese! Ahmedabad is also the oldest diocese in the state.
Historically too the Ahmedabad diocese has great significance. The freedom struggle was directed from the Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad which was the headquarters of Gandhiji for meeting the leaders of the freedom movement and the British officials till he started the Dandi March on March 12, 1930. Karamsad in Anand District which comes within the boundaries of the Ahmedabad diocese was also the birth place of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the iron man of India.
The Ahmedabad Diocese has a long history. There are indications of Christians living at Khambhat and Ahmedabad from the beginning of the sixteenth century when the Portuguese arrived in Goa in 1510. All through the 19th century Catholics from outside the states have come and settled in several towns of Gujarat. Ahmedabad city had a church from 1842 at Sabarmati.
But the beginning of local Christians is traced to the baptism of 18 people at Mogri on December 11, 1893 by Fr Manuel Xavier Gomes, a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Bombay. A team of German and Swiss Jesuits followed Fr Gomes. Then came more diocesan priests followed by the Spanish Jesuits in 1922.
In 1934 the entire area of Gujarat State north of the Mahi river including Kathiawad and Kutch became the independent Ahmedabad mission separated from Bombay Archdiocese, with an Ecclesiastical Superior in the person of Fr Joaquin Villallonga, SJ. There were only five mission stations in 1934 : Anand established in 1895, Vadtal in 1897, Karamsad in 1907, Nadiad in 1911 and Amod in 1914.
The Daughters of the Cross (FC) were the first congregation of nuns to start work in Gujarat from 1898. Then came the Sisters of The Apostolic Carmel (AC) to work in Gujarat in January 1923. They opened their first school at Ahmedabad in 1929. In 1936 a local congregation of the Little Daughters of St Francis Xavier (LD) was founded by a Jesuit Priest, Fr Carlos Suria in collaboration with Sr Xavier.
The steady growth of the Ahmedabad mission resulted in the establishment of the Ahmedabad Diocese on May 5, 1949 covering the entire Gujarat area north of the river Mahi much before the present Gujarat state was carved out of the Bombay state on May 1, 1960.
The tenure of the first Bishop of Ahmedabad, Bishop Edwin Pinto, SJ (1949-73) was a period of consolidation of the Christian community and also the beginning of the expansion of the Church to north and south Gujarat.
Meanwhile a second diocese in Gujarat was established on September 29, 1966 as Baroda diocese with the six districts in South Gujarat, south of Mahi river curved out of Bombay Archdiocese with Bishop Ignatius D'Souza as its first bishop.
In Ahmedabad diocese Bishop Charles Gomes, SJ succeeded Bishop Pinto in 1974 and he saw to the expansion of the Church of north and central Gujarat as well as to the growth of Church personnel especially diocesan priests and religious sisters.
A new development took place in 1977 with the formation of the Rajkot Diocese under Bishop Jonas Thaliath, CMI as its first bishop. The new diocese was separated from the Ahmedabad Diocese, covering the entire area of Saurashtra and Kutch-Bhuj.
Then, in 1990 Bishop Stanislaus Fernandes, SJ took up the reins from Bishop Gomes in Ahmedabad Diocese and saw to the further consolidation of the Christian communities in the north and central Gujarat. The steady growth of the Church then saw the establishment of the new Archdiocese of Gandhinagar headed by Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, SJ. The new archdiocese was separated from the Ahmedabad Diocese in November 2002.
Bishop Thomas Ignas Macwan became the first local Catholic Bishop Ahmedabad Diocese in January 2003 indicating the coming of age of the Church in Gujarat.
Mission & Vision
We, the Christians in the Ahmedabad Diocese, like the Christians in all the dioceses around the world, strive to walk in the footsteps of our leader Jesus Christ and to proclaim to all people of good will his message of love and forgiveness as well as universal brotherhood and sisterhood. Jesus Christ went about doing good to all especially the poor, the neglected and the abandoned like the dalits, lepers, tax collectors and public sinners.
We uphold the freedom guaranteed by our Constitution to profess, proclaim and propagate our Christian religion while stoutly defending the rights and freedom of all people to profess and practise the religion of their choice. With the universal church we abhors forced conversions and the use of foul means to convert or reconvert people from one religion to another. We believe in the religion of love founded by Christ.
Education for Social Change
The Ahmedabad Diocese believes and strives to prepare men and women for others through its formal and informal educational efforts. While striving for the all round progress of children through our education we aim to form our children into useful citizens for themselves and for others in this great country and beyond.
With this goal in mind we run a college, six higher secondary schools and 22 high schools and many more primary and middle schools.
Our non-formal educational programmes include balwadies, remedial classes for weaker students, literacy programmes, adult education and villages libraries.
We also run a number of vocational training centres like industrial training centres, type-writing and computer programmes, tailoring and embroidery, etc.
Mentally challenged children and handicapped people too find appropriate integrated educational programmes run by our religious personnel in the diocese.
The Diocese carries out pastoral ministries through its own diocesan priests as well as through men and women belonging to different religious congregations.
A religious congregation is a body within the Catholic Church working with a specific Charism of it's founder embodied in the Constitution of the Congregation with the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
The Diocese has 76 diocesan priests and about 31 more young men in various stages of their eight-year long priestly formation. They work mostly in parishes, mission stations and schools.
The diocese has 4 congregations of men : They are, 1. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits - SJ), 2. The Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), 3. The Society of St Francis Xavier (Pilars Fathers-SFX) and 4. Missionary Brothers of St Francis of Assisi (CMSF). These religious Priests and Brothers are engaged in all sorts of services like education, pastoral ministry, social service and vocational training, etc.
There are about 26 Religious congregations of women working in the diocese. They run schools like Mount Carmel School in Ahmedabad by the Sisters of the Apostolic Carmel or St Xavier's High School at Vatva by the Sisters known as the Little Daughters of St Francis Xavier. St Mary's Mahila Shikshan Kendra and Social Service Centre at Gomtipur managed by the Dominican Missionaries of the Holy Rosary (O.P.) Most of the sisters work in small towns and villages running dispensaries, boardings for girls and mahila mandals, etc.
Medical Services : Health for All
With the aim of proving medical services especially for the poor and needy, the Catholic Church runs a number of dispensaries in villages and small towns. The Diocese also runs two hospitals at Nadiad and Ahmedabad which cater specially to the people from the lower strata of the society. Besides, the Diocese also manages the Narol Leprosy Hospital which is hailed as a model leprosy hospital in Gujarat and beyond.
The Diocese through the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa also runs two Mobile Dispensaries in slum areas offering medical services to the poorest of the poor in Ahmedabad city.
The St Mary's Nursing Home at Gomtipur, the mill area of Ahmedabad city is known as the cheapest and safest "delivery home" for the poor in the city.
Most of our dispensaries function in villages where no other medical services are available to the poor and backward people. These dispensaries and mobile clinics reach out to all people irrespective of their castes and creeds.
Following the example of their founder Jesus Christ who went about doing good to all, the Christians in Ahmedabad Diocese extend services to all peoples irrespective of their caste and religion but especially the poor and the needy.
The Diocesan Social Service Centre headquartered at Hansol, Ahmedabad, Behavioural Science Centre (BSC) and St Xavier's Social Service Society, both run by the Jesuits, are three of the best known social service organizations in the Diocese. They are also the three biggest centres in terms of their services extending far and wide in the Diocese and beyond. But we have also social service wings which are part and parcel of many of our parishes and schools and through which we reach out to the most needy people of the locality.
Our social service centres engage in social, economic, medical, vocational and educational activities such as conducting balwadies for poor children, remedial classes for children of some municipal schools, tuition classes for students weak in studies. The social centres have also helped poor people to build their homes, farmers are helped with seeds and to dig wells and young boys and girls with vocational courses like computer training, tailoring embroidery, etc.
During natural calamities like floods, drought and the killer earthquake of January 26, 2001, our social service centres were at the vanguard with relief and rehabilitation works. Some of our institutions have also done wonderful works in water-harvesting and building check-dams.
Publications, Printing Press & Publishing House
DOOT is a Jesuit run integral family magazine primarily meant for the Gujarati Christians.
THE AHMEDABAD MISSIONARY (TAM) is a monthly magazine in English for the friends and benefactors of the Ahmedabad Diocese.
THE CATHOLIC SAMACHAR is a Gujarati monthly newspaper which voices the concerns of the Gujarati Catholic Samaj.
THE AHMEDABAD DIOCESAN CHRONICLE is a newsletter, and in-house publication for diocesan personnel.
ANAND PRESS is our Xavier Edu-Technical Training Centre (XETC) and printing press at Anand which produces a lot of quality literature for Christians and for others.
GUJARAT SAHITYA PRAKASH (GSP) at Anand publishes books in English and Gujarati about Bible, Liturgy, Spirituality, Theology, etc.
PRASHANT is our justice and peace centre working for human rights, social justice, human developments, etc.
RISHTA is Jesuit Writers' Cell based at Ahmedabad. Rishta conducts workshops in journalism and creative writing.
INFORMATION CENTRE - Catholic Information Service Society (CISS) provides information about the Church in Gujarat in general and Ahmedabad Diocese in particular. CISS also conducts value education and correspondence courses on Jesus Christ and the Bible, etc. CISS also publishes literature on bible and value education.
Right Rev. Athanasius Rethna Swamy SBishop of Ahmedabad
|Born||:||10 February 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||29 March 1989|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||14 April 2018|
Bishop's House , Mirzapur,Ahmedabad - 380 001 (Gujarat)
|Area||:||14,791 sq. km. |
|Languages||:||Gujarati, English, Konkani, Malayalam, Tamil|
The Diocese of Silchar was made up of the district of Cachar, Hailkandi and Karimkanj of Assam State, the entire states of Tripura and Mizoram.
The Diocese was bounded on the west by Bangladesh while the Northern extremity wedges into the segment of a circle which touches from the east khasi Hills of Meghalaya to the Northern Cachar State, on the Southern section the Chn Hills of Myanmar; on the South, the northern extremity of Arakan district of Myanmar.
This eccelsiastical unit was established as the Perfecture Apostolic of Haflong by an Apostolic Brief 'Fit Numquam', dated January 17, 1952, and entrusted to the Holy Cross Fathers of the Canadian Province.
By an Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI 'Omniumm Solicitudo' dated June 26, 1969, the Prefecture of Haflong was raised to the status of as Diocese with the Episcopal See at Silchar.
In December 1983, the northern Cachar Hills district was detached from the Diocese of Silchar and joined to the new Diocese of Diphu.
On 7th February 1996, the entire state of Tripura was cut off from the Diocese of Silchar thereby forming the new diocese of Agartala, in which Rev Fr Lumen Monteiro csc was appointed as its first bishop. His Episcopal Ordination and Installation took place at Agartala on May 26, 1996.
The remaining portion of Silchar Diocese comprises at present the districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Kaimkanj of Assam and the entire state of Mizoram. By the division of Silchar Diocese on Feb. 7, 1996 the see of Silchar was transferred to Aizawl.
On May 26, 2000, Apostolic See, by Decree No. 2520/00, suspended Bishop Denzil's canonical faculties because of ill health, and appointed Bishop Lumen Monteiro csc, the Bishop of Agartala as Apostolic Administrator sede plena et ad nutum Sancte Sedis.
On November 7, 2001, the Holy See appointed Very Rev Fr Stephen Rotluanga csc, as Bishop of Aizawl; and his Episcopal Ordination took place on February 2, 2002. His is the first Mizo to be raised to the dignity of Episcopal.
Right Rev. Stephen Rotluanga CSCBishop Of Aizawl
|Born||:||8 June 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 December 1981|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 February 2002|
Bishop’s House, Ramthar Veng,P. B. No. 45,Aizawl - 796 008 (Mizoram)
|Area||:||28,022 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Mizo, Bengali, Khasi, Hindi and |
The diocese of Ajmer comprises of twelve districts namely Ajmer, Jodhpur, Kota, Barmer, Bundi, Jalore, Jhalwar, Pali, Sirohi, Tonk, Jaisalmer and Baran in the State of Rajasthan.
In July 1890 the Holy See detached a very large portion of the Archdiocese of Agra to make a new unit, the Rajasthan Mission, entrusting it to the Capuchin Fathers of the Paris Province who were to work under the supervision of the Archbishop.
In March 1892, the new mission became the Prefecture Apostolic of Rajputana, and in 1913, the then Prefect Rt. Rev. Fortunatus Henry Caumont, ofm. cap. was appointed the first Bishop of Ajmer. On March 11, 1935 parts of the Dioceses which were in the present state of Madhya Pradesh, were detached to become part of the newly erected Prefecture Apostolic of Indore.
The Diocese was handed over to the Diocesan clergy on May 9, 1949. By the decree of the Holy See dated June 21, 1951. Bandikui with its sub-station Alwar was transferred for geographical and administrative reasons from Agra Archdiocese to Ajmer Diocese. However the Agra Archdiocese retained the jurisdiction over the districts of Bharatpur and Dholpur.
By another decree of the Holy See dated May 13, 1955 the name of the diocese was changed to Ajmer-Jaipur. By decree of the Sacred Congregation for Evangelisation of People (Prot.no.1332/81 dated March 11th 1981) the civil district of Mandasaur was transferred from the jurisdiction of the diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur to that of the Diocese of Indore.
On December 29, 1984 the Holy Father Pope John Paul II, with a decree, divided the Diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur, forming a new diocese named the Catholic Diocese of Udaipur consisting of the districts of Bhilwara, Chittaurgarh, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara and Thandla tehsil. The Holy Father through the same decree appointed Rt. Rev. Joseph Pathalil as it's first Bishop.
Through a mutual agreement between the diocesan bishop and the Superior General of the Little Flower Congregation, Cochin dated April 25, 1986 the districts of Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Churu, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jhunjhunu, Karoli and Sikar were entrusted to the Little Flower Congregation to carry out the work of Evangelisation, pastoral ministry and development on a permanent basis.
On July 20, 2005, the Holy Father Benedict XVI, with a decree bifurcated the Diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur forming a new Diocese - The Catholic Diocese of Jaipur consisting of the District of Jaipur, Alwar, Bikaner, Churu, Dausa, Sikar and Sri Ganganagar and appointed Most Rev. Oswald Lewis as the bishop of the New Diocese, while the name of the mother Diocese was changed to the Diocese of Ajmer.
Right Rev. Pius Thomas D’SouzaBishop Of Ajmer
|Born||:||4 May 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 March 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 January 2013|
|Tel(P)||:||0145-2460337, (0)9530208535, (0)8209597448|
Bishop’s House, KaiserganjAjmer - 305 001 (Rajasthan)
Right Rev. Ignatius MenezesBishop Emeritus of Ajmer
|Born||:||3 January 1936|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1963|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||17 February 1979|
Vianny Home, St. Theresa's Seminary, 33/36, Jaipur Road, Ajmer-305001 (Rajasthan)
|Languages||:||Hindi, English, Marwari and Bhili.|
"The history of the church of Allahabad is linked with the missionary expeditions to Tibet and Nepal" (Historical Sketch of Allahabad Diocese).
The Italian Capuchins of Ancona were commissioned in 1703 to evangelize Tibet. In 1707 six Fathers reached Lhasa. They were well received by the grand Lama and allowed to build a church and a house. For lack of personnel, they had to abandon Tibet twice. In 1741 a third expedition was sent. A persecution started due to pressure from the Lamas. In the meantime missionaries continued their healing apostolate. Unfortunately not one Tibetan embraced the faith. In 1745 the missionaries left Lhasa for Nepal. Twenty four Tibetan converts were gathered together for the last time as they joined in offering the Holy Sacrifice, the missionaries left and Tibet was closed for Christ.
In 1738-1741 the kings of Bhatgon and Kathmandu requested the missionaries to open a mission in their kingdoms. The land and house to stay were given to the missionaries. By November 1767 there were 59 Baptisms. In July 1745 there was a three cornered war between Bhatgaon, Patan and Kathmandu. Prithvi Narayan, the ruler of the Ghurkas became the liberator of the three kingdoms and within 8 years he conquered the rest of Nepal. He denied the missionaries the royal subsidies granted by his predecessors. As they could not get any financial help the missionaries left Nepal for Bettiah.
Patna was till now a resting place for the missionaries traveling between Nepal, Tibet and Chandernagar. In1773 the mission of Agra was entrusted to the Carmelite Fathers. Due to the shortage of missionaries the two Vicariates were amalgamated the missionaries of the province of Ancona were entrusted to look after the above territories which became a great burden to them. Adding to this there was trouble in Europe with political disturbances. The shortage of priests affected the missionary work and its progress in India All these problems did not in any way disturb the faith of the Catholics.
In 1820 the prefecture of Tibet-Hindustan was erected into a Vicariate with the see of Agra. In 1825 Fr. Anthony Pezzoni was appointed Vicar Apostolic. He left India in 1842, and was succeeded by Msgr. Joseph Anthony Borghi. At the request of Dr. Borghi, Agra was separated from the mission of Agra and Patna was raised to a Vicariate of Patna in 1845 comprising of eight territories.
Vicariate of Patna (1845-1886)
After Carli of Pastoria refused to accept his appointment, Dr. Anastasius Hartmann of Lucerne was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Patna on September 8, 1845. He was consecrated on March 13, 1846 at Agra. The catholic population at this time was two thousand. Little later, Chunar, Benaras and Ghazipur were passed over to the Vicariate of Patna.
Erection of the Diocese of Allahabad
On September 1, 1886 Patna Vicariate was erected into a Diocese under the name of "Roman Catholic Diocese of Allahabad." The town of Allahabad was being officially recognized as the new Capital of the mission. Rt. Rev. Dr. Francis Pesci became its first Bishop. On December 20, 1890 the mission changed hands. It passed over to the Capuchin Fathers of the province of Bologna.
To promote the mission work, to get more labors in the vineyard of the lord and to extend God's Kingdom, some districts were dismembered from the Allahabad Diocese to form new prefectures and dioceses.
In 1887 Purnea and Darjeeling were ceded to the Arch- Diocese of Calcutta. In 1892 Bettiah, Chuhari, and Latonah of Allahabad Diocese, formed the prefecture of Bettiah. Patna, along with Bankipore, Bhagalpur, Jaunpur belonging to the Allahabad Diocese formed the Diocese of Patna in 1919. Jabalpur Prefecture was formed in 1932 with Nawgong, Saugor, Bina and Shampura. Then followed the Prefecture of Indore in 1935 with an addition of Bhopal and Sehore given from Allahabad. In January 1940, Lucknow Diocese was formed with ten civil districts of Uttar Pradesh given from the Diocese of Allahabad. This was followed by the erection of Jhansi Prefecture comprising of six civil districts of U.P. from Allahabad. Finally, Varanasi Prefecture was formed with Varanasi, Mughalsarai, Francispur, Ghazipur, Hartmannpur, Gorakhpur and Shahganj and it was raised to the status of a Diocese in 1970.
At present Allahabad Diocese, one of the largest Dioceses in the world, since 1886 had gradually helped to form seven ecclesiastical units. This Diocese was manned by the Capuchins till 1947, and then handed over to the Diocesan Clergy formed by Bishop Angelo Poli O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop Leonard Raymond was its first Indian Ordinary (Bishop) in 1947. Today Allahabad Diocese comprises of 13 civil districts of Uttar Pradesh. They are Allahabad, Ambedkarnagar, Amethi, Faizabad, Fatehpur, Kaushambi. Kanpur City, Kanpur Rural, Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Raebareli, Sonebhadra and Sultanpur.
Rev. Fr. Louis MascarenhasDiocesan Administrator ,Diocese of Allahabad
|Born||:||29 September 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||4 April 1989|
32, Thornhill Road,
Allahabad - 211 002 (Uttar Pradesh)
Right Rev. Isidore FernandesBishop Emeritus of Allahabad
|Born||:||2 January 1947|
|Priestly Ordination||:||29 October 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 August 1988|
St. Anthony's Church Jeolikote-273127 Dt. Nanital (Uttarakhand)
|Area||:||46,774 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Hindu, Urdu, English|
The Diocese of Alleppey was erected by the Papal Bull “Ea Redemptoris Verba” of Pope Pius XII, dated June 19, 1952, which divided the northern territory of the old Cochin Diocese at the Kuthiathodu Canal Line. The territory to the north of that line belongs to the Cochin Diocese and that to the south of it, to the Diocese of Alleppey. The executorial Decree of September 8, 1952 assigned to each of the Diocese of Alleppey and Cochin a supplementary personal jurisdiction over certain parishes in the territory of the other. This Decree was approved by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith on September 24, 1952 and became effective on October 11, 1952.
The boundaries are: on the north, the Kuthiathodu Canal Line; on the south, a straight line from the curve of the Pampa River at Viyapuram to the Arabian Sea through Thottappally; on the east, a line along the middle of the Vembanadu Lake continued to the south by the Pallathuruthy Canal, one of the main branches of the Pampa River, to Viyapuram; on the west: the Arabian Sea.
The area assigned to the Diocese comprises roughly the area of the Jesuit Mission of St. Andre of Muterte. The Jesuits started mission work among the St. Thomas Christians in this area about 1570. The greatest among the Jesuit missionaries who worked in this area was Fr. Giacomo Fenicio, an Italian, who was Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Arthunkal, from 1584 to 1602 and again from 1619 till his death in 1632. He was a pioneer in Indology.
A century of intense mission work of the Jesuits, left the Christian community from Cochin to Purakad considerably increased and provided with several churches, the more important among them being St. Andrew’s Arthunkal (1581). St. Michael’s Kattoor (1590), St. Thomas’ Thumpoly(1600) and St. George’s Manakodam (1640). A few other Churches built during this period were destroyed either by wars or by sea erosion.
After the Schism of the Coonan Cross, the St.Thomas Christians of the Mission of St. Andre were reconciled to Rome by Msgr. Guiseppe Sebastiani during his second tour of Malabar in 1662.
Even after the capture of Cochin by the Dutch, the Jesuits continued to look after the Christians of this area till about the middle of the 18th Century. Then the Mission was taken over by the Carmelite Missionaries and remained under the Vicariate of Verapoly till the restoration of the old Cochin diocese in 1886. Because of Arthunkal’s historical importance, tradition and faith of the people His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI declared St. Andrew’s Church as St. Andrew’s Basilica on 21st May 2010 and it was solemnly declared during the Pontifical Mass by Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio to India on 11th October 2010.
Bishop Michael Arattukulam was the first bishop of Alleppey. He passed away on March 20, 1995. Bishop Peter Chenaparambil took over the diocese on 28th April 1984. On his retirement, Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil assumed office on February 11, 2001.Bishop James Anaparambil was appointed as the Coadjutor Bishop of Alleppey on 7th December 2017.
|Area||:|| 333 sq. kms.|
Already in the time of the great pioneer, Fr Constant Lievens, sj, (approx. 1890) delegates from Surguja went 200 kms on foot to Ranchi and begged to be instructed, catechized and begged to get catechists and to be visited by a Priest regularly. But the feudal rulers persecuted those who had been instructed and neither catechists nor a Priest could be sent.
In the beginning of 1948 the feudal states merged into India and the few Catholics who had settled in Surguja were joined by many who came from Jashpur and Barway in search of land, jobs and livelihood. Missionaries came to visit these settlers. From Kanjia in Bihar, Jodhpur was started in 1947. Four other mission stations: Ambika, Banea, Ratasili and Shantipara (Basen) were established in 1952. As the Independence dawned Christianity saw the light brighter and brighter.
The Diocese of Ambikapur was erected on December 14, 1977 by dismemberment form Raigarh-Ambikapur diocese. The diocese is co-extensive with the present civil districts of Surguja and Korea in the northern part of the State of Chhattisgarh.
Right Rev. Patras Minj SJBishop Emeritus of Ambikapur
|Born||:||23 December 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 April 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 October 1996|
Bishop’s House,P. O. Phunduldihari, Surguja Dt.,Ambikapur - 497 110 (Chhattisgarh)
Right Rev. Antonis BaraBishop of Ambikapur
|Born||:||26 February 1958|
|Priestly Ordination||:||13 May 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||22 February 2022|
Bishop’s House,P. O. Phunduldihari, Surguja Dt.,Ambikapur - 497 110 (Chhattisgarh)
|Area||:|| 22,337 sq. kms|
|Languages||:||Hindi, English, Surgujia,|
The Diocese of Amravati created by the Decree 'Cum Petierit' dated May 8, 1955 was formerly a part of the Archdiocese of Nagpur. It comprised four districts of Vidarbha viz. Amravati, Akola, Buldana and Yavatmal and the three districts of Marathwada, viz Aurangabad, Parbhani and Nanded.
By another decree 'Paescit Ubique' dated May 8, 1955, Pope Pius XII appointed Bp Joseph Albert Rosario, msfs, the First Bishop of Amravati.
Holy Father Pope Paul VI by the Decree 'Qui Arcano' of December 17, 1977 created the Diocese of Aurangabad for which the three civil districts, Aurangabad, Parbhani and Nanded of Marathwada region, got separated from the Diocese of Amravati.
Thus the present Diocese of Amravati consists of only four civil districts of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra state viz. Amravati, Akola, Buldana and Yavatmal.
Most Rev. Elias GonsalvesApostolic Administrator of Amravati
|Born||:||4 July 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 April 1990|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 September 2012|
Bishop’s House,Amravati Camp P. O. - 444 602 (Maharashtra)
|Area||:||46,447 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Marathi, English, Hindi, Urdu, Korku, Gondi|
The evangelisation work in this area began in the year 1870 by the Jesuit fathers of Calcutta, formerly known as the 'Bengal Jesuit Mission'. On May1, 1994 Burdwan-Bhirbum districts were formed into a vicariate by Archbishop Henry D'Souza of Calcutta and the Auxiliary Bishop Cyprian Monis of Calcutta was appointed as the Episcopal Vicar. By the apostolic bull dated October 24, 1977, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, adding Bankura district to the mentioned vicariate created the Diocese of Asansol.
The Diocese of Asansol, thus consists of Burdwan district, nine blocks of Bankura district and 10 blocks of Birbhum district. Asansol is a sub-divisional headquarters within Burdwan district. It is an industrial town, 225 km north west of Calcutta. The diocese lies completely within the state of West-Bengal. As a matter of fact, the entire area of this diocese and more, from 1875 A.D. to 1964 A.D. formed a single parish, Sacred Heart Church, Asansol Bishop Cyprian Monis was appointed as the first Bishop of the diocese of Asansol on December 3,1997.
Right Rev. CYPRIAN MONISBishop Emeritus of Asansol
|Born||:||11 April 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1975|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 August 1994|
Sacred Heart Presbytery,
G. T. Road (West),
Asansol - 713 301 (West Bengal)
Right Rev. Julius MarandiApostolic Administrator Diocese of Asansol
|Born||:||8 June 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||9 December 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 October 1997|
|Tel(P)||:||0341-2282836 , (0)9431156012|
Sacred Heart Presbytery,
G. T. Road (West), Asansol - 713 301
Paschim Bardhaman District (West Bengal)
|Languages||:||Bengali, Sentali, Hindi, English|
The Diocese of Aurangabad was erected by the Decree 'Qui Arcano' (No. 1139/78) dated December 1997. It comprises of seven civil districts, Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani and Nanded are taken from the Diocese of Amravati and Latur. Bhir and Osmanabad are taken from the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. This entire region constitutes a political unit named MARATHWADA in Maharashtra.
Right Rev. Ambrose RebelloBishop Of Aurangabad
|Born||:||17 February 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 April 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 August 2015|
Bishop’s HouseAurangabad Cantt. - 431 002 (Maharashtra)
Right Rev. Edwin ColacoBishop Emeritus of Aurangabad
|Born||:||2 October 1937|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 December 1964|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||30 July 1995|
Vianney Clergy Home,
Behind Bishop’s House,
Aurangabad Cantt. 431 002 (Maharashtra)
|Area||:||64,818 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Marathi, English, Hindi, Konkani, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam.|
In the early part of the twentieth century, when the tea gardens in the foothills of Darjeeling required labourers, many Adivasis from Chotanagpur migrated to the Terai Plains and gradually settled down there.
The Jesuit Fathers from St. Mary's College, Kurseong, looked after the spiritual needs of the Adivasi Catholics, quite regularly. The first Station was established in Gayaganga in 1933 by Fr A. Bossaerts, sj
The area called 'Terai' was established in 1962. As the number of Catholics and local vocations increased, and for better care of the Faithful, Pope John Paul II decided to divide the Diocese of Darjeeling, and thus this Diocese of Bagdogra was created on January 25 1998, with Bishop Thomas D'Souza as its First Bishop.
Right Rev. Vincent AindBishop of Bagdogra
|Born||:||30 January 1955|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 April 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||14 June 2015|
Bishop’s House,Pradhan Nagar P. O.,Siliguri - 734 003 (West Bengal)
|Area||:||1200 Sq. km|
The four districts of Orissa, i.e, Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar, were under the Archdiocese of Calcutta till 1968. Christianity began in Balasore probably during the years 1859 -1865 when church activities were started by Fr Chrysanthus Depart in Midnapur - Balasore area. He settled down at Balasore in 1865. From 1865 till 1936 the Jesuit Fathers residing at Balasore and Krishnachandrapur looked after the Church in Balasore. From 1936 onwards till 1938 there were no residential priests in Balasore and the two church work stations were looked after by the Jesuits of Balasore. Due to an earthquake the church was damaged and later completely dismantled. The Fathers left for Malta and gradually many Christians left Balasore. In 1948 Fathers Vizjak, a Jesuit Priest, resided at Krishnachandrapur and Balasore alternatively and cared for the needs of the little community which stayed back. From 1964 till 1968 Diocesan Priests from the Diocese of Cuttack rendered their services in Balasore, Krishnachandrapur and in Barbil at the request of the Archbishop of Calcutta.
On June 8, 1968, the Holy See separated the above mentioned three districts from the Archdiocese of Calcutta and formed them into one unit named "Prefecture of Balasore", annexing it to the ecclesiastical Province of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. The new Prefecture is entrusted to "Congregation of the Mission". (Vincentians).
On June 14, 1968, Bp Jacob Vadakeveetil, cm, of the Congregation of the Mission was appointed the first Apostolic Administrator and took charge on November 18, 1968. On January 13, 1990 the Prefecture Apostolic was raised to the status of a diocese and Bp Thomas Thiruthalil, cm, was appointed its First Bishop.
Rev. Fr. Isaac PuthenangadyDiocesan Administrator Diocese of Balasore
|Born||:||23 December 1963|
|Priestly Ordination||:||26 April 1993|
Balasore - 756 001 (Odisha)
Right Rev. Thomas Thiruthalil, CMBishop Emeritus of Balasore
|Born||:||17 January 1936|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 April 1963|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||5 May 1974|
Vianney Bhavan, Jyothi Hospital Campus, Kuruda P.O., Balasore-756056 (Odisha)
|Area||:||28,118 Sq. Kms.|
|Languages||:||Oriya, Santali, Ho, Oraon, Mundari, Hindi, Bengali|
The Diocese of Bangalore was formerly a part of the Mysore Mission which was separated from Pondicherry in 1845 and entrusted to the Fathers of the PARIS FOREIGN MISSION SOCIETY (Missions Etrangeres de Paris).
The Mysore Mission was erected into a Vicariate Apostolic in 1850 and entrusted to Msgr Charbonnaux, MEP, who was at that time coadjutor Bishop of Pondicherry.
In 1886, the Bull “Humanae Salutis Auctor” elevated the Vicariate of Mysore to the rank of a Diocese. Mysore was the title and Bangalore was the headquarters of the Diocese. All along the second part of the 19th century and the ?rst half of the 20th the Foreign Mission Society, under successive Bishops, developed a network of churches, schools, convents and colleges. Thus they prepared Bangalore to become an Archdiocese, a great capital and a cosmopolitan city.
The Christian infrastructure of Bangalore owes much to the French Fathers, Servanton Circle in Cantonment area and The Briand Square near City Market perpetuate the memory of the Founders. The above two, along with the following, viz., SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER’S CATHEDRAL whose ?rst Parish Priest was Fr. Jarrige in 1842, and SAINT JOSEPH’S CHURCH built by Fr. Bigot-Beauclair in 1851-1852, SAINT MARY’S BASILICA, started as the ?rst church in Bangalore, was built as we see it now, by Fr. Kleiner between 1875 and 1882 before he was made Bishop. The SACRED HEART CHURCH was completed in 1895 by Fr. Combret. The then Cathedral, SAINT PATRICK’S CHURCH was completed by Fr. Gailhot in 1844 and renovated by the illustrious Fr. Tabard who was its Parish Priest from 04.12.1891 till 12.04.1925. He is buried inside the church. The SAINT PETER’S SEMINARY at Malleswaram, now a Philosophy and Theology Faculty and Centre for Canon Law, was established in Pondicherry in 1777 by Bishop Brigot, ?rst MEP Superior of the Malabar Mission. The Seminary was shifted to Bangalore in 1934. SAINT JOSEPH’S COLLEGE was founded in 1882 by MEP Fathers. It was handed over to the Society of Jesus on 1st June, 1937.
By the Bull “Felicius Increscente” (happily growing), Pope Pius XII created on 13th February 1940 the Diocese of Bangalore, carving it out the Diocese of Mysore. Most Rev. Bishop Maurice Bernard Benoit Joseph was appointed as the ?rst Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Bangalore and St. Francis Xavier’s Church was designated as the Cathedral. Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Pothacamury who was the Bishop of Guntur was transferred to Bangalore and became the First Indian Bishop of Bangalore in 1942. The Cathedral was consecrated on 24th January 1948.
On 19th September 1953, Pope Pius XII issued the decree “Mutant Res” (things are changing) by which Bangalore was elevated to Archdiocese.
On 14th November, 1988, the Diocese of Shimoga was created to which Bangalore Archdiocese ceded the civil district of Chitradurga. Thus the Archdiocese of Bangalore now comprises six civil districts of Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura, Kolara, Ramanagara and Tumakuru. These cover an area of 27,123 sq km with a total population of 1,71,65,595 as per the census of 2011. Currently the Catholic Christian population is 3,78,869 (2018).
Most Rev. Peter MachadoArchbishop of Bangalore
|Born||:||26 May 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 December 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||30 March 2006|
Archbishop’s House, 75, Miller’s Road, Benson Town, Bengaluru - 560 046 (Karnataka)
Most Rev. Alphonsus MathiasArchbishop Emeritus of Bangalore
|Born||:||22 June 1928|
|Priestly Ordination||:||24 August 1954|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||5 February 1964|
St. John’s National Academy!Johannagar, !Bangalore - 560 034.! KARNATAKA.
|Area||:||27,123 Sq kms|
|Languages||:||Kannada, Tamil, English, Telugu, Malayalam and Konkani|
The Catholic Mission in Northern India takes its origin from the arrival of the Jesuit Missionaries in Fathepur Sikri in the year 1580 at the invitation of the Mogul Emperor Akbar. In 1601, they established their headquarters at Agra. In 1619, the Jesuit Missionaries were in Rajasthan, but the ruler there did not encourage the Christian message to spread. The Jesuit Missionaries were invited to Patna in 1620. There were a few Catholic Portuguese soldiers in the army. A Church was built and the foundation for a Catholic community was laid. When Capuchin Missionaries arrived in Patna in 1706 on their way to Tibet, they found about 150 Catholics.
In 1773, when the Jesuit Congregation was suppressed, two Carmelite Fathers from Bombay succeeded them in Agra, who in turn were replaced by the Capuchins. Ever since, the Capuchin Missionaries have laboured relentlessly for the spread of the faith and the progress of the Catholic Church in north India. The year 1885 marks the beginning of the long process of divisions and sub-divisions of the Tibet-Hindustan region which led to the creation of not less than thirty ecclesiastical units of north India.
In the year of the Lord nineteen hundred and eighty nine, on the nineteenth day of the month of January, His Holiness John Paul II, the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church took the momentous decision of erecting a new Diocese-the Diocese of Bareilly and promulgated the Bull “Indorum Inter Gentes”. By this Bull, six districts of the Diocese of Lucknow in the state of Uttar Pradesh namely, Bareilly, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit were carved out to form the new Diocese of Bareilly having the church of St. Alphonsus as its Cathedral. The Diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Agra.
On the same day, the Holy Father appointed and proclaimed Very Rev. Anthony Fernandes, Vicar General of the Diocese of Varanasi as the Bishop-elect of the newly erected Diocese, by promulgating the Bull “Eodem Animi Pastoralis”.
Thus was fulfilled the long cherished dream of the late Bishop Conrad de Vito, OFM Cap, the first Bishop of Lucknow who, with remarkable foresight and vision had realized that the work of evangelizing and spreading the Gospel could not be achieved in an effective and concerted way if one pastor alone was given the care of the fourteen districts of his diocese. With the creation of the new state of Uttarakhand and with the further division of the districts the Catholic Diocese of Bareilly now comprises of nine districts of two Northern States, viz. districts of Bareilly, Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit from the State Uttar Pradesh and the Districts of Udham Singh Nagar, Nainital, Almora, Bageshwar, Pithoragarh and Champawat from the State of Uttarakhand.
Bishop Anthony Fernandes served the Diocese of Bareilly for over 25 years with missionary zeal and commitment. During his tenure as Bishop the diocese spread its mission areas in the field of Education, health and social work. A special feature of his mission work was encouraging Ashram and the care of Christ-Bhaktas.
Pope Francis on Friday 11th July 2014 appointed Rev. Fr. Ignatius D’ Souza, Vicar General of the Diocese of Lucknow, as the Bishop of Bareilly succeeding Emeritus Bishop Anthony Fernandes. He served the faithful of Lucknow diocese for close to 24 years and has a wealth of gifts and experiences with him for his episcopal ministry. In a moving and joyful celebration of the Mass, Bishop Ignatius D’ Souza was consecrated and formally installed as the second Roman Catholic Bishop of Bareilly, on Saturday, October 4, 2014. Bishop Ignatius chose the motto “Serve the Lord with Gladness” (Psalm 100:2). This phrase prescribes a rule of worship. It reflects the steadfastness and the unfettered responsiveness to the will of God that he would cultivate in his life. The service of God is a source of highest joy with this new vigour and zeal Bishop Ignatius D’ Souza has begun to carry ahead the mission of the Lord.
The Catholic population of Bareilly Diocese is 7,460. The Diocesan clergy is 58. There are 34 Religious Priests, 10 Religious Brothers and 329 Religious Sisters in the service of the Diocese.
Right Rev. Ignatius D' SouzaBishop of Bareilly
|Born||:||4 August 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||7 April 1991|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 October 2014|
Bishop’s House, 63, Cantt.Bareilly - 243 001 (Uttar Pradesh)
|Area||:||32,860 Sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and|
The word Baroda is the Anglicised version of "Vadodara". For all practical purposes this Indianised version "Vadodara" has come to stay ever since the Central Government replaced the names of many of the big cities in India given by the British with Indigenous names and made it mandatory in all correspondence. In a way, "Vadodara" is more appropriate and meaningful. 'Vad' means a banyan tree. Legend has it that there was a banyan tree whose overhanging roots spread so far and wide that it was later difficult to identify the mother tree.
Very much like the Baroda Diocese. Only an appendix to the Archdiocese of Bombay till 1965, it was established as an independent diocese in 1966 by Pope Paul VI.
In matter of just three and half decades, the diocese has swelled to 38 Parish Centres of which 23 are located in rural areas. There are a total of 117 Institutes and 22 Women Religious Congregations, 5 Men Religious Orders, a veritable growth and our incessant efforts to spread the Kingdom of God to the far corners of Gujarat continue unabated.
We are engaged in multifarious activities covering a vast spectrum-spiritual, educational, social, economical, cultural, agricultural and ecological. In short everything that pertains to human development and the upliftment of the poor, needy, marginalized, the downtrodden has been our deep concern.
Whilst much, no doubt has been done, the diocese has a healthy restlessness to find ways to identify itself more with the tribal community since the mission of Gujarat is predominantly tribal.
Some five decades ago our tribal community lived a relative peace and harmony, in spite of having the bare minimum to subsist on. They were a happy lot. Thick jungles, evergreen forests, water in rivers and springs, deer and peasants, panthers and tigers were plenty, The trees provided them with a home and tool for survival. The fish and the wild fowl were their food. A small plot of land provided cereals as food and cotton to weave their minimal loincloth. The tribal chief ensured that peace prevailed, a sufficient and simple world.
Not for long, however, with the passage of time technological progress has set in. Roads, doubtless provide facilities but they also mean invasion. Forests are denuded, the hills are eroded, the rivers dried, and the flora and fauna disappeared. Outsiders opened shops, started money lending, exploitation and gradually governed the economy. The tribal world started disintegrating. Their idyllic world was shattered. The Sphinx-like dictum now is "struggle or be devoured". Of late, to cap it, the peaceful atmosphere has been further disrupted and vitiated by certain hard core religious fundamentalist groups who are hell-bent on stirring up trouble.
The cry of the tribals cannot be ignored be it an economical cry for survival or a socio-political cry or a cultural cry that the Church in Gujarat reaches out and responds to the tribal community.
It is to this cry of the tribals that the Death-Resurrection Mystery of Christ invites us to share and break bread by being with them. In short it is faith that gives us a vision and the sustenance to create a just society, a process in which we grow as much as they in the struggle for liberation.
However we are also aware of by our limitations. We cater to only a small section of the tribal belt in Gujarat. There are disturbing question we face and have to be addressed. How best can we serve the interests of the tribals? Are we capable of really feeling the pulse of the tribals - their aspirations and hopes, their worldview, their psychological profile? Where is the delicate line between a ruthless exposure and a stifling insulation? How best to walk the tight rope between relief measures and development? Between avoiding dependency and creating self-reliance and organizing self-direction? How do we create a relevant local Church? And yet we believe that as in the Exodus experience, the process of the traveler, the pilgrim Church is in God's hands. He is aware of our needs, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not more clothe you, Oh men of little faith."
Right Rev. GODFREY DE ROZARIO SJBishop Emeritus Of Baroda
|Born||:||13 September 1946|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 April 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 December 1997|
Bishop’s House, 71- Alkapuri SocietyVadodara - 390 007 (Gujarat)
Right Rev. Sebastião Mascarenhas, SFXBishop of Baroda
|Born||:||29 July 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||6 May 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 February 2023|
71, Alkapuri Society,
Vadodara - 390 007 (Gujarat)
|Area||:||40,365 Sq. km|
|Languages||:|| Adivasi, Gujarati, English, Marathi, Konkani, Malayalam and Tamil.|
The first Vicariate Apostolic of Bengal was established in 1834 with its headquarter at Calcutta. Msgr. Patrick Carew was appointed as the Vicar Apostolic. In 1840, the first missionary, Fr. Zubiburu, a Spanish Carmelite went to Koikhali, a small village along with Mr. Crow, the District Magistrate. He built a catholic community of 278 members. However, Fr. Zubiburu, could not continue his work owing to bad health and left the place.
The Belgian Jesuits came to Bengal in 1859. In 1868 at the invitation of Kala Chand (Stanislas), Fr. Goffinet S.J. went to a small village called Gokurni near Magra Hat. A few days later in July 1868, he baptized a little girl of six in Magra Hat which was the happy passage for the Christian community in 24 Parganas. From there Fr. Goffinet SJ went to Koikhali and resumed the missionary work started by Fr. Zubiburu, Under Msgr. Steins SJ. It was Father E. Delplace SJ the pioneer, who went around establishing five Mission Stations in four years such as Raghabpur, Morapai, Basanti,Khari and Baidyapur (1873-1877). In 1886 the Vicariate Apostolic became the Archdiocese of Calcutta.
The Yugoslav Jesuit Priests were invited to come to Bengal and to take charge of 24 Parganas District. That move marked the new beginning of the Sunderbans' Mission. They started new mission stations or re-opened old ones; they built churches and chapels and gradually injected new life in the existing Catholic communities. After the war, unfortunately, the doors were closed and no new missionaries could come in. Later the Belgian Jesuits and Indian priests took over the missions. The tenure of Archbishop V. Dyer (1960-1962) and Archbishop A. D'Souza (1962-1969) witnessed further bifurcations of the Archdiocese of Calcutta into the dioceses of Jamshedpur, Darjeeling and Dumka.
By the Bull, Ad Supernam, Pope Paul VI created on 12 March 1978 the diocese of Baruipur, detaching from the Archdiocese of Calcutta the Southern and Central Portion of the civil district commonly known as the 24 Parganas and the civil territories called Thana. Bishop Linus Nirmal. Gomes was ordained as first Bishop of Baruipur Diocese on Saturday, November 19, 1977. Rt. Rev. Linus Nirmal Gomes SJ submitted his resignation to the Holy Father due to ill health after leading the diocese as the good shepherd for 18 years. Holy Father accepted his resignation with effect from October 31, 1995. Consequently, Rev. Fr. Salvadore Lobo was elected the Administrator of the Diocese. He was later appointed the Bishop of Baruipur by the Holy See on Friday, November 14, 1997 and was ordained a Bishop on Thursday, January 29, 1998.
Under the leadership of Bishop Salvadore Lobo as a good shepherd, there has been a steady growth in the diocese. Past twenty years of his service has witnessed many milestones in the diocese. To mention few of them: 11 new parishes, 8 new convents, 7 new schools and 5 new institutions of different kinds have been established.
The diocese of Baruipur is situated in the South Eastern part of West Bengal (India) with lots of rivers and clusters of islands. The diocese now comprises of South 24 Parganas District, part of North 24 Parganas District and a part of Kolkata Metropolis. These cover an area of 10, 568 square kilometers with a total population of 94, 45, 909 as per the census of 2011. The catholic Christian population currently is 62,847 as per the year 2018. The language spoken in the territory includes Bengali, English and Hindi.
Right Rev. SALVADORE LOBOBishop Emeritus of Baruipur
|Born||:||30 April 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 March 1973|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 January 1998|
Sacred Heart Presbytery,
G. T. Road (West), Asansol - 713 301
Paschim Bardhaman District (West Bengal)
Right Rev. Shyamal BoseBishop of Baruipur
|Born||:||24 March 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||5 May 1991|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 June 2019|
Bishop’s House,Baruipur P. O.,Kolkata - 700 144 (West Bengal)
|Area||:||10,568 Sq. km|
The Diocese of Tiruvalla was extended from the river Pampa to the south to the river Ponnani in the north. It was on February 14, 1958 that the Holy See by the Decree Prot. 534/43, further extended the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Tiruvalla to the whole of Malabar Region of Kerala, the Civil Districts of Coimbatore, Nilgiris and Karur Taluk in Tiruchirapally Districts of Tamilnadu and the Districts of Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Coorg, Chickmangalore, Shimoga and South Kanara in Karnataka.
After the extension of the Dicoese, a few priests were sent to the new regions by His Excellency late Zacharias Mar Athanasios, the third Bishop of Tiruvalla. These pioneers of the Malabar Mission began to work zealously among the Malankara faithful, concentrating on a few centres like Bathery, Mananthavady, Nilambur, Edakkara, Karuvarakundu and Maikavu. In 1963 Mar Athanasios sent two priests to South Kanara (Karnataka) to work among the Malankara faithful who had migrted from Kerala. Desiring to establish the identity of the Malankara Catholic Church and to accelerate the Reunion Movement in the newly organized territories, His Excllency Zacharias Mar Athanasios requested the Holy See to bifurcate the Diocese of Tiruvalla and to erect a new Diocese with SulthanBathery as its headquarters. His Holiness Pope John Paul responded to the request and erected the new Diocese of Bathery on October 28, 1978 at Mar Theophilos Nagar (St. Thomas Malankara Catholic Church Campus, Thirumoolapuram) Tiruvalla, by His Grace Benedict Mar Gregorios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum and arch bishop of the Malankara Catholic Church.
It was on February 2, 1979 that His Excellency Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselios, the first Bishop of Bathery, officially took charge of the Diocese. The Enthronement (Sunthroniso) ceremony took place at the St. Thomas Pro-Cathedral at SulthanBathery. The existing 8,500 Malankara Catholics were organised in 43 Parishes and Mission Stations by zealous and committed priests of whom 18 belonged to the Diocese of Tiurvalla and 2 belonged to the Bethany Ashram. 13 Bethany Sisters and 17 Sisters of the Deena Sevanasabha also gave valuable services in different parts of the Diocese. After serious thoughts and prayerful reflection, it was concluded that the most urgent need in the Diocese was nothing but proper community formation both in its ecclesial and social sense. The Archdiocese of Trivandrum and the Diocese of Tiruvalla had generously given the services of some of their zealous and active priests. Thousands of families, besides some prominent priests came into the full communion of the Catholic Church. Many Parishes and Mission Stations were opened. Infact, many people from the Sister Churches requested the Diocese to start the Malankara Catholic Mission Stations in their locality.
Mar Baselios instituted a few departments for the effective realization of the goals set by the Diocese. There were the departments of Cahtechetics, Youth, Family and Bible which were instituted in view of forming and uniting the whole people, namely, children, Youth Men and women, of the Diocese. The Diocese also gave due importance to its social commitment, taking seriously the life situation of the people around. The Diocese chalked out a social programme aimed at promoting the integral growth of men and women. The Social Service Centre, named Shreyas, which is the official organ of the Diocese of promoting justice and fellowship, is instituted in view of creating a more human and just society, based on Gospel values, through a scientific programme of mass education, mass mobilization and mass action. The Diocese also started few educational institutions under the Corporate Educational Agency of the Dicese to impart a value based education to the youth in the Diocese irrespective of caste and creed.
After 17 years of inspiring leadership in the Diocese, His Excellency Mar Baselios left for Trivandrum on December 12, 1995 as he was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum and the Head of the Malankara Catholic Church. His Grace Cyril Mar Baselios took charge of the Church and of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum on December 14, 1995.
From December 14, 1995 till February 5, 1997 the Diocese was led by Msgr. Thomas Thannickakuzhy as its Aministrator. On December 18 1996 His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed Very Rev. Dr. Varghese Ottathengil, the then Rector of St. Mary's Malankara Major Seminary, Trivandrum as the new Bishop of Bathery. Msgr. Varghese Ottathengil was consecrated a Bishop on February 5, 1996 at Mar Athanasios Nagar, Bathery (St. Joseph's School Ground) by His Grace Mar Baselios, the Head of the Malankara Catholic Church.
Msgr. Mathew Nedungatt and Msgr. Thomas Thannickakuzhy served the Diocese as its Vicar General from 1980-82 and 1984 to 1998 respectively. The Diamond Jubilee of the Malankara Reunion Movement was celebrated in the Diocese of Bathery on 20, 21st September 1990 at Sulthan Bathery. Msgr. Thomas Cheruvupurayidom, Msgr. Issac Thottungal, Msgr. Eldho Puthenkandathil served as Vicar Generals during the period of 1998-2010.
His Eminence Wladislao Cardinal Rubin, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches visited the Diocese on January 9, 1981 and inaugurated the Pastoral Council and parish Senate in the Diocese.
The Diocese of Bathery was blessed by the visit of His Eminence Simon D. Cardinal Lourdusamy, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches on August 25, 1987.
The Diocese of Bathery comprises the Civil Districts of Wayanad, Malapppuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod of Kerala, Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu and Mysore, Mandya, Coorg, Hassan, Chickmangalore, South Kanara, Uduppi and Shimoga of the Karnataka State.
Msgr. Issac Thottungal, the vicar General of the Bathery was appointed as Apostolic Visitor for North America and Europe and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum on 18 June 2001, Archbishop of Tiruvalla on 15 May 2006 and Major Archbishop and Catholicos on March 2007.
On 25 January 2010, as per the decision of the Holy Episcopal Synod, the diocese of Bathery is bifurcated and the eparchy of Puthoor is erected, consisting of the civil districts of Dekshina Karnataka, Chamrajnagar, Hassan, Chickmangalore, Mandya, Mysore, Shimoga and Uduppi Karnata state.
Moran More Baseliose Cleemis the Major Arch Bishop and Catholicos transferred His Excellency Dr. Geevarghese Mar Divanassiose as the first bishop of the eparchy of the Puthoor. His Beatitude also transferred Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thomas, the auxiliary bishop of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum and the Apostolic visitor to North America and Europe, and appointed him as the third Bishop of Bathery.
Moran Mor Baseliose Cleemis, installed His Excellency Dr. Joseph Mar Thomas as the Bishop of Bathery at St. Thomas Cathedral on 13 April 2010. His Excellency has constructed the new St. Thomas Cathedral and it was consecrated on 20th September 2016 by His Beatitude Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos.
Msgr. Mathew Chamakalyil and Msgr. Varghese Thannickakuzhiyil served as the chief vicar general and vicar general of the eparchy from June 2010 to 2016 respectively. At present Very Rev. Msgr. Mathew Arambankudiyil serves as the Chief Vicar General and Very Rev. Msgr. Thomas Kanjiramukalil functions as the Vicar General. Besides, the eparchy has got five Cor-Episcopos and two Episcopal Vicars to guide the pastoral ministry of the eparchy.
Eparchy of Bathery has started three new Higher Education Institutions and several school for educational apostolate during the period of 2012-2014. The eparchy has got 109 parishes, vibrant Malankara Catholic Association (MCA), dynamic youth(MCYM) committed Women Centered ministry(Mathru Jyothis). Commendable catechetical programs and social development activities are conducted by Sreyas.
Priests from the Eparchy of Bathery serve in the mission diocese of Gurgeon, Kadkki, Jamaica, Gulf regions, Europe, USA, Britain, Ireland and Scotland.
There are 101 priests of the diocesan clergy, eight priests from Bethany Ashram and three priests from fathers of faith congregation, who render their dedicated service in the mission eparchy of Bathery. Sisters from Bethany Congregation, Daughters of Mary, Deena Seva Sabha, Holy Spirit and Sisters of Franciscan missionary congregation are also giving their great services in the eparchy.
Right Rev. Joseph ThomasBishop Of Bathery
|Born||:||20 April 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||23 December 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 February 2005|
Dharmapitam,Catholic Bishop’s House,Sultan Bathery P. O. - 673 592Wayanad District (Kerala)
|Area||:||75,000 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and English.|
The Belgaum Diocese was erected on September 19, 1953 by the Papal Bull "Summa illa Sollicitudo" of Pope Pius XII. Two civil districts of Belgaum and North Kanara were separated from the Archdiocese of Goa and two other civil districts of Dharwad and Bijapur were taken from the Diocese of Pune in forming the Diocese of Belgaum.
The most Rev. Dr. Michael Rodrigues was appointed the first Bishop. By a the Papal Bull "Christi Missium" of Paul VI, the North Kanara District was separated from the Belgaum Diocese to form the Karwar Diocese on January 24, 1976.
It now consists of the civil districts of Belgaum, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri in Karnataka State and the Chandgad taluka in Kolhapur District of Maharashtra State.
Right Rev. Derek FernandesBishop of Belgaum
|Born||:||14 May 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||5 May 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||20 April 2007|
Bishop’s House, B. C. 69, Camp,
Belgaum - 590 001
|Languages||:||Konkani, Kannada, Tamil, Marathi and English|
The word of God that was preached and lived by the Franciscan fathers in the 16th Century did accomplish its task in its own way. The Diocese of Bellary owes its faith and growth to the Franciscan fathers. Thanks to the efforts of the pioneering father such as Bishop John Forest Hogan. In 1928, the Holy See detached the two districts of Raichur and Gulbarga from the Diocese of Hyderabad and the district of Bellary from the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore and formed the new Mission "Sui Juris" of Bellary. It was entrusted to the pastoral care of the Order of Friars Minor of the English Province. In the course of twenty years, its development was considered sufficient to be constituted as a Diocese. This took place in 1949 with Rt. Rev. John Forest Hogan, ofm, as the first Bishop. The Diocese of Bellary now consists of the five districts of Bellary, Raichur, Gulbarga, Koppal and Davanagere all in Karnataka state.
Right Rev. Henry D' SouzaBishop of Bellary
|Born||:||9 September 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||5 May 1976|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||12 June 2008|
Bishop’s House57, Munro Road, Cantonment,Bellary - 583 104 (Karnataka)
|Languages||:||Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Konkani and English.|
The Diocese of Belthangady was erected by the Papal Bull “CUM AMPLA”, dated 24 th April 1999, of His Holiness Pope John Paul II as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Thalasserry. This diocese has been established for the Syro-Malabar Catholics of the three civil districts of Karnataka State, viz., Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. It took more than 50 years for the Syro-Malabar Catholics living in this area to become a Diocese. It has a prehistory.
In the middle of the 20 th century there were lot of migrations from Southern Kerala to Northern Kerala, to the southern parts of Karnataka and South Western parts of Tamil Nadu. The migration of Syro-Malabar Catholics to various parts of Karnataka, mainly Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Chickmagalur, Shimoga districts took place in 1950s. The migration to these areas were encouraged by the availability of agriculture land and the encouragement from the then Madras Government.
The spiritual needs of these Syrian Catholics were met by the Latin Dioceses of Mangalore, Mysore, Chickmagaluru.
The Diocese of Tellicherry was erected by the Bull ‘Ad Christi Ecclesiam Regendaam’ on 31st December 1953 by His Holiness Pope Pius XII of happy memory, as a suffrogan of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, for the Catholics of Syro-Malabar Church migrated to Malabar from Travacore and Cochin states. Mar Sebastian Vallopilly became the first Bishop of the Diocese.
As the Catholics of of the Syro-Malabar community migrated even to the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu, the boundaries of Tellicherry Diocese were extended to the present Latin Dioceses of Mangalore, Chickmagalur, Mysore, Shimoga and Ootacamund on April 29, 1955.
In order to overcome the hindrances of language the CMI Fathers came with helping hands and later priests from the Diocese of Tellicherry. The cultural difference especially the language difference was a problem for the priests from Tellicherry for the fruitful pastoral activities here. So the development of the parishes in Karnataka remained far behind comparing to the parishes in Kerala.
In March 1, 1973, the Diocese of Mananthavady was formed by bifurcating the Diocese of Tellicherry.
The territory of the new Diocese was extended to the districts of Shimoga, Chickmagaluru, Hassan, Mandya, Chamarajanagara and Mysore in Karnataka. The districts of Dakshina Kannada (including present Udupi District) and Kodagu remained under the Diocese of Tellicherry.
As Dakshina Kannada (including present Udupi District) is in Karnataka State with a different language and culture, it was difficult to cater to the spiritual needs of the faithful directly from Thalassery. Hence it was declared a Mission Province of the Archdiocese of Thalasserry on the 11 th November 1979 by Mar Sebastian Vallopilly and appointed Very Rev. Fr. K.M. Peter as the Episcopal Vicar of the Mission. Very Rev. Fr. Peter Koottiany was the Episcopal Vicar of D.K.Mission till May 16, 1997. During the 18 years of his able and dedicated leadership the D. K. Mission grew to become a Diocese later.
Very Rev. Fr. Lawrence Mukkuzhy succeeded Very Rev. Fr. K.M. Peter as the Second Episcopal Vicar on the same day. The Mission grew up and finally in April 24, 1999, the Diocese of Belthangady was erected by the Papal Bull “CUM AMPLA” of His Holiness Pope John Paul II as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Thalasserry and Msgr. Lawrence Mukkuzhy was appointed as the first Bishop of the Diocese. This Diocese has been established for the Syro-Malabar Catholics of the three civil districts of Karnataka State, viz., Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. The diocese was inaugurated on 4th August 1999.
Right Rev. Lawrence MukkuzhyBishop of Belthangady
|Born||:||31 August 1951|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 August 1999|
Bishop’s House,Udayanagar, P. B. No. 13,P. O. Belthangady - 574 214, D. K.(Karnataka)
|Languages||:||Kannada, Tulu, Konkani, Malayalam, Coorgi, English.|
The seed of Catholicism in Odisha can be traced back to the 17th Century, when it was under the care of Madras-Mylapore. By 1845 the region of Odisha was already under Visakhapatnam Diocese and the missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, msfs evangelized the hilly regions of the then Ganjam and Phulbani Districts and the coastal belt of Cuttack and Berhampur. However, with due the hard missionary life and unhygienic conditions of the hilly region, many young missionaries succumbed to tropical deceases like Malaria & Black fever in the mission fields. Therefore, after the World War I, in 1923, they handed over the Cuttack Mission, as it was known then, to the Congregation of the Mission, the Spanish Vincentian missionaries. Under the Vincentian Missionaries the Cuttack Mission progressed in leaps and bounds. It was declared "Missio Sui Juris" by Pope Pius XI on July 18, 1928 and Fr Valerian Guemes, CM, was appointed its Administrator and Ecclesial Superior.
In 1937 Cuttack Mission was raised to the status of a Diocese and Rt. Rv. Florence Esperanza CM as the first Bishop of the Diocese of Cuttack. After his retirement, Bishop Paul Tobar, CM was appointed as the second Bishop in 1948. On 24th January 1974, Pope Paul VI, by the Papal Bull 'Verba Jesus Christi', bifurcated the Diocese of Cuttack and created the Diocese of Berhampur with the present eight civil Districts of South Odisha: Ganjam, Gajapati, Nuapoda, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangapur, Malkangiri and Kalahandi. Simultaneously, Odisha Ecclesiastical Province was created with Cuttack-Bhubaneswar as the Archdiocese, the new name of the Diocese of Cuttack, and the Diocese of Berhampur was placed as one of its suffragan Dioceses. Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, CM. was installed on 23rd June 1974 as the first Bishop of Berhampur. In January 1990 he was transferred to the newly erected Diocese of Balasore and Rev. Fr. Joseph Das was appointed as the Administrator of the Diocese of Berhampur, who was later consecrated Bishop of Berhampur on 7th July 1994. Bishop Das retired in 2006.
The present Bishop Rt. Rev. Sarat Chandra Nayak was consecrated on 30th January 2007 as the third Bishop of Berhampur, with his motto: “To be a happy servant.” Accepting the request of the Diocese, Pope Francis bifurcated the Diocese of Berhampur and created a new Diocese of Rayagada on 11th April 2016. Rt. Rev. Bishop Aplinar Senapati, CM was consecrated on 28th May 2016 as the first Bishop of Rayagada, comprising six civil Districts: Nuapoda, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangapur, Malkangiri and Kalahandi, The Diocese of Berhampur has now 2 civil Districts: Ganjam & Gajapati. Diocese has a Ten Year Plan (2011-2021) to realize the following Vision and Mission.
Vision: To be a Spirit-filled, Self-sustaining and Serving Community.
Mission: To make Christ known to the world by improving the quality of Christian life, by promoting human dignity and freedom, by empowering the marginalized through quality education and sustainable holistic development, and to promote healthy, happy and harmonious life in the society.
Right Rev. Sarat Chandra NayakBishop Of Berhampur
|Born||:||1 July 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||25 April 1990|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||30 January 2007|
Bishop’s House, Pukudibandha Junction, Narendrapur P.O. - 760 007 Ganjam Dist. (Odisha)
|Languages||:||Oriya,Kui, Saura, Telungu, Sandali, Hindi, English|
On March 14, 1703 The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome decided to open a mission in Tibet. This decision came about because the reports from travelers that were received in Rome said that there were Christian communities in Asia somewhere between India and China. In the sixteenth century the Society of Jesus tried to start a mission in Tibet. They found no such communities and they abandoned the plan because of the great difficulties of the journey.
In 1637 French Capuchins of the Tours Province came from Syria to Surat in India and hearing the same story of Christian communities somewhere between India and China and not knowing of the failure of the Jesuits, also wanted to go there and help those communities which, however, were never found. This attempt also failed.
In the decree of the Congregation of the Propaganda mentioned above the territory was vaguely described in such a way that if the Tibet Mission failed, the missionaries could still work in the area on the left bank of the Ganges River. This mission was assigned to the Italian Capuchins.
Five priests and one brother were assigned to the mission and these left Europe on January 25, 1707. Except for the leader of the group all were between the ages of 30 and 35. Three died on the way and these were replaced two years later by three more. The missionaries managed to reach Chandernagore in Bengal where the French had a trading center.
The route to Tibet went from Chandernagore through Patna and Kathmandu. In Patna at that tome there were about one million inhabitants and there were trading posts of the Dutch, French and English. Many of these foreigners were Christians but there were no local Christians. It was decided that a priest should stay in Patna and minister to the Christians there.
The missionaries reached Lhasa in late 1707 but after a few years had to leave because of sickness and lack of money. The mission was again started in 1716, then closed again in 1733 and reopened in 1738. A few Tibetans became Christian but because they refused to follow the customs of their former religion, they were severely beaten and the authorities turned against the missionaries and they were finally forced to leave in 1745.
In the meantime, Fr. Joseph Mary Bernini from Gargnono while in Patna for a short time was asked to go to Bettiah to treat a member of the local king’s family. The patient was cured and the king asked the Pope to send missionaries to his kingdom to serve his subjects and to preach their religion. Fr. Joseph Mary was the one chosen for this mission which was formally begun in December 1745.
In 1768 Fr. Joseph of Rovato was made the Prefect Apostolic of the Tibet Mission and he made his headquarters in Patna. In 1784 the northern part of the Vicariate of the Great Mogul was attached to the Prefecture of Tibet. In 1820 the center of the mission was shifted to Agra which was raised to the status of a Vicariate. This was because other Capuchin missionaries were working in Mhow, Indore, and Gwalior and had their headquarters in Agra. Thus these two missions became one.
In 1844 Athanasius Hartmann, OFM Cap, a Swiss Capuchin, arrived in Agra. On February 7, 1845 the Agra Vicariate was divided and the civil Province of Bihar, of which the main stations were Bettiah, Chakhni, Chuhari, Patna, Dinapore, Bhagalpur, Monghyr and Purnea, Nepal and Sikkim, was made into the independent Vicariate of Patna. On September 30, 1845 Fr. Hartmann was chosen as the titular Bishop of Derbe and Vicar Apostolic of Patna. After twenty years of strenuous work in a territory that included the present states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh the saintly Bishop Hartmann died in Patna on April 24, 1866. He was succeeded by Bishop Paul Tossi, OFM Cap and then by Bishop Francis Pesci, OFM Cap.
In 1886 Bishop Pesci moved his see from Patna to Allahabad and the North Bihar Mission, with four stations (Bettiah. Chakhni, Chuhari and Latonah), was entrusted to the Tyrolese Capuchins in the same year.
On April 20, l892 the Prefecture Apostolic of Bettiah was established as a suffragan of Agra. It had jurisdiction over the civil districts of Champaran, Saran, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga and those parts of the districts of Bhagalpur and Monghyr that lie north of the Ganges River, i.e. the whole of Bihar north of the Ganges. The first Prefect Apostolic was Fr. Hilarion of Abtei, OFM Cap.
On May 19,1893 the whole of Nepal was added to this Prefecture.
By a decree of September 10, 1919 the Diocese of Allahabad was divided and the eastern part became the Diocese of Patna. The Prefecture of Bettiah was dissolved and it became part of the Diocese of Patna. Because of their nationality the Capuchin missionaries were not allowed to continue residing in the territory during the first World War and so the new Patna Mission was entrusted by the Holy See to the Missouri (USA) Province of the Society of Jesus.
The first Bishop of Patna Diocese was Louis Van Hoeck, S.J. a Belgian Jesuit working in the Ranchi Mission. He was Bishop of Patna from 1921 till 1928 when he became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Ranchi. His successor was Bishop Bernard Sullivan, S.J who guided the diocese from 1929 till 1946. In 1947 Fr. Augustine F. Wildermuth, S.J. was consecrated Bishop of Patna.
In 1980, when Bishop Wildermuth retired because of age, those parts of Patna Diocese that lie north of the River Ganges were made into the Diocese of Muzaffarpur with John Baptist Thakur,S.J. as the first Bishop.
Then, on June 27, 1998 by the Apostolic Bull “Cum ad Aeternam” His Holiness, Pope John Paul II separated the five Bhojpuri speaking districts in the northwestern part of the state of Bihar from Muzaffarpur Diocese and created the Diocese of Bettiah. The five districts in the new diocese are West Champaran, East Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan and Saran. Rev. Fr. Victor Henry Thakur, a priest of the Diocese of Raipur was appointed the first Bishop of Bettiah.
Bishop Victor Henry Thakur was born and raised in Chakhni in the Diocese of Bettiah but chose to be a missionary in the Raipur Diocese. Thus his return to the diocese as Bishop was quite natural.
The new diocese did not have a separate residence for the bishop and so the parish priest of Bettiah at that time, Rev. Fr. Julius Lazarus, put four rooms in the presbytery at the disposal of the Bishop and his curia. Part of the Verandah in front of the Bishop’s room was partitioned off and made the Bishop’s office. Thus, till 2007 the Bishop and his helpers were guests of the parish priest of Bettiah. Quarters were congested but fraternity was more than ample
The Diocese of Bettiah was vacant from July 3 2013 when Bishop Victor Henry Thakur, the bishop of Bettiah was appointed as the Archbishop of Raipur. Then, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Rev. Fr. Peter Sebastian Goveas, of the clergy of Bhagalpur, as the new Bishop of BETTIAH which was announced on Saturday, 22nd July, 2017 at 3.30pm. The Right Reverend Monsignor Peter Sebastian Goveas was ordained as Bishop for the Diocese of Bettiah on the occasion of the Diwali Festival, Christ the Light of the World on 19th October 2017 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Bettiah.
The Church of Bettiah represents the presence of Christ, is a sign of His salvific mission, and a channel of His grace and blessings to the suffering people of the diocese. Already, Rt. Rev. Peter Sebastian Goveas has begun to initiate several socio-pastoral works. Bishop is giving priority to education with the belief that only education can transform the lives of the people because, we enter into direct relationship and interact with the children and the youth in order to help them for their integral growth based on the Gospel values of love, peace, equality and dignity which will make them right self esteem and feel good about themselves and cherish God’s beautiful gift of their life. “Therefore the whole thrust is Education of the marginalized especially girls, to help them to rediscover the inner power within them. That inner force will empower them to look at the future positively and as a result it will transform their whole life.”
He is reviving Diocesan commissions, committees and councils. He is interested in expanding the mission work in remote places of the Diocese. We thank God for the Gift of Rt. Rev. Peter Sebastian Goveas Bishop of Bettiah as a shepherded of the Catholic Church of Bettiah and his abundant blessings on us.
1. Bettiah Cathedral:Church of the Nativity of the B.V.M.
West Champaran District, Bihar
Tel. (06254) 242955
Mass Centre : Victoria Mission (Gahiri Kothi)
From 1707 till 1745 Capuchin missionaries worked in Lhasa, Tibet. They used to rest in Patna for some time on their way to and from Lhasa and for this reason a small church was built in Patna City which served the spiritual needs of the European soldiers and traders who came to the city from time to time. Among these missionaries was Joseph Mary Bernini who was adept at medicine. His fame spread as far as Bettiah 225 kms away from Patna City. In 1740 or 174l a member of the royal household in Bettiah was ill and no doctor was able to effect a cure. Having heard of Fr. Joseph Mary, the Raja, Drup Narayan Singh, asked him to come to Bettiah to see the patient. Fr. Joseph Mary came to Bettiah, and treated the patient who recovered. The Raja was so impressed by the priest that he asked him to start a mission in his kingdom. Fr. Joseph Mary told him that he could do so only if the Pope in Rome would give the order for this. Hence, in 1741 Raja Drup Narayan Singh wrote to the Holy Father in Rome asking that priests be sent to Bettiah to establish a mission there and preach their religion. On May 1, 1742 Pope Benedict XIV replied to the king and assured him that he would send Capuchin priests to work in Bettiah. Thus on December 7, 1745 Fr. Joseph Mary arrived in Bettiah and on the next day, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary the mission of Bettiah was inaugurated next to the royal palace on land which the king gave to the mission.
During the time of Fr. Joseph Mary in Bettiah forty adults embraced the Catholic faith, thus establishing the first indigenous Christian community in present day Bihar.
The first church was built in 1751. In 1830 a new church with three naves and three altars which could accommodate a thousand people was blessed. This church served the Christians of Bettiah till it fell in the earthquake of 1934. A new church was constructed in 1951 by Fr. Kevin Angelo, S.J.
In 1886 a middle school for Christian boys was built in the mission compound. In 1922 a school for girls was opened in the parish. In June 1926 it was decided to start a high school for boys and class eight was begun on January 4, 1927. Initially here were eleven boys but the number soon grew to twenty-five. The first teachers were Fr. Pettit, S.J., Fr. Alban, Mr. Seraphim Barno, and Mr. Lakshman Misra. In May of that year Scholastic Paul Dent, S.J. was added to the staff.
On March 25, 1922 the grotto was blessed by Bishop Van Hoeck, S.J.
On March 19, 1928 the foundation of the new Middle School building was blessed.
In January 1934 Bettiah suffered from an earthquake. The church fell and other buildings were badly damaged.
Fr. Kevin Angelo, S.J., the parish priest began work on a new church which was completed in 1951.
On July 10, 1955 a Credit Union was started which continues to benefit the people of the parish.
On November, 5, 1957 the new St. Aloysius Pathshala was inaugurated. Until this time classes for the small children were conducted in the priests’ old bungalow or in the old church.
On October 26, 1959 a new hall at the northern end of the compound was inaugurated and furnished with a number of tables and chairs.
Many priests have served the people of the parish but the two who are most remembered are Fr. Kevin Angelo, S.J., the parish priest, and Fr. Vincent McGlinchy, S.J. the headmaster of the Middle School. These two, working together for about thirty years, have made a lasting impact on the lives of the people.
2. Chakhni :Holy Family Church
Catholic Church, Chakhni
Rajwatia-845 101,Bagaha (Via)
West Champaran Dt., Bihar
History of the Parish
The mission of Chakhni was started to provide a place for families of orphans to settle and support themselves. In l874 there was a severe famine in Bihar and many people died. The government sent about two hundred orphans to the missions in Bettiah and Chuhari to be cared for. When these children became adults it was necessary to help them settle in life. The mission in Bettiah was able to purchase 270 bighas of land in Chakhni from the government. Fr. Alexander, O.F.M. Cap. with some of the orphans from Chuhari went there to clear the land for a church, some simple houses and for farming.
In the beginning this station was very bad for health and the missionary often suffered from malarial fever. After two years the construction of a larger and safer house was begun with the help of the Vicar Apostolic. On this construction abut 8000 rupees were spent. In 1889 Fr. Alexander was transferred to Allahabad, leaving the new house incomplete. Afterwards it was completed by the new missionaries. There was a small orphanage but in 1891 a new one was built. Since with the increase of families and of orphans and neophytes the provisional chapel was insufficient and unworthy for religious celebrations, in 1898 Fr. Gerold began the construction of a larger and more beautiful church with three naves and two towers. It was completed in 1901 at the cost of 10,000.00 rupees. Finally on December 15, 1901 the Prefect Apostolic at the time of the Jubilee Triduum blessed the church solemnly according to the rite of the Roman Ritual and gave it the name of the Holy Family. On this occasion the Christians rejoiced greatly. In 1902 Fr. Gerold went to Europe and on his return to the mission brought with him four bells.
This church, which was blessed by the Prefect Apostolic, Fr. Hilarion OFN Cap on December 15, 190l, withstood the onslaught of the 1934 earthquake is still standing.
The Sacred Heart Sisters came to Chakhni in February, 1932. The first sisters, Sr. Maria, Sr. Josepha and Sr. Aloysia, started a middle school, took care of the boy and girl orphans and also old people who had no one to take care of them. At present, in addition to teaching in the school, the sisters help in the parish.
In 1993 a co-educational high school was started with the name of Fr. Pettit Memorial High School. The present headmaster of the high school is Fr. Gabriel Michael, S.J.
Sub station: Ratanpura
Mass Centres: Bagaha, Bhatwa Tola, Sirisia, Valmikinagar
Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel
Chanpatia - 845 449
West Champaran District, Bihar
Tel: (06254) 266336
Mass Centre: Lauriya
History of the Mission
In the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s Chanpatia was considered a business centre. The mission there was started so that Christians from Bettiah who worked there for several months each year could attend Mass. This was celebrated by a priest from Chuhari. As time went on a few Christian families settled there permanently. It was also a stopping off place for the priest who had to come and go from Rampur to Bettiah.
It remained only a Mass centre for many years. Fr. Aloysius Pettit, S.J. lived there for a few years until in 1948 he went to Chakhni. After this, priests from Khrist Raja, Bettiah went to Chanpatia for Sunday Mass. In 1961 a hostel for boys was opened in Chanpatia and Fr. William Goudreau, S.J. began living there. In the following year Fr. Farrell, S.J. went to Chanpatia where he built the present church. After Fr. Farrell returned to Chuhari in 1977, Chanpatia was looked after by Jesuits, Diocesan priests, Capuchins and Claretians.
In 2009 a new residence for the parish priest was built so that he could conduct his work more efficiently and also give a proper accommodation for visiting priests and brothers.
On July 2, 1987 the Canossian Daughters of Charity came to work in Lauryia, 16 kilometers north of Chanpatia. In the beginning they stayed in rented quarters, one room in the house of Mr. Cyril Fidelis, who worked in the sugar factory. Several months later they moved from there to the present convent.
Their main work has been health care in the dispensary, non-formal education and empowerment work among women, including their training in tailoring and computer.
Established : 1985
Chapra, Saran District, Bihar
Tel: (06152) 273240
Mass Centres: Sonepur, Dighwara, Chapra town
The mission in Chapra dates to the beginning of the twentieth century when a Capuchin priest, Fr. Pius, rented a small house and took care of the European Catholics there and opened an orphanage for local orphans. He also bought land for a cemetery. However, some time later, probably at the beginning of the first World War, this work was abandoned and only in 1985 was land purchased at Khalpura, about eight kilometers east of the Chapra railway station. Here the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (FIHM) began to live and to work among the people in the nearby villages. This mission was looked after by the priests in Siwan. A few years later a residence for priests was constructed and a priest began living there.
A piece of land adjacent to our mission land was purchased in 2007 the present school building in Khalpura is on this land.
In 2001 the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary left Khalpura and in their place the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) of the Raipur (Chattisgarh) Province came to continue and to expand the work. They are very active in social work in and around Khalpura. They are in charge of the school which was started in Khalpura in 2006, have a dispensary and help with the pastoral work of the parish.
In 2004 land was bought at Mehiya, about four kilometers north of Chapra. Sisters of the Society of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took up residence there and began Holy Family School in May 2006.
The priests in Chapra take care of the faithful in Sonepur, about forty kilometers east of Chapra where the Sacred Heart Sisters have a school.
Mass Centers: Sonepur, Mehiya
Church of the Assumption of the B.V.M.
Chuhari P.O. 845450
West Champaran District, Bihar
History of the Parish
When the Capuchin missionaries were forced out of Lhasa, Tibet, they settled in Nepal where there were three small communities of Christians. When strife began between the Gurkhas and the Newars the missionaries were forced to leave Nepal and the Newar Christians left with them. They came to Bettiah where they were welcomed by the government and the priests of the Bettiah mission. The English government gave them the village of Chuhari, eleven kilometers from Bettiah. Thus the mission of Chuhari began in 1769. A big church was built in 1787. It was similar to the church in Bettiah but not quite so big. Like its counterpart in Bettiah it also fell in the earthquake of 1934. The present church was built in the 1970’s due to the persistent efforts of Fr. Joseph Martin, S.J.
Originally the Holy Cross Sisters worked with the orphans and old people in the mission. They began a middle school for girls and a teachers’ training school, which in those days taught girls after middle school, i.e. after class seven. The sisters also had sewing and handicraft work there. In 1942 these works were shifted to Bettiah and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart replaced the Holy Cross Sisters and continued all the work that was not shifted to Bettiah.
In 1973 a high school for girls was started. It was given recognition by the government in 1976.
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe
West Champaran District, Bihar
Tel: (06254) 231324
Pilgrimage Centre: Marian Shrine
History of the mission
The king of Bettiah had donated two hundred bighas of land to the missionaries at Bettiah for their use. After the famine of 1897 a number of people sought help from the priests in Bettiah and some of these were settled on this land in Dussaiya. The church, dedicated to the Mother of the Divine Shepherd was blessed by the Prefect Apostolic, Fr. Hilarion, on May 8,1898.
In the 1980’s Fr. Robert Stegman, S.J. had a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe painted and installed in the church which he enlarged by incorporating the sacristy into the main body of the church. The sacristy was shifted to another building.
The Diocesan Social Service Society was operating in rented in Quarters in Bettiah. As this was not very convenient, a new building was constructed in Dussaiya where training programmes for large numbers of people can conveniently be conducted.
In 1995 Monsignor Joachim Osta, the parish priest of Bettiah began the construction of the shrine in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was blessed by Bishop Victor Henry Thakur on October 7,1999.
In 2005 a minor seminary, St. Peter’s Seminary, was built in Dussaiya and blessed by Bishop Victor Henry Thakur on February 26, 2006.
When the care of the orphans in Bettiah became too difficult, land was purchased in Fakirana, about three kilometers from the Bettiah Church, and the orphanage was shifted there. The old women whom he Holy Cross Sisters cared for were also accommodated there. The work continues to this day.
As time went on the orphanage was closed and other work was begun. At present there is a residential school for hearing impaired children. There is also a residential programme of about nine months each for village girls who are given some basic education and training in various skills.
At present the Postulants for the Holy Cross Sisters are also residing in Fakirana.
The Holy Cross Sisters had some farm land a few kilometers from Dussaiya in a place called Lal Garh. In the late 1970’s they began to take care of some elderly and handicapped women there and a small school was started in bamboo huts. Now the school is well established in a large building and caters to the needs of the neighbouring villages
Also in Fakirana is the novitiate of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. The sisters’ convent in Fakirana for many years was also the residence of the Superior General.
The sisters help the poor in a flourishing dispensary which treats patients from far and near. They also conduct a Hindi Medium high school which serves the people of the villages around Fakirana.
The sisters are engaged in many social service projects and their work is very much appreciated by the government which often seeks their help, especially for the care of disadvantaged and ill treated women. Also for such women there is a “Help Line” and a short stay home for those in transition. The sisters are very active in education on prevention of HIV/AIDS and the care of such patients.
Mass Centers: Lalgarh, Fakirana
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Gopalganj P.O. 841428
Gopalganj District, Bihar
Tel: (06156) 224304
In 1984 Fr. Austin Reinboth, S.J. the priest in charge of Siwan, bought land in Gopalganj and supervised the building of the convent for the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the beginning, the spiritual needs of the sisters and a few Catholics were taken care of by the priests from Siwan. In 2000 property was purchased for the residence of a priest. In 2006 Fr. Pradeep N., S.J. built a small chapel where Mass is celebrated for the faithful. It was blessed by Bishop Victor Henry Thakur on March 12, 2006.
Before going to the new convent cum school in Gopalganj the sisters lived for a year in Siwan with sisters from three other congregations where they were able to learn the language and some of the customs of the people. This greatly facilitated their work in the dispensary where they not only treated many women but were able to advise them about many of their problems and concerns.
The school developed slowly and is now and English Medium School.
Church of St. Francis Assisi
Bara Bariyarpur 845401
East Champaran District, Bihar
Tel: (06252) 232042
Mass Centres: Sagauli, Raxaul
When a few Christians from Bettiah settled in Motihari, priests from the Gahiri Mission used to visit Motihari for Sunday Mass which was celebrated in the home of one of the Catholics. When the old Gahiri Mission was closed priests from Bettiah took up the Sunday Mass ministry. In 1988 land was bought in the town on a by-pass road and the Capuchin religious began living there. They were entrusted with the spiritual care of all those living in East Champaran District.
Originally there was a small chapel attached to the simple residence of the priests. A new residence and a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary were built in 2000. In 2008 the title of the Church was changed to that of St. Francis of Assisi. This helps to keep alive the memory of the pioneering work of the Capuchin missionaries in the territory of the Diocese of Bettiah.
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart opened a school at the request of some government officials and were given the use of some government buildings for this purpose. After some years the sisters bought some property and moved their school to it. There is a hostel connected to the school and a small dispensary which caters to the poor people of the neighbourhood.
In the early 1990’s some land was acquired some distance from the parish church and the Canossian Daughters of Charity reside there. They are engaged in social work of various kinds. Notable is their prison ministry which has been very successful.
As the whole of East Champaran District has been committed to the care of the Capuchin priests and brothers they also look after the spiritual needs of the people of Sagauli and Raxaul.
In Sagauli the Sisters of the Sacred Heart have a small school and are very much involved in the care of disabled people.
In Raxaul the Sisters of Notre Dame have a school and they are very much involved in social work, especially among women.
St. Joseph’s Church
Narkatiaganj – 845 455
West Champaran Dt., Bihar
Tel: (06253) 242624
At least from 1950 the Diocese of Patna had a plot of land and a small chapel with a room where the priest from Rampur could stop and rest on his way to and from Bettiah.
In1986 the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions came to Narkatiaganj and began work with the people in the nearby villages. Mass was offered by the priest from Chanpatia.
In 1993 Msgr. Joachim Osta purchased land in Narkatiaganj and a church cum residence was built and a priest was assigned to reside there. The Church is dedicated to St. Joseph.
In 1998 the sisters opened a formal school which now has classes from Class KG to class seven.
Not far from Narkatiaganj in Gaunaha the Jesuits have a school cum hostel for poor children from the neighbouring villages.
Church of the Mother of God
Ramnagar - 845 106
West Champaran District., Bihar
Tel: (06256) 224076
Capuchin missionaries began working in the Ramnagar area in 1890 and in 1895 they settled on land donated to the mission by a certain Mrs. Reyneau. The mission was started as an intermediate station between Bettiah and Somesar. Somesar was closed after Fr. Cosmos O.F.M. Cap. was killed by a tiger. Ramnagar was taken care of by priests from Chakhni for many years until Fr. Louis Peter Paul Sah took up residence there and from that time there has been a resident priest in Ramnagar.
Since 1987 the sisters of the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception have been working in Ramnagar. They have a dispensary, are involved in various kinds of social work and have taken charge of the parish school.
A small group of lay missionaries live in St. Joseph’s Home of Compassion where they take care of a few orphans and some handicapped people besides their work in a dispensary. They also assist the parish priest in his pastoral work.
Church of St. Francis Xavier
Rampur - 845 455
West Champaran District., Bihar
Tel: (06254) 264039
In 1898 the Capuchin priest at Bettiah bought one hundred and fifty-five bighas of land from a landowner in Rampur who had borrowed a large sum of money from the priest and was unable to repay it. Despite the unhealthy natural surroundings priests continued to live there and help the people. The longest tenure of a pastor was that of Fr. Robert Ludwig, S.J. who went there in 1947 and stayed for more than twenty-five years. He developed the mission, gave shelter to many orphans and rebuilt the church.
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart have a dispensary in the mission compound and are in charge of the school which has developed from a small middle school into a high school.
12. Siwan :
Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Siwan – 841 226, Bihar
Tel: (06154) 312957
In 1958 Fr. Wargiss Kappamootil, S.J. was sent to Siwan District to explore the possibility of a mission station there. For two years he led a wandering life but in 1960 he bought property outside Siwan town and built a small residence cum chapel which still serves the Catholics of the area.
In 1992 Fr. Austin Reinboth, S.J. moved to Siwan. He got the help of sisters of four congregations and put the school and dispensary on a strong foundation and began the mission in Gopalganj.
For many years the Mission Sisters of Ajmer collaborated with the parish priest by working in the school and dispensary. Because of the needs of their congregation they withdrew and on March 30,2009 the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk (OSU) came to take their place and continue the same work.
Right Rev. Peter Sebastian GoveasBishop of Bettiah
|Born||:||8 February 1955|
|Priestly Ordination||:||9 December 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 October 2017|
Bettiah P. O. - 845 438
West Champaran Dt. (Bihar)
|Languages||:||Hindi, Bhojpuri, English|
Catholic Diocese of Bhadravathi in Karnataka, India was erected on 21st August 2007 by the Synodal decision of the Syro-Malabar Church with the approval of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, bifurcating the Diocese of Mananthavady, Kerala. The territory of the Diocese of Bhadravathi comprises the civil district of Shimoga in Karnataka State. A major part of Shimoga lies in the Malnad (hill land) region of the Western Ghats, a region known for its green forests, plentiful rainfall, beautiful waterfalls, and source of many rivers that flow in Karnataka.
The history of the new diocese should be traced back to the migration of a group of Syro-Malabar Catholics from Kerala to Karnataka immediately after the World War II in search of land and they found Shimoga and the surrounding districts very conducive to their agricultural practices. They slowly tried to settle down as small groups in different parts of Shimoga. These migrant families were under the pastoral care of the Diocese of Mananthavady in Kerala. Due to the geographical distance from the diocesan centre and the cultural and linguistic differences it was almost impossible for the diocesan authorities to take care of the pastoral needs of the migrants. Hence Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy, then bishop of Mananthavady entrusted the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament to take care of the spiritual and pastoral needs of these people. The dedicated work of the MCBS Fathers for the past 30 years paved the way to the creation of the new Diocese of Bhadravathi.
The first bishop of the diocese Mar Joseph Arumachadath was consecrated and the new diocese was inaugurated on 25th October 2007.
Right Rev. Joseph Arumachadath, MCBSBishop of Bhadravathi
|Born||:||10 April 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||7 May 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 October 2007|
Bodhana Pastoral CentrePost Box No. 26Bhadravathi – 577 301 (Karnataka)
|Area||:||15, 666 Sq. Km|
|Population||:||27, 94, 392|
|Languages||:||Kannada, Tulu, Konkani, Malayalam, Coorgi, English.|
The Third Order Regular (TOR) Franciscan Fathers of the province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Loretto, Pennyslvania, USA came to the Diocese of Patna to assist the Jesuits in 1939. They were then assigned to the Church Station of Bhagalpur, Gokhla, Poreyahat and Godda.
In 1956 Bhagalpur was cut off from the Diocese of Patna and Prefecture Apostolic was established by the Holy See. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Urban McGarry, tor, was appointed its first Prefect Apostolic on August 7, 1956.
The Diocese of Bhagalpur was erected and its First Bishop, Rt. Rev. Urban McGarry, tor, was appointed on January 25, 1965. The present diocese is formed out the south-eastern portion of the Patna diocese and it comprises the district of Bhagalpur, Godda district of the Santhal Pargans Divisions, Deoghar and Sarawan thanas of the Santhal Parganas Division.
Within a short time of their arrival, the TOR Fathers recruited local vocations and a novitiate was started. A further step forward was taken when a Franciscan Monastery (clericate) at Ranchi was established to further the training of Religious Clerics. A Minor Seminary (now Regional Seminary) was opened in 1959 at Bhagalpur where the Franciscan and Diocesan candidates were being trained in the seminary.
Twenty religious congregations of Sisters share a great burden in the apostolic educational and medical activities of the diocese.
On October 8, 1970 the Revenue Thana of Chakai, Dt. Monghyr (now Jaumui District) embracing Mariampahari and Jhajha, formerly of Patna diocese was annexed to the Diocese by the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of the peoples, in virtue of the faculty granted by Pope Paul VI. Shortly after the part of the Giridih district, formerly of Ranchi Archdiocese, was likewise annexed to the Diocese of Bhagalpur. In 1984, the parishes of Sokho and Kharagpur, formerly of Patna diocese were handed over to the Bhagalpur diocese.
Right Rev. Kurien ValiakandathilBishop Of Bhagalpur
|Born||:||18 November 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 October 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||27 February 2007|
Chancery Office,Nawab Colony, Post Box No. 61Bhagalpur - 812 001 (Bihar)
|Area||:||26,000 sq. km.|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Santali and Oraon.|
The history of the Catholic Church in Bhopal goes back to 1785, when Salvador Bourbon, a descendant of the French Royal Catholic Family of Bourbons, came to Bhopal to work for the reigning Begum Mamola at Bhopal. In 1829 Bhopal was officially a part of Agra Vicariate. It was Bp Hartmann ofm. Cap, who is in a very real sense the founder of the Church of Bhopal. In 1873 he acquired a plot of land from the Muslim ruler of Bhopal and built the first little church, which, in 1964 became the Cathedral of the newly erected Archdiocese of Bhopal.
In 1886 the Diocese of Allahabad was formed and Bhopal was then attached to this new diocese. On March 11, 1935, when the Mission Territory of Indore was elevated to Prefecture to Indore. In 1958 the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh was shifted from Nagpur to Bhopal and this necessitated the creation of the new Archdiocese of Bhopal.
Bp Eugene D'Souza was transferred from Nagpur to Bhopal to be its First Archbishop. After steering the life of the Church in Madhya Pradesh for 30 years through the Archdiocese of Bhopal, Archbishop Eugene laid down his office and handed over to Bp Pascal Topno, sj, of Ambikapur, who was promoted as Archbishop of Bhopal on May 20, 1994.
Most Rev. ALANGARAM AROKIA SEBASTIN DURAIRAJ, SVDArchbishop of Bhopal
|Born||:||3 May 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 May 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||16 July 2009|
33, Ahmedabad Palace Road,
Bhopal - 462 001 (Madhya Pradesh)
Most Rev. Pascal Topno, SJArchbishop Emeritus of Bhopal
|Born||:||15 June 1932|
|Priestly Ordination||:||31 July 1965|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 January 1986|
Khrist Milan Ashram, Namna,Ambikapur-497001 (Chattisgarh)
Most Rev. LEO CORNELIO, SVDArchbishop Emeritus of Bhopal
|Born||:||14 March 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 November 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 September 1999|
Archbishop’s House 33, Ahmedabad Palace Road, Bhopal - 462 001 (Madhya Pradesh)
|Languages||:||Hindi, English, Urdu|
This Ecclesiastical Unit was created as an Apostolic Exarchate on March 23, 1972 by the Papal Bull 'Beatorum Apostolorum' and entrusted to the Sacred Heart Province of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. The area comprising the diocese was culled out from the Diocese of Meerut. It consists of the district of Bijnor, except Dhampur division, and the five hill districts of Pauri-Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and a portion of the district of Haridwar.
Bp Gratian Muddadan, cmi, was nominated as its first Apostolic Exarch.
On February 26, 1977 the Papal Bull 'Quae cum Romano Pontificatu' of Pope Paul VI raised the Apostolic Exarchate to a diocese, Msgr Gratian Mundadan, cmi, was appointed its First Bishop.
Right Rev. Gratian Mundadan, CMIBishop Emeritus of Bijnor
|Born||:||15 May 1933|
|Priestly Ordination||:||17 May 1964|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||6 November 1977|
St. John's Ashram, Rajarampur, Jalalabad P.O. Najibabbad, Bijnor Dt., U.P.-246763
Right Rev. JOHN VADAKEL, CMIBishop Emeritus of Bijnor
|Born||:||17 August 1943|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1975|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||22 October 2009|
C/o St. Thomas School,
G. T. Road, Khatauli,
Distt. Muzaffarnagar - 251201
Right Rev. VINCENT NELLAIPARAMBILBishop of Bijnor
|Born||:||30 May 1971|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 April 1999|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 November 2019|
Bishop's House, Kotdwar P.O., Pauri Dist - 246149 (Uttarakhand)
|Area||:||33919 Sq. Km|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Garhwalee and Urudu|
During 1500 - 1600 many churches of the diocese were established: 7 churches (in Bassein), 20 churches (in Salsette), 3 churches (in Bombay) and 2 churches (in Karanja and Chaul). Among the Fathers of this period, two names stand out: Fr Antonio do Porto (Franciscan) who built churches in Bassein, Salsette, Karanja and Chaul, and Fr Manoel Gomes (Jesuit) who was known as the "Apostle of Salsette."
The year 1637 marks the establishment of the Sacred Congregation for the Propogation of the Faith by Pope Gregory XV, under which the Church work energies of various Religious Congregations of nationalities other than Portugal and Spain could be harnessed for evangelization in those parts of the world where Portuguese (in the East) and Spanish (in the West) Fathers were, for one reason or another, unable to reach. From 1622, different Congregations were enlisted and sent to India, Malacca, Siam, China, etc. under the leadership of Vicars-Apostolic, i.e. Titular Bishops who received directly from the Holy See jurisdiction to work in certain regions assigned to them within the somewhat indeterminate boundaries of existing "Padroado" dioceses.
The Vicariate Apostolic of Bijapur was established by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (hence forth, "Propaganda") in 1637. The Vicariate of Bijapur increased rapidly in size, absorbing Golconda, and extended from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, from Madras-Mylapore to Calcutta. It finally came to comprise the whole of the Moghul Empire at least on paper; hence it was also referred to as the Vicariate of the Great Moghul. From the end of the 17th century, this Vicariate was served by the Carmelite Fathers, whose head quarter was at Surat, north of Bombay. It was probably in 1692 that the Jesuit care-taker of the Parel property was expelled from Bombay. That ended the Jesuit presence on the island - till 1848 - a full one and a half centuries later.
The Decree expelling the Portuguese Franciscans from the Bombay Island was issued on May 24, 1720. On the other hand they did not want to openly break the solemn promise they had made when they took over Bombay from the Portuguese: namely that they would not interfere with the religious beliefs or practices of the Catholic inhabitants of the island. So the British approached the Vicar-Apostolic of the Great Moghul, the Italian Carmelite Bishop Fra Mauritius, to take charge of the Catholic Community in Bombay. Since the British were determined on getting rid of the Portuguese Franciscans, Rome approved the entry of the Carmelites into Bombay. Thus the Franciscans left Bombay and Bishop Mauritius with four or five Carmelites came to Bombay. The churches taken over by the Carmelites were four in number: Our Lady of Hope (Esperanca), Our Lady of Salvation ( Salvacao), Our Lady of Glory ( Gloria) and St Michaels.
In 1828, civil war broke out in Portugal between King Dom Miguel and the party of Queen Maria da Gloria. Dom Miguel, to whom the Religious Orders lent moral and financial support, was defeated, and the new government not only suppressed all Religious Orders in Portugal but also broke off diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1833. Pope Gregory XVI issued the Brief `Multa Praeclare', on April 24, 1838, in which he confirmed the Vicars-Apostolic in their office, extended their field of work and deprived the Padroado clergy of all jurisdiction within the established Vicariates. The authorities in Goa rejected the Papal Brief: though Portugal had broken off diplomatic relations with Rome, they claimed that since the Brief had not received the ``regium placet'', it was null and void.
Archbishop Dom Jose Maria da Silva Torres landed in Bombay on his way to Goa in January 1844. The Padroado party, clergy and laity, escorted him to Gloria Church in a triumphant procession. In Gloria Church and in other parishes, Archbishop Torres administered the sacraments, began a series of visitations and generally acted as if ``Multa Praeclare'' and The Salsette Decree had never been written. The Archbishop's behaviour threw the whole of Bombay into a ferment.
When Bishop Hartmann came to Bombay in 1850, the one Catholic newspaper for those under the Vicar-Aposltolic's Jurisdiction was the Bombay Catholic Layman, run by two Irish laymen, who used the paper to oppose the first Bishop Whelan and then Bishop Hartmann. Rather than cross swords with them, Bishop Hartmann encouraged the starting of the Bombay Catholic Standard, under the editorship of another Irishman. Soon, disappointed with that paper as well, the Bishop approached a certain Mr Borges, a son of the soil, who in July 1850 had, on his own initiative, started a monthly publication, The Examiner. Three months later in September 1850, with Mr Borges' consent The Examiner became the ecclesiastical organ of the Vicariate under the Bishop's control and management, but another title, The Bombay Catholic Examiner. By 1852, the other two publications folded up while The Bombay Catholic Examiner kept on going. In April 1905, its title was shortened once again to The Examiner.
Hardly had Bishop Hartmann come from Patna to Bombay than he found himself in the middle of the bitter Padroado-Propaganda conflict. The Vicar of the Church set into motion a series of events which ended in June 1851 with Salvacao Church transferring itself to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Goa. Then came the Bishop of Macao, Jeronimo da Matta in February 1853, on his way to Goa. He stopped at Bombay and officiated in the churches of Gloria and Cavel, then he passed on to Salsette where he said Mass and conferred the sacraments at Kurla, Thane and Bandra. Sharing in the rebellious conduct of the Bishop were four Bombay priests: Antonio Mariano Soares (Vicar Genreal of the North and Vicar of Gloria Church), Braz Fernandes (Vicar of Salvacao Church), Joseph de Mello and Gabriel de Silva (Vicar and Assistant respectively of St Michael's Church). The Papal Brief of May 9, 1853, Probe Nostis, completely vindicated the rights of Bishop Hartmann and confirmed his claim to the exclusive exercise of jurisdiction in the islands of Bombay and Salsette. It also condemned unreservedly the behaviour of Bishop da Matta and the four Bombay priests. In point of fact, however, his jurisdiction continued to be ignored by the adherents of Padroado: witness the series of events at St Michael's Church in 1853 which culminated with the transfer of that parish together with the Sion chapel to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Goa in June 1854.
The year 1853 is also noteworthy in that it marks the success of Bishop Hartmann's efforts towards founding a Catholic College in the Vicariate. Aware of what he called "the complete want of educational institutions for youth'', he first invited in 1850, the Sisters of Jesus and Mary to take over the education of girls in Bombay. This was the very first Religious Congregation for Women to really begin work in the Vicariate. Bishop Hartmann then turned his attention to a College which he considered would be the foundation stone of the social, intellectual and moral renewal of the Bombay Catholic Community. He laboured heart and soul to bring the Jesuits to Bombay for this purpose; his labours were rewarded when, by the end of 1853, there were four Jesuits in the Vicariate of Bombay (among them Fr Walter Steins and Fr James Peniston).
On December 12, 1853 the Carmelite General informed Propaganda that the Carmelite Fathers had decided to give up the administration of the Bombay Mission. The Holy See accepted their resignation and thus ended, after a period of 133 years (1720-1853), the Carmelite administration of the Vicariate of Bombay. On February 16, 1854 Propaganda officially divided the Bombay Vicariate into the northern Vicariate of Bombay (comprising the islands of Bombay and Colaba, and Aurangabad, Khandesh, Malwa, Gujrat and Sind as far as Cabul and the Punjab) and the southern Vicariate of Poona ( comprising the islands of Salsette and Bassein, and the regions of the Konkan and Deccan or Bijapur). Further Propaganda entrusted the Bombay Vicariate to the Capuchin Fathers and the Poona Vicariate to the Jesuit Fathers. Bishop Hartmann was appointed Vicar-Apostolic of Bombay and Administrator of Poona.
On August 13, 1857 Propaganda reversed the 1854 arrangement: the Bombay Vicariate was now given to the Jesuits and the Poona Vicariate to the Capuchins. When squabbles arose between the Jesuits and the Capuchins over the comparatively small financial resources of the erstwhile Vicariate of Bombay, the Superior General of the Capuchin Order decided to clear the foul air by completely withdrawing the Capuchin Fathers from the Bombay and Poona Missions. Thus on August 13, 1858 the Bombay-Poona Vicariate came entirely into the hands of the Society of Jesus.
His Eminence OSWALD CARDINAL GRACIASArchbishop of Bombay
|Born||:||24 December 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 December 1970|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||16 September 1997|
Archbishop’s House,21-Nathalal Parekh Marg,Mumbai - 400 001 (Maharashtra)
Right Rev. Agnelo Rufino GraciasAuxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Bombay
|Born||:||30 July 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1962|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 April 2001|
Bishop’s House, H. No. 175,
Church Lane, Civil Lines,
Jalandhar City - 144 001 (Punjab)
Right Rev. Dominic Savio FernandesAuxiliary Bishop of Bombay
|Born||:||29 January 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 April 1989|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 June 2013|
Archbishop’s House, 21, Nathalal Parekh Marg
Mumbai – 400 001(Maharashtra)
Right Rev. John RodriguesAuxiliary Bishop of Bombay
|Born||:||21 August 1967|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 April 1998|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 June 2013|
Basilica of Our Lady of the mount, Mt. Mary's Road, Bandra (West) Mumbai - 400 050 (Maharashtra)
Right Rev. Allwyn D’SilvaAuxiliary Bishop of Bombay
|Born||:||20 April 1948|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 April 1975|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 January 2017|
St. John Baptist Church, Jambli Naka
L.B.S Marg, Thane 400601 (Maharashtra)
Right Rev. Barthol BarrettoAuxiliary Bishop of Bombay
|Born||:||16 September 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||4 August 1989|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 January 2017|
Salvation Seva Kandra C/o Our Lady of salvation Church,
3rd floor, S. K. Bole Road, Dadar (West) Mumbai – 400 028 (Maharshtra)
Right Rev. Percival Joseph FernandesAuxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Bombay
|Born||:||20 December 1935|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1960|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 April 2001|
|Tel(P)||:||022-29270929,09920961430, 09892551430,022-29271217 (Residence)|
St. Pius X College,
Aarey Road, Goregaon East,
Mumbai - 400 063 (Maharashtra)
Right Rev. Bosco PenhaAuxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Bombay
|Born||:||10 January 1937|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 December 1967|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 August 1987|
|Tel(P)||:||09167412368,022-29271217, 29271554, 29271560 (Seminary)|
St. Pius X College, Aarey Road, Goregaon (East), Mumbai-400063 (Maharashtra)
|Languages||:||Marathi, English, Konkanni, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Gujarati. |
Since the two Portuguese Jesuit Missionaries, Cabral and Cacella had travelled through Brahmaputra on their way to Tibet in 1626, many missionaries had passed through the present territory of the Diocese of Bongaigaon. However, the first to take up residence in the present diocese area were the Salesian Fathers Archimede Piannazzi and L. Rocca, who were appointed to work among Garos. In 1932 they took up residence at Dhubri and used it as a base for their apostolate in the Garo Hills as Catholics were denied permission to work in that area. On September 8th, 1933 Mgr. Louis Mathias decided to open a centre in Tura in Garo Hills and Fr. Piannazzi and Fr. Rocca were told to go there from Dhubri and a decision was taken to shift the centre from Dhubri to Barpeta Road which was more central. Mgr. Louis Mathias with Fr. Rocca visited Barpeta Road on February 20, 1933 and entrusted Mr. Andrews, the responsibility to purchase a plot of land for the purpose of establishing a mission centre. On May 23, 1933 a plot of land was acquired for the mission and on June 3, 1933, Mgr. Mathias declared the new mission opened and Fr. Scuderi was given the charge to look after the mission from Guwahati.
A priest began to reside at Barpeta Road in 1936. At that time its territory covered the whole area of the present diocese and more. The present progress can be attributed to Bishops Orestes Marengo, Joseph Mittathany, and Robert Kerketta and to Fr. Remo Morra SDB. Under the leadership of Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, the area had further growth which led to the creation of the Diocese of Bongaigaon. Fr. Joseph Zubizzaretta SDB’s name will be always remembered among the most outstanding missionaries of the area.
The Diocese of Bongaigaon is created on the 10th of May 2000, and was carved out of the Archdiocese of Guwahati consisting of Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon,South Salmara- Mankacher, Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Chirang districts and two subdivisions of Baksa district namely Salbari and Mushalpur of lower Assam. It covers the surface area of 13,630 sq. km. with an overall population of 5.5 million of which 69,620 (1.2%) are Catholics. There are 34 parishes, 37 Diocesan priests,48 Religious Priests, 10 Brothers and 223 Women religious. Catholic population is mainly tribals. Bodos, Santhals, Adivasis, Garos, and Rabhas are the major groups. General population comprises of Koch and Koch Rajbanshies, the Assamese and the Bengalis. Dhubri and Barpeta districts have 56% and 39% Muslim population respectively, according to 2011 Census.
The Diocese of Bongaigaon runs 52 educational institutions at primary level, 6 at secondary level, 1 at tertiary level. In the field of health care the diocese runs 16 dispensaries at primary level and 1 hospital at secondary level. Besides the diocese runs 60 boarding houses for boys and girls and has a social service department – BGSS – which takes care of the developmental works in the diocese.
Within the territory of the diocese there are some important historical places. The Koch dynasty had its origin at Chikna Mountains. The beginning of the Koch dynasty can be traced to Hariya Mandal a Mech chief, who married two sisters Hira and Jira, the daughters of Hajo, a Koch chief. Hariya Mandal’s domain was in Chikna mountains situated between the Sankosh River and the Champabati River, about 80 kilometers north of Dhubri in the erstwhile undivided Goalpara district of Assam. Bisu, who was to later become Viswa Singha, was born to Hariya Mandal and Hira.
Kajigaon, the birthplace of Kalicharan Brahma is also in the parish of Basbari. Kalicharan Brahma (1862-1938), originally Kalicharan Mech, was a 20th-century social and religious reformer of Bodo society.
One of the eight civil districts which constitute the territory of the diocese, Barpeta is renowned in the historical map of Assam as the “Land of the Satras”. These Satras bear the testimony of the great Assamese reformer, saint, scholar and cultural exponent Srimanta Sankardeva and his able disciple Shri Shri Madhabdeva who arrived from Upper Assam back in the 16th century to lay down strong foundation of Assamese Culture in the region through his socio-religious Vaishnava-reform movement. With the advent of Shrimanta Sankardeva Barpeta region turned into a place of great religious importance. Large number of Satras was established by the disciples of this great Vaishnava saint. This reform movement left a historic legacy. The Barpeta Satra and various other Satras scattered around the district attract devotees from every nook and corner of Assam, particularly during festivals and anniversaries. Among the Satras that are regularly visited by outsiders are Barpeta, Patbaushi, Sundaridiya, Sunpura, Ganak Kuchi, Satra Kanara and Jania.
On the north the diocese is bounded by the kingdom of Bhutan. There are 18 passages or gateways through which the Bhutanese people can communicate with the people living in the plains. These Dooars belonged to the Koch Kingdom; and taking advantage of the weakness of the Koch kingdom in subsequent times, Bhutan took possession of the Dooars. This region was controlled by the kingdom of Bhutan when the British annexed it in 1865 after the Bhutan War under the command of Captain Hedayat Ali. This region is divided by the Sankosh river into the Eastern and the Western Dooars, consisting of an area of 8,800 km (3,400 sq mi). The Western Dooars is known as the Bengal Dooars and the Eastern Dooars as The eastern part was merged with Goalpara district in Assam and the western part was turned into a new district named Western Dooars. Again in the year 1869, the name was changed to Jalpaiguri District. After the end of the British rule in India in 1947, the Dooars acceded into the dominion of India and it merged with the Union of India shortly afterwards in 1949.
Three of the nine rivers that are national waterways in Assam flow through teritory of the Diocese. They are Gangadhar, Ai and Beky.
On the south, the diocese is bounded the Rangpur division of Bangladesh.
On the 20th of August 2000, Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil was ordained as the first Bishop of the newly erected diocese of Bongaigaon.
Right Rev. Thomas PulloppillilBishop Of Bongaigaon
|Born||:||14 July 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||6 April 1981|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||20 August 2000|
Bishop’s House, Post Box No. 10,
Bongaigaon - 783 380 (Assam)
Ward No. 4 (Chapaguri Part 2)
Kajalgaon, Chirang Dt.,
|Area||:||31,496.5 sq. km.|
|Languages||:||Assamese, Bodo, Rabha, Santhali, Garo, Oraon, Mundari, Khadia, Hindi and English.|
The creation of the new Diocese of Buxar was announced on Monday, 12th December 2005, to be bifurcated from the western part of Patna Archdiocese in the state of Bihar. The Diocese was officially inaugurated on March 25, 2006, with the ordination and installation of Rev. William D'Souza, a Jesuit of the Patna Province, as its first Bishop.
The parish church of Buxar is the Cathedral of the new Diocese and 'Mary Mother of Perpetual Help', the Diocesan Patron
Consequent to the transfer of Bishop William D’Souza to Patna as its Archbishop in 2007, Rev. Father Sebastian Kallupura of Patna Archdiocese was nominated as the second Bishop of Buxar Diocese on April 7, 2009. He was ordained and installed as bishop of Buxar on June 21, 2009.
Right Rev. James ShekharBishop of Buxar
Bishop’s House, Nayee Bazaar, Buxar P. O. & Dist. - 802 101 (Bihar)
|Area||:||11,311 square kilometers |
|Population||:||79, 85,362 (Census 2001)|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Urdu & Bhojpuri|
The Archdiocese of Calcutta covers the greater part of West Bengal. The First Christian settlements in Bengal appear at the end of the 16th century round the Church of Bandel on the Hooghly. At Calcutta the first Catholic Chapel is dated from 1700. In 1834, at the petition of Calcutta Catholics, the Holy See erected the Vicariate Apostolic of Calcutta and entrusted it to the English Province of the Society of Jesus, and at the end of 1838 to the Diocesan Clergy.
On February 17, 1845, the Holy See divided the Vicariate of Bengal into the Vicariate Apostolic of Calcutta and the Vicariate of Chittagong, the latter to be administered by its own Ordinary under the direction of the Vicar Apostolic of Calcutta. On February 15, 1850, the two Vicariates of Calcutta and Chittagong were constituted as independent Ecclesiastical units to be called West Bengal and East Bengal.
In 1856, at the request of Msgr. Oliffe, the then Vicar Apostolic of West Bengal, the S. Cong. de Propaganda Fide handed over the Vicariate to the Belgian Jesuits with the appointment on August 22, 1874, of Msgr A. Van Heule, sj, as its Vicar Apostolic of West Bengal. In 1886, the Vicariate Apostolic became the Archdiocese of Calcutta.
Most Rev. Thomas D’SouzaArchbishop Of Calcutta
|Born||:||26 August 1950|
|Priestly Ordination||:||16 April 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 January 1998|
32, Mother Teresa Sarani,
Kolkata - 700 016 (West Bengal)
His Eminence Lawrence Trevor Cardinal Picachy, SJ
|Area||:||29,858 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Bengali, English, Hindi, Santali, Tamil, Nepali, Khasi & Malayalam|
Calicut diocese came into existence on 12th June 1923. Established by Holy Father Pope Pius XI of happy memory separating Malabar from the Diocese of Mangalore and Wayanad from the Diocese of Mysore, it was spread out into the six Districts of North Kerala extending from Shoranur to Kasargod. People of different culture, language and heredity, the descendants of Europeans, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British, Anglo- Indians, Konkani speaking settlers from Goa and Mangalore, Tamilians who came in seeking job opportunities, Tribals who were converted to Christianity, Dalit Christians, natives of the place, orthodox Christians who were accepted into the Catholic fold, Marthomites, Protestants and Latin Catholics who came from other dioceses belonged to this diocese. The period from 1926 saw the immigration of Syrian Catholics from Travancore and they settled down along the high ranges of the western ghats and its vallies along the Malabar area. They were welcomed and looked after by the Diocese of Calicut till the formation of the Diocese of Tellicherry in the year 1954. The Diocesan priests and the Jesuit fathers in Calicut Diocese rendered valuable and whole hearted support to these Syrian Catholics to acquire land at low costs and saw to their all around development in spiritual, social, educational, cultural and financial conditions. Health care and free medical facilities were made available to these people who were attacked by malaria and other contagious diseases. In the fields of education, culture, social commitment and inter-religious dialogue Calicut Diocese holds high influence in the city of Calicut, the cultural centre and capital of North Kerala.
Though the Diocese was erected as the 25th Diocese in India, and has completed just 81 years Catholic Church in Malabar has a long history of about 500 years. There are no evidences to show that a catholic community lived in North Malabar before that. When Vasco-De-Gama landed in Kappad beach in Calicut on 20th May 1498. There was with him Rev. Fr. Pedro De Covilam, a member of the Trinitarian Religious Order. While Vasco-Da-Gama was settling trade relationship with the Zamorin Raja of Kozhikode Rev Covilam did the work of Evangelization. It was recorded by a Co-traveller Alvaro Wehoe, in his diary. The historians like Fr. De Feroli had pointed out that the First missionary of Malabar Rev. Fr. Covilam died on July 31st 1498.
Along with Navy Captain Alvares Cabral there were eight (8) Franciscan Priests and eight (8) Diocesan priests and they landed in Calicut on 13th September 1500 . The Zamorin then reigning in Kozhikode gave permission to the Portuguese to build store houses along the shore and also allowed the missionaries to have evangelization in his territory. In Calicut the missionaries converted a Brahmin to Catholic religion giving him the name Michael De Sancta Maria. He was the first converted Catholic in Malabar. On 16th December 1500 about fifty (50) Portuguese men were got killed in a clash between the Portuguese and the Zamorins and their store house were destroyed. During this fight Rev. Fr. Gasper, Pedro Netto and the Masse were killed.
In the year 1501. under the leadership of Joao De Nova the Portuguese Naval Company reached Kannur. The Raja of Kolathiri(Kannur) gave them a warm reception and permitted the four missionaries who were in the group to do the work of evangelizaiton there. It was in the year 1501 that the first Catholic Church was built in Kannur in North Malabar. The records show that in the year 1504 four bishops of the Eastern Syrian Church who came along with the Portuguese from Persia offered sacrifices in this chapel.
The Portuguese Viceroy Francis Seseo De Almeida built the famous St. Angelo Fort in Kannur and along with it he got ready St. James Chapel inside the fort in the year 1505. There were 344 (three hundred and forty four) Catholics in Kannur in the year 1514. It was found recorded among the Archeological collection preserved in the Palace of Lisbon. In the year 1516 Alphonse -de- Albuqarque built a godown and a chapel on the shore of the Kallai river in Calicut. The vicar of this church was Rev. Fr. Diego Moroeas. Vettathuraja of Tanur gave permission to build a church at Chaliam. St. Francis Xavier visited Kannur on 25th December in 1543 and Calicut on 7th March 1549.
It was the Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinian religious Priests who served in Malabar are during the 16th Century.
Right Rev. Varghese ChakkalakalBishop of Calicut
|Born||:||7 February 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 April 1981|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 February 1999|
Bishop’s House, Malaparamba P. O.,Calicut - 673 009 (Kerala)
|Area||:||12,505 Sq kms|
Pope John XXIII established the first Syro-Malabar Ordinariate of Chanda on 31 March 1962 with Msgr. Januarius Palathuruthy CMI as its first Ecclesiastical Superior with the faculties of Apostolic Exarch. it was carved out from the Archdiocese of Nagpur. The "Ordinariate" was raised to the status of an Apostolic Exarchate on 29 July 1968 and and Msgr. Januarius was made its Apostolic Exarch. On 26 February 1977 Paul VI raised it to the status of a diocese and Msgr. Januarius was appointed its first bishop. It comprises the civil districts of Wardha, Chandrapur and GadchiroH in Maharashtra state and Adilabad in Andra Pradesh. On 3 July 1990 Mar Vijay Anand Nedumpuram CMI succeeded Bishop Januarius as its second Bishop. On 28 March 1995 Bishop Januarius was called to his eternal rest. In the year 1999 the civil district of Adilabad was bifurcated from the Diocese of Chanda and the new Diocese of Adilabad was established. On 24 October 2014 Bp. Ephrem Nariculam succeeded Bishop Vijay Anand CMI as the bishop of Chanda.
Right Rev. Ephrem NariculamBishop of Chanda
|Born||:||10 December 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1986|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 October 2014|
|Email(P)||:||firstname.lastname@example.org, (Sec.): email@example.com|
Bishop's Home Ballarpur P.O-442701 Chandrapur Dt. (Maharashtra)
Right Rev. Vijay Anand Nedumpuram, CMIBishop Emeritus of Chanda
|Born||:||24 September 1938|
|Priestly Ordination||:||17 May 1967|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||3 July 1990|
Prabhu Sadan, Tarsa, Vittalwada P.O.-442702 Chandrapur Dt. (Maharashtra)
|Area||:||32,233 sq. kms|
|Languages||:||Marathi, Hindi, Telugu, Tribal dialects|
The Apostolic Church of St. Thomas Christians has its origin from St. Thomas, the Apostle who arrived on the Kerala coast in A.D. 52. The Metropolitan of "The See of St. Thomas" was "Metropolitan and Gate of all India". In the course of history this Church entered into hierarchical relationship with the East Syrian Church and became an autonomous Metropolitan See under the East Syrian Patriarch in communion with the Apostolic See of Rome. The " Archdeacon of all India" did the administration.
The Portuguese Fathers who arrived in the 15th century could not tolerate the liturgical traditions and the mode of governance of this church. They latinized the ancient liturgical texts. A section of the community broke away from the Western supremacy in 1653. They constitute the present Malankara Orthodox Churches. We are the descendants of those who stayed back, maintaining loyalty to the Apostolic See of Rome.
The Archdiocese of Changanacherry is one of the first two Vicariates and the second Metropolitan Archdiocese of the Syro - Malabar Church, after the establishment of the Syro - Malabar hierarchy, which was the prelude to the restoration of the identity of our Church in 1992 as Sui Juris Church, thanks to the untiring efforts of our forefathers.
Pope Leo XIII of happy memory by his Bull "Quod Jam Pridem" dated May 20, 1887 established two Vicariates Apostolic, viz, Kottayam and Thrissur exclusively for the Syro - Malabarians and Dr Charles Lavigne and Dr Adolph Medlycott respectively were appointed Vicars Apostolic.
The same Pope reorganized the existing Vicariates by the Bull "Quae Rei Sacrae" dated July 28, 1896 establishing a new vicariate, Ernakulam, with territories carved out from the two existing Vicariates (Pallippuram, Edappaly and Arakuzha divisions from Kottayam Vicariate).
The Vicariate of Kottayam was renamed Changanacherry, since this town had been the centre of Catholic activity, for e.g. the convocation of the Changanacherry Synod in 1888 and hence its headquarters had been shifted to Changanacherry.
Indigenous bishops were appointed Vicars Apostolic to the new Sees. They were Mar Mathew Makil for Changanacherry, Mar Louis Pazheparambil (from Changanacherry Vicariate) for Ernakulam and Mar John Menacherry for Thrissur.
A new Vicariate of Kottayam was constituted in 1911 exclusively for the Suddists and Mar Mathew Makil was tansferred to Kottayam as the Vicar. Apostolic of Suddists and Mar Thomas Kurialacherry was appointed the Vicar Apostolic of Changanacherry.
With the establishment of the Syro - Malabar Hierarchy on December 21, 1923 by the Bull "Romani Pontifices" of Pope Pius XI, the Diocese of Thrissur, Changanacherry and kottayam became Suffragans of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam thereby constituting the first Syro - Malabar Province.
On July 25, 1950 the Diocese of Changanacherry was bifurcated by the Bull "Quo Ecclesiarum" of Pope Pius XII and the new Diocese of Palai was created.
The Holy See being very much pleased with the wonderful progress achieved by the Syro - Malabarians, extended the hitherto held boundaries of Changanacherry to the areas south of river Pumba, upto (including) Kanyakumari, by the Bull "Multorum Fidelium" of Pope Pius XII, dated April 29,1955.
Changanacherry was raised to the status of an Archdiocese on July 26, 1956 by Pope Pius XII constituting the second province in the Syro - Malabar Church and Kottayam and Pala became its suffragans. The Apostolic Constitution 'Regnum Coelorum' of November 26, 1959 of Pope John XXIII gave effect to this decision.
The Archdiocese was again divided on February 26, 1977 by the Bull "Nos Beati Petri" of Pope Paul VI and the new Diocese of Kanjirapally was set up comprising parts of the civil districts of Kottayam, Idukki and Kollam.
The Archdiocese was divided a fifth time when its Kanyakumari Mission was elevated to the status of a new diocese by the Bull "Apud Indorum Gentes" of John Paul II, dated December 18, 1996. The formal inauguration of the new diocese of Thuckalay and the Episcopal Ordination of Mar George Alenchery as its first Bishop took place on February 2, 1997.
In 1975 the Church work of five civil districts of the Archdiocese of Agra in the State of Uttar Pradesh was taken up completely by the Archdiocese of Changanacherry.
Most Rev. Joseph PerumthottamArchbishop Of Changanacherry
|Born||:||5 July 1948|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 December 1974|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||20 May 2002|
|Tel(P)||:||0481 - 2420614, (0)9447507393|
Changanacherry - 686 101 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Thomas TharayilAuxilary Bishop of Changanacherry
|Born||:||2 February 1972|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 January 2000|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||23 April 2017|
Archbishop’s House, Kottayam District Changanacherry-686101 (Kerala)
Most Rev. Joseph PowathilArchbishop Emeritus of Changanacherry
|Born||:||14 August 1930|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 October 1962|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||13 February 1972|
Archbishop’s House, Kottayam District Changanacherry-686101 (Kerala
|Area||:||10,784 sq. kms.|
The Diocese of Chikmagalur, comprising the three districts of Chikmagalur, Shimoga and Hassan was erected on November 16, 1963, by Pope Paul VI by the Apostolic Constitution "Indicae Regionis", dismembering it from the Diocese of Mysore. It is entrusted to the Diocesan Clergy. The first Bishop of the Diocese was Bp Alphonsus Mathias.
The district of Shimoga was detached from the Diocese of Chikmagalur in January, 1989, to form part of the newly erected Diocese of Shimoga.
Right Rev. Thomasappa Anthony SwamyBishop Of Chikmagalur
|Born||:||9 February 1951|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 May 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||6 February 2007|
|Tel(P)||:||08262-221689 , (0)9448448774,(SEC)(0)7760489390|
Bishop’s Office, Jyothinagar,Chikmagalur - 577 102 (Karnataka)
|Area||:||14,015 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Kannada, Konkani, Tamil,|
The Diocese of Chingleput is made out of the entire civil district of Kancheepuram in the State of Tamilnadu. The diocese of Chingleput was declared an independent new diocese by His Holiness late John Paul II on the 19th July 2002. Rt. Rev. Dr. A. Neethinathan, was appointed as the first Bishop of Chingleput. Originally Chingleput diocese was making the southern stretch of the Archdiocese of Madras – Mylapore.
The preliminary preparations for the carving out of the new diocesan territory was initiated since 1987 by Most Rev. Dr. G. Casimir Gnanathikam SJ, the then Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Madras – Mylapore. The bifurcation became a reality during the tenure of Most Rev. Dr. Arul Das James, the Archbishop of Madras – Mylapore in succession.
The diocese of Chingleput comprises of the entire civil district of Kancheepuram in the state of Tamilnadu. As its boundary, the diocese of Chingleput has bay of Bengal in the east, Kancheepuram, the temple city in the west, Chennai, the metropolitan city in the north and Pondicherry, the Union Territory in the south. It has the historically renowned hill shrine of St. Thomas where the Apostle was martyred, and the shrine of the miraculous Mother Mary - Mazhai Malai Madha, Acharapakkam.
Initially the new diocese comprised of 64 parishes with 51 diocesan priests; 30 religious priests and 67 religious congregations. At present the diocese of Chingleput has grown and developed into 84 parishes and one independent shrine with 97 diocesan priests, 48 religious priests and 72 religious congregations.
Right Rev. Neethinathan AnthonisamyBishop Of Chingleput
|Born||:||3 July 1955|
|Priestly Ordination||:||9 May 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 September 2002|
Catholic Bishop’s House,Kancheepuram High Road,Thimmavaram, Chingleput,Kancheepuram Dt. - 603 101 (Tamil Nadu)
|Area||:||4,393,37 Sq. kms. |
|Languages||:||Malayalam, Tulu &Tamil|
In 1500 the Portuguese Fathers (Franciscan Friars) reached Cochin and established the first Portuguese Mission in Cochin, in India. They were followed by the Jesuits (1542), Dominicans (1553), Augustinians (1579), Carmelites (1778), and from 1886 by non-religious Portuguese Bishops till 1950. At the arrival of the Portuguese, the Christians in Cochin area joined the Roman Latin Rite.
St. Francis Xavier visited Cochin on several occasions and offered Holy Mass in the St. Francis Church where the famous navigator Vasco da Gama was laid to rest on Christmas day of 1524. A monastery of the Franciscans "Santo Antonio" was established in Cochin in 1518 and two others of the Jesuits in 1550 and 1561. In 1553 the Dominicans founded their College and Monastery in Cochin. The "St. Iago Mission" of Palluruthy was started in 1560 and in 1557 the first printing press in India was established in Cochin.
Because of its singular prominence, Pope Leo X made special mention of Cochin in his Decree erecting the Diocese of Funchal in 1514. In 1534, when the Diocese of Goa was established, Cochin became part of the new diocese.
The Diocese of Cochin was erected on February 4, 1557 by Pope Paul IV in his Decree "Pro ExcellentiPraeeminentia". At that time Cochin was the second diocese in India and it exercised jurisdiction over the whole of south, east of India, Burma and Ceylon, The first Bishop of Cochin was a Dominican Friar Dom George Temudo (1557-1567). By the Decree "PastoralisOfficii" of Pope Gregory XIII (13-12-1572) the bishops of Cochin were required to take possession of the Patriarchal See of Goa whenever it became vacant.
In 1663 the Dutch conquered Cochin and destroyed all the Catholic churches and Institutions in Cochin except the Cathedral and the church of St. Francis Assisi. During the British conquest of Cochin, the Cathedral was destroyed. From 1838 until 1886, the Diocese of Cochin was governed by the Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly. After the reorganization in 1886 five Portuguese bishops ruled the diocese.
In 1950 the Portuguese Padroado was suppressed and the diocese was handed over to the native clergy. Dr. Alexander Edezhath (1951- retired in 1975) was the first Indian Bishop. The present Bp John Thattumkal took charge of the diocese on June 25, 2000.
The territory of the Diocese of Cochin is situated between the Arabian Sea in the west, the Archdiocese of Verapoly in the north and in the east, and the Diocese of Alleppey in the south. As per the Executorial Decree issued soon after the Decree of the erection of the dioceses of Cochin and Alleppey, provision is made that the Diocese of Alleppey may have personal jurisdiction of the so called 'Five Hundred Community' who reside within the territory of the Diocese of Cochin and in the same way, the Diocese of Cochin may have jurisdiction over the so called "Seven Hundred Community" in the territory of the Diocese of Alleppey.
Right Rev. Joseph KariyilBishop Of Cochin
|Born||:||11 January 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1973|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||3 May 2005|
|Tel(P)||:||0484 - 2215403, 9447666546|
Bishop of Cochin
Bishop Joseph Kureethara Road,
P. B. No. 11, Fort Cochin,
Cochin - 682 001 (Kerala)
From the early 16th century the definite and historical history of the Coimbatore mission starts, as part of the Madurai Mission of the Jesuits. Fr. BALTHAZAR Da COSTA, a Jesuit Missionary of Madurai Mission, came to Sathyamangalam ( then in the territory of Coimbatore in 1643 and obtained the permission of the Nauvab of Sathyamangalam, to preach the faith. He had also a Catechist, Peter Xavier to help him. Fr. E.M. MARTINEZ . S.J. took charge of this new mission in July 1648. These Two were the pioneers of Coimbatore Mission with other Jesuit missionaries, though in a trickle, Catholic faith began to spread in the area rapidly, inspite of great opposition from the Linkayat Yogis.
This Missionaries had their head-quarters at Kanuvakarai near Sathyamangalam and from there they spread the faith, to Karrumathampatty, Coimbatore, Savaripalayam etc by 1650, with great success. But with the suppression of the society of Jesus by Pope Clement XIV in 1773, and forced the departure of the Jesuit missionaries, “ the flourishing mission and its flock were left without shepherds. To make matters worse, the persecution and Mysore wars of Tippu Sultan, destroyed all the churches and Christians were either scattered or also many forced to embrace Islam. Thus the early Christians of our mission had their early Baptism of Blood.
It is to remedy this sad situation, the Society of the Propagation by its decree of 1775 asked the Paris Foreign Mission Society to take charge of the whole area, looked after by the Jesuits, to gather the scattered flock and to rebuild a new the mission, till 1845
On 3rd April 1845, Karumathampatty came to be the Headquarters of Coimbatore diocese. Coimbatore, which had been the part of Pondicherry Archdiocese so far, was separated and given an identity of its own as Pro-Vicariate in Karumathampatty from 4th October 1846.
s a hallmark, Most Rev. Dr. Marion Bresillac was consecrated as the first Bishop of Coimbatore on 4. 10. 1846. In remembrance of his native patron St. Michael, he decided to dedicate the diocese and its Cathedral to St. Michael and so it is the St. Michael’s Cathedral now. He also planned to construct the Cathedral as the replica of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. When the design was planned accordingly, His Lordship laid the foundation stone for the Cathedral in 1850, in Coimbatore. The construction of the Cathedral took 17 long years and it was successfully completed with the help of “Propaganda Fide”, ‘which offered 50,000 franks and it was blessed by Most Rev. Dr. Depomier, the third bishop of Coimbatore on 28th April 1867
When the Coimbatore diocese was still an infant in 1846, there were no Indian priests, no institutions and no establishments. The diocese had only four foreign missionary priests namely, Rev. Frs. Metral, Goust, Bacreau, De Gelis who found it very tiresome to visit the Catholics and administer Sacraments to them, for they had to travel long distances without proper conveyance.
Bishop DEPOMIER ( 1864 - 1874 ) was succeeded by Mgr. BARDOU ( 1874 - 1903 ) who was the first Bishop to be consecrated at the new St. Michael’s cathedral on 30.04.1874, as the Vicar Apostolic of Coimbatore. When the hierarchy of India was established by Pope Leo XIII on 1.09.1886, the Vicariate Apostolic of Coimbatore was erected into a Diocese and thus Mgr. J. BARDOU, became the First Bishop of Coimbatore. The first diocesan Synod was held at St. Michael,s Cathedral on 24- 25 August,1891. The Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Consecration of Mgr. BARDOU was celebrated in 1899 and as mark of honor, the Holy Father appointed him as Assistant Prelate to the Pontifical Throne. He died on 7.02.1903. Mgr. DENIS PERYARMALE was elected to succeed him lost he died on 17.08.1903, before he could be consecrated.
Msgr.AUGUSTIN ROY was consecrated as the Bishop of Coimbatore on 12.02.1904. After ruling the Diocese for 27 fruitful years, he resigned due to ill - health and he died on 21.12.1937 at Theodore Sanitarium and buried there. His mortal remains were brought to Coimbatore and buried in the Cathedral on 25.05.1897. as a gesture of gratitude.
Msgr.L.TOURNIER was consecrated on 13.04.1932 and due to ill - health he resigned on 2.03.1938 and died at St. Martha’s hospital,Bangalore on 18.05.1935. His body was interred at St. Michael’s Cathedral. Very Rev. Fr. L. BECHU was elected as Vicar Capitular and it was his privilege to realize the dream of the Paris Mission Society, to plant, to develop each Mission and then hand it over to the native Clergy. After dividing Coimbatore Diocese by attaching the territory, North of River Bhavani and Moyar to Mysore the rest of the territory was handed over to the indigenous clergy by the Decree of S. C. of Propaganda, dated 13.02.1940.
A new beginning dawned to the Diocese, when Most. Rev. Dr. Ubagarasamy a priest of the Archdiocese of Pondicherry became the Bishop of Coimbatore. He was consecrated on 25.07.1940 at Coimbatore. He was the first Indian Bishop to be appointed in Coimbatore. He founded the workers association and arranged Sundays be declared as government holidays by all the mills. He encouraged the Presentation Sisters to take up the medical work and founded many schools and hospitals in the diocese. The diocese started to see a new dimension, when Most. Rev. Francis M. Savari Muthu, a native of Coimbatore was consecrated as the Bishop of Coimbatore on 26.04.1950. The Bishop participated in the 2nd Vatican Council.
In 1947, in remembrance of the diocesan centenary celebration, the Grotto of the Sacred Heart was built on the western side of the cathedral. In 1962, the present cathedral took its form with the extension on both the eastern and to the western sides. A crypt in honor Our Lady of Sorrows on the western side and altar of the Sacred Heart on the eastern side of the altar were built. He erected many new parishes in the diocese and in compliance with his will, he was buried in front of the Sacred Heart Altar, at his death in 1971.
Next the Most. Rev. C. M. Visuvasam a priest of Madurai Archdiocese was consecrated as the Bishop of Coimbatore on 3.5.1972. As a man of vision and action, he planed and laid the foundation stone for Jeeva Jothi Ashram, which stands as the pride of our diocese to this day. He bought many new lands and built many new buildings and presbyteries. He tried to re-organize the Ecclesiastical administrative structure. The diocesan Pastoral center was his great achivement, to give a new life to the Pastoral Ministry. He encouraged and helped the Presentation Sisters and Brothers of St. Michael to stand on their own legs. He died in Belgium on 2.6.1979. His body was brought back to India and buried in the Cathedral.
In 1980, Most. Rev. M. Ambrose, the second son of the soil, belonging to the cathedral Parish, was installed as the new Bishop of Coimbatore. He was transferred from the Diocese of Tuticorin and under his guidance, the diocese found a bright dawn in all spheres. He celebrated his Episcopal Silver jubilee on 8.12.1996. To commemorate his silver anniversary and the 150th year jubilee of the diocese, the portico of our cathedral was constructed and blessed on 26.01.1997. He was the first Indian bishop to get retired after shepherding the diocese for 22 years. At the age of 75, he submitted his resignation to the Holy See in July 2000, which was accepted in July 2002 at the appointment of the new Bishop, Most Rev.L. Thomas Aquinas on 10th July 2002.
The diocese has just commenced a new age of growth under the guidance of the New Bishop. He was consecrated on 28.08.2002 .Most Rev.L.Thomas Avinas in a grand consecration ceremony which took place in the Cathedral.
Right Rev. Thomas AquinasBishop Of Coimbatore
|Born||:||6 March 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 May 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 August 2002|
Bishop’s House, Post Box No. 6,Coimbatore - 641 001 (Tamil Nadu)
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and English.|
The Diocese of Cuddapah was erected by the Papal Bull "Quoriam ad recte universum" dated October 28, 1976 of Pope Paul VI. It comprises the civil districts of Cuddapah and Chittoor which hitherto were part of the Diocese of Nellore.
Bp Aruliah Somavarapa was appointed the First Bishop of Cuddapah. Bishop Moses Doraboina Prakasam took charge on Aug. 28, 2002 and he was transferred to Nellore diocese on Dec. 07, 2006.
Right Rev. Gali BaliApostolic Administrator of Cuddapah Diocese
|Born||:||29 April 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1964|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||23 October 1984|
D. No. W-19-039, Bishop’s House,
Mariapuram, R. V. Nagar (Post)
Kadapa - 516 003 (Andhra Pradesh)
Right Rev. PRASAD GALLELABishop Emeritus of Cuddapah
|Born||:||7 April 1962|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 March 1989|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 March 2008|
Saint Patrick Al. School
1st Crescent Park Road,
Gandhi Nagar, Adyar,
Chennai - 600020 (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||31,019 Sq km|
|Languages||:||Telugu, Tamil, English|
The Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar comprises the civil districts of Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar, Phulbani (Kandhamal) and Puri in the state of Orissa.
The Diocese of Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar was part of the Diocese of Visakhapatnam since 1845. In 1922, the Spanish Vincentian Fathers came to Orissa. In 1928, Pope Pius XI declared the mission of Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar "sui juris".
In 1937 the mission was created into a Diocese and was made suffragan of Ranchi. On January 24, 1974, it became a Metropolitan See and Most Rev. Henry D'Souza was appointed the first Archbishop of Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar. A part of the former Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar diocese was erected into the Diocese of Berhampur. In April 1985 Archbishop Henry D'Souza was transferred to the Archdiocese of Calcutta. On August 11, 1985, Bp Raphael Cheenath, svd, of the Diocese of Sambalpur succeeded him as Archbishop.
Most Rev. John Barwa, SVDArchbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar
|Born||:||1 June 1955|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 April 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 April 2006|
Archbishop’s House, St. Mother Teresa Road
9/16, Satyanagar P. O.,
Bhubaneshwar - 751 007 (Odisha)
|Languages||:||Oriya, Kui, Hindi, English, Telgu, Ho|
The Diocese of Daltonganj was formerly part of the Ranchi Archdiocese. It was constituted as a separate diocese in 1971, and comprises the civil districts of Hazaribagh, Palamau, Garhwa, Bokaro, Chatra and Koderma. At the time of erection into a diocese, Rt. Rev. George V. Sauipn, sj. was the First Bishop. For the better pastoral care of the faithful, on May 12, 1995 the Diocese of Hazaribagh was established with the territory taken from the Daltonganj diocese. At present the Diocese of Daltonganj comprises of the civil districts of Palamau and Garhwa.
Right Rev. THEODORE MASCARENHAS,SFXApostolic Administrator of Daltonganj
|Born||:||9 November 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||24 April 1998|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||30 August 2014|
Bishop’s House,Station Road, Daltonganj P. O.,Palamau Dt. - 822 101 (Jharkhand)
Right Rev. Gabriel Kujur, SJBishop Emeritus of Daltonganj
|Born||:||7 July 1942|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 May 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 January 1998|
St. Xavier’s School, P.B.No.19, P.O. & Dt. Hazaribag – 825301 (Jharkhand)
|Languages||:||Hindi, Mundari, Oraon, Sadri |
The Diocese of Darjeeling was erected on August 8th, 1962, and was formed by separating Darjeeling District from the Church of Calcutta, and joining it to the Prefecture Apostolic of Sikkim. In November 1997 the church in the sub-division of Siliguri was separated from Darjeeling Diocese to form the new diocese of Bagdogra. The present Darjeeling Diocese consists of the three hill sub-divisions of Darjeeling, the State of Sikkim and the Kingdom of Bhutan.
The Church first came to Darjeeling with the Irish Loreto Sisters in 1846, soon after the opening of the hill station of Darjeeling. The area was then under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Bishop Hartman of Patna diocese and was staffed by Capuchins, who were mostly Italians. In 1886, when the hierarchy was established in India, the area comprising the present sub-divisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Siliguri and the State of Sikkim was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Calcutta and came under the care of the Jesuits from Belgium.
In 1889, a theologate for the Society of Jesus called St. Mary's College was started at Kurseong. Up to the end of 1971, when it was transferred to Delhi, the College contributed much to the expansion work in the district. Memkorable among the missionaries of that time are Father M. Wéry who worked in Kurseong from 1932 to 1957, and is known today as the 'Apostle of the Nepalese', and Father A. Bossaerts who started the first station in the terai at Gayaganga in 1933 where he died in 1945, after years of service to the tribal laboureres brought from Chota Nagpur to work on the tea gardens in the plains.
In 1946, the English-speaking Jesuits of the Upper Canada Province came to the assistance of the Belgian Jesuits. They gradually took over the administration of the area, and in 1956 the Darjeeling Region of the Calcutta Province was created, and this became a province of the Society of Jesus in 1997.
Kalimpong & Sikkim
In the Kalimpong area, work started in 1883, when the Fathers of the Foreign Missions of Paris settled down in Pedong with the hope of getting into Tibet via the Chumbi Valley. The Kalimpong sub-division, which was then known as 'British Bhutan', was attached to the Vicariate Apostolic of Lhasa and named 'Southern Tibet Mission'. Prominent among the French Missionaries and a pioneer and scholar in Tibetan, was Fr A. Desgodins, who founded Pedong.
In 1929, the territory was separated from Tibet to form an Independent Mission within the ecclesiastical province of Calcutta. In 1931, Sikkim was added to it and thus the 'Prefecture Apostolic of Kalimpong-Sikkim' came into existence, with Msgr Jules Douhanel as its first Prefect Apostolic.
In 1935, the French Fathers handed the files over to the Canons Regular of Swiss Congregation of St Maurice of Agaune ("CR's"), and in 1937, Msgr Aurelio Gianora was appointed its new Prefect Apostolic. Twenty five years later, in 1962, he handed the territory over to Bishop Eric Benjamin, the First Bishop of the newly erected diocese.
The Kingdom of Bhutan was separated from the Diocese of Tezpur and included in the Diocese of Darjeeling in 1975 by a Decree of the S.C. for the Evangelization of Peoples ('Qua Facilius' No. 217/75, 20.1.1975)
Right Rev. Stephen LepchaBishop Of Darjeeling
|Born||:||22 December 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||15 December 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 December 1997|
Bishop’s House,13, Dr. Yen Singh Road,Darjeeling - 734 101 (West Bengal)
|Area||:||48,168 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Nepali, Bhutanese, Lepcha, Sikkimese, Tibetan, English|
The Archdiocese of Delhi was once part of the Archdiocese of Agra. It was in the year 1910, by a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Faith, that Simla Archdiocese was erected. The Holy See entrusted this Archdiocese to the English Capuchins and chose Fr. Anselm Kenealy, a member of the English Capuchin Province, to be the first Archbishop. He was consecrated on December 21, 1910. Archbishop Sylvester Patrick Mulligan succeeded him in 1937 and in that year, the city of Delhi and those portions of the Punjab which were under the Archdiocese of Agra were added to the Archdiocese of Simla. With this addition, the Archdiocese was renamed as: Archdiocese of Delhi-Simla and Archbishop Mulligan became the first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Delhi-Simla. On 8th December 1945, Sacred Heart Church in New Delhi was consecrated by Archbishop Mulligan and declared his Cathedral.
Archbishop Mulligan passed away in 1950. In the following year, Rt. Rev. Joseph Fernandes, the then Auxiliary Bishop of Calcutta, took over as the first Indian Archbishop of Delhi-Simla.
The history proper of the Archdiocese of Delhi begins on June 4, 1959 when the Archdiocese of Delhi -Simla was bifurcated into two separate ecclesiastical units, viz., Diocese of Simla-Chandigarh and Archdiocese of Delhi and both were handed over to the Diocesan clergy. While Archbishop Joseph Fernandes was re-named the Archbishop of Delhi, Msgr. John Burke, the then Vicar General of Delhi, was consecrated on November 1, 1959, as the first Bishop of the newly carved out Diocese of Simla-Chandigarh. On the same day, Fr. Angelo Fernandes, the then Administrator of Holy Name Cathedral, Bombay, was consecrated as the Co-adjutor Archbishop of Delhi.
At the time of the bifurcation, in 1959, the Archdiocese of Delhi had only 10 churches. In spite of these limitations, a planned growth for the Archdiocese was envisaged by the then Archbishop Joseph Fernandes and his Co-adjutor Archbishop Angelo Femandes who succeeded him in 1967. Most Rev. Angelo Fernandes retired as Archbishop of Delhi in 1990 and Most Rev. Alan Basil de Lastic took over as the new Archbishop on January 27, 1991. To assist the new Archbishop, Rt Rev. Vincent M Concessao was consecrated as the Auxiliary Bishop on April 1, 1995, who later was appointed as the Archbishop of Agra. Archbishop Angelo Fernandes passed away on January 30th 2000 and in the same year Archbishop Alan de Lastic too died in a tragic accident at Poland on 21st June. After the death of Archbishop Alan, Archbishop Vincent Concessao was installed as the fourth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Delhi on 19th November, 2000. On 11 March, 2001, Rt. Rev. Anil J.T. Couto was consecrated as the Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi. In March 2007 Bishop Anil was appointed as the Bishop of Jalandhar. On 21st February, 2009 Rt. Rev. Franco Mulakkal, a priest from the diocese of Jalandhar was consecrated as the Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi. In April 2009 another priest of the Archdiocese Rt. Rev. Ignatius Mascarenhas was consecrated the Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh Diocese.
The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, visited the Archdiocese in January 1986 and he re-dedicated it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and commended to the Lord all the people entrusted to the care of the Archdiocese. In November 1999 Holy Father, Pope John Paul II visited Delhi again to release his Encyclical Ecclesia in Asia (Church in Asia). He did so in the Sacred Heart Cathedral in the presence of many bishops of Asia and various other priests and lay people.
At present the Archdiocese of Delhi comprises the Union Territory of Delhi and the districts of Gurgaon, Rohtak, Mahendragarh, Sonepat, Faridabad, Mewat, Jhajjar and Rewari of Haryana.
Right Rev. Deepak Valerian TauroAuxiliary Bishop of Delhi
|Born||:||2 August 1967|
|Priestly Ordination||:||10 May 1996|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 September 2021|
1, Ashok Place,
New Delhi - 110 001
Most Rev. Anil Joseph Thomas CoutoArchbishop Of Delhi
|Born||:||22 September 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 February 1981|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||11 March 2001|
|Tel(P)||:||011 - 23347988,(0)920711612|
1, Ashok Place,
New Delhi - 110 001
Most Rev. Vincent M ConcessaoArchbishop Emeritus of Delhi
|Born||:||28 September 1936|
|Priestly Ordination||:||4 December 1961|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 April 1995|
Church of Immaculate Conception,
Kanhei Gaon, Sector 45, H. N. 922,
Gurgaon - 122 003 (Haryana)
|Area||:||15,400 sq. kms|
|Languages||:|| Hindi, English, Malayalam, Tamil and Konkani|
The History of the new Dharmapuri diocese is closely connected with that of Salem from where the diocese was bifurcated in 1997. In the year 1623, Christianity came into existence in the Diocese of Salem through the famous Jesuit Fr Robert De Nobili, his successors and later on through the Portugese Jesuits of Madurai Missions. In 1654 the Italian Jesuits of Mysore had their residence at Dharmapuri and began to preach the Gospel in the region as far as Tirupattur in North Arcot district. In 1674, St. John De Britto, visited Dharmapuri on his way to Kolei. He stayed at Dharmapuri with his Confreres, being accompanied by Fr Antony Ribero. In 1687, the Mysore Church work began to spread and preach the Gospel in the present districts of Salem and Dharmapuri. Inspite of the Pombal decree, suppressing the Jesuits, they carried on working under the jurisdiction of Cranganore. In 1711, Fr De. Cunha, a Father was killed by the local people as he was on his horse back towards the Church work place, near Hosur.
In 1776, the Holy Father handed the Madurai Missions and the Malabar Missions to the care of the M.E.P. Fathers. In 1785, Msgr Chapenois, mep. Superior of Malabar Mission was given the responsibility by Rome to look after the entire Mysore Mission, of which the old Diocese of Salem formed a part. In 1794, he was the first Bishop to visit the Diocese of Salem and left there Abbe Dubois, mep who tried to bring up the Church work. This region continued to depend on Coramandal Missions, and later, on the Apostolic Vicariate of Pondicherry, which became an Archdiocese in 1886. This set up continued till 1930 except for Hosur Taluk, which had been entrusted from 1861 to the care of the Mysore Missions. On August 3, 1930, the Diocese of Salem was erected.
Because of the vastness of the Diocese of Salem, the district of Dharmapuri was separated and declared a diocese by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II on January 24, 1997. Msgr Joseph Antony Irudayaraj, sdb, a Salesian was appointed as its First Bishop. This diocese is the 15th diocese of the Tamil Nadu region.
Right Rev. Lawrence Pius DorairajBishop Of Dharmapuri
|Born||:||14 June 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 December 1981|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 February 1999|
Bishop’s House, Post Box No.32, NH-7, Gundalapatty Medu,Dharmapuri- 636 701 (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||9,622 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Tamil, English, Telugu and Kannada|
The first Catholic priests ever to come to Assam were Fr Cacella, sj, and Fr Cabral, sj. They were on their way to Tibet, in the year 1626. After 1826 when Assam became part of the British Empire, the growth of Tea plantations brought in Catholic immigrants from Bihar and Bengal. In 1850 Assam was united to Lhasa and Fr Krick of the Foreign Church work of Paris was the first Catholic Father to set foot in Dibrugarh on September 7, 1851. Frs Krick and Bourry were killed in February in 1854 in Arunachal Pradesh as they were on their way to Tibet. In 1860 Fr Mercier is said to have visited Dibrugarh.
In 1870 Assam became part of the Prefecture Apostolic of Krishnagar. Fr Jacob Broy of the Foreign Church work of Milan was the first resident priest of Assam with headquarters at Guwahati and he looked after Dibrugarh. In 1889 the Prefecture Apostolic of Assam was created with headquarters in Shillong and Fr Rudolf Fontaine, a Germany Salvatorian, opened the Dibrugarh Church work in 1908. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the German Salvatorians were forced to return to their country and the Jesuits of Calcutta looked after Assam. In 1921 the Prefecture of Assam was entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco. It was Fr Leo Piasecki, sdb, who reopened Dibrugarh Church work at the request of Msgr. Louis Mathias, sdb, on February 8, 1931. From 1934 to 1951 Dibrugarh formed part of the Diocese of Shillong with Msgr. Louis Mathias, sdb, and Msgr. Stephen Ferrando as its pastors.
The Diocese of Dibrugarh was carved out from the Diocese of Shillong on July 12, 1951 with Rt. Rev. Orestes Marengo, sdb, as its First Bishop. In 1964 Bp Orestes Marengo, sdb, was transferred to the newly erected Diocese of Tezpur. On July 6, 1964 Rt. Rev. Hubert D' Rosario, sdb, was appointed the second Bishop of Dibrugarh. On his transfer to Shillong - Guwahati in 1969 Rt. Rev. Robert Kerketta, sdb, succeeded him on May 31, 1970 as the third pastor of Dibrugarh. When Rt. Rev Robert Kerketta, sdb, was transferred to Tezpur in December 1980, Rev Fr Joseph Variathukala, sdb, was elected as the Vicar Capitular. On July 13, 1981 Pope John Paul II appointed Rt. Rev. Thomas Menamparampil, sdb, as the fourth pastor of Dibrugarh. In 1992 when the Holy See erected the Diocese of Guwahati with Rt. Rev Thomas Menamparampil, sdb, as its bishop, once again Dibrugarh became vacant and Rev. Fr Sebastian Karotemprel was elected as the Diocesan Administrator. Bp Joseph Aind sdb, the first priest of Dibrugarh, was appointed the fifth Bishop of Dibrugarh on the December 23, 1994.
Until 1964 the Diocese of Dibrugarh comprised the present-day Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat districts of Assam and Tirap, Changlang, Lohit and Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh as well as the two states of Nagaland and Manipur. In 1964 when the Diocese of Tezpur was erected, Lakhimpur became part of that diocese. In 1973 the Diocese of Kohima - Imphal was erected with the states of Nagaland and Manipur. With all the eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh, the diocese of Miao was erected on 7th December 2005.
The Diocese of Dibrugarh now comprises of the five civil districts of Assam, namely, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat.
Right Rev. JOSEPH AIND ,SDBBishop Emeritus of Dibrugarh
|Born||:||5 November 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 November 1976|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 March 1995|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 50, Dibrugarh - 786 001 (Assam)
Right Rev. ALBERT HEMRONBishop of Dibrugarh
|Born||:||27 February 1969|
|Priestly Ordination||:||25 April 1999|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 February 2019|
P. B. No. 50,
Dibrugarh - 786 001 (Assam)
|Area||:||16,192 Sq. kms. |
|Languages||:||Assamese, Hindi, English, Sadri, Uraon, Mundari, Kharia, Boro Kachari, Mishing, Nepali, Bengali and Garo.|
The Holy Father, John Paul II, erected the new Diocese of Dindigul, the 17th diocese in Tamilnadu, bifurcating it from Tiruchirapalli diocese, on November 10, 2003. Rt. Rev. Antony Pappusamy, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Madurai Archdiocese, was installed the first Bishop of the diocese on December 28, 2003.
The history of the Church in Dindigul diocese dates back to many centuries. The people of Dindigul diocese owe their faith to Jesuit Fathers who tirelessly toiled in this region. The history of Dindigul diocese is highly interwoven with the history of Jesuit missionary work in Tamilnadu, especially in and around Dindigul.
Right Rev. Thomas PaulsamyBishop of Dindigul
|Born||:||2 August 1951|
|Priestly Ordination||:||25 May 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||22 May 2016|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 6, Valan Nagar, Millipadi Post, B.k. pundur (SO)Dindigul - 624 005 (Tamil Nadu)
|Area||:||6,26,684 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Tamil and English.|
The Diocese of Diphu was erected on 5 December, 1983 detaching the District of Karbi Anglong from the Archdiocese of Shillong-Guwahati and the District of North Cachar Hills from the Diocese of Silchar. Most Rev. Mathai Kochuparampil SDB was appointed the first Bishop of this new Diocese. He was installed at Diphu on 4 March, 1984. He passed away on 4 March 1992. Rev. Fr. Albano D’Mello was elected Diocesan Administrator on 11 March, 1992. On 24 June, 1994, Most Rev. John Thomas Kattrukudiyil was appointed the second Bishop of the Diocese. He was consecrated on 8 September 1994. He was transferred to the newly formed diocese of Itanagar in December 2005, however, he was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese. On 14 February, 2007, Most Rev. John Moolachira was appointed as the third Bishop of Diphu Diocese. He was consecrated on 15 April, 2007. He was, however, transferred to the Archdiocese of Guwahati as the Auxiliary Archbishop and left the diocese of Diphu on 14 June 2011. On 16 June 2011, Rev. Fr. John Timung was elected by the college of Consultors as the Diocesan Administrator of the diocese of Diphu. On 26 July, 2013, Most Rev. Paul Mattekatt was appointed as the fourth Bishop of Diphu Diocese. He was consecrated on 6 October, 2013.
The oldest missionary presence in the Diocese is that of RNDM sisters at Haflong. The first group of sisters settled down in Haflong in 1911. They started a small boarding school, which later on was opened to the children of the British engineers and tea garden managers. But due to malaria and other fatal diseases prevalent in the region, the infant school was closed down. In the year 1918, in the month of March, St. Agnes School was re-opened by the sisters. A priest began to reside at Haflong and to serve as chaplain to the convent. According to a government letter, the school was meant for the Europeans and the Eurasians in the province and not for any general missionary purpose. Such restrictions remained till the independence of India.
In 1927, with the election of Mgr. Lepailleur CSC as the first Bishop of Chittagong, Cachar was made part of the new diocese. Bishop Lepailleur acquired a lease on a fairly large piece of land adjacent to the convent in 1930, and in the year 1943, he obtained another lease on a plot of land about 10 minutes walk from the convent which later became the headquarters of the Prefecture of Haflong and the present priests’ residence.
The mission of Haflong was initially run by the Holy cross Fathers attached to the Canadian Province of the Congregation. In the year 1952, on 7 January, Haflong was raised to the status of a Prefecture Apostolic and Mons. Gomes Breens was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic. His area of jurisdiction consisted of Cachar Hills, the Mizo Hills and Tripura. This Haflong Prefecture Apostolic was raised to the status of a Diocese on 26 June, 1968 with the Episcopal See at Silchar, and Most Rev. Denzil D’Souza as its first Bishop.
In July, 1974, Rev. Fr. Peter Bianchi SDB was appointed the parish priest of Haflong. With the erection of the Diocese of Diphu, the parish of Haflong, which comprised the whole district of North Cachar Hills, became part of it. The Christian community of this district of North Cachar Hills is made up of Karbi, Zeme Naga, Khasi, Adivasi, Mizo, Hmar, Dimasa and other tribal groups.
The Salvatorian Fathers had adopted Khasi Hills as their main field of missionary activity. They reached the boundary of Karbi Anglong but did not really enter it. Mr. Langtuk Hanse from the village of Marjong, just a few Kilometers from the present parish centre of Umswai, was the first to hear about the Gospel. On 25 January 1914, he led a group of six people from Marjong to Umtyrkhang, in Khasi Hills and received baptism at the hands of Fr. Chrysostomus Lefef Mayr SDS. These six in turn became apostles and on 4 of May 1916, 31 others from the same village received the faith. On the 15 of the same month another 22 received baptism. In 1920, some of those who had received baptism came to settle in Umpanai (Amkachi); and thus a community was started there too. Later on a community came up also in Mynser. The work in this region was not restricted to the Karbis only. The Tiwas too responded to the faith. In 1950, the people of Bor Marjong and Umswai received the faith.
The first one to receive the faith in Block I (Jrikyndeng) was Mr. Joseph Milik and his four children. They went to the Raliang Mission and were baptized on the 6th of March 1942. They were the people of Umkhyrmi. From here the faith spread to the Karbis of other villages.
In the Rongkhang area the first to receive the faith was John Kathar with a group of 27 others. Msgr. Marengo received this first group into the Church.
The first baptisms in Dokmoka region among the Karbis was at Dentaghat in 1969. In 1950 some of the Catholics came from Sojong to Diphu to settle here and thus a community was started here too. Later on, the Karbis at Japralangso, Rihalangso, Balipathar and other villages were contacted. The first baptisms in Chokihola region was in the year 1973.
Although the first baptisms were in 1914, the first parish was opened in Karbi Anglong in the year 1967 at Sojong. On 11 February the parish of Sojong was inaugurated with Fr. John Mariae as the first parish priest. In 1971, the parish of Diphu was opened, in 1972 the parish of Dokmoka, in 1974 that of Chokihola and in 1977 the parish of Umswai. Japrajan was the last parish inaugurated before the erection of the Diocese of Diphu.
Today the Diocese has 25 Parishes, 45 Convents, 6 Mission centres and 10 Sub-mission centres. The missionary team of the Diocese comprises the Diocesan priests, the Salesians, the MSFS, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the OCDs, the CMs, the MCBS, the Franciscan Brothers, Religious women belonging to 27 different congregations, numerous full time Catechists, village Catechists and Youth leaders. The diocese is constantly endeavoring to move forward in the spirit of the first missionaries who planted the Gospel in this part of the world.
Right Rev. Paul MattekattBishop of Diphu
|Born||:||1 June 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||31 December 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||6 October 2013|
Bishop’s House,Post Box No. 18,Karbi Anglong Dist.Diphu - 782 460 (Assam)
|Area||:||15,222 Sq km|
|Languages||:||Karbi, Hindi, Garo, Cachiari, |
The Diocese of Dumka was established by Pope John XXIII, by the Apostolic Bull "Exulted Sancta Mater Ecclesia" of August 8, 1962. The Diocese was formed by fusing together the area of the Santal Mission, till then part of Calcutta Archdiocese, and the then Prefecture Apostolic of Malda. The diocese then comprised the undivided districts of Santal Praganas (except Godda sub-division and Deoghar and Sarwan thana of Deoghar sub division) and of purnea in Bihar state, as well as the districts of Malda and West Dinajpur with Rampuhat sub-division of Birbhum district in West Bengal state.
The Catholic Fathers made various attempts to establish a mission among the Santals, by far the most numerous aboriginal tribe in India. From 1826, a Capuchin, and from 1887 a Jesuit Priest ministered to the European and Anglo-Indian inhabitants of Purnea district and town, then famous for its indigo plantations, where a church was built and blessed in 1849 by Bishop Hartmann. The Catholic population was about 250. The resident priest at Purnea also visited Santal Parganas district to offer Mass in the Railway colonies at Sahibganj, Rampurhat and Nalhati and at Dumka, the district headquarters. A Belgian Jesuit made two exploratory tours to Santal Parganas district to offer Mass in the Railway colonies at Sahibganj, Rampurhat and Nalhati and at Dumka, the district headquarters. A Belgian Jesuit made two exploratory tours to Santal Parganas district in 1879 and 1887. The Jesuit Fathers from Asansol visited the Catholic families along the Chord Railway line and in 1908 a Church was built at Madhupur in the south-western part of Santal Parganas district.
The real history of the Santal Mission began in 1924. At the invitation of their Fr General the Jesuits of the Sicilian province, then including the Island of Malta, arrived in Calcutta to help their Belgian confreres and take up the evangelization of the Santal tribe. The following year the first Churh work station was opened for the Santals centered around the village of Majlispur (now part of Raiganj Diocese), some miles north east of Purnea town. The evangelization of Santal Parganas district, where the majority of Santals resided began in January, 1930, with the arrival of Fr Benjamin Cauchi, sj, from Majlispur. With the regular arrival of fathers from Malta and Sicily, parishes were established and schools were opened.
In August, 1962 when Dumka diocese was formed the Catholics in Purnea district had risen to 5,295, while the Catholics in Santal Parganas district had, since 1930, increased to 19,676. The credit for this wonderful development goes to the Archbishop of Calcutta Dr F. Perier sj who gave generous help to the Fathers to establish the Church in Santal Parganas district. The Foreign Missionaries of Milan (PIME) developed Malda Prefecture and at the time of its integration with Dumka Diocese there were 6,065 Catholics.
On November 10, 1978 the new Diocese of Raiganj was established, detaching from Dumka diocese the two civil districts of West Dinajpur and Malda in West Bengal State. Bishop Leo Tigga, sj, the First Bishop of Dumka, was transferred to Raiganj as the First Bishop of the new diocese.
In 1974 the districts of Purnea was bifurcated to create the new district of Katihar. In January 1990 Purnea district was further divided and the new district of Araria and Kishanganj were formed and Purnea became the Divisional Headquarters.
The former district of santal Parganas was elevated into a Division in May, 1983 and was divided into four districts, namely Dumka, Deoghar, Godda and Sahibganj. Sahibganj district was divided into two in 1995, namely Sahibganj and Pakur. Of these, Dumka, Sahibganj and Pakur districts and Madhupur sub-division of Deoghar district form part of Dumka diocese. Thus today Dumka diocese comprises the civil districts of Dimka, Dahibganj, Pakur, Deoghar (Part), Purnea, Katihar, Araria and Kishanganj in Bihar, Rampurhat sub-division of Birbhum district in West Bengal.
Right Rev. Julius MarandiBishop of Dumka
|Born||:||8 June 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||9 December 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 October 1997|
|Tel(P)||:||06434-223377 , (0)9431156012|
Bishop’s House, Dudhani,
Dumka P. O. & Dt. - 814 101
|Area||:||14,356 km2 |
|Languages||:||Santali, Hindi, Oraon, Paharia, Mundari|
The Diocese of Eluru comprises the whole of West Godavari district and the Mandals of Amalapuram, Kothapeta, Rajole and Mummidivaram of East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. This territory was bifurcated from the Diocese of Vijayawada and erected into a Diocese by the Papal Bull 'Dubitantes' of Pope Paul VI dated December 9, 1976.
Right Rev. Jaya Rao PolimeraBishop of Eluru
|Born||:||27 August 1965|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 April 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 July 2013|
Bishop’s House,Xavier Nagar, Eluru - 534 007W. G. Dist. (Andhra Pradesh)
|Area||:||43,000 Sq. km|
The Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly (formerly known as Archdiocese of Ernakulam) occupies a prominent position in the history of the Syro-Malabar Church. It was established as a Vicariate by the Bull “Quae Rei Sacrae” of Pope Leo XIII on 28th July 1896. Mar Aloysius Pazheparambil was appointed as the first Vicar Apostolic, who assumed charge on 5th November 1896.
Under the able guidance of Mar Pazheparambil, the Vicariate began to flourish. City of Ernakulam was chosen to be the location for the Bishop’s House and the construction was begun in October 1897 and it was completed and blessed on 24th April 1900. Although he had to begin from the scratches, his indefatigable labours, coupled with the hearty co-operation of the clergy and laity brought the Vicariate within a few years, to a position of eminence. He continued to govern the Vicariate ably and successfully till his death on 9th December 1919.
The progress of the Vicariate both spiritually and materially was accelerated ever since Mar Augustine Kandathil assumed the charge of it on 18 December 1919. Archbishop Kandathil guided the life and work of the archdiocese and of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy for well over three decades. He not only followed the progressive policies of his illustrious predecessor, but also opened new avenues of apostolate in keeping with the changing times. His accent on charity and piety led to the foundation of many churches, schools, hospitals, homes for the poor and asylums for the aged as well as several Orders of Religious and pious associations.
As the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy was established on 21st December 1923, by the Bull “Romani Pontifices” of Pope Pius XI, Ernakulam was raised to the status of an archdiocese and was made the centre of the Syro-Malabar Church. Its Vicar Apostolic Mar Augustine Kandathil was appointed as the first archbishop.
On 20th July 1956, Mar Joseph Parecattil became the Archbishop of Ernakulam. By the Bull, “Qui in Beati Petri Cathedrae” of Pope Pius XII, Ernakulam was bifurcated and the diocese of Kothamangalam was erected on 29th July 1956. The dioceses of Thrissur, Thalassery and Kothamangalam became suffragan dioceses of Ernakulam archdiocese. Mar Parecattil was made Cardinal on 28th March 1969 and Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary was appointed as his auxiliary on 15th November 1969.
The number of churches, monasteries, convents, seminaries, schools, colleges, technical institutions, printing presses, hospitals, homes for retired priests, social centres and various associations and institutes dedicated to intellectual and vocational apostolates that have come into being in this archdiocese during Cardinal Parecattil’s tenure of office is truly impressive.
When Cardinal Parecattil retired from his office on 1st April 1984, his auxiliary, Bishop Mar Sebastian Mankuzhikary was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the archdiocese. Bishop Mankuzhikary had already played a significant role in the all-round progress of the archdiocese from the year 1970 in his capacity as Auxiliary Bishop and as the Vicar General.
Mar Antony Padiyara was appointed as the Archbishop of Ernakulam on 18th May 1985 and he took charge on 3rd July 1985. His term of office as archbishop is also marked by a steady development in all spheres of life and activities of the archdiocese.
His Holiness Pope John Paul II, during his Pastoral Visit in INDIA, presided over a Eucharistic Celebration at H.M.T. Grounds, Kalamassery, whereafter he paid a visit to the St Mary’s Cathedral Basilica, Ernakulam, and spent the night at the Archbishop’s House, Ernakulam.
Mar Padiyara was made Cardinal on 29th May 1988. Fr Jacob Manathodath was nominated as his auxiliary on 6th September 1992. Bishop Jacob, who was also the Vicar General, assisted the Cardinal in the administration of the archdiocese from 1992 to 1997.
A greater landmark in the history of the St. Thomas Christians and especially in the history of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam was on 16th December 1992 when the Syro-Malabar Church was declared a Major Archiepiscopal Church ‘Sui Iuris’ with the title of Ernakulam-Angamaly, by Pope John Paul II. The Holy See thus recognized the legitimate right of the Syro-Malabar Church. It also took into account the pre-eminence of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam by making it the See of the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. Thereby the Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly is also Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. The above mentioned document of the Holy Father also prescribes that the residential See of the Major Archbishop is to be at Ernakulam. By this document the name of the Archdiocese was changed from Ernakulam to Ernakulam-Angamaly. Thus Angamaly, an ancient residential See of the Bishop of St Thomas Christians and now a municipal town in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, also got associated with the title of the Major Archbishop. It is also worthy of special mention that it was an illustrious son of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam in the person of Archbishop Abraham Kattumana, who was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the Pontifical Delegate to the Syro-Malabar Church. The Curia of the Major Archiepiscopal Church started functioning in the Archbishop’s House which was shifted to Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad on 27th May 1995.
His Eminence Cardinal and Major Archbishop Antony Padiyara retired from his office on 18th December 1996; and Dr. Varkey Vithayathil C.Ss.R. was nominated titular Bishop of ‘Antinoe’ and the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese. He was Consecrated Archbishop by Holy Father Pope John Paul II on 6th January 1997. His Grace Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil assumed charge of the archdiocese as the Apostolic Administrator.
The Auxiliary Bishop Jacob Manathodath was appointed Bishop of the diocese of Palakkad and took charge there on 1st February 1997. Msgr. Thomas Chakiath was nominated Auxiliary Bishop to the Apostolic Administrator Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil on 17th February 1998. Bishop Chakiath who is also the Vicar General assists the Archbishop in the Administration of the Archdiocese.
On 23rd December 1999 Holy Father Pope John Paul II appointed Mar Varkey Vithayathil as the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church and as the Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly. His enthronement as the Major Archbishop took place at St Mary’s Basilica, Ernakulam on 26th January 2000. Fr Sebastian Adayanthrath was nominated Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly by Pope John Paul II on January 03, 2002. Major Archbishop His Beatitude Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil expired on 1st April 2011.
On 26th May 2011 the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Synod elected Mar George Alencherry as the father and head of more than 40 lakhs Syro-Malabar faithful living all over the world. His enthronement as the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church and as the Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly took place at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica, Ernakulam on 29th May 2011. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI nominated Mar George Alencherry a member of the College of Cardinals on 6th January 2012. At the Consistory held on 18th February 2012, he was raised to the dignity of a Cardinal.
Mar Thomas Chakiath, the auxiliary bishop and Protosyncellus, retired from his office on 10th September 2012 as he turned 75. Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath, the syncellus took charge of the office of the Protosyncellus on the same day. Mar Jose Puthenveettil, who has been syncellus since March 2011, was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese on 21st September 2013.
Mar George Cardinal Alencherry is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Congregation for the Eastern Churches and the International Council for Catechesis and member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. His Beatitude participated in the Conclave in March 2013 that elected Pope Francis.
On 22nd June 2018, the Holy Father Pope Francis appointed His Excellency Mar Jacob Manathodath, Bishop of Palghat, as Apostolic Administrator Sede Plena of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly. At present, Very Rev.Fr.Dr.Varghese Pottackal serves as the Pro-Protosyncellus of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly.
The present Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly comprises the taluks of Cherthala, Kanayannoor, Kunnathunad, Mukundapuram and Vaikom, spread out in the districts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Thrissur in Kerala State (INDIA).
Most Rev. Antony Kariyil, CMIVicar of the Major Archbishop for the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly
|Born||:||26 March 1950|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 October 2015|
Major Archbishop’s House,P. Box No. 2580, Ernakulam,Kochi - 682 031 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Sebastian VaniyapurackalCuria Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Church
|Born||:||29 March 1967|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 December 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||12 November 2017|
Major Archiepiscopal Curia
Mount St. Thomas,
P. B. No. 3110, Kakkanadu P. O.,
Kochi - 682 030 (Kerala)
Most Rev. ANDREWS THAZHATHApostolic Administrator of Ernakulam
|Born||:||13 December 1951|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 March 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 May 2004|
Catholic Archbishops House, Post Box No.706, Thrissur - 680005 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Antony SilvanosCuria Bishop of the Syro-Malankara Church
|Born||:||18 July 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 December 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 July 2022|
Major Archiepiscopal Curia,
Catholicate Center, Pattom,
Trivandrum - 695 004 (Kerala)
His Beatitude Cardinal George AlencherryMajor Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church & Metropolitan Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly
|Born||:||19 April 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 December 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 February 1997|
Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Mount St. Thomas, P.B. No. 3110, P. O. Kakkanand,
Kochi- 682 030 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Thomas ChakiathAuxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Ernakulam-Angamaly
|Born||:||10 September 1937|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 November 1964|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||14 April 1998|
Aluva - 683 112 (Kerala)
|Area||:||1500 sq. km|
The Diocese of Faridabad in the form of ‘Delhi Syro-Malabar Mission’ has its 34 years long history. It begins with the official visit by late Mar Antony Cardinal Padiyara to the Syro Malabar Catholics in Faridabad in 1978, the first Apostolic Visitator to study the status of Syro-Malabar Catholics.
In the Year 1986, Santhome Bhavan was established in Sector 23 Faridabad and Fr Sebastian Kizhakkeyil MST, first Syro Malabar Catholic priest from Kerala began to stay at Faridabad with the specific intention to organize Catholics from Kerala in the Industrial city of India. In 1987 he was followed by Fr James Mandapathikunnel MST and later in 1994 he was replaced by Fr. Jose Oliakattil.
In 1988, St. Thomas Catholics Welfare Association was formed in Faridabad to take up the cause of Syro-Malabar Catholics in the National Capital Region. The Association sent appeals and requests to the Archbishop of Delhi, Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Holy See.
In 1990 Santhome Bhavan in Sec. 23 was shifted to House No. 889, Sector 19. It was blessed by late Archbishop Alan De Lastic and was declared a Mass Centre of Delhi Archdiocese.
The Syro-Malabar Bishops´ Conference has entrusted the Delhi Mission to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. Pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar faithful in the Archdiocese of Delhi was formally begun in the year 1991 when Rev. Dr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan was designated by the Syro-Malabar Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of the Syro-Malabar Catholics outside Kerala and was appointed Chaplain of the Syro-Malabar Catholics in the Archdiocese of Delhi by His Grace Archbishop Alan de Lastic on June 01, 1991.
There were 3 Syro-Malabar Religious Congregations for Men having their own houses in Delhi that time i.e. CST at Mayur Vihar, CMI at Harinagar and VC at New Krishna Park.
A priest belonging to the MST congregation was staying in a house at Faridabad owned by the Syro-Malabar Bishop’s Conference.
The SD Sisters had their convent at Jeevodaya Hospital at Ashok Vihar and an extension programme at Jahangirpuri.
There were occasional Syro-Malabar mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, St. Thomas Church at RK Puram, Punjabi Bagh, at the three religious houses mentioned above and at the residence of MST priest at Faridabad.
Fr. Vadakumpadan began celebrating mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Delhi from 1991 onwards.
In consultation with the parish priests and with due permission from the Archbishop, Fr. Sebastian began organizing holy masses in Syro-Malabar rite in different centres
The Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly was generous enough to supply with sufficient number of priests each time as per need. The religious congregations also contributed their share in providing their personnel, time and money to support the mission in Delhi. So far there have been around 40 priests and 250 nuns served and serving in the mission in different periods and in different capacity from 1991.
While there were only two religious houses for women in the beginning, now there are 51 houses for the Syro-Malabar women religious.
Pastoral committees have been organized in all the Mass Centres to see to the smooth functioning of the activities in each Centre.
In order to have a uniform Syro-Malabar pastoral care in the whole Archdiocese, a Syro-Malabar Central Committee was formed with three members each from all Mass Centres, representatives from religious congregations and priests engaged in pastoral care.
With the aim of Gospel witnessing, Fr. Vadakumpadan initiated humanitarian activities for the poor and needy in Delhi. Under the leadership of the priests and nuns, the community began undertaking various activities such as working men’s and women’s hostels, nurseries, dispensaries, educational institutions and homes for the disabled, street children and orphans. The institutions for the disabled at Sanjopuram, Chandpur is unique in its kind under the banner of St. Joseph’s Service Society.
The Archdiocesan Synod held in October 2002 was a turning point for the pastoral care of Orientals in the archdiocese. Consequently, the archdiocese was generous enough to establish 6 personal parishes – Faridabad, Mayurvihar-Trilokpuri, Palam-Janakpuri-Dwarka, Pushpvihar-Hauz Khas, Sanjoepuram and Vikaspuri-Harinagar – for the Syro-Malabar faithful in the archdiocese in 2003.
Rev. Fr. George Manimala was appointed by His Grace as the Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese of Delhi to facilitate the administration of the Oriental Churches within the territory of the Archdiocese.
Rev. Dr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan, the first chaplain of Delhi Syro-Malabar Mission, went back to Kerala after 13 years of pastoral service in Delhi in November 2004 as the director of Little Flower Hospital in Angamali. Rev. Fr. Jose Edassery was appointed in place of Rev. Fr. Sebastian Vadakumpadan, as the Chaplain and coordinator of the Delhi Syro-Malabar Mission on December 02, 2004.
On June 15, 2005 His Grace Archbishop Vincent Concessao established 8 other personal parishes – Alaknanda, Ashokvihar-Rohini, Dilshad Garden, Dwarka, Gurgaon-Kanhai, Harinagar, Okhla and R.K. Puram – for the Syro-Malabar Catholics in the Archdiocese.
Sacred Heart Syro-Malabar Personal Parish in Gurgaon was created in 23rd July 2006.
On August 1st 2007 eight more personal parishes were established. – Karol Bagh, Geetha Colony, Tagore Garden, Radio Colony, Burari, Lado Sarai, Rohini Sector III, Sagarpur.
On 2008 April 27th new church in Dwarka was consecrarted by His Eminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil.
In 2008 December two Mass Centers at Ayanagar and Shahbad in Rohini were created.
On May 1st 2010, new church in Aya Nagar was blessed by Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath, Auxilliary Bishop of Ernakulam.
On September 25th, 2011, New Church in Faridabad along with Presbytery was consecrated by His Beatitude Mar George Alencherry.
Now there are 23 personal parishes and 14 Mass Centres in Delhi Syro-Malabar Mission.
Diocese of Faridabad was erected by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Members (Syrian Catholics) of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and districts of Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) of Uttar Pradesh on 6th March 2012. The new diocese has 9.50 lakh sq. km of area.
The Episcopal Ordination was on May 26, 2012 at Delhi and Head of the Syro-Malabar Church, Mar George Cardinal Alencherry was the main celebrant of the ceremony. Papal Representatives, Oswald Cardinal Gracias (CBCI President), Vatican Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Telesphore Cardinal Toppo (President of CCBI), Vincent M. Concessao, Archbishops and Bishops from different Rites, Central and States Ministers and socio-political, religious leaders.
On May 27th Sunday Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara celebrated Holy Mass at Diocesan Cathedral, Kristuraja Church, Faridabad. Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry attended and thereafter there was Installation ceremony.
Most Rev. Kuriakose BharanikulangaraArchbishop-Bishop of Faridabad
|Born||:||1 February 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 December 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||26 May 2012|
1B/32, N.E.A., Old Rajender Nagar,
New Delhi - 110 060
Right Rev. Jose PuthenveettilAuxiliary Bishop of Faridabad
|Born||:||4 April 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||26 December 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 September 2013|
Mary Matha Syro Malabar Catholic Church,
B XI 2287/28, Street 1,
New Mohar Singh Nagar,
Ludhiana - 141008 (Punjab)
|Languages||:||Hindi, English & Malayalam|
From 1829 to 1901, Deesa was a British military Cantonment with a resident Catholic Chaplain and a Chapel. There were many times when the Catholic (mainly Irish) military personnel were as many as 500, necessitating the services of the Catholic Chaplain. With the shifting of the Cantonment, the Chapel was in disuse and allowed to disintegrate. The statue of Our Lady Queen of the World found refuge in Khambholaj where for many years she was honoured as Our Lady of Khambholaj : Anathoni Mata. When the statue of Mother of the Forsaken from Valencia (Spain) was enthroned in the new Church of Khambholaj, Our Lady Queen of the World was returned around 1980 to the newly founded mission of Deesa.
From 1936 from Rajkot, Fr E. Gadea, sj began visiting Deesa, Radhanpur, Mehsana, Palanpur, celebrating Holy Mass for the dispersed Catholics of the Railways and other government establishments or in the service of the Nawabs. With India becoming independent in 1947, many refugees from Pakistan entered the northern regions of Gujarat. Among these were the Majirana tribals, some of whom were baptized Catholics of the Nawabshah mission in Sind. In new surroundings and with no immediate presence of the Church, they lost contact with the Church. In the late sixties, a chance encounter of one of these Catholics with a Catholic Railway official led to the discovery of this community of Catholics who were spread out in villages of Radhanpur and Deesa Talukas. By this time, Kalol mission was in existence.
Ahmedabad Diocese and the Gujarat Jesuits under the inspiration of Bishop Edwin Pinto, sj and Fr. Charles Gomes, sj respectively sent Jesuit Priests to begin missions in North Gujarat and Sabarkantha. Fr M. Diaz Garriz, sj in Kalol (established 1964) and Swamy Dindayanad (Fr. Luis Espasa, sj) in Mankroda-Bhiloda, (established 1964) began mission work in their respective areas. The next Jesuit Provincial, Fr. Francis Braganza, sj (later Bishop of Baroda) and successive Provincials supported these initiatives, and the missions grew over the years : Nana Kantharia, Vijayanagar, Meghraj in Sabarkantha, and Kadi (Unteshwari), Mehsana, Deesa, Radhanpur in North Gujarat.
In 1960, Gujarat was established as a separate state and Gandhinagar was developed as the state capital. Jesuit Fathers and Sisters of Apostolic Carmel were invited to open their respective schools and the Parish was established in 1970. In 1974, the visionary missionary Fr. Charles Gomes, sj was appointed Bishop of Ahmedabad. Besides giving a fresh impetus to the missions already established, he planned for Parish Centers and Institutions in important towns and district headquarters of the hitherto little attended North Gujarat. He dreamed of a new Diocese in North Gujarat. Parishes and Schools, Centers for Legal Aid and other Institutions were planned for Modasa and Himmatnagar, Patan and Palanpur, laying the foundation for a new Diocese. His successor Bishop Stanislaus Fernandes, sj brought the dream to reality.
On 11 November 2002, Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, was established as an Archiepiscopal See and Bishop Stanislaus Fernandes, sj was named Archbishop. The territory of the new Archdiocese comprises the districts of Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Patan, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha. The newly appointed Archbishop took formal possession of the Archdiocese on 22 December 2002, in Gandhinagar, in the presence of representatives of all the new Catholic communities of North Gujarat.
The Archdiocese of Gandhinagar is a young Church with most of the Catholics entering the second generation. The Archbishop called an Assembly of the Priests and Religious of the Archdiocese on 12 February 2003 to prepare a Vision Statement for the Archdiocese. There were further meetings in local groups in preparation for a second Assembly on 12 August 2003 to which Major Superiors were also invited. The generous participation of so many Superiors was an encouragement to the young mission that the Archdiocese is in reality. With the inspiration of the Major Superiors a Mission Statement was discussed and accepted, and the stage set for opening new missions. With a few senior and younger Diocesan Priests of Ahmedabad joining the small band of Gandhinagar missionaries, the Archdiocese has initiated steps for the establishment of new missions in Mehsana and Banaskantha districts. Besides the presence of Gujarat Jesuits and other women Religious Congregations in the Archdiocese, the support of other Religious groups has been sought to bring to fruition the Vision and the Mission of the Archdiocese.
Most Rev. Stanislaus Fernandes, SJArchbishop Emeritus of Gandhinagar
|Born||:||8 January 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||23 March 1968|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 August 1990|
71, Alkapuri Society,
Vadodara - 390 007 (Gujarat)
Most Rev. Thomas Ignatius MacwanArchbishop of Gandhinagar
|Born||:||14 October 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||9 April 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||11 January 2003|
P. O. Pethapur - 382 610
Dist. Gandhinagar (North Gujarat)
|Area||:||29,942 sq. kms|
|Languages||:||Gujarati, Bhili, English, Malayalam, Tamil and Konkani|
The glorious chapter of the expansion of the Catholic Church in the east can be said to have begun after the European 'discovery' of the sea route to India in 1498. This helped the coming of the European fathers to these lands, one of them being St. Francis Xavier, the great Apostle of the East and Patron of the Missions. Goa is privileged to have been the starting point of his Church work labours and the place where his sacred remains are preserved.
Goa was called the "Rome of the East" due to the central role it played in the evangelization of the east. One Goan priest, Fr Joseph Vaz, who distinguished himself in the evangelization of Sri Lanka and is therefore acclaimed as the 'Apostle of Ceylon', was beatified by Pope John Paul II on January 21, 1995. Another Goan priest, Fr Agnelo de Souza, member of the Missionary Society of Pilar, is hopefully on the way to beatification.
Pope Clement VII erected the See of Goa on January 31, 1533. Its Jurisdiction extended from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, to China and Japan. On February 4, 1557, Pope Paul IV detached Goa from the province of Lisbon and raised it to a Metropolitan Archdiocese, having as suffragans the Dioceses of Cochin and Malacca (Malaysia). In the course of time, the Sees of Macau (near Hong Kong), Funay (Japan), Cranganore, Mylapore, Nanking and Peking in China, Mozambique in East Africa and Daman were created and made suffragans of Goa.
In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII, by his Brief dated March 15, acknowledged the Archbishop of Goa as the Primate of the East. By 1857, Goa had gained some more suffragans while, on the other hand, it had lost most of its overseas suffragans, to the exception of Macau and Mozambique. On January 23, 1886, Pope Leo XIII invested the Archbishop of Goa with the title of Patriarch of East Indies. In the same year, the Archdiocese of Cranganore was suppressed and its title was annexed to the Diocese of Daman, and, after the suppression of the later in 1928, to the Archdiocese of Goa. From 1928, this Archdiocese is known as "Goa and Daman," and its Archbishop is also the Titular Archbishop of Cranganore.
Further delinkings were effected when Mozambique was detached from Goa in 1940, followed by the Dioceses of Cochin and Mylapore in 1950 and the Vicariates General of the Ghats (Districts of Belgaum, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Sangli) and of Canara (North Canara Dt.) in 1953.
By the end of 1961, Indian troops marched on Goa, Daman and Diu and the Portuguese sovereignty over these territories came to an end. The following year, the last Portuguese Patriarch-Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Abp Jose Vieira Alvernaz, left India. By the time his resignation was accepted by the Holy See in 1975, the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman had been governed by Goa Apostolic Administrators (Bishop Francisco Rebelo till 1972, and Bishop Raul N. Gonsalves till 1978). Meanwhile, as late as 1976, the Diocese of Macau (China) and Timor (Indonesia) were delinked and the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman was placed directly under the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples. The area of the Archdiocese today is comprised of the territory of Goa and the territories belonging to the suppressed Diocese of Daman, v.g. Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
By Papal Bull "Quoniam Archdioecesi" dated January 30, 1978, Pope Paul VI appointed Bp Raul N. Gonsalves to the Archiepiscopal See of Goa and Daman, with the title of Patriarch "ad honorem" of the East Indies. Having taken canonical possession of the Archdiocese in the 'Se Catedral' at Old Goa, on March 5, 1978, Abp Raul N. Gonsalves became the 33rd Archbishop of Goa and Daman and the 6th Patriarch of the East Indies - "the first Indian incumbent of that office".
In the Centenary Year of the Patriarchate of the East Indies (1886-1986), the Primatial Archdiocese of Goa and Daman was visited by His Holiness John Paul II who, during his pastoral visit to India, stayed in Goa from 5th to 7th February 1986.
By the Papal Bull "Inter Gravissimas" of Pope John Paul II, dated 12th December, 2003, Most. Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, ordained Bishop on 10th April, 1994 and serving the Archdiocese as its Auxiliary Bishop, was appointed Archbishop of Goa and Daman and Patriarch "ad honorem" of the East Indies. the public announcement of the appointment was made on the 16th January, 2004 and he was officially installed at the "Se Cathedral" at Old Goa, on the 21st March, 2004.
On November 25, 2006, the holy Father constituted the Diocese of Sindhudurg, formerly a Suffragan of Bombay diocese, as a Suffragan of this Archdiocese, thus creating once again (after a gap of thirty years) the Metropolitan Province of Goa and Daman.
His Eminence Cardinal Filipe Neri FerraoArchbishop of Goa and Daman and Patriach “ad honorem ”of the East Indies
|Born||:||20 January 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 October 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||10 April 1994|
|Tel(P)||:||0832 - 2433685, 09822181852|
Archbishop’s House, Altinho,
Panaji – 403 001 (Goa)
Most Rev. Raul N GonsalvesArchbishop Emeritus of Goa and Daman
|Born||:||15 June 1927|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1950|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||5 March 1967|
Altinho, Panjim, Goa - 403 001
|Area||:||3,195 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Konkani, English, Marathi, Portuguese, Gujarati, Hindi|
The Catholic Diocese of Gorakhpur was erected on June 19, 1984 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II through the Bull "Exquo Divinum Concilium" by bifurcating the diocese of Varanasi. Rev. Fr Dominic Kokkat CST was appointed its 1st Bishop. St Joseph and St Therese of Child Jesus are its heavenly patrons. After his retirement, on 15 July 2006, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rev. Fr. Thomas Thuruthimattam CST, the then Superior General of the Little Flower Congregation (CST) successor to Bishop Dominic. He was consecrated Bishop on 1st October 2006. The diocese is comprised of seven civil districts of the north eastern region of the State of Uttar Pradesh viz. Gorakhpur, Deoria, Sant Kabirnagar, Basti, Kushinagar, Maharajganj and Siddharthnagar, covering an area of 19,070 sq. kms. It has a population of about 17.2 million people, of which the Catholics and other Christian denominations make only a very small minority of around 15 thousand. The Catholics make little more than 3000 only. The region has Hindi, Bhojpuri and Urdu as its principal spoken languages and the region shares international border with the Himalayan country of Nepal. Taking into consideration the problems typical to this vast area, the diocese has worked out pastoral, ecumenical, Inter religious, educational, rural developmental and health care apostolates.
The diocesan apostolates are largely managed and run by the 54 young Diocesan Priests, 22 Religious Priests and the active collaboration of about 200 Religious Sisters, 8 Religious Brothers and lay representatives. At present we carry out our ministry in 5 Parishes and 25 Mission Stations with resident priest undertaking various pastoral, catechetical, social, health and educational services. The diocese has a spiritual renewal and proclamation centre at Campierganj which regularly conduct various spiritual renewal programs.
Purvanchal Gramin Seva Samiti (PGSS), the social service wing of the Catholic Eparchy of Gorakhpur, has initiated innovative and exemplary intervention. With a very humble beginning by addressing the issues of adult education, mother & child health, girl child education self-help groups and women empowerment in the remotest villages of eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, the Organization now makes its presence felt in 1074 villages reaching out to more than 65000 families of the area covering seven civil districts of Gorakhpur-Basti Divisions. We are organizing the farmers to undertake methods of organic farming. The vision of an inclusive society is given priority to come to the help of persons with disabilities. Our Social Developmental Ministry has been recognized and awarded several times, and we have a resource centre to train others.
HEALTH CARE APOSTOLATE
The health ministry of the diocese with its motto “Life in its fullness” has the vision “Quality health care to all humanity in true spirit of love and equality under the umbrella of universal family and to be a custodian of health reaching beyond excellence in health care.” There are two established hospitals in the diocese, Fatima Hospital, Gorakhpur established in the Year 1995 run by the diocese and Sachidanand Hospital Captainganj run by the SMI Sisters. Now Fatima Hospital has developed to a 200 bedded multispeciality hospital with various departments. There are also 8 dispensaries functioning well in different parts of the diocese working in collaboration with Fatima Hospital, besides these, Fatima School of Nursing, Fatima Heart Centre, Fatima Eye Hospital (in the making) belong to our health service.
In the field of education, our vision is the formation of human person committed to God and country. We provide an education that promotes intellectual excellence, religious tolerance, patriotism and uprightness of character. At present there are altogether 36 schools in the diocese out of them 22 are run by the diocese, out of which 9 are Hindi-Medium; and 14 are run by the religious communities. More than fifty five thousand children are studying in these institutions and most of the schools have reached up to Higher Secondary level.
1.The diocese has entered into higher education for girls through the establishment of St. Joseph’s Degree and B.Ed College for women which has 1200 students and the Fatima School of Nursing and Para-medical training centre.
2.A special school at Campierganj for the mentally challenged girl children is also an undertaking of the diocese.
3.There are five boarding houses for children in the diocese for the better education of the poor and destitute children.
4.In the field of Higher education the CST-Fathers are running a Polytechnic with over 1500 students in Gorakhpur.
Right Rev. Dominic Kokkat, CSTBishop Emeritus of Gorakhpur
|Born||:||23 February 1932|
|Priestly Ordination||:||4 October 1960|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 October 1984|
Fatima Hospital Complex, Mother Theresa Road, Padari Bazar, Gorakhpur – 273 014 (Uttar Pradesh)
Right Rev. THOMAS THURUTHIMATTAM , CSTBishop of Gorakhpur
|Born||:||22 April 1947|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1973|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 October 2006|
Civil Lines, University P. O.,
Gorakhpur - 273 009 (Uttar Pradesh)
Brief History of the Diocese: Gulbarga diocese consisting of the civil districts Bidar, Gulbarga and Bijapur in North Karnataka was erected by the Pope Benedict XVI on 24th June 2005. He also appointed Mons Robert M Miranda, the pioneer missionary of ‘Bidar Mission’ of Mangalore diocese, as the first bishop of the new diocese. Subsequently, Gulbarga district was bifurcated by the State Government and the new district of Yadgir came into existence on 10th April 2010. Thus, today we have four civil districts northern Karnataka, namely Bidar , Gulbarga, Yadgir and Bijapur under the jurisdiction of Gulbarga diocese covering an area of 32157 sq. km with a population of around 6.5 million(2011) . The Government of Karnataka has renamed Gulbarga as Kalaburagi, and Bijapur as Vijayapura in 2014.
Prior to the formation of the new diocese, Bidar district, juridically under the care of Hyderabad arch diocese, was under the care of Mangalore diocese that adopted the district for its social and pastoral care (1982), and it was popularly known as the Bidar mission. Kalaburagi district was a part of Bellary diocese. Vijayapura under Belgaum diocese was adopted by Karnataka Jesuits in 1992. The new diocese had its birth pangs as it was a difficult task to put together people, priests and sisters from three dioceses under the reality of the one new diocese. As the Word of God says ‘Everything is possible for God’ LK. 1:37, the Holy Spirit brought the people of God in the new diocese from all the 4 districts together to accept the mission of the Lord, to be evangelized and to evangelize others in the region.
Pastoral Plan 2006: Putting their hearts and minds together, studying the spiritual, social, economic and educational realities of the place and discerning God’s will, they prepared the first Diocesan Pastoral Plan (DPP) in June 2006. Ever since, the people, priests and religious have been working hard implementing the DPP trying to build vibrant Christian communities in all the parishes and missions, earnestly seeking evangelization of all people around. The catholic community has come to understand and accept all the pastoral and social dimensions of faith, served by various commissions under the DPP. The Commission Secretaries in spite of several constraints such as multiple responsibilities, lack of finances, formation and expertise have come to function with tangible results.
Growth of the Diocese 2005-15: The basic structures, such as Pastoral Councils at the Parish/Mission Centers, Deanery, Diocesan, Council of Priests have been established and have started functioning. The diocese also made remarkable progress in the first decade of its formation establishing its basic infrastructures, such as, Bishop’s House, Curia, the Pastoral Centre, Cathedral, Minor Seminary, a hospital etc.
A number of new mission centre’s, religious houses, educational institutions and hostels have also been started in these years in order to have an evangelizing presence in this vast diocese where the catholic population is just minimal. The diocese has reached out to thousands of people irrespective of caste or creed, particularly among the poor and the marginalized through social, educational and health services. Thanks to the self-less and tireless work of the missionaries ! The Good News is proclaimed in Word and Deed to all people.
Decennial Evaluation: As the diocese completed a decade of fruitful service, the Bishop, Clergy and the Superiors of the religious communities decided for a General Evaluation at the meeting on 6th December 2014. It was decided to have the Evaluation at 6 different levels, namely, Group Interviews of Pastoral Council Members(10 zones), Personal Interviews(150), Survey and evaluation of all catholic families(1436), Self assessment by the Clergy, Evaluation and Assessment by the Religious, Evaluation of all the Commissions and Evaluation by an External Agency.
18 -19th August 2015 was a momentous time for us in this diocese. It was a day to celebrate God’s blessings on us in the past 10 years of service in the new diocese that came into existence on the same day back in 2005. It was indeed a unique celebration of the church in Gulbarga with an assembly of the laity, religious and priests of the diocese coming together to listen to all the reports of decennial evaluation, know ourselves as we are, our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as expressed by our people and experts from outside, and take a step forward and plan for another phase of the mission Gulbarga 2015-2025.
Gulbarga Diocese 2025: The assembly of selected representatives that included priests, superiors of the religious communities and near equal number of prominent Lay representatives accepted the Report, with an open mind, wasted no time in identifying the major concerns that need to be addressed. They felt the need to formulate anew the Vision and Mission Statements of the diocese and also set the Goals to be achieved in the next 10 years. With major concerns identified, Vision, Mission statements formulated anew, the Goals set for the next 10 years by the assembly, the Secretaries along with the Core Group prepared the objectives and plans for their respective commission. The new Pastoral Plan - Gulbarga Diocese 2025 is the outcome of this long, tedious but immensely fruitful exercise.
Right Rev. Robert Michael MirandaBishop Of Gulbarga
|Born||:||10 April 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||4 May 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 August 2005|
Kripalaya - Bishop’s House,
Nandikur P. O. - 585 102
|Area||:||32157 Sq. Km|
|Languages||:||Kannada, Konkani, Tamil,|
The Diocese of Gumla was erected on May 28, 1993 by Pope John Paul II with territory taken from the Archdiocese of Ranchi. The Catholic Diocese of Gumla consists of the civil sub-division of Gumla.
The Catholic population of this diocese comprises of scheduled tribes, chiefly Kharias, Mundas, Oraons and Baraiks.
Most Rev. Michael Minj SJ, was appointed the first Bishop of Gumla.
Bishop VacantBishop of Gumla
Bishop’s House,P. O. Gumla - 835 207Dist. Gumla (Jharkhand)
Rev. Fr. Linus PingalDiocesan Administrator, Diocese Of Gumla
P. O. Gumla - 835 207
Dist. Gumla (Jharkhand)
|Area||:||5,327 sq. km|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Sadri, Khriya, Oraon, Mundari|
Till 1940, Guntur formed a part of the Diocese of Nellore. On February 23, 1940, the civil district of Guntur was detached from the Diocese of Nellore and constituted into the new Diocese of Guntur with Msgr Thomas Pothacamury as its First Bishop.
The Telugu Catholics date as far back as 1699. During the Carnatic Mission founded by the French Jesuits, there was a large number of Catholics in the Telugu region. With the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, the Paris Mission Society stepped in the field and great progress was made during the time of Bp Bonnand. Later in 1834, the Telugu districts were attached to the Vicariate of Madras which was first manned by the Irish Priests from Maynooth and All Hallows and next by the Mill Hill Fathers till the constitution of the diocese in 1940, when it was entrusted to the indigenous Diocesan Clergy.
The Diocese of Guntur originally corresponded to the civil district of Guntur. In 1970, when Prakasam district was formed some taluks of Guntur district were taken over in the new district. Hence in 1977, by a decree of "Propoganda Fide" all the taluks in Prakasam district were handed over to the Diocese of Nellore except Addanki Taluk, which belongs to the Diocese of Guntur.
Right Rev. Bhagyaiah ChinnabathiniBishop Of Guntur
|Born||:||19 September 1956|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 May 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 September 2016|
Bishop’s House, Chandramoulinagar,Guntur - 522 007 (Andhra Pradesh)
Right Rev. Gali BaliBishop Emeritus of Guntur
|Born||:||29 April 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1964|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||23 October 1984|
Guntur - 522 007 (Andhra Pradesh)
|Catholics||:||2, 18, 900|
The Eparchy of St. John Chrysostom of Gurgaon of the Syro-Malankaras extends over the entire territory of North India, comprising 22 of the 29 States of the Country. The southern border of the circumscription includes the four central States: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. Besides in these States, the faithful are diffusely present especially in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
The See of the Eparchy is Gurgaon, near Delhi, because the faithful are mainly concentrated in Delhi metropolitan area, distributed in nine parishes. In the region there are two Colleges and ten schools run by the Syro-Malankara Church. 15 priests, eparchial and regular, and about 30 women religious offer their services in the pastoral, educational and charity works. The first Eparchial Bishop will have his residence and chancery atMar Ivanios Bhavan, Neb Sarai, New Delhi, where the Church of St. Mary is also situated and which will be the Cathedral.
Right Rev. Thomas Anthonios, OICBishop of the Eparchy of St. John Chrysostom, Gurgaon
|Born||:||25 November 1955|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||13 March 2010|
Syro-Malankara Catholic Bishop’s House,
J-61/62 Paryavaran Complex,
IGNOU Road, Neb Sarai,
New Delhi - 110 068
The Archdiocese of Guwahati has the territory consisting of 7 districts — Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Goalpara, Nagaon, Morigaon, Hojai and Tamulpur sub- division of Baksa — of the state of Assam.
Guwahati, the ‘gateway’ to Northeast India, is the first place to be associated with Christianity in the region.
Two Portuguese Jesuit Missionaries, Cabral and Cacella— the first Christian Missionaries to set foot in Assam—reached Hajo and Guwahati on September 26, 1626. They were enroute to Tibet from Hooghly.
In June 1850, Fr. Robin, Fr. Krick and Fr. Bernardi of the Institute of the Foreign Missions of Paris reached Guwahati. Fr. Robin tried to learn Assamese and establish a centre. Fr. Krick proceeded to Nagaon and from there to Dibrugarh with the intention of going to Tibet. In 1854, Fr. Krick and Fr. Bourry were killed in the Mishmi Hills while trying to enter Tibet. Fr. Jacopo Broy of the Institute of the Foreign Missions of Milan took up residence in Guwahati and built a brick church here in 1883. From this central place he looked after the entire ‘Assam Missions’. Soon we find him in Nagaon where he later built a small church.
In 1889 the Prefecture Apostolic of Assam was created with headquarters at Shillong and was entrusted to the German Salvatorian Fathers. In February 1890 the German Salvatorian Missionaries Frs. Gallus Schrole and Rudolph Fontaine reached Guwahati. They were the two great missionaries of the Assam Valley. By this time many tribal Catholics from Chota Nagpur had come to work in the Tea Gardens of Assam. With the outbreak of World War I, the German Salvatorian Fathers were forced to return to their country. The Jesuits of Kolkata looked after the Assam mission till the Holy See entrusted it to the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1921.
In 1922, the Salesians of Don Bosco arrived in Northeast India under the leadership of Fr. Louis Mathias. In 1923, Fr. Leo Piasecki took charge of the Mission in Guwahati which at that time covered the entire Brahmaputra Valley, Nagaland and Manipur. Assam Mission then consisted of the whole of Northeast India. Shillong was the capital of undivided Assam. In 1934 when Shillong was made a Diocese, Msgr Louis Mathias SDB was appointed as its first Bishop. Msgr Stephen Ferrando succeeded him in 1935.
From Guwahati missionary work reached out to Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Garo Hills and Bhutan. Some of the first Catholics of Manipur and Nagaland had studied at Guwahati.
The Diocese of Guwahati was erected by Pope John Paul II on August 16, 1992 with Bishop Thomas Menamparampil as its first Bishop. It was carved out of the Dioceses of Shillong, Tura and Tezpur, the last contributing the largest portion. It was elevated to the status of an Archdiocese on August 1, 1995 bifurcating it from the Ecclesiastical Province of Shillong. The suffragan Dioceses are Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Diphu. Dioceses of Bongaigaon, Itanagar and Miao, erected later, also form part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Guwahati.
The area of the Archdiocese covers 13,961 Sq.km with a population of approximately 7,347,961. A Catholic population of 60047 is spread over 46 parishes/Centres. Catholics are mainly from the tribal communities: Garos, Rabhas, Bodos, Karbis, Tiwas, Santals and Adivasis.
Most Rev. John MoolachiraArchbishop Of Guwahati
|Born||:||14 December 1951|
|Priestly Ordination||:||23 October 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 April 2007|
P. O. Box 100,
Guwahati - 781 001 (Assam)
Most Rev. Thomas Menamparampil, SDBArchbishop Emeritus of Guwahati
|Born||:||22 October 1936|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 May 1965|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 November 1981|
P. O. Box 100,
Guwahati - 781 001 (Assam)
|Area||:||13961 sq km|
|Population||:|| 6.5 million |
|Languages||:||Assamese, Rabha, Garo, Karbi, Tiwa, Hindi, Bodo, Santali, Sadri and English|
Originally Gwalior belonged to the Archdiocese of Agra, on July 5, 1954, the prefecture of Jhansi was raised to the status of a diocese adding the area of Gwalior to the new diocese of Jhansi, after serving it from the Archdiocese of Agra.
The diocese of Gwalior was erected by the Papal Bull “Cum as aeternam” dated 9th February 1999, electing Fr. Joseph Kaithachira as the first bishop of Gwalior. He was consecrated as the bishop on the 1st May 1999. The Diocese of Gwalior comprises of the six civil districts of Bhinda, Datia, Gwalior,Morena, Sheopur and Shivpuri.
Right Rev. Joseph ThykkattilBishop of Gwalior
|Born||:||31 May 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||25 April 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 August 1919|
Jonagar, Kheriya Modi,
Morar, Gwalior - 474 006
Right Rev. Joseph KaithatharaBishop Emeritus of Gwalior
|Born||:||22 June 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1963|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 May 1999|
Bishop’s House, Diocesan Center Jonagar, Kheriya Modi, Morar Gwalior - 474 006, Madhya Pradesh
|Area||:||33,583 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Hindi, English, Urdu|
The Diocese of Hazaribagh was erected by Pope John Paul II, by bifurcating the Diocese of Daltonganj. The new diocese comprises the civil districts of Chatra, Hazaribag, Koderma and Bokaro excluding, however, the Chandankyari block of Bokaro district together with that portion of Chas block which lies to the east of National Highway 32.
The Catholic population of the diocese comprises scheduled tribes (Chiefly Oraons, Mundas, Santals and Kharias) Scheduled Castes and mixed groups of Catholics migrated from various parts of India.
Right Rev. Anand JojoBishop Of Hazaribag
|Born||:||7 March 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||24 April 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 December 2012|
Diocesan Training Centre,
Zulu Park, P. B. No.14,
P. O. Hazaribag - 825 301
|Area||:||212316 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Mundari, Kharia, Sadri and English.|
Right Rev. Sebastian PozhliparampilBishop of Hosur
|Born||:||1 September 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 December 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||22 November 2017|
|Tel(P)||:|| 044 – 26444183,(0)9048872044|
St. Thomas Pastoral Centre,16, Ayanavaram Road,Chennai – 600 023 (Tamilnadu)
Hyderabad was first made a Vicariate in 1851 and Msgr. Daniel Murphy was appointed the first Vicar Apostolic.
The diocese of Hyderabad was established on September 1, 1886. Msgr. Peter Caprotti, PIME, became the first Bishop of Hyderabad. It was raised to the status of an Archdiocese on September 19, 1953. Bishop Mark Gopu became the first Archbishop.
Over the years many new dioceses were created from the original territory of the Archdiocese. In 1928 districts of Raichur and Gulbarga were detached to form the diocese of Bellary. Krishna and West Godavari districts were detached in 1937 for the erection of the diocese of Vijayawada. Diocese of Warangal was established in 1952 with the districts of Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda and Karimnagar. In 1976 the new diocese of Nalgonda was formed with Mahabubnagar district of Hyderabad Archdiocese and Nalgonda district of Warangal diocese.
Marathi speaking areas of the Archdiocese were detached in 1978 to form the diocese of Aurangabad. Khammam was made a new diocese in February, 1988. On June 18, 1982 the district of Bidar was entrusted to the pastoral care of Mangalore diocese.
The Archdiocese with an area of 30,814 sq. kms. and with a total population of around 12.37 million, has about 87,541 Catholics. It has 107 diocesan and 116 Religious priests, 37 Brothers and 729 Religious Sisters are active in 72 parishes, including one parish of Malankara rite.
At present the Archdiocese has four districts of Andhra Pradesh - Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medak and Nizamabad.
His Eminence CARDINAL ANTHONY POOLAArchbishop of Hyderabad
|Born||:||15 November 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 February 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 April 2008|
9-1-17/1, 11, Sardar Patel Road,
Secunderabad - 500 003 (Telangana)
Most Rev. Thumma BalaArchbishop Emeritus of Hyderabad
|Born||:||24 April 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1970|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||12 March 1987|
9-1-17/1, 11, Sardar Patel Road,
Secunderabad - 500 003 (Telangana)
|Area||:||30,814 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Telugu, English, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi.|
The diocese of Idukki is blessed with a vibrant Christian presence. The history of the catholic presence in idukki region is connected with the history of migration and the intense work of the priests and religious from the diocese of Kothamangalam. When the diocese of Kothamangalam was established in 1956 there were only 17 parishes and mission stations in high ranges with occasional presence of priests and Holy Mass. Fr. Zacharias Pittapillil and Fr. Xavier Pulparambil laboured a lot to establish parishes and mission stations in the high ranges. The centre of activity of Fr. Zacharias was Koompanpara and that of Fr. Pulparambil was Nedumkandom. Their contributions were highly remarkable as it was a period where the bare necessities of life in the literal sense were lacking in the high ranges. Lack of travel facilities, inadequacy of medicine, proper food and accommodation facilities in the chilling climate of the high ranges were not obstacles to their zealous work.
Priests who followed their footsteps started schools, dispensaries, and other centers of development. They were the architects of this region. The whole diocese was with the people at the time of the Ayyappancovil-Udumpanchola and Churuli-Keerithodu Eviction. The diocese was in the forefront with relief works in the floods and large-scale landslides which threatened people many a times during the heavy monsoons in the seventies.
In 1963 the high range mission region was divided into four foranes, namely Erattayar, Rajakadu, Vellathooval and Koompanpara. In 1970 Thankamany, Vazhathopu and Parathodu were raised to the status of forane churches and later, Churuli. The diocese started a vibrant mission of establishing schools to bring the light of education to the children.
The leadership and hardwork of Fr. John Vallamattom as educational secretary of the diocese of Kothamangalam is especially memorable in the development of the high range region.
It was due to the hard work of priests and religious and the faithful in this region that the present structure and style of the region is achieved. In constructing roads and bridges, bringing electricity and other services to the villages, organizing the local public in all fields, the parish priests gave a remarkable leadership. Under the leadership of Bishop Mathew Pothanamuzhi and Bishop George Punnakottil the region has made great progress in all aspects, especially in the field of education .
When the new Diocese of Idukki was erected in 2003 there were 114 parishes and mission stations.
The total number of the Catholic families in the Diocese of Idukki is around 36147. The Catholic families, all the way uphold the traditional catholic customs and practices. Majority of the faithful are deeply religious, God fearing and law abiding. The percentage of Church attendance is above 95% on Sundays. Besides the Catholics of the Syro-Malabar rite there are Latin Catholics and Syro-Malankara Catholics in this region, belonging to the Diocese of Vijayapuram and Thiruvalla respectively. There are Christians of Jacobite and Orthodox Churches besides various protestant denominations.
Right Rev. John NellikunnelBishop of Idukki
|Born||:||22 March 1971|
|Priestly Ordination||:||31 December 1998|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||5 April 2018|
Karimpan, Manippara P. O.,
Idukki - 685 602 (Kerala)
The Archdiocese of Imphal covers the entire State of Manipur which is bounded by Nagaland in the North, Mizoram in the South, Upper Myanmar in the East and Cachar district of Assam in the West.
The American Baptists began a successful mission in Manipur in 1908 among the hill tribes of Manipur and the missionaries had no permission from the Maharajah of Manipur to work among the Meiteis. One of the outstanding pioneer missionary was William Pettigrew. The first Catholic priest, Rev. Fr Angsgar Koenigsbaver, sds, a German Salvatorian missionary looking after Assam Mission, came to Manipur in the year 1912. He found 19 Catholics, 17 of whom belong to the band of the regiment which was stationed here. The Maharajah of Manipur told Fr. Angsgar that he had no objection to the opening of a Catholic Mission in Imphal, the capital of the princely State. Due to the limited resources and personnel the opportunity to evangelize Manipur could not be realized.
Thirty six years later, two Salesian missionaries, Fr O. Marengo, sdb, and Fr. Attilio Colussi, sdb, who were working in Guwahati, Assam, visited Imphal. On meeting the Maharajah they were told: "You (missionaries) are welcome to Manipur. I am a former pupil of St. Edmund’s School, Shillong.” He gave them permission to enter Manipur and operate their mission in the hills of Manipur. This implied that they were not to work in the Valley, which had been dominated by the Hindu Vaishnavites and some pockets of Muslims. The Missionaries visited Ukhrul, a hill station in the east, on that occasion.
The organized work of evangelization in Manipur actually began with the erection of the Diocese of Dibrugarh in 1951, with Bishop O. Marengo, sdb, as Manipur was drawn within his ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Every year Bishop Marengo visited Manipur and pushed the work ahead with the co-operation of the burning zeal of the laity.
The Catholic faith among the Tangkhuls, one of the first hill tribes to accept the faith, was brought by Mr. Dominic Shomi, former pupil if St. Anthony’s School, Shillong, and Mr. George Hongrei, former student of Don Bosco School, Guwahati. In 1952, Fr Marocchino, chaplain of the Kohima Hospital, was invited to Hundung, a village near Ukhrul. Mr. Shomi had prepared 350 persons ready to embrace the faith. Fr. Marocchino gave them more instructions and received them into the Church.
The best way to promote the work of evangelization, as Bishop Marengo saw it, was to have resident priests in the area. Losing no time, he sent Fr A. Ravalico, sdb, and Fr Peter Bianchi, sdb, as the first resident priests who reached Imphal on March 5, 1956. Initially, they lived in a rented house in Imphal. The following year, on May 7, 1957, they acquired a new house (the present site of the “Nirmalabas”) in the heart of the town. Towards the end of that year, Fr Felix, sdb, and Fr Venturoli, sdb, joined them in the mission. The Church in Manipur began to take its roots gradually and firmly.
The vastness of the Lord's vineyard demanded more workers to the harvest. In 1958, Fr Joseph Kachiramattam, the first diocesan priest to step into Manipur soil, arrived in Imphal and joined the community of the Salesian missionaries. Later, two other diocesan priests, Fr Mathew Planthottam and Fr Mani Parenkulangara reached Manipur in 1959 and 1961 respectively. Since then, more priests and religious have strengthened the promotion of the evangelization work in Manipur. Among the pioneering Women Religious Congregations, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), the Congregation of Mother of Carmel (CMC), Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) and Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (SABS) are also worth mentioning.
The Diocese of Kohima - Imphal which included the two states of Nagaland and Manipur was erected on January 29, 1973 by Pope Paul VI, with Rt. Rev. Abraham Alangimattathil, sdb, as its first Bishop.
Bifurcating the Diocese of Kohima - Imphal, the Diocese of Imphal comprising of the entire State of Manipur was erected by Pope John Paul II on April 21, 1980 with Rt. Rev. Joseph Mittathany, then bishop of Tezpur, as its first Bishop. Later, on August 1, 1995 His Holiness, John Paul II, raised the Diocese to the status of an Archdiocese with Most Rev Joseph Mittathany as the Archbishop.
The Holy Father appointed Very Rev. Fr Dominic Lumon as Coadjutor Archbishop of Imphal on January 18, 2002 and he was ordained a Coadjutor Archbishop of Imphal by Most Rev. Joseph Mittathany on April 7, 2002.
Most Rev. Dominic LumonArchbishop Of Imphal
|Born||:||1 June 1948|
|Priestly Ordination||:||6 February 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 April 2002|
Post Box No. 35,
Imphal - 795 001 (Manipur)
|Area||:||22,356 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Over 35, (main) Anal, English, Manipuri, Hmar, Mao, Maram, Mayon, Mizo, Monsang, Maring, Paite, Poumai, Rongmei, Tangkhul, Thadou, Zou |
On March 3, 1931 the Territory of Indore was formed by taking territories from the dioceses of Ajmer, Allahabad and Nagpur, and was entrusted to the Society of the Divine Word. The first Divine Word Fathers Fr Peter Janser, svd, who was appointed Superior of the place, and Fr Leo Krezeminski arrived in Indore on November 4, 1932.
On March 11, 1935 Indore was elevated to Prefecture Apostolic and Msgr. Peter Janser, svd, was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic. The territory covered 1,10,000 sq. kms., comprising the districts of Indore, Khargone, Khandwa, Dhar, Jhabua (except Tahsil of Thandla), Ratlam, Dewas, Ujjain, Shajapur, Rajgah, Bhilsa (Vidisha) Hoshangabad and the whole of Bhopal State.
In 1948 Msgr. Herman Westermann, svd, was appointed Prefect Apostolic which he continued till 1951 when he was appointed Bishop of Sambalpur. Msgr. Herman Westerman SVD was succeeded by Msgr. Francis Simons, svd, when the Prefecture Apostolic was raised to a diocese and he was appointed Bishop in 1952. In 1971 Bishop Simons resigned and on December 18, 1972, the past Bishop George M. Anathil, svd, was appointed successor of Bishop Simons. Bishop George Anathil retired in 2008 and Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal SVD was transferred from Jhabua and installed as Bishop of Indore.
In 1964 the districts of Bhopal, Sehore, Vishisha, and Hoshangabad were ceded to the Archdiocese of Bhopal. In 1968 the districts of Ujjain, Shajapur and Rajgah were separated from the diocese and the Exarchate of Ujjain was established. In 1977 the districts of Khandwa and Khargone were separated and the diocese of Khandwa was erected. In 1981 the district of Mandsaur was transferred from the diocese of Ajmer to the diocese of Indore.
By the decree of His Holiness Pope John Paul II “Ad perpetuam rei memoriam” dated 1st March 2002, the diocese of Jhabua was erected separating the districts of Jhabua, Ratlam, Mandsaur, Neemuch and the Tahshil of Sardarpur from Dhar district from the diocese of Indore. The canonical possession of the new diocese took place on 7th June 2002. After this division, the diocese of Indore has three civil districts of Indore, Dewas and Dhar except the Tahshil of Sardarpur.
Right Rev. Chacko Thottumarickal ,SVDBishop Of Indore
|Born||:||7 January 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||11 May 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 June 2002|
Bishop’s House, P. Box 168,Indore – 452 001 (Madhya Pradesh)
|Area||:||19,073 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Malwi, Bhili and Bhilali.|
Diocese of the Irinjalakuda is blessed by the footsteps of St. Thomas the Apostle since it contains Kodungallur which is the cradle of Christianity of India. From the ancient times, Kodungallur was an important trade centre. This center had trade relations with the Persians, Greeks and Romans. According to the tradition, St. Thomas, the Apostle, landed at Kodungallur (Malliankara), the capital of the Chera Empire in the year A.D. 52. He preached the Gospel here for the first time and founded churches. The apostolate of St. Thomas was fruitful among the people of Kerala. According to Malabar tradition seven Christian communities were formed in seven different places before he was martyred in A.D. 72 at Mylapore. Thus, the diocese of Irinjalakuda was privileged to receive the Christian faith for the first time in the history of India.
The Diocese of Irinjalakuda is surrounded by the Archdioceses of Ernakulam-Angamaly, and Trichur as well as the dioceses of Idukki and Ramanathapuram. The Diocese has made fast strides and as a result, has steadily grown in all spheres. It has at present 56, 958 families with a population of about 2,61,465 Catholics spread over its 10 protopresbyterates : Irinjalakuda, Chalakudy, Ambazhakad, Puthenchira, Edathiruthy, Kuttikad, Mala, Parappukara, Kalparambu and Kodakara.
Canonization of St. Euphrasia CMC a native of Edathiruthy Forane was held in Rome on 23rd November 2014. It is also remarkable that Bl. Mariam Thressia (1876-1926), native of Puthenchira and the foundress of the Congregation of Holy Family hails from the Eparchy. Rev. Fr. Joseph Vithayathil was declared Venerable by the Holy See on 14th December 2015. The servants of God Rev. Frs. Antony Thachuparambil, Augustine John Ukken and Canisius Thekkekara CMI also had their birth or ministry in the eparchy.
Late Mar James Pazhayattil, the first bishop of diocese of Irinjalakuda was appointed on 10th September 1978 at Irinjalakuda and His Excellency retired from the office on 18th April 2010. On 10th July 2016 His Excellency left this earthly abode to receive the eternal reward. On 13th July 2016 his body was laid to rest at the Sacred Heart chapel of St. Thomas Cathedral, Irinjalakuda.
Mar Pauly Kannookadan, the present Bishop, was appointed on 18th January 2010 and was ordained bishop on 18th April 2010 at St. Thomas Cathedral, Irinjalakuda. He was enthroned, the Bishop of the Eparchy of Irinjalakuda on the same day.
Right Rev. Pauly KannookadanBishop of Irinjalakuda
|Born||:||14 February 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 December 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 April 2010|
|Tel(P)||:||0480 - 2821582, 09447603816|
Catholic Bishop’s House,P. B. No. 59, Irinjalakuda - 680 121Thrissur Dt. (Kerala)
|Area||:||1180 sq. kms.|
The Diocese of Itanagar is in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in the North East. Erected on Dec. 07, 2005, it comprises of the civil districts: Tawang, West Kameng, East Kameng, Papum Pare, Upper Subansiri, Lower Subansiri, Kurung Kumey, Kradadi, West Siang, East Siang, and Upper Siang.
The new diocese of Itanagar, bifurcated from Tezpur has an area of 52,283 km2, with 81,786 Catholics, 36 parishes, 20 diocesan priests, 90 religious priests, 8 religious brothers and 157 religious sisters. The parish of St. Joseph in Itanagar is the Cathedral of the new diocese and St. Joseph is the Patron of the diocese.
The first Bishop of Itanagar, Bishop John Thomas Kattrukudiyil, was born in 1948, ordained priest in 1975 and was appointed Bishop of Diphu in 1994. Bishop John has a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture and a Doctorate in Biblical Theology. He was for many years a formator in Seminaries and was also Rector of the regional Major Seminary in Shillong.
No history of the church in Arunachal can be complete without placing the faith, commitment and spirit of perseverance of the early catholic leaders and catechists who resisting all prohibitions and persecutions held on to their faith and proclaimed it in in the villages of Arunachal Pradesh. The seed of faith germinated and took roots under the watchful care of these great missionaries.
The church in Arunachal owes much to a Benedictine brother Prem Bhai, known as the “apostle of Arunachal Pradesh”. His missionary spirit took him beyond all borders into every village in West Arunachal Pradesh. His ability to befriend strangers made him a welcome guest everywhere. It would not be an exaggeration to say that his footprints are there in every village in Itanagar diocese.
Right Rev. John Thomas Kattrukudiyil Bishop of Itanagar
|Born||:||18 January 1948|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 February 1975|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 September 1994|
Bishop’s House,Post Box No. 294,Naharlagun, Papum Pare District - 791 110 (Arunachal Pradesh)
|Area||:||52,288 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Adi, Aka, Apatani, Hill Miri, Monpa, Nyshi, Tagin, Mynniong, Bori|
The diocese is situated in Madhya Pradesh, and comprises the following districts: Jabalpur, Damoh, Mandla, Shahdol, Narsinghpur and the Tahsil of Lakhnadon in Seoni district.
Erected by the Brief "De Romoanorum Pontificum" dated July 18, 1932, the Prefecture Apostolic of Jabalpur, came into existence by dismembering from the Diocese of Nagpur the districts of Jabalpur, Mandla, Narsinghpur and the tahsil of Laknadon, from the Diocese of Allahabad, the districts of Sagar, Damoh, Rewa, Siddhi, Shahdol, Satna, Panna, Chattarpur and Tikamgarh.
The Prefecture Apostolic was raised to a diocese by the Papal Bull "Wui Genus Humanum" dated July 5, 1954 and Bp C. Dubbleman O. Praem, was appointed First Bishop of Jabalpur.
When the Archdiocese of Bhopal was created, the district of Sagar was dismembered from the Diocese of Jabalpur. And when the Exarchate of Satna was created, the districts of Rewa, Siddhi, Satna, Panna, Chattarpur, Tikamgarh were dismembered from the Diocese of Jabalpur.
Right Rev. Gerald AlmeidaBishop of Jabalpur
|Born||:||7 March 1946|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 December 1974|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||17 September 1997|
Bishop’s House, Snehsadan,599, South Civil Lines,Jabalpur - 482 001 (Madhya Pradesh)
The Eparchy of Jagdalpur is situated in the Bastar region of the state of Chhattisgarh in the south-east India. The lion's portion of this region is covered with forests. It is one of the most backward and under developed parts of the country. The inhabitants are mainly tribal groups known for their ancient traditions and culture. Agriculture offers basic sustenance to them. The Bastar division is divided into 7 revenue districts: Bastar, Kanker, Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Sukma. The Eparchy covers an area of 39176 Sq. Kms. Its population is constituted of Adivasis, Harijans and other groups. Adivasis, who form the major bulk of the population (68%), are of different tribes, namely, Muria, Maria, Halba, Bhatra, Dorla, etc. People speak dialects such as Muria, Halbi, Bhatri, Gondi, Chattisgarhi, etc. Hindi is the official language of the people. The literacy level is very low. The people are poor and their livelihood mainly depends upon agriculture, fishing, hunting, etc. The tribal culture of Bastar has its own uniqueness. Navakhana, Ama Tyohar, Matti Pooja, Hariyali, Diyari, Dashera, etc. are some of their major feasts. The Bastar division was part of the Diocese of Mylapore till 1806. Then it was included in the Vicariate Apostolic of Madras. In 1845, Bastar became a part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Vishakhapatnam. On 15 August 1966, this region was added to the Prefecture Apostolic of Raipur. The Pilar Fathers (SFX) were entrusted with the missionary activities in this area. They gave a good start by establishing a school at Kirandul and a social welfare centre at Jagdalpur to help the people. On 23 March 1972, Jagdalpur was made an exarchate in Syro Malabar Hierarchy and was entrusted to the St. Joseph's Province of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). Monsignor Paulinus Jeerakath CMI was made the exarch. On 26 February 1977 Pope Paul VI elevated the exarchate of Jagdalpur to the rank of an eparchy and Mar Paulinus Jeerakath CMI was appointed its first bishop. He was ordained on 11 May 1977.
The motto of Mar Paulinus was “nirbhikta se samartya se” meaning “without fear and with all strength”. All his actions, decisions and thoughts reflected this ideology. During the 18 years of his episcopate, Mar Paulinus was able to establish a centre or an institution in all major towns, namely, at Bijapur, Sukma, Geedam, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, and Bhanupratappur. Mar Paulinus laid a strong foundation for the Church in Bastar. A major contribution of Mar Paulinus was establishing balbhavans for the education of poor children. He drew inspiration from the vision of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara. Mar Paulinus founded Deen Bandhu Samaj (DBS), Congregation of the Friends of the Poor, a congregation for consecrated women to imitate Christ, the friend of the poor. One of the obstacles of the mission in Bastar was a lack of infrastructure. This region was lacking better transportation facilities. The missionaries had to travel by bullock carts. Mar Paulinus asked his missionaries to construct roads in the villages with the help of the CRS food for work programme.
He encouraged missionaries to devote more resources to improve the productivity of the farm sector. Though there was scarcity of personnel and money, several schools, old age homes, Cathedral church, grihini schools for adult women, etc. were established during the tenure of Mar Paulinus. On 6 August 1990, Mar Paulinus Jeerakath was called to eternal rest. Then, Fr. Kurian Macheril CMI was elected the administrator of the eparchy. His term lasted for two years and seven months. Fr. Kurian Macheril was an effetive administrator.
On 28 January 1993, Mar Simon Stock Palathra CMI was appointed the second bishop of the eparchy and was ordained on 19 March 1993. Mar Simon Stock Palathra CMI was a man of simplicity and missionary zeal. His motto was “for God and his people”. Mar Simon Stock Palathra contributed to the growth of the eparchy tremendously. MPM Hospital Jagdalpur, was established as a referral hospital in 1997 for the health care of the people of this remote area. Diocesan minor seminaries were established at Parpa in 1998 and at Kondagaon in 2000. To coordinate the pastoral and evangelization ministries of the eparchy, the Good Shepherd Pastoral Centre was established at Aghanpur in 2009. Mission stations at Chottebettia, Kutni, Junawar, Boregaon, Charama, Bandam, Mardum, Palnar, and Bhairamgarh were opened in his period. He invited several institutes of consecrated life to work in the Eparchy of Jagdalpur. On 16 July 2013, Mar Joseph Kollamparampil CMI was appointed as the third Bishop of Jagdalpur and was ordained on 17 September 2013. His motto is "I come to do your will". Reflecting this motto, from the beginning of his episcopate, he has been encouraging the pastoral and missionary undertakings. Under the leadership of Mar Joseph Kollamparampil CMI, the missionary activities of the Eparchy of Jagdalpur are reaching out to the peripheries. His vision is to bring education to all the people of Bastar. During the first five years of his episcopate, schools were opened at Karitgaon, Chindgarh, Potanar, Dewda, Charama, Bijapur, and Antgarh. Perpetual adoration centers were opened at Jagdalpur, Kondagaon, Bacheli, Kolchoor, Bande, Bijapur and Kanker.
Right Rev. JOSEPH KOLLAMPARAMPIL, CMIBishop of Jagdalpur
|Born||:||26 November 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||6 May 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||17 September 2013|
Bishop’s House, Lal Bagh,
Jagdalpur - 494 001
Dt. Bastar (Chhattisgarh)
Right Rev. Simon Stock Palathra CMIBishop Emeritus of Jagdalpur
|Born||:||11 October 1935|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 December 1964|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 March 1993|
Vinayalaya Novitiate, Bhanpuri,Bastar District-494224(Chattisgarh)
|Languages||:||Hindi and many tribal dialects. |
The new diocese comprises of 12 districts in Rajasthan, all until now in the Diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur: Jaipur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Dausa, Alwar, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Bikaner, Nagaur, Churu, Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar, covering an area of 129,060 sq. kms. with a population of about 2,58,28,271 out of which about 4,096 Catholics. Jaipur is also the Capital of the State of Rajasthan. There are currently 32 Priests and 117 Religious Sisters working in the territory of the new Diocese.
The first Bishop of Jaipur, Most Rev. Oswald Lewis, was born on July 30, 1944, ordained priest on December 30, 1972 for the Diocese of Lucknow and was appointed as the Co-adjutor Bishop Meerut on April 16, 1998. Bishop Oswald, during his long priestly ministry in Lucknow, held varied and important assignments in pastoral, educational and administrative areas. He was the Parish Priest of the Cathedral, Principal of Schools, Vicar General and Administrator of the Diocese of Lucknow. He was for over 12 years Secretary of the Association of Catholic Education Institutions in U.P. (1985-1997) at the end of which he was given the “Bharat Jyoti” Award for ‘Best Educationist’ by the Governor of U.P.
Right Rev. Oswald LewisBishop of Jaipur
|Born||:||30 July 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 December 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||16 April 1998|
Bishop’s House, Ghat Gate,Jaipur - 302 003 (Rajasthan)
|Area||:||129,060 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Hindi, English, Marwari and Bhili|
The Catholic presence in the area of this diocese of Jalpaiguri goes back to around the year 1911 and is linked from from its beginning with the present area of the diocese of Dinajpur, which is now in Bangladesh. There is a short narration of a certain Gabriel Toppo from the area of Ranchi in the present Jharkhand, who brought the news of the adibasi tribals of the Jharkhand area obtaining new life on their social and religious front, thanks to the arrival of Catholic Fathers there from Belgium. Some people were taken up with the news and were looking for such Fathers but nothing happened till around the year 1911 when Fr Joseph Antony Limana, a PIME Father, came from Italy and found some shelter close to a railway station Mal and started contacting people. He was offered some place in one of the tea estates where there were some twenty Catholics working as tea garden labourers, also from the land of Jharkhand. He was happy to come and work there. He very soon won their love and admiration.
Later, in the year 1923, another PIME priest, Father Lazzaroni by name, got as his residence the bungalow of a tea garden manager in Nagrakata. This became the first parish house of this area. All this was still under the Diocese of Dinajpur, where also Church work was being done by the Fathers of the same Pontifical Milan Missionary Society, more know as the PIME Fathers.
The Diocese of Jalpaiguri came into being long after the partition of India which took place in the year 1952, with one of the veteran PIME Fathers from Italy, Fr. Ambrose Galibati, as its First Bishop. Msgr Galbiati was then the parish priest of Damanpur embracing a very vast area on the east of river Torsa in the district of Jalpaiguri. While on the western vast area of this same river Torsa worked another Father of the same Church Work institute, Fr Amatore Artico, residing in PIME Regional center and parish at Nagrakata. Bishop Galbiati was much loved, but had to go back to Italy, sick in the year 1965. In 1968 Msgr Francis Ekka was appointed Bishop of Jalpaiguri, and took up the reign of the diocese, serving it till the year 1971, when he was transferred to the Diocese of Raigarh Ambikapur. He entrusted the Episcopal responsibility on the shoulders of the new appointee Msgr James A. Toppo.
Fr Ambrose Galbiati was the founding parish priest of Damanpur, and decided to stay there even as Bishop, close to the Sub divisional town of Alipurduar. Damanpur became the center of the diocesan administration. This was continued by Mgr Francis Ekka for the duration of his service. After three years of his stay at Damanpur, Msgr. James A. Toppo moved the Episcopal seat to Jalpaiguri, the district center of the civil administration. Jalpaiguri is also the divisional center of the five districts lying north of the River Ganges in West Bengal, also known as North Bengal.
The Christians are mainly from the adibasi tribal groups of people and in the State of West Bengal their language has stayed close to the tribal languages, in the form of the lingua franca, Sadri, a much rural form of Hindi. The total number of Catholics now come to some 1,10,000. The apostolate consists mainly in spiritual animation of the people and their social uplift through education and medical service through some 56 Priests, 23 Brothers and around 180 Religious Sisters helped by catechists and the other lay participants.
The diocesan Jurisdiction extend over entire districts of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar, forming the thin link strip of the State of West Bengal to the States extreme east of India.
Right Rev. Clement TirkeyBishop of Jalpaiguri
|Born||:||12 September 1947|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 March 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||23 April 2006|
Bishop’s House Jalpaiguri,P. O. Mohit Nagar - 735 102 Dist. Jalpaiguri (West Bengal)
|Languages||:|| Bengali, Hindi, English, Sadri, Oraon, Munda Kharia, Boro Santal.|
1. A Brief History of the Diocese
1.1. Brief History of the Catholic Church in Jammu and Kashmir
The Catholic Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar has been rendering yeomen service to the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and India at large in different fields such as Education, Health care and Social Action. The services of the Diocese and the Christian Missionaries have been acknowledged many times, by the successive Chief Ministers and the state machinery at various levels. Yet there is little information readily available on the Catholic Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar and its History.
The Christian presence in Jammu and Kashmir goes back by many centuries. Christianity came to the northern part of India especially Tibet by the medium of the European travelers and missionaries who came in search of a “Christian Nation” which seemed to have existed somewhere in central Asia. Christianity existed under the Nestorian mission and even flourished in the Central Asia, possibly also in Ladakh from the sixth to eleventh century but it died leaving behind no trace for posterity. Today, three Crosses are seen in Tangtse, in eastern Leh. On the top of the Cross is a Sogdian inscription which reads as “In the eight-hundredth year of the death of our Lord Jesus, the Nestorian Christians of Syria have arrived this place from Samarkand”. Samarkand at that time was the principal city of Sogdiana, known today as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. With this there are other documents which confirm the existence of Nestorian and Armenian missions in Mongolia, Chinese Turkistan, Afghanistan and Tibet.
During the Mughal reign, especially during the reign of Emperor Akbar there were Jesuit priests who were part of his Court. Some of them have even visited Kashmir with the Emperor. It is well documented that two Jesuits namely Fr. Jerome Xavier and Br. Goes accompanied the Emperor Akbar to Kashmir in 1597. Possibly, Fr. Jerome Xavier even stayed in Kashmir for over three months. In the later years, other Jesuit priests such as Joseph de Castro in 1627 with Emperor Jahangir and Manoel Freyre and Ippolito Desideri in 1715, would traverse this land in their efforts to reach Tibet.
The Catholic presence in Jammu and Kashmir in the modern era is linked to the arrival of the Mill Hill Missionaries from London. In January 1879, the Vatican requested Bishop Herbert Vaughan, founder of the Mill Hill Missionaries, to send chaplains to minister to the British army personnel in the Punjab. The Mill Hill Missionaries arrived in North India in 1879 and commenced their mission with Fr. Brouwer as its first Superior.
On 6th July, 1887, Pope Leo XIII erected the Apostolic Prefecture of Kashmir and Kafirstan, whose territories extended from Kashmir to Kabul, and entrusted it to the Mill Hill Missionaries. Msgr. Ignatius Brouwer was appointed the first Prefect of the Apostolic Prefecture and was based at Rawalpindi. Initially the presence of the missionaries in Kashmir was severely limited due to administrative reasons. In 1888 Fr. Daniel Kilty MHM laid the foundations of the Leh mission. His first priority was to learn the local language. He stayed there till his death due to illness in November of the same year. His work was carried on by Frs. Hanlon, Donson and Simons who stayed there till the closure of the Leh mission in 1898. It would later be re-opened by the first Indian Prefect Apostolic Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal. Later in 1892 Frs. Winkley and Cunningham constructed the first church at Baramulla, the cradle of the Catholic mission in Jammu and Kashmir! The Catholic mission in Srinagar was opened in 1894 by Rev. Frs. Cunningham and Donsen, MHM. The church was built by Franklin Winkley in about 1900. The territory of Jammu and Kashmir was ecclesiastically divided into two parts before the Independence. The Kashmir region was under the Prefecture of Kashmir and Kafirstan and later became part of the diocese of Rawalpindi while the Jammu region was looked after by the Belgium Capuchins from Sialkot and was part of Lahore Diocese.
Prefecture of Jammu and Kashmir
In the independent India, when Kashmir came under the Indian Union, Kashmir could no longer be looked after from Rawalpindi as there were lot of restrictions on both the sides owing to the political realities. Travel and communication were difficult and the priests found it hard to frequent Kashmir from the diocese of Rawalpindi for pastoral care. This impasse was solved by the active intervention of the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Vatican Internuncio, Rev. Leo Kierkels. On 17 January 1952 the Prefecture Apostolic of Kashmir and Jammu was erected by the Holy See. In June 1952, Msgr. George Shanks was appointed the first Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir and Jammu. In September 1952 he arrived in Kashmir and made Srinagar as his headquarters. The new Prefecture was comprised of the districts of Kashmir valley and Ladakh (taken from Rawalpindi Diocese) and the districts of Jammu province (taken from Lahore Diocese). Soon the Jammu mission was opened. Before this Jammu had been an out-station of Sialkot.
On May 4, 1968, at the request of the then Prefect Apostolic Msgr. John Boercamp, to correspond with the official name of the Indian State in which the Apostolic Prefecture is found», the ecclesiastical territory was reconstituted and renamed as the Prefecture Apostolic of Jammu and Kashmir. The Mill Hill Missionaries worked in the Prefecture in a zealous manner till 1978 and laid a strong foundation for the emergence of the Catholic community. With the advent of the Indo-Pak war of 1971, the issue of geo-strategic sensitivity of the Kashmir region once again raised the stake for the foreign missionaries operating in this rather volatile region. Hence, in 1978 the Mill Hills decided to hand over the reins of the mission to the Indian Capuchins of St Joseph’s Province, Kerala and Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal was appointed the first Indian Prefect Apostolic on November 11, 1978.
Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar
In the course of Msgr. Hyppolytus’ tenure of prefectureship, many more mission stations, schools and social action centers were established enhancing the growth of the mission. In 1986, the Holy See decided to raise the Prefecture to the rank of a diocese. Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal OFM Cap., was consecrated as its first bishop on June 29, 1986 in Rome and was installed as bishop on September 07, 1986 in the newly consecrated St. Mary’s Cathedral, Jammu. The Curia, which was in Srinagar since 1952, was shifted to Jammu on December 23, 1986. Bishop Hippolytus a great missionary contributed to the growth of the Diocese and its various missionary endeavor. These included mission stations with educational, health care and social service. The highlight of his commitments is the reopening of the mission at Leh in the Ladakh region.
After the retirement of Bishop Hippolytus Kunnunkal, Rev. Fr. Peter Celestine was ordained the Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar Diocese on September 6, 1998. The priorities of the new administration under the leadership of Bishop Peter Celestine was to open mission stations, schools, and health care centers in remote places. New mission stations were opened in Batote and Kargil, which symbolically unite the whole of the diocese from Kathua to Leh, a stretch of more than 800 kilometers! The Diocese presently is comprised of all the three Regions of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, namely, Jammu Region with 10 districts, Kashmir Region with 10 districts and Ladakh Region with 2 districts.
After shepherding the Jammu-Srinagar Mission for 35 years, the Capuchin missionaries have handed over the mission to a young and an energetic diocesan clergy, Rev. Fr. Ivan Pereira who was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of Diocese on 3rd December 2014 has been consecrated and installed as Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar Diocese on 21st February 2015. Bishop Ivan brings in a new perspective to his Episcopate with his stated motto “Pax Nuntiata Est”. It calls for a new dimension for the mission work: peace in families, peace between communities and Peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
1.2. Prefects Apostolicof Kafristan and Kashmir
1887 - Msgr. Ignatius Brouwer MHM, Prefect of Kafristan & Kashmir
1894 - Msgr. Reyndes MHM, Prefect Of Kafristan & Kashmir
1899 - Msgr. Wagener MHM, Prefect Of Kafristan & Kshmir
1914 - Msgr. Winkley MHM, Prefect Of Kafristan & Kashmir
1933 - Msgr. O’ Donhoe MHM, Prefect of Kafristan & Kashmir
1943 - Msgr. Mayer MHM, Pro-Prefect Of Kafristan & Kashmir
1.3. Prefects Apostolic of Kashmir and Jammu
1952 - Msgr. George shanks MHM, Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir & Jammu
1962 - Msgr. Boerkamp MHM, Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir & Jammu
1978 - Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal OFM Cap. Prefect Apostolic of Kashmir & Jammu
1.4. Former Bishops
1986 – 1998 - Most Rev. Hippolytus, Kunnunkal OFM Cap.
1998 – 2014 - Most Rev. Peter Celestine OFM Cap.
1.5. Present Bishop
2015 - Most Rev. Ivan Albert Pereira
Right Rev. Ivan PereiraBishop of Jammu-Srinagar
|Born||:||1 June 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||15 May 1993|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 February 2015|
Bishop’s House,Jammu Cantt. - 180 003(Jammu & Kashmir)
|Area||:||222236 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||kashmiri, Urdu, Dogri, Pujabi, Hindi & English|
The Diocese of Jamshedpur was erected on July 2, 1962 in Jharkhand state. It comprises the district of East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum (excluding the parish of Bandgoan), Saraikela - Kharswan, Dhanbad, a portion of Bokaro district (namely the Chandankiayari Block and the Chas Block which lie East of National Highway no.32) and in West Bengal it covers the District of Purulia.
The Districts of West Singhbhum and Saraikera - Kharswan were formerly part of the Archdiocese of Ranchi. The district of East Singhbhum, Bokaro, Dhanbad and Purulia were part of the Archdiocese of Calcutta.
Most Rev. Lawrence T. Picachy, sj, (1962 - 1969) and Most Rev. Joseph R. Rodericks, sj, (1971 -1996) were the former prelates. Most Rev. Felix Toppo, sj, was consecrated on September 27,1997 as its third Bishop.
The Work of the Church in Chotanagpur was initiated by the Belgian Jesuits of Calcutta province at Chaibasa in the year 1868. Manbhum (now Purulia, Dhanbad and Bokaro districts) and Singhbhum (now East and West Singhbhum and Saraikela - Kharswan) were entrusted in the year 1947 to the care of American Jesuits of Maryland Province.
In the year 1962, at the time of the erection of the diocese only 8 parishes were existing. In the year 1964, among these 8 parishes, the parishes of Bandgoan and Anandpur were transferred to the Archdiocese of Ranchi. At the re-organization of the Archdiocese of Ranchi, the parish of Anandpur was once again transferred back to Jamshedpur in the year 1997.
The majority of the people in the diocese are living in villages which belong to the Hos, Mundas and Santhal tribes. The cosmopolitan towns of Jamshedpur, Purulia and Dhanbad have a floating population which comes for work from all the states of India. The languages of liturgical celebrations in the towns are Hindi and English. In the villages - Ho, Mundari and Santhali are used.
The evangelization work among these villages has been making a steady progress. In the year 1962 there were only 8 parishes. Now the number of parishes in the diocese are 29. There are approximately 60,000 Catholics in the diocese. Over the years, Religious Congregations of men (5) and women (21) have come to the diocese. There are 146 priests and 318 Religious Sisters working in the diocese. The main thrust of the diocese along with the proclamation of the Gospel is the apostolates of education, health and Justice & peace".
Right Rev. Telesphore Bilung, SVDBishop of Jamshedpur
|Born||:||15 April 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 May 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||30 August 2014|
Golmuri P. O.,
Jamshedpur - 831 003 (Jharkhand)
|Area||:||21,003 Sq. Kms.|
|Catholics||:||65, 300 |
|Languages||:|| Hindi, English, Bengali, Ho, Sandhali and Mundari|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jashpur was created on March 23, 2006. It is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Raipur. Its first bishop was Mar Victor Kindo, previously bishop of Raigarh, who died on 12 June 2008. On December 22, 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Emmanuel Kerketta, the diocesan administrator and previous Vicar General, as the new bishop of Jashpur.
The diocese covers an area of 5,838 km² of the territory previously belonging to the Diocese of Raigarh, in Chhattisgarh state. The see has its seat in Kunkuri, where the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary is located.
The total population in the diocese is 739,780, of which 185,485 are Catholic. The diocese is subdivided into 46 parishes.
Right Rev. Emmanuel KerkettaBishop of Jashpur
|Born||:||16 March 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||5 May 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 February 2010|
|Tel(P)||:||(0)9424182368, (0)7974613960,(0)7999644459, (0)7693921911|
Bishop’s House Kunkuri,P. O. Kunkuri - 496 225Dist. Jashpur (Chhattisgarh)
|Area||:||6457 sq k.m.|
|Languages||:||Bhili, Hindi, Malvi, Rathavi|
Catholic Diocese of Jhabua was erected on March 1, 2002 and came into existence on the 7th of June 2002, bifurcating the Catholic Diocese of Indore and Catholic Diocese of Udaipur, with Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal SVD as its first Bishop. The Diocese comprises of five civil districts namely Jhabua, Alirajpur, Ratlam, Mandsaur, Neemuch and Sardarpur Tehsil of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, on the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan states. The first mission station was started in 1896 at Thandla by Fr. Charles OFM. Cap the first Bhil missionary in Jhabua District.
On 24th October 2008, Bishop Chacko T. J. SVD was transferred to the Diocese of Indore as its Bishop. On the same day he was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Jhabua Diocese. On the 11 may 2009, Holy Father Pope Benedict XVIth appointed Very Rev. Fr. Devprasad Ganawa SVD as the 2nd Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Jhabua. On 16th June 2009, he was ordained as Bishop of Jhabua Diocese.
Bishop VacantBishop of Jhabua
Bishop’s House,Meghnagar, Jhabua Dist. - 457 779(Madhya Pradesh)
Rev. Fr. Fr Peter KharadiDiocesan Administrator
|Tel(P)||:||+91942501532 , 6267223092|
Catholic Diocese of JHABUA
Bishop’s House , Meghnagar
Jhabua Dist. 457779
|Area||:||21,366 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Bhili and Bhilali, Malvi|
The Diocese of Jhansi comprises the civil districts of Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Jalaun, Jhansi and Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh and the civil districts of Datia, Shivpuri, Morena, Bhind and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
In 1929, the four districts of U.P. (Lalitpur was a part of Jhansi and Mohoba was a part of Hamirpur) were entrusted as a Mission to the Capuchins of the Maltese Province, who had been working in the Diocese of Allahabad alongside the confreres, the Bolongnese Fathers since 1929.
By a decree of Pope Pius XII, "Ad Evangelicam Veritatem", dated January 12, 1940, this mission was detached from the Allahabad diocese and erected into a Prefecture. On account of the Second World War, it remained orphaned of its Prefect till January 21, 1946.
On July 5, 1954, the Prefecture was raised to the status of a diocese by the Decree "In Prefectura Apostolica", and Msgr F. X. Fenech ofm cap, then Prefect Apostolic, became the First Bishop of Jhansi. In 1963 Msgr Baptist Mudartha was nominated as Bishop Auxiliary to Bp Fenech and in August 1967 Bp Mudartha was installed as the First Indian Bishop of Jhansi.
Right Rev. Peter ParapullilBishop of Jhansi
|Born||:||2 December 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||29 February 1976|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||6 January 2013|
Bishop’s House, 64-Cantt.,Jhansi - 284 001 (Uttar Pradesh)
|Area||:||29,418 Sq km|
|Languages||:||English,Hindi & Urdu.|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Jowai is a diocese located in the city of Jowai in the Ecclesiastical province of Shillong in India. In a land area of 3, 819 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the district of Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya.
The Diocese of Jowai was erected on January 28, 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI, and Father Vincent Kympat was appointed its first bishop. He was ordained on April 2, 2006 by the Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana.
As of December 31, 2008, Jowai diocese had 72,000 baptized Catholics, representing 26 percent of all 295,229 people in the territory. The diocese had 12 parishes and 20 mission stations. The diocese recorded 600 baptisms in 2008.
Rev. Fr. Fr Ferdinand DkharDiocesan Administrator
Bishop’s House, Jowai
West Jaintia Hills District,
Meghalaya - 793 150
Right Rev. VacantBishop of Jowai
|Area||:||3, 819 Sq.km|
|Languages||:||Khasi, Pnar, War|
The Diocese of Jullundar comprises the civil districts of Amritsar, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Moga, Muktsar and Nawanshahar, in Punjab and Chamba, Hamirpur, Kangra and Una in Himachal Pradesh.
Until the Partition of India in 1947, this area was part of the Diocese of Lahore, looked after by the Capuchin Fathers of the Belgian province. On January 17, 1952, the Apostolic Prefecture of Jalandhar was created by the Apostolic Constitution "Inter Ceteras Curas" of Pope Pius XII. It was entrusted to the British Province of the Capuchins, and Msgr Francis Alban Swarbrick, ofm cap., was made the Prefect.
Pope Paul VI raised the Prefecture of Jalandhar to the status of a diocese on December 6, 1971, by the Apostolic Bull, "Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam", and Bp Symphorian Keeprath ofm cap., was appointed its First Bishop. Who served the diocese of Jalandhar for 34 years with great zeal.
Right Rev. Agnelo Rufino GraciasApostolic Administrator of Jalandhar
|Born||:||30 July 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1962|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 March 2001|
Bishop’s House, H. No. 175, Chruch Lane, Civil Lines (P.O.), Jalandhar City - 144 001 (Punjab)
Right Rev. Franco MulakkalBishop of Jullundur
|Born||:||25 March 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 April 1990|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 February 2009|
Bishop’s House, H. No. 175, Civil Lines (P.O.),Jalandhar City - 144 001 (Punjab)
|Area||:||51,120 Sq km|
|Languages||:||Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Pahari, English, |
The history of the Diocese of Kalyan is very much intertwined with the history of the Syro - Malabar Church itself in India. Having its roots in the Apostolic Ministry of St. Thomas the Apostle himself who established seven communities of the Christian Church in Kerala in the first century itself. These Christians migrated to different parts of India. They concentrated mainly in the big cities of India. In Bombay, Pune and Nasik regions, they are found in large numbers. The spiritual care of these regions are assisted by lay association like Kerala Catholic Association (Bombay). St. Thomas Christians of India (Pune), etc.
On September 8, 1978 Pope John Paul II appointed His Eminence Antony Cardinal Padiyara, the then Archbishop of Changanacherry as the Apostolic Visitor to study the situation. The visit of Pope John Paul II to India in 1986 gave him a first hand experience of the living faith of the Syro - Malabar Christians of India. A Pontifical Commission was appointed and on the basis of its report came the all-important letter of the Pope to the Bishops of India observing that the present situation in Bombay - Pune region is mature for the Churches to take necessary steps in this regard. Finally on May 19, 1988 His Holiness Pope John Paul II made the announcement of the establishment of a new diocese for the Syro - Malabar Christians of Bombay - Pune - Nasik regions, the Diocese of Kalyan, and the designation of Mgr. Paul Chittilapilly as its first Bishop. The Bull, however, was signed by the Pope as on April 30, 1988. Thus the birth of the diocese and the appointment of the first Bishop took effect from April 30,1988. The Episcopal Ordination and the official inauguration of the diocese took place on August 24, 1988 at the Don Bosco Grounds, Matunga, Bombay.
After nine years of dedicated and pioneering work in the newly born diocese, Bishop Paul Chittilappilly was transferred to the diocese of Thamarassery in Kerala on December18, 1996 and took charge on February 13, 1997. His successor and the second bishop of Kalyan Diocese was Mar Thomas Elavanal, whose consecration was on February 8, 1997 at Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli, Mumbai.
Right Rev. Thomas Elavanal MCBSBishop OF Kalyan
|Born||:||28 March 1950|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 December 1975|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 February 1997|
Bishop’s House,Plot No. B/38, Powai, I.I.T. P. O.,Mumbai - 400 076 (Maharashtra)
|Languages||:||Marathi, Hindi, Malayalam & English|
The Diocese of Kanjirapally was erected by His Holiness Pope Paul VI of illustrious memory, through the Bull "Nos Beati Petri Successores" on February 26, 1977 as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Changancherry. On May 12, 1977, Archbishop Mar Antony Padiyara officially published the Papal Bull at St. Dominic's Cathedral, Kanjirapally and Mar Joseph Powathil, the then Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Changanacherry was installed the First Bishop of Kanjirapally. Mar Joseph Powathil laid the foundation of the multifarious development activities - both spiritual and secular - in the diocese. When Mar Joseph Powathil was installed as the Archbishop of Changancherry in 1986, Mar Mathew Vattakkuzhy became the Episcopal torchbearer. Under his patronage the diocese witnessed spiritual renewal and acceleration in multi - faceted growth. In the event of his retirement in January 2001, Mar Mathew Arackal was appointed Bishop of Kanjirapally to pilot the diocese in the new millennium.
The diocese consists of 8 Deaneries within which there are 123 Parish churches and 38 Stations and Chapels for a Catholic population of 1,88,000. It mainly comprises the rural and the mountainous regions in the civil districts of Kottayam, Idduki and Pathanamthitta in the state of Kerala covering an area of 1980 sq. kms. This Catholic diocese forms part of the Syro - Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church. Nilackal, one of the seven churches founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle in 52 A.D. is located in the eastern part of this diocese. The high ranges of this diocese are mostly covered with forests. The temperature in this region is comparatively low considering other parts of Kerala. The misty meadows and the green topography of this virgin forest create an atmosphere of serenity and a halo of sacredness. Most of the people who settled in high ranges are migrants from other parts of Kerala, who rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Ever since its inception the diocese has been engaged in the social and economic development of the people, together with its spiritual work. Accordingly the diocese implemented many schemes for these purposes and as a result, we have been able to provide a network of institutions to the people. Motivated by love, the diocese is striving day in and day out to bring the abundance of life to every one within her reach. By the Grace of God, the diocese had done commendable works to the spectrum of spiritual renewal and social and educational development of this region following the footsteps of the supreme shepherd Jesus Christ. Standing on the threshold of the Silver Jubilee year, the diocese of Kanjirapally is looking forward to an era of Grace in which she hopes to take giant strides in social, economic and spiritual amelioration.
Right Rev. Mathew ArackalBishop Emeritus of Kanjirapally
|Born||:||10 December 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||13 March 1971|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||9 February 2001|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 22,
Kanjirapally - 686 507
Kottayam Dt. (Kerala)
Right Rev. Jose PulickalBishop of Kanjirapally
|Born||:||3 March 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 January 1990|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 February 2016|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 22,Kanjirapally - 686 507Kottayam Dt. (Kerala)
|Languages||:||Malayalam and Tamil.|
Although Christian communities existed in South Kerala from the beginning of Christianity, North Kerala known as Malabar had to wait long for the advent of the European missionaries to start their Evangelisation until the 16th century. It was with the advent of the Portuguese sailor, Vasco de Gama who landed here on 20th May 1498, that the missionaries had access to this area. Fr. Pedro de Kovilaham, the first missionary who came to Malabar with Vasco de Gama died on 31st July 1498. As the Portuguese traders could not get along with the ruler of Calicut, "the Zamorin", they moved to Kannur and the "Kolathiri", king of Kannur welcomed them. The four Franciscan missionaries with Hovavo Nova, their group leader were allowed to build a chapel in Kannur. (This is the place where the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Diocese of Kannur is situated). In 1505, the Portuguese Viceroy, Francis de Almeida, established the famous fort of St. Angelos and built the church of St. James there.
The four Franciscan missionaries with Hovavo Nova, their group leader were allowed to build a chapel in Kannur. (This is the place where the Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Diocese of Kannur is situated). In 1505, the Portuguese Viceroy, Francis de Almeida, established the famous fort of St. Angelos and built the church of St. James there.
Visit of St. Francis Xavier
The archives of the Society of Jesus in Rome testify that St.Francis Xavier, the patron of missions visited Kannur on 24th December 1542 and also on 7th November 1549
Expansion of Malabar Mission
Several Portuguese colonies were formed in the 16th century along the coastal belt of the Arabian Sea. A church was built by Dominge Rodrigues in Tellicherry for the Christians there. When the British East India company established the Tellicherry Fort in 1708, the Jesuit fathers renovated this church. Fr. Dominic OCD in 1736 established a church in Mahe to look after the spiritual needs of the French Catholics settled there. This church came to be known "the Shrine of Mahe'', or the Shrine of St. Theresa of Avila . In 1807, St. Michael's School was established for the education of boys and in 1871 St. Teresa's School for girls in Kannur was started by the Apostolic Carmelites. In the 1920's Fr. Faustine Aranha, began his work among the 'Dalits' of the Kanhangad region
Diocese of Calicut
In 1878 with the handing over of South Kanara and Malabar region to the Jesuits of the Venice Province, the mission involvement of the area took a new turn. On 12th June, 1923 some parts of Malabar which belonged to the Diocese of Mangalore were separated and the new Diocese of Calicut was established. There were about 6000 Catholics and 16 Priests, spread out in Calicut, Tellicherry, Kannur, Vythiri, and Mananthavady. There were 50 sisters in three convents and 12 educational institutions. The Diocese of Calicut made strides in progress under its holy and able Prelates Paul Perini, Leo Proserpio, Aldo Maria Patroni and Maxwell Noronha. In 1998 the Catholics increased ten fold to about 60,000. There were 169 priests, 1174 sisters in 105 convents and 245 educational institutions.
Under the patronage of Bishop Leo Proserpio, in 1937, Fr. Peter Caironi S.J started his mission among the Pulayas. This marginalised community was given proper housing facilities, education and the possibility of a more human existence. Fathers John Sequeira, Joseph Taffrel S.J, James Monthanari S.J, Aloysius Del Zotto S.J, Michael Vendramin S.J had tried hard to evangelize this area. Fr. Linus Maria Zucol S.J, who continues to work in this area has become a mission legend . These missionaries were supported by the Canossian sisters under mother Antoneitta Sala, the Deena Sevana Sabha founded by Mother Petra ,the Ursulines and the others. Consequently, we have today about 35,501 Catholics spread over 51 parishes and 21 mission stations, in the two revenue districts of Kannur and Kasaragod.
Diocese of Kannur
The diocese of Calicut was spread out to an area of 13051 Sq. Kms. in six revenue districts. In the context of such an extensive area there was the need of a new diocese for the benefit of the faithful. Bishop Maxwell Noronha, in consultation with the priests, religious and the laity requested the Holy See to establish a new diocese at Kannur. The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II by the Apostolic Brief, ‘cum ad aeternam’ dated 5th November 1998, created the Diocese of Kannur from the Diocese of Calicut. On the same day Rt. Rev. Dr. Varghese Chakkalakal who was a professor at St.Joseph's Seminary, Mangalore, and a priest of the diocese of Calicut, was elected the Bishop of Kannur and the Bishop elect was consecrated on 7th February 1999 and he took charge of the diocese on 8th February 1999. The Bishop has taken as his motto "according to your will" "Daivathirumanassinu Vidheyathuvam". The new diocese comprises the territory of the civil district of Kannur to the north of Mahe river, excluding Pallur, Chelakara, Panthakal and Chenkallai which belong to the municipality of Mahe and the territory of the civil district of Kasaragod which falls to the south of Chandragiri river. The erection of this new diocese was a historical event for Kannur which has 500 years of Christian tradition. The establishment of the new diocese on the auspicious occasion of the Platinum Jubilee of the Diocese of Calicut was welcomed with cheer, by the people who consider the diocese of Kannur as a gift of God to this region.
The new diocese comprises the territory of the civil district of Kannur to the north of Mahe river, excluding Pallur, Chelakara, Panthakal and Chenkallai which belong to the municipality of Mahe and the territory of the civil district of Kasaragod which falls to the south of Chandragiri river. The erection of this new diocese was a historical event for Kannur which has 500 years of Christian tradition. The establishment of the new diocese on the auspicious occasion of the Platinum Jubilee of the Diocese of Calicut was welcomed with cheer, by the people who consider the diocese of Kannur as a gift of God to this region.
Right Rev. Alex VadakumthalaBishop of Kannur
|Born||:||14 June 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||23 March 2014|
Bishop’s House, Chovva,Kannur - 670 006 (Kerala)
The Diocese, comprising the whole civil district of Uttara Kannada, was carved out from Belgaum diocese and erected as the Diocese of Karwar by the Decree 'Christi Missum" of Pope Paul VI dated January 24, 1976.
Bp William Leonard D'Mello was appointed First Bishop of Karwar by an Apostolic Bull dated January 24, 1976. He was ordained and installed as the First Bishop of Karwar on April 29, 1977. He served the diocese of Karwar for 30 year with great pastoral care.
Right Rev. DEREK FERNANDESApostolic Administrator of Karwar
|Born||:||14 May 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||5 May 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||20 April 2007|
Bishop’s Office,Puneeth Sadan, Shirwad,Karwar - 581 306 (Karnataka)
|Area||:||10,291 sq. km.|
|Languages||:||Konkani, Kannada, Marathi|
The Exarchate of St. Ephrem of Khadki, Pune, of the Syro-Malankaras extends over the entire southern part of India where till now there was no Syro-Malankara ecclesial circumscription, namely, the entire States of Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, together with parts of Karnataka and Tamilnadu. The Mission of the Syro-Malankara Church outside the proper territory began in 1955 with the foundation of Bethany Ashram, in Poona, for the pastoral care of immigrants. Today the Syro-Malankara presence in the region of the Exarchate consists of 27 parishes or missions. There are 21 priests dedicated to the pastoral care, 13 convents of women religious and about ten schools, including a College for higher studies. The majority of the faithful is found near Mumbai and Poona, in the western part of the State of Maharashtra. The first Exarch will have his residence and chancery in the city of Khadki, Pune, in the complex which includes St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Church, which will serve as the new cathedral.
Right Rev. Thomas Anthonios, OICApostolic Administrator Eparchy of St Ephrem, Khadki
|Born||:||25 November 1955|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||13 March 2010|
St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Cathedral
51, Bhau Patil Road,
Bopodi - 411 020, Pune (Maharashtra)
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Khamman is a diocese located in the city of Khamman in the Ecclesiastical province of Hyderabad in India.
The diocese of Khammam was bifurcated from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Warangal diocese by the Papal Bull ad "perpetuam rei memoriam" on February 11, 1988. It comprises the entire revenue district of Khammam. Most. Rev. Joseph Rajappa was appointed as the first Bishop of Khammam diocese. The Christian faith in this area has a century old history.
The Mission work was actually launched by the PIME missionaries much before 1885 when this area was under the Hyderabad vicariate. The oldest Catholic Community brought to faith by Fr.F.Rolla PIME in 1905 still remains as a historical monument. Msgr. Vigano's Pastoral visits to different places could also bring some impact in the Christian communities. Because of their strenuous efforts, we could now have the pride of having Bayyaram parish because the first one to yield the first vocation in the diocese and later five more.
The Diocese of Warangal was bifurcated from the Ecclesiastical territory of Hyderabad as a separate diocese, comprising the districts of Warangal, Khammam, Karimnagar and Nalgonda by Pope Pious the XII on December 22, 1952. Most Rev. Alphonsus Beretta PIME was the first Bishop of Warangal. On 8th January 1953, under the dynamic leadership and great vision of Bishop A. Beretta, the Catholic Church in Khammam penetrated into interior places. Bishop Beretta set up many schools, dispensaries, boardings and launched other socio-economic developmental schemes. He invited several religious congregations to work in the rural belt of Khammam. In 1985 Bishop A. Beretta PIME retired and in1987 bishop Thumma Bala was appointed as the second Bishop of Warangal. Before he could realize his plans, Khammam district was declared as a diocese in 1988. Bishop Joseph Rajappa was appointed as the first Bishop of Khammam. Unfortunately he died on the following year i.e. 27th December 1989 due to old age and illness. The diocese was administered for a couple of years by Rev.Fr.M. Lourdunathan. On January 31, 1992, Fr.Marampudi Joji, of Vijayawada diocese was appointed as second Bishop of Khammam. After four and a half years, he was transferred to Vijayawada on December 18, 1996. Rev. Fr. D. Melchior Raja, PIME, administered the diocese for a couple of months. On May 30, 1997, Fr. Maipan Paul of Visakhapatnam diocese was appointed as the third Bishop of Khammam.
Right Rev. Udumala BalaApostolic Administrator Diocese of Khammam
|Born||:||18 June 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 February 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||23 May 2013|
|Tel(P)||:||08742-222460 , (0)8639399594 , (0)8247813515|
Bishop’s House, Naidupet,
Khammam P. O. - 507 003
Right Rev. Maipan Paul DDBishop Emeritus of Khammam
|Tel(P)||:||(0)8749275525 , (0)9573606373, (0)9494472575|
Home for Children with Multiple Disabilities
Bonakal Vil & Mdl - 507 204
|Area||:||16029 Sq km|
|Languages||:||Telugu, Urdu and English|
The history of the advent of mission activities in Khandwa region began with the coming of the Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales to Asirgarh Fort in 1866. They operated in those days from Nagpur. The first of them was Rev. Fr. Amedeys Delalex who as a military chaplain of Jabalpur, had to visit periodically the Asirgarh Fort, which was not very far from Khandwa. In 1870 Rev. Fr. J. Thevenet built a small chapel at Khandwa and in 1880 he built a Church in Gothic style, which was solemnly blessed by Dr. Meurin, Vicar Apostolic of Bombay, in the presence of Bishop Tissot of Vishakpatanam. Rev. Fr. Souchon was the first resident parish priest from 1880 to 1888. Gradually Khandwa became the headquarters of mission work. The Franciscan missionaries contributed a major share to this cause especially in places like Khandwa, Aulia, Sirpur, etc. It was in 1932 that the SVD missionaries came to India and this area was then entrusted to their care. Then onwards the Divine Word Missionaries active in both East and West Nimar were instrumental in spreading the Word of God and establishing the local church. Khandwa was part of Indore Diocese.
The Diocese of Khandwa was erected on February 3, 1977 by the Papal Bull "Apostolico Officio" of Pope Paul VI. It comprises of the four civil districts of Khandwa, Bhurhanpur, Barwani and Khargone, also called East and West Nimar districts, separated from Indore diocese. Bp Abraham Viruthakulangara was appointed the First Bishop of Khandwa. In 1997 he was Transferred and appointed as the Archbishop of Nagapur.
Bishop VacantBishop of Khandwa
Rev. Fr. Augustine MadathikunnelDiocesan Administrator Diocese of Khandwa
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 April 1994|
Bishop’s House, Civil Lines,
Khandwa - 450 001
|Area||:||24,000 sq. kms. |
|Languages||:||Hindi, Nimari, Bhilali, Korku |
The first Catholic missionary of Chotanagpur, Fr. Augustin Stockman s.j, was sent in 1868 by Bishop Stein of Culcutta to explore the possibility of evangelization among the tribals. He journeyed from Midnapur on a rickety bullock-cart and on tenth day arrived at Chaibasa in Singhbhung district. After three year’s stay and hard work six poor Munda families from Kuntpani in the Ho Land, asked him for baptism. Unable to settle them among the Hos, he brought them to Tutuyu and settled them here near Kochang village which he named Burudih.
The fire of the Catholic faith which had been ignited in Butudih Kochang would soon spread to Bandgaon, Sarwada and Dolda. By 1885, when Fr. Constant Lievens sj., the “Apostle of Chotanagpur,” came the Catholics numbered 2,000. With the arrival of Fr. Lievens, the missionary approach and methodology changed. He settled in Torpa and began to help the tribals in court cases to regain possession of their land away snatched by rapacious landlords. He preached the Gospel by his word and deed. This brought spectacular success as well as painful trial. The Mundas flocked to Torpa and gradually many mission stations were established in present Khunti and Ranchi diocese.
In 1892 Fr. John Baptist Hoffmann S.J., a German missionary, volunteered to go to Bandgaon and a year later shifted to Sarwada. His outstanding contributions were to ensure security of the lands of tribals, to free them from debt traps of landlords and moneylenders and to preserve their language and culture. To achieve these objectives, he played an instrumental in getting the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act passed, founded the Catholic Cooperative Credit Society and compiled a 16 Volumes “ENCYCLOPEDIA MUNDARICA”, which he worked on after his repatriation to Germony in 1915 by the British Government.
The Diocese of Ranchi, was created in 1927 being bifurcated from the Archdiocese of Calcutta with Msgr. Louis Van Hoeck s.j. as the first Bishop. He initiated to work in the area of education of the Tribals and laid the foundations of indigenous clergy, which was further consolidated and expanded by his successor Bishop Oscar Servin s.j.
In 1952 Ranchi was elevated to the status of an Archdiocese with Most Rev. Nicholas Kujur sj., a son of the soil, as its first Archbishop. In the four decades and half since the Archdiocese was created, there are now 16 Dioceses, Khunti is one of these.
The Diocese of Khunti was created on 12th May 1995 by Pope John Paul II with south- east territory carvad out of the Archdiocese of Ranchi. Khunti Diocese comprises the whole of Khunti district, Bandgaon parish in West Singhbhum district, Kudda parish in Gumla district, Mahugaon, Bundu and Vijaygiri in Ranchi district. The catholic population of the Diocese consists mostly of Scheduled Tribes, in particular of the Mundas. Most Rev. Stephen Tiru, Bishop of Dumka, was transferred to Khunti in 1995 as the first Bishop of the new Diocese. On 30th November 2012 Most Rev. Binay Kandulna, the Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi, was appointed as the Bishop of Khunti, who was installed on 12th January 2013 as its second prelate.
Right Rev. Binay KandulnaBishop of Khunti
|Born||:||28 January 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||23 April 1994|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 May 2009|
Bishop’s House, Torpa Road, Girja Toli,P. O. & Dt. Khunti - 835 210 (Jharkhand)
|Area||:||3,765 Sq km|
|Languages||:||Munda, Hindi, Sadri, Oraon|
The Diocese of Kohima comprises the State of Nagaland covering an area of 16,579 sq. kms. with a total population of 1,990,036 The literacy rate is 67%. The Catholic population is 60,563 spread over 37 parishes and 15 mission centres. There are 16 major tribes speaking as many languages. Today there are Catholic communities practically in all the major tribes. The Angami and Lotha tribes have the largest communities.
The attempt to preach the good news of Jesus Christ in Nagaland by the Catholic Church goes back to 1908 when Fr. Marcellinus Molz reached Tamlu in Mokochung District. But this first visit of a Catholic missionary to Nagaland could not bear the desired fruit. Nagaland had to wait another 40 years more before the next opportunity arrived. That was in December 1948 when a group of Spanish Sisters – Sr. Margarita and Sr. Gaudalupe of Sisters of Christ Jesus - and a Catholic priest, Msgr. Bars, SDB., arrived in Kohima to offer their services to the newly established Naga Hospital of Kohima at the request of Mr. Akbar Hydari, the then Governor of Assam. They were strictly forbidden to do any evangelizing activities.
When the sisters had to leave the hospital in 1952, Fr. Marocchino, SDB., who by then had replaced Msgr Bars, was allowed to continue his stay in Kohima, but he had to quit the hospital premises. After much wandering about he was able to build a hut of his own in a corner of the Kohima Village and he paved the way for the growth of the Catholic Church in the Angami area.
In the meantime, the Catholic faith began to take root in another part of Nagaland, among the Lotha tribe, who were close to Assam. In 1950, some Lotha Baptists from Lakhuti village contacted the catholic priests at Golaghat and received Baptism in April 1951. Soon it led to the establishment of a catholic community in Lakhuti village in spite of stiff opposition from the Baptists.
The Diocese of Kohima was part of the Diocese of Dibrugarh until 1973 when the states of Nagaland and Manipur were separated from the Diocese of Dibrugarh and made into the Diocese of Kohima-Imphal. Late Bishop Abraham Alangimattathil, SDB., the then Vicar General of the Diocese of Dibrugarh, was appointed as its first Bishop.
On June 29, 1980 the Diocese of Kohima-Imphal was bifurcated and the Diocese of Imphal was carved out of it comprising the State of Manipur. Bishop Abraham Alangimattathil, SDB, continued to be the Bishop of the Diocese of Kohima comprising only the state of Nagaland until his resignation on 11th July 1996 due to ill health.
Fr. Jose Mukala, the then Vicar General of the diocese was elected as the Administrator of the Diocese by the diocesan consultors. Bishop Abraham after a commendable and untiring service of nearly 23 years to the diocese succumbed to death on 18th Novemeber 1997 due to a sudden Cardiac arrest. On December, 9, 1997 Rome announced the name of Fr. Jose Mukala as the Bishop-Elect of the Diocese of Kohima. Bishop Jose Mukala served the Diocese of Kohima for twelve years until his resignation on 30 Oct. 2009.
Then the diocese was placed under the care of the Apostolic Administrator in the person of Archbishop Dominic Lumon until a new Bishop was appointed. The Vatican made the announcement of the election of Fr. James Thoppil, the then Rector, Oriens Theological College, Shillong, as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Kohima on 16 June 2011. Fr. James Thoppil was ordained a bishop on 8th September 2011 at the Cathedral Church, Kohima by His Grace Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio of India, in the presence of other bishops of the Region and he took charge of the diocese on the same day.
Right Rev. James ThoppilBishop of Kohima
|Born||:||2 March 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||12 January 1986|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 September 2011|
Bishop's House ,Post Box No.519Kohima - 797001 (Nagaland)
Right Rev. Jose MukalaBishop Emeritus of Kohima
|Born||:||19 August 1948|
|Priestly Ordination||:||10 April 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 March 1998|
Divine Glory Retreat Centre, Zoumun
C/o Good Shepherd Parish,
Post Box No. 40,
Churachandpur - 795 128 (Manipur)
|Area||:||16579 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||English, Nagamese and about 18 major tribal dialects. |
The eparchy of Kothamangalam was erected by Pope Pius XII through the Papal Bull 'Quiin beati Petri Cathedra' of July 29, 1956 separating theprotopresbyterates of Arakuzha, Kothamangalam and Mailacombu, of the thenArchieparchy of Ernakulam- Angamaly. Mar Matthew Pothanamuzhi was ordained as the first bishop of the eparchy in Rome onNovember 18, 1956. The inauguration of the eparchy and the installation of thenew bishop took place on January 10, 1957, at Kothamangalam. Mar MatthewPothanamuzhi, who guided the eparchy with paternal care and succeeded in curingthe teething troubles of the eparchy, retired after two decades of memorablepastoral ministry.
Mar George Punnakottil succeeded Mar Matthew Pothanamuzhi. He was ordained andinstalled in office on April 24, 1977. The developmental programmes in theeparchy got a new vigour and verve and there were new initiatives to augmentthis process.
On January 10, 2013, the 56th anniversary of the inauguration ofthe Eparchy of Kothamangalam, the people of God heard the announcement 'We havea new Bishop'. Bishop Mar GeorgeMadathikandathil wasenthroned on February 9, 2013 as the third bishop of the Eparchy ofKothamangalam. At present, the Eparchy is constituted of 119 parishes.
Situated in the centre of Kerala, the Eparchy of Kothamangalamlies extended in the revenue districts of Ernakulam and Idukki, surrounded bythe Archieparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly, and the eparchies of Irinjalakuda, Idukki and Pala.
North : River Chalakudy and northern boundary of Devikulam Taluk.
East : Uzhavathadam River, Cheeyapara Waterfalls,Karimanal Power House, Kulamavu Dam ( & the Eastern boundaries ofPazhampillichal, Neendapara, Rajagiri and Uppukunnu parishes).
West : Eastern boundaries of Thripunithura and Vallam Foranes ofErnakulam-Angamaly Archieparchy.
South : Southern boundaries of Ramamangalam, Memuri, Marady &Arakuzha Villages of Marika Kara and Purapuzha and Karimkunnam Villages,Vazhipuzha River / Kinginithodu, eastern boundary of Velliamattam and southernboundary of Thodupuzha Taluk
Right Rev. George Madathikandathil Bishop of Kothamangalam
|Born||:||9 May 1956|
|Priestly Ordination||:||23 December 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||9 February 2013|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 6,Kothamangalam - 686 691 (Kerala)
Right Rev. George PunnakottilBishop Emeritus of Kothamangalam
|Born||:||13 September 1936|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 October 1961|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 April 1977|
NESTT, Muvattupuzha-686661 (Kerala)
|Area||:|| 4,840 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Malayalam and Tamil|
The Diocese of Kottapuram lies in the civil districts of Ernakulam, Trichur, Malapuram and Palakkad of Kerala State. It has its headquarters at Kottapuram near the ancient city of Cranganore(Muziris). It has a population of about 88,683 Latin Catholics.
During the reign of Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Kelanthara,Archbishop of Verapoly the process of bifurcation of the Archdiocese was first started. On the demise of the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Kelanthara, Protonotary Apostolic Rt. Rev. Msgr. Emmanuel Lopez was elected Administrator on October 19, 1986.
The Most Rev. Dr. Cornelius Elanjikal, was nominated the Archbishop of Verapoly and took charge of the office on March 19, 1987. His Pallium investiture took place on June 29, 1987, by the Most Holy Father Pope John Paul II. As the first prominent fruit of his reign, with the permission from the Most Holy Father, by the Papal Bull “Que Aptius” dated 3 rd July 1987, the Diocese of Kottapuram was erected and the solemn declaration of the same was made on 1st August 1987.
His Excellency Rt. Rev. Dr. Francis Kallarakal was appointed the First Bishop of the New Born Babe by the Apostolic Letter “Romani et Pontificis” dated 3rd July 1987. Together with the Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop elect Rev.Dr.Francis Kallarakal, on the feast day of St. Francis Assisi, the Diocese of Kottapuram was officially inaugurated on October 4, 1987.
Dr. Joseph Karikkassery Appointed as the Bishop of Kottapuram 18 December 2010. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Karikkassery Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Verapoly, the bishop of Kottapuram diocese. He took charge of the office on 13th April 2011.
Right Rev. Joseph KarikasseryBishop of Kottapuram
|Born||:||13 February 1946|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1973|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 December 2006|
|Tel(P)||:||0480 - 2802865 |
Bishop’s House,Kottapuram P. O.,Kodungallur - 680 667 (Kerala)
The diocese of Kottar had known the Christian faith several centuries before the arrival of the Portuguese on the West Coast, as supported by the monuments discovered in Chinna Muttom, one of our parishes near Kanyakumari. The presence of St. Thomas Christians in Thiruvithancode, Kottar and other places in the district had also been attested by several missionaries under the Portuguese Padroado.
With the arrival of the Portuguese missionaries, a small section of the local people known as Paravas became Christians in 1536-1537. More than ten thousand fishermen known as 'Mukkuvas" in the coastal villages from Poovar (now in the archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram) to Pallam were baptized in 1544 by the greatest post-apostolic missionary of the Church, St. Francis Xavier. The present Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier encompasses the church of St. Mary built by St. Francis Xavier.
With the efforts of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (founded in 1622) Christian missionaries began to concentrate on and evangelize the interior parts of the area.. Many from the Vellala and Nair communities these embraced the Christian faith and prominent among them was the martyr of the diocese, Devasahayam Pillai (Lazar) whose previous name was Nilakanda Pillai.
Nilakanda Pillai was born in the village of Nattalam in 1712 and was an official in the palace of King Marthanda Varma of Thiruvithancore. He was converted to Christian faith by the gentle efforts of a captured captain of the Dutch Navy, Eustachius De Lannoy who later became the Chief Admiral of the King's army. The king tried in vain to entice him back to Hinduism. Then, the enraged king ordered him to be arrested and shot to death. After enduring torture for three years, Devasahayam Pillai was taken to Kattadimalai, Alravaimozhi, and shot to death on January 14, 1752. His mortal remains were interred in the Church of St. Francis Xavier, which became the Cathedral of the Diocese of Kottar in 1930.
The 18th century witnessed the rapid growth of Christianity in the interior parts of the area, following large scale conversion of the people of Nadar community. Vencode and Karenkadu were the centres of evangelization and conversion.
With the creation of Verapoly- Vicariate, the Church of Kottar came under the dedicated supervision of the Carmelites. The Swiss-born, Carmelite Bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger was the architect of present diocese of Kottar. Thanks to his recommendation the southern part of Kollam diocese was formed as a new diocese, Kottar, on May 26, 1930, with Fr. Lawrence Pereira as its first bishop, the third Indian to become a Bishop.
The Vatican appointed Rev. Thomas Roch Agniswamy, A Jesuit from Trichy, as successor to Bishop Lawrence Pereira in 1939. Evangelization activities received much impetus during the tenure of Bishop Agniswamy. A great number of parishes, mission stations and schools were established. His special interest in the promotion of vocations resulted in the founding of St. Aloysius Minor Seminary for the diocese and Tamil Nadu Xavier Mission Home for the missions in North India. Bishop Agniswamy ensured that by the time he left the Diocese in 1971, practically all the priests of the diocese were from within the area.
Most Rev. Marianus Arckiasamy from Kumbakonam succeeded Bishop Agniswamy in 1971, and was committed to the implementing the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Sixteen diocesan commissions were set up, specially focussing on Bible, Liturgy and Catechetics. Animation Centre, Pastoral and Youth Centers were established to spearhead pastoral activities. Formation of parish councils in more than fifty per cent of the parishes bear witness to his dedication. Conscious of the needs of the wider Church, he sent priests to serve in various capacities at national and international levels.
Fr. Leon A. Tharmaraj, who became the fourth bishop in 1989, was the first" son of the soil" to shepherd the diocese of Kottar. Bishop Leon faithfully carried forward the policies of his predecessor and went on further to make the diocese, truly the Church of the Christ's lay faithful concentrating on Basic Christian (Ecclesial) Communities, Pastoral and Parish councils and lay leadership in the mission of the diocese. Bishop Leon A. Tharmaraj outlined plans and programmes to make the parishes and the diocese self- sufficient and self- supporting. The diocese lost a true shepherd in the sudden death of Bishop Leon on January 16, 2007.
Bishop Peter Remigius, who hails from the diocese, was transferred from the diocese of Kumbakonam to Kottar and installed on August 24, 2007. To accelerate the mission work, he raised many mission centres into full-fledged parishes. People's participation in the mission of the church of Kottar was given continued importance. Parish and Diocesan pastoral councils were strengthened.
The process for the beatification of the Servant of God, Devasahayam Pillai commenced in 1993 and concluded on September 7, 2008. The beatification of the servant of God Devasahayam Pillai took place on 2nd of December 2012.
From 95,000 people in 25 parishes ministered by 32 priests at the time of its formation in 1930, the vibrant Kottar Church, after 84 years of its life of ardent social and missionary work by the diocesan pastors along with the cooperation received from various dedicated religious priests, brothers, sisters and lay-faithful, witnessed its presence in 5,43,789 faithful in 181 parishes in 2014. The demands for spiritual welfare of the faithful, social as well as economic development, paved the way for approaching the Holy See to bifurcate the diocese of Kottar.
The erection of the new diocese under the name Kuzhithurai was announced by His Holiness, Pope Francis. Msgr. Jerome Dhas Varuvel S.D.B., a native priest of Kottar diocese became its first pastor. The consecration of the Msgr. Jerome Dhas Varuvel S.D.B. was held on 24th February 2015 . The new diocese set its journey of faith and development under the leadership of its new Pastor.
The Holy Father Pope Francis appointed Fr. Nazarene Soosai, a priest of Kottar diocese, as the new Bishop of Kottar Diocese. Bishop Nazarene Soosai was consecrated on the 29th of June 2017 at the Bishop’s House campus. With his motto “In the mind of Christ”, the new Bishop made it known to the priests and the people of the diocese that the need was to build on the rich and value based foundation, evaluate our functioning with open minds and to work in participatory manner to realize God’s Kingdom.
As on date, the diocese of Kottar delights itself in the Lord with its 93 parishes, 217 diocesan priests, 33 religious priests, 15 religious brothers - 470 sisters and 2,62,899 lay-faithful living in harmony with the brothers and sisters of other religions in the District of Kanniayakumari.
Right Rev. Nazarene SoosaiBishop of Kottar
|Born||:||13 April 1963|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 April 1989|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 June 2017|
|Tel(P)||:||04652 - 278868 |
Bishop’s House,P. B. No. 17, Nagercoil,Kanyakumari Dt. - 629 001 (Tamil Nadu)
Right Rev. Peter RemigiusBishop Emeritus Kottar
|Born||:||20 May 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 April 1966|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||3 January 1990|
Bishop’s House, P.B. No. 17, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari Dt. - 629 001 (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||1,665 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam and English.|
Eparchy of Kottayam was erected exclusively for southist (Knanaya) Catholics in 1911. Knanaya Community tracks its origin to a group of Jewish-Christian emigrants from Southern Mesopotamia to the Southern India port of Cranganore in AD 345, who remains an endogamous community till date. They co-exited with the native St. Thomas Christians in India and embarked on a mission to re-invigorate the Church to St. Thomas. The first migrants consisted of about 400 people from 72 families of 7 steps headed by Thomas of Knayi. A bishop by name Uraha Mar Yousef, four priests and several deacons from part of the group.
Exactly as the Catholics of East had promised the emigrants, that he would send bishops to India, from time to time, Uraha Mar Yousef always had successors till the end of 16th century. Under the patronage of East Syrian Bishops, Knanaya Community had their own separate parishes and priest. This system continued even under Latin Rite European bishops, who governed the St. Thomas Christians later. When ritual Catholics, in 1887, all Knanaya Catholics, de facto, fell under the Apostolic Vicariate of Kottayam. Holy See asked Bishop Charles Lavige to appoint a separate Vicar General for Knanaya Community. As Vicariate Apostolic were re-organized into Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanassery and three indigenous bishops wre appointed for Syro- Malabarians in 1896, the bishop nominated for the Vicariate of Changanassery was Mar Mathew Makil, former Vicar General for Knanaya Community.
On August 29, 1911, a new Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam was erected solely for Knanaya Community by the Apostolic letter “In Universi Christiani” by His Holiness Pope St. Pius X. On December 21, 1923, Vicariate Apostolic of Kottayam was raised to an Eparchy by Pope Pius XI. When territorial limits of Syro-Malabar Church was extended in 1955, jurisdiction of Eparchy of Kottayam was made co-extensive with the then extended territory of the Syro-Malabar Church.
On December 23, 2003, His Holiness Pope John Paul II made a sovereign promulgation (Pro Gente Suddistica) that the Satus quo of Eparchy of Kottayam must be retained and he left it to the Bishops’ Synod of Syro-Malabar Church to decide on the desired enhancement of the juridical status of the Eparchy of Kottayam. I November 2004, the Synod gave consent to elevate Eparchy of Kottayam to the rank of a Metropolitan see without a Suffragan Eparchy. On March 21, 2005, Congregation for Oriental Churches issued a letter of no-objection to the decision of the Bishop’s Synod. Accordingly, on May 9, 2005, Major Archbishop Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil issued the decree “The Eparchy of Kottayam” elevating Eparchy of Kottayam to the rank of a Metropolitan See. Through another decree, “God our loving father”, he appointed Metropolitan see of Kottayam. On June 3, 2005, feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, at aliturgical service, Major Archbishop canonically erected the Metropolitan See of Kottayam, ordained and enthroned Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry, first Metropolitan of Kottayam. Mar Mathew Moolakkatt ascended as Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Kottayam on 14 January, 2006.
Most Rev. Mathew Moolakkatt ,OSB Archbishop of Kottayam
|Born||:||27 February 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||6 January 1999|
Catholic Metropolitans’ House,
P. B. 71, Kottayam - 686 001 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Joseph PandarasserilAuxiliary Bishop of Kottayam
|Born||:||18 April 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 December 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 October 2006|
Sreepuram Bishop’s House,
Pallikunnu P. O.,
Kannur - 670 004 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Gheevarghese AphremAuxiliary Bishop of Kottayam
|Born||:||9 August 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||14 November 2000|
Catholic Metropolitans’ House,
P. B. 71, Kottayam - 686 001 (Kerala)
|Area||:||5, 54665 Sq.Km|
The Augustinians and the Jesuits were he first missionaries to look for the souls for Christ in the beginning of 17th century. Around 1620 they established a catholic centre at Berhampur in Murshidabad district.
Fr. Thomas Zubiburu, a Protuguese Carmelite came to Krishnagar in May 1845 from Chitagong and formed the first catholic community at Krishnagar. In 1846 he built a chapel which was dedicated to 'Our Lady of Carmel'. The catholic Mission in Krishnagar was closed when, due to illness, Fr. Thomas was forced to withdraw. The municipality took over the chapel and converted into a dispensary.
The Milan Fathers (MIME) arrived in 1855 to work in central Bengal Mission, consisting of the whole of Assam, part of present Bangladesh, and present Krishnagar diocese. Fr. Luigi Limana claimed the chapel from municipality, and again the catholic community began to group up.
On 19th July 1870 the Holy See erected Krishnagar into a prefecture Apostolic and Fr. Antony Marietti was appointed its first Prefect Apostolic.
Krishnagar was erected a diocese on 1st September 1886 and Mongr. Francis Pozzi was appointed its first Bishop. He built the Cathedral at the sight of old chapel which was destroyed in the earthquake of 1897. He rebuilt a new cathedral at the present site on 29 March 1899, and dedicated to Jesus, the Most Holy Redeemer.
When the diocese of Dinajpur was bifurcated on 20th June 1928 the Milan Fathers opted to work for Dinjapur and handed over Krishnagar to the Salesians of Don Bosco.
On 24 May, 2001, the Feast of Mary Help of Christians, the Salesians of Don Bosco have handed over the Bishop's House to the diocesan clergy.
The Krishnagar diocese is comprised of two civil districts of Naida and Murshidabad in West Bengal, India.
Right Rev. Nirmol Vincent Gomes, SDBBishop of Krishnagar
|Born||:||8 February 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 July 1989|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||23 July 2022|
Don Bosco Road,
Krishnagar - 741 101
Nadia Dt. (West Bengal)
Right Rev. Joseph Suren GomesBishop Emeritus of Krishnagar
|Born||:||14 February 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1974|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||31 May 2002|
Don Bosco Road, Krishnagar - 741 101
Nadia Dt. (West Bengal)
|Area||:||8,640 Sq km|
The diocese of Kumbakonam was bifurcated from the archdiocese of Pondicherry and was erected on 1st of September 1899 by the apostolic letter of Pope Leo XIII. It is prestigious to note that the first two bishops were the M.E.P. missionaries. Rt.Rev.Msgr.Hugo M.BOTTERO led the diocese from 1899 to 1913 and Rt.Rev.Msgr.Marie Augustine CHAPUIS from 1913 to 1930. After a year of able guidance by Msgr. M.A. Xavier as its Apostolic Administrator, Rt.Rev. Msgr. Peter Francis became the first indigenous bishop in 1931 and was followed by Rt.Rev.Msgr. D. Paul Arulsamy in 1955. In his tenure of 33 years (1955-88), the diocese witnessed the liturgical and theological renewal of the Second Vatican Council. At his resignation in 1988, Msgr. Antony David as its diocesan administrator led the diocese. The fifth bishop, Rt.Rev. Msgr. Peter Remigius was ordained bishop on 3rd January 1990. Under his able leadership and vast experience both at the national and international level, he has widened up its horizon towards the integral development of people.
The diocese is situated in 12 civil taluks from 5 districts of Tiruchirapalli, Thanjavur, Perambalur, Thiruvarur and a small portion of South Arcot; it covers 7823 sq.kms. Among the total population of 50,44,798, the Catholics form 4.66 %, Muslims 4.24 %, Hindus 91% and others 0.10 %.
The diocese of Kumbakonam has a catholic population of 1,98,048 in 75 parishes and 525 substations grouped under 6 vicariates. The 124 diocesan priests are committed to the diocese with common aims and united efforts with their bishop and brother-priests. About 30 Religious Priests, 17 Religious Brothers and 453 religious Sisters cooperate with the diocesan bishop and priests in the apostolate and exercise their charism in the diocese.
Right Rev. Antonisamy FrancisApostolic Administrator of Kumbakonam
|Born||:||5 December 1946|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 August 1974|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||9 July 2008|
Bishop’s House, P. Box No.3, Kumbakonam – 612 001, Thanjavur Dt. (Tamilnadu)
The Indian history Christianity reveals that Rayalaseema is the cradle of Catholicism in Andrah Pradesh. The two districts of this region Anantapur and kurnool witness or gave birth to Catholicism in Krishnapuram and Onteddupalle, Polur and Cowlur respectively. The Karnatic Jesuit missionaries sowed the seeds of Christianity in these villages from 1700. They also contributed extensively to Telugu Christian literature. It is recorded that the 1st person accepted Christ in Andra Prades was Rangappa of Sale Caste. Later in 1718 Thumma Rayaappa Reddy was baptized by Fr. LeeGac. As the Holy relics of the Carnatic mission today, we have three tombs of Jesuit missionaries in Krshnapuram. as well as the tombs of three Jesuit missionaries are witnessese for the rise of Catholicism in Andra Pradesh. Because of the Marathas war and persecution and looting of Christians in these areas, the people have left to Guntur, Nalgonda, and to some parts of the Tamil nadu. The diocese is proud to be beginner for the origin of Catholicism in Andhra Pradesh.
After the withdrawal of the Jesuits in 1773, the Paris Foriegn Missionary Society took over the missionary task and kept alive the faith of the people. From 1875 onwards, the Mill Hill Fathers also labored in the Western parts of the diocese for some time. As a result of their hard work, kurnool was erected as Diocese in 1967. Most Rev. Joseph Rajappa, Most Rev. Matthew Cheriankunnel, Most Rev. S. A. Aruliah and Most Rev. G. Johannes initiated many developmental activities in the fields of evangelization, education, health and social development. Many religious congregations of men and women have taken up activities in these fields. Bishop Johannes gave a new impetus to the pastoral activities in the diocese. The new parishes of Premagiri, Kosigi, Raptadu, Kodumur Mission, Chapirevula and Bandi Atmakur were established. The Siani Retreat Center at Premagiri, and ST. John's Jubilee Memorial Hall at Pastoral Center are promising evangelization and religious education. St. John's Major Seminary at Dinnedevarapadu, Kurnool, run by the Heralds of the Good New Fathers is another land mark in the history of the Kurnool Diocese. The dreams of Bishop Johannes to have major seminary is now realized. Keeping in mind the call of the Holy Father for "Yesu Christu Jayanti 2000", the diocese of kurnool has launched a pastoral program for "Jubilee 2000" with a special committee named Yesu Christu Jayanti 2000". All priests, Religious, Catechists and the people at all levels and worked for the meaningful celebration "Yesu Christu Jayanti 2000"and its effective follow-up. In order to prepare the priests, religious and the laity, the Diocesan Senate conducted the Diocesan Synod. This will help the Church of Kurnool to plan out pastoral, spiritual and human developmental activities in the diocese. With the Eucharistic Congress, the Jubilee Celebration in the Diocese has been formally concluded.
Hats off to all those who worked marvelously and invincibly in the vineyard of Lord and hope that the forthcoming generations will live up to expectations and dreams of our predecessors.
After the sudden demise of Bishop Gorantla Johannes on 20th January, 2007 the Diocese of Kurnool has been waiting for the new Bishop. It was on 8th February, 2008 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Rev. Msgr. Anthony Poola as the Bishop of Kurnool and on 19th April, 2008 he was consecrated as bishop of kurnool.
Good news to the poor” is the motto of Bishop Poola Anthony and he earnestly looks forward for the whole hearted cooperation and collaboration of all to realize his motto and to develop the dioese in all levels.
Rev. Msgr. Anthonappa ChowrappaDiocesan Administrator
|Born||:||15 March 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||15 April 1983|
Near Nandyal Check Post,
Raja Nagar, B-Camp Post,
Kurnool Dist.- 518 002 (Andhra Pradesh)
|Area||:||43,000 Sq .km|
His Holiness Pope Francis established the Diocese of Kuzhithurai [Diocesis Kuzhithuraien (sis)] on December 22, 2014 bifurcating it from the Diocese of Kottar and making it a suffragan of the Metropolitan See of Madurai, appointing Reverend Father V. Jeromedhas SDB, aged 63, as its first Bishop. The official announcement was made on December 22, 2014 at 12.00 hours as per Italian time [16.30 hours - Indian time]. The Catholic population at the time of erection of the new Diocese was approximately 2,42,072 in 105 parishes, 127 substations and four shrines, spread over 915 sq km.
Dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, the new Diocese of Kuzhithurai was announced to have its Cathedral and Episcopal seat at Thirithuvapuram, in Kuzhithurai. The Bishop elect was consecrated on February 24, 2015 and he took the canonical possession of the Diocese on the same day.
The new Bishop of the newborn Diocese made his residence and office by renovating a rundown building at Unnamalaikadai near Marthandam town. On March 1, 2015 the Bishop constituted his first Curia with Rev. Dr. V. Maria Alphonse the Vicar General, Rev. Dr. B. Russel Raj the Chancellor and Judicial Vicar, Rev. Fr. P. Augustine the Financial Administrator, Rev, Fr. Gelastin Gerald the Director of Pastoral Commissions and Rev. Fr. John Benhar his Secretary. The Bishop together with his Curia members and all priests of the new Diocese celebrated his first episcopal Mass at the Cathedral of Holy Trinity, Thirithuvapuram, in the midst of huge number of Christian faithful.
His Excellency Most Reverend V. Jeromedhas, a simple soul of deep wisdom and a gentle witness of Gospel values, began his pastoral ministry with subterranean enthusiasm from the moment he took canonical possession of the Diocese. Within ten months of his pastoral ministry, he issued appointment orders to 140 priests of various parishes, institutions, projects and commissions, which is an extraordinary effort on the part of the Bishop to bring constructive progress in the Diocese. In accordance with his motto, “The Lord is my Shepherd”, Bishop Jeromedhas went in search of his flock as a good shepherd in all parishes and mission stations within this short span of time and then, he began his official pastoral visitation.
In one month after taking canonical possession of the Diocese, Bishop Jeromedhas convened the meeting of general body of priests, conducted canonical election for the Presbyteral Council (Priests’ Senate) and constituted the College of Consultors, which is truly a record in the universal Church. In ten months time, he convened seven meetings with priests’ general body, nine senate meetings and eight gatherings of College of Consultors. It shows the Bishop’s great passion for the priests of his Diocese. A priests’ live-in programme for three days and annual retreats of two batches of priests gave him vigor and vitality to go beyond with pragmatism and hope.
After his Episcopal consecration Bishop Jeromedhas made quick visits to Vatican and Nunciature at New Delhi. These were his long journey throughout these ten months of episcopacy. Bishop Jeromedhas was elected the Chairman of the Tamilnadu Youth Commission and from the time of his election, he attends all programmes of the Tamilnadu Youth Commission and coordinates various events.
The priests can any time meet the Bishop at his office and he himself goes out to meet his priests. The lay Christian faithful find easy access to meet the Bishop and the Bishop himself does not miss any occasions for the Bishop to meet his flock include Board meetings, Commission meetings, special programmes arranged by the Vicariates, ecumenical meetings, etc.
Bishop Jeromedhas did bifurcate two vicariates which were present since 1930 into six Vicariates to attend the needs of the parishes by the Vicars Forane. He did such a tremendous task within ten months of his Episcopal ministry. The Christian faithful namely the clergy, nuns and laity own the Bishop as a good Shepherd, God-given gift to the new Diocese.
Right Rev. Jerome Dhas Varuvel, SDBBishop Emeritus of Kuzhithurai
|Born||:||21 October 1951|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 June 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 February 2015|
Becchi Don Bosco, Panapakkam
Kavarapettai - 601 206
Thiruvalloor District (Tamilnadu)
Most Rev. Antony PappusamyApostolic Administrator of Kuzhithurai
|Born||:||1 October 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||7 July 1976|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 February 1999|
Bishop’s House,Post Box No. 1,Unnamalaikadai - 629 179,Kanyakumari District (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:|| 915 sq. kms|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam and English|
The Lucknow diocese erected on January 12, 1940, was part of the Diocese of Allahabad and when detached from it, comprised 10 districts of the Allahabad diocese (Lucknow, Unnao, Barabanki, Gonda, Bahraich, Sitapur, Kheri, Nainital and Almora), and two districts detached from the Archdiocese of Agra (Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit). The district of Bareilly was detached from Agra and joined to Lucknow diocese on Nov. 8, 1951, though it had already been cared for by Lucknow from September 1948, by common agreement between the Archbishop of Agra and the Bishop of lucknow. The district of Almora has been divided into two districts by Government Decree, dated February 24, 1960, the name of the other district being Pithoragarh.
At the time of erection of this diocese, Bp Angelo Poli, ofm cap, Bishop of Allahabad, was appointed Administrator of the new diocese.
Due to the war, the first Bishop of Lucknow was appointed only on December 12, 1946, and took possession of the diocese on Feb. 16, 1947.
Pope John Paul II, on February 4, 1989 erected the new Diocese of Bareilly, comprising the civil districts of Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Pilibhit, Nainital, Almora and Pithoragarh, detaching from the territory of the Diocese of Lucknow.
At present the Diocese of Lucknow is comprised of eight civil districts of Uttar Pradesh: Lucknow, Unnao, Barabanki, Gonda, Bahraich, Sitapur, Hardoi and Kheri.
Right Rev. Gerald John MathiasBishop of Lucknow
|Born||:||20 September 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 April 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||9 April 2000|
Bishop’s House,Hazratganj, P. B. No. 70,Lucknow - 226 001 (Uttar Pradesh)
|Area||:||45,125 sq kms|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Urdu, English|
The Archdiocese of Madras - Mylapore is in the state of Tamil Nadu and includes the city of Chennai and districts of Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram.
According to the tradition, Christianity was introduced into Mylapore and its suburbs by the Apostle St. Thomas. He was martyred on St. Thomas Mount near Mylapore, in 72. A.D., and his remains were buried at Mylapore in the sepulchre which lies in the Cathedral Basilica.
The old diocese of Mylapore was erected by Pope Paul V on 9th January, 1606.
The Vicariate Apostolic of Madras was created on 4th July, 1832 and confirmed on 25th April, 1934. This Vicariate Apostolic was raised to an Archepiscopal See on 1st September, 1886.
The Diocese of Mylapore was from the very beginning under the Portuguese Padroado and in 1950 passed over to the jurisdiction of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.
By the Apostolic Constitution "Exprimaevae Ecclesae" of 13th November, 1952, portions of the Archdiocese of Madras and the Diocese of Mylapore were dismembered. From the western portion of the Archdiocese of Madras, the Diocese of Vellore was created. The extreme southern portion of the Diocese of Mylapore was created into the Diocese of Thanjavur. From the remaining portions a new Archdiocese was created, to be known as the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore. On 14th November, 1952 Most Rev Dr. Louis Mathias, sdb, was transferred from the old Archdiocese of Madras to the new Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore, and on 29th November 1952, made his solemn entry and took charge of the new Archdiocese.
Most Rev. George AntonysamyARCHBISHOP OF MADRAS - MYLAPORE
|Born||:||15 February 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 November 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 September 2005|
|Tel(P)||:|| 07708062215, 08939941102 (Sec)|
No. 41, San Thome High Road,
Chennai - 600 004 (Tamil Nadu)
Most Rev. A M Malayappan Chinnappa, SDBArchbishop Emeritus of Madras - Mylapore
|Born||:||23 July 1937|
|Priestly Ordination||:||16 December 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 January 1994|
No. 1, Annai Indhra Nagar, Old Perungalathur, Chennai-600063 (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||3,160 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and English.|
The presentArchdiocese of Madurai in its inception was nurtured by the French JesuitMissionaries of Madura Mission of thethen Malabar Province. Robert De Nobili ( 1577-1656), St. John De Britto(1647-1693), Constantine Beschi, known as Veeramamunivar (1680-1747), James DeRossi (1700) are the valiant missionaries who with zeal created and developedthe Old Madura mission. Missionariessuch as Rev. J.B. Trincal, Rev. Clement Montaud, Rev. Leveille, Rev. Causanneland Rev. Sr. Rose SJL are the ones who worked in the new Madura mission whichbecame the present Archdiocese. St. John De Britto, who was martyred for thefaith on 4th Feb. 1693 at Oriyur, is the Patron Saint of theArchdiocese.
The present territory of the Archdiocese of Madurai comprises of the whole of Madurai civil district, Theni District and Virudunagar district and Taluks of Batlagundu, Kodaikanal and Nilakkottai of Dindigul district.
The Diocese of Madurai, bifurcated from the Diocese of Trichinopally (Trichy) was created on 8th January 1938 by the bull “Si inter infidels” It included six out of the eight Taluks of former Madurai District, the whole of former Ramanathapuram District and five Taluks of former Trinelveli District.
By the Apostolic Constitution “Mutant Res” dated September 19, 1953 the Diocese of Madurai was raised to an Archdiocese with Trichirapalli, Tuticorin and Kottar as suffragans to Madurai.
In 1963, the Diocese of Kottar, having been detached from the Metropolitan of Verapoly was attached as a Suffragan to the Archdiocese of Madurai.
On September 9, 1973, the Taluks of Ambasamudram, Kovilpatti, Sankarankoil, Tenkasi and Trinelveli were separated from the Archdiocese of Madurai and the diocese of Palayamkottai was created as a Suffragan to Madurai.
On August 30, 1987, the Archdiocese of Madurai gave birth to one more Suffragan Diocese, i.e., the Diocese of Sivaganga.
On November 10, 2003 a part ofArchdiocese was given to the newly born Dindigul diocese.
On 24th February 2015, the newly erected Diocese Kuzhithurai became the suffragan of Madurai Province.
At present the Suffragan Dioceses of Madurai are the following: Trichirappalli, Turicorin, Kottar, Palayamkottai, Sivagangai, Dindigul and Kuzhithurai. The Syro Malabar diocese of Thukkalay and Diocese of Marthandam of Syro Malankara Church have jurisdiction in the Archdiocese as well.
Former Prelates: Most Rev. Peter Leonard SJ (1938-1967); Most Rev. Justin Diraviam (1967 – 1985); Most Rev. Casimir Gnanadickam SJ (1985 – 1987); Most Rev. Marianus Arockiasamy (1987 – 2003); Most Rev. Peter Fernando (2003 - 2014 ); Most Rev. Antony Pappusamy ( 2014 - )
Most Rev. Antony PappusamyArchbishop of Madurai
|Born||:||1 October 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||7 July 1976|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 February 1999|
K. Pudur, Madurai - 625 007
|Area||:||8,010 Sq. K.M.|
|Languages||:||Tamil, English, Malayalam & Telugu|
His Holiness Pope Paul VI by the Bull "Quanta Gloria" of March 1, 1973 bifurcated the vast diocese of Tellicherry and erected the diocese of Mananthavady. The diocese comprised of the civil districts of Wayanad in Kerala, the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and the districts of Shimoga, Chikmangalore, Hassan, Mandya and Mysore in Karnataka. Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy was consecrated as the first Bishop of Mananthavady on May 1, 1973.
On December 31, 1975, by a decree of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, dated December 4, 1975, ten parishes of the diocese of Tellicherry in the civil districts of Kannur and Kozhikode (at present Malappuram) in Kerala were added to the diocese.
Mananthavady has an area of approximately 48,250 sq. kms. and a population of 1,64,823 Syrian Catholics. On June 7, 1995 Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy was transferred as the bishop Thamarassery. And the then Proto-Synchellus Msgr. Joseph Kaniamattamwas appointed as the Administrator of the diocese on July 27, 1995. On January 26, 1997 Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Pothanamuzhy was consecrated as the second bishop of the diocese.
Right Rev. Jose PorunnedomBishop of Mananthavady
|Born||:||13 March 1956|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 December 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 May 2004|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 1,Mananthavady - 670 645 (Kerala)
|Area||:||13, 036 Sq.kms|
|Languages||:|| Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and English. |
On 18 January 2010, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, by his decree (Prot. No. 55/2010) dated 18 January 2010 erected a new eparchy by name Mandya, bifurcating the eparchy of Mananthavady. The new eparchy comprises the four civil districts of Karnataka, namely, Mandya, Hassan, Mysore and Chamarajnagar and has its See in the city of Mandya in the civil district of Mandya. Before the erection of the eparchy of Mandya, the District of Mandya was entrusted to the pastoral care of the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle (MST) and the District of Hassan, to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). The Districts of Mysore and Chamrajnagar were under the direct pastoral care of the eparchy of Mananthavady. Considering the great distance from the eparchial headquarters of Mananthavady, the geographical, linguistic and cultural differences and the differences in the nature of the apostolates undertaken, there were repeated request by the Local Ordinaries to form a separate eparchy in the region of Mandya.
The XVII Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church held in August 2008 consented to the proposal and having obtained the assent of the Holy Father in accordance with CCEO c. 85 §1, the new eparchy of Mandya was erected on 18 January 2010. By another decree of the Major Archbishop, Prot. No. 56/2010 with the same date, Mgr. George Njaralakatt, a priest of the eparchy of Mananthavady and who was at that time working as the Vicar General of the eparchy of Bhadravathi was appointed the first bishop of the new eparchy of Mandya. The new eparchy is a suffragan eparchy of the Archeparchy of Tellicherry. Infant Jesus Church, Henkel is the cathedral of the new eparchy and the Episcopal residence is at Kalenahalli, 6 kms away from the city of Mandya.
The Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop and the Enthronement took place on 7 April 2010 at Henkal along with the official inauguration of the Eparchy. The newly erected diocese of Mandya has an area of 17,460 sq. kms with a total population of 44,47,312 of which around 1300 are Catholics. There are 26 parishes and mission stations looked after by 38 priests belonging to the MST and CMI Congregation a few belonging to the eparchial clergy. There are 5 houses of men religious belonging to 4 religious congregations, 79 religious sisters belonging to 5 religious congregations in 20 convents doing ministry in various fields of the apostolate.
Right Rev. Sebastian AdayanthrathBishop of Mandya
|Born||:||5 April 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 December 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||20 April 2002|
Bishop’s House, Kalenahalli P.O. - 571 402 Mandya Dist. (Karnataka)
|Area||:||24, 299 sq.kms|
|Languages||:||Malayalam, Kannada & English|
The diocese Mangalore comprises of the civil districts of South Kanara and Udupi in Karnataka, and Kasargod in Kerala. Since the beginning of the sixteenth century Mangalore which formed a part of Kanara passed several times successively under the jurisdiction of Goa, Verapoly and Pondicherry.
On September 27, 1879 Kanara was entrusted by the Holy See to the care of the Jesuit Province of Venice.
With the official proclamation of the establishment of the Indian hierarchy in a Council of the Bishops of Southern India at Bangalore on January 25, 1887, Mangalore (including the present diocese of Calicut) took it's place in the Indian hierarchy as the diocese of Mangalore.
By an Apostolic Brief "Cum Auctus Fidelium Grex" on June 22, 1923 the diocese of Mangalore was divided by separating from it the district of Malabar which forms the present diocese of Calicut. With this division the restricted diocese of Mangalore was entrusted to it's own clergy. By a decree of the Sacred Congregation for Propaganda Fide dated January 12, 1960 the Hosdrug Taluk was detached from this diocese and was attached to the diocese of Calicut.
Right Rev. Peter Paul SaldanhaBishop of Mangalore
|Born||:||27 April 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||6 May 1991|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 September 2018|
Bishop’s House, Kodialbail Post, Dakshina Kannada, Mangalore - 575 003 (Karnataka)
Right Rev. Aloysius Paul D’SouzaBishop Emeritus of Mangalore
|Born||:||21 June 1941|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 December 1966|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 May 1996|
St. Joseph's Seminary, Jeppu, Kankanady P.O., Mangalore - 575 002
|Languages||:||Konkani, Kannada, English, Tulu and Malayalam.|
It is firmly believed and traditionally accepted that St. Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ had come to India in 52 A. D. Out of the seven and a half churches established by St. Thomas, the District of Kanyakumari is having the privilege of having the half church at Thiruvithamcode. Though there was a Christian community in Kanyakumari right from the beginning of the 1st century, it could not grow to a sizeable Christian community.
In the 16th century, the Portuguese Church Workers arrived in the District of Kanyakumari and as the result of their work, the Christian community there began to grow. Later during the British regime in India, the Protestant Church Workers also started their work among the people in the district of Kanyakumari, which was in fact a part of the erstwhile State of Travancore.
On September 30, 1930 when Metropolitan Mar Ivanios together with a group of
four people (a Bishop, a priest, a deacon and a layman) reunited with the Catholic Church, the Malankara Church paved the way for regaining its Catholic communion. On June 11, 1932 by the Apostolic Constitution Christo Pastorum Principe, His Holiness Pope Pius XI established the Syro - Malankara Catholic Hierarchy comprising the Archdiocese of Trivandrum and the Diocese of Tiruvalla. Mar Ivanios, the pioneer of the Reunion Movement, extended his mission work to Kanyakumari district with Marthandam as its centre in 1934.
With the dedicated service of the priests and the religious from various dioceses and congregations, many parishes and stations of the Malankara Church could be established in the district of Kanyakumari. After the demise of Mar Ivanios, under the guidance of His Grace Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios of happy memory, the number of parishes and missions increased. Vocation to priesthood and the religious life from this region also increased. At the demise of His Grace Mar Gregorios, His Grace Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios assumed the office of the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum.
Considering the linguistic, social and cultural heritage of the people of this region and the vast area of the Metropolitan Eparchy of Trivandrum, at the request of His Grace Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, by an Apostolic Decree dated December 16, 1996, bifurcated the Metropolitan Eparchy and erected the Eparchy of Marthandam having its headquarters at Marthandam. Thus the fourth Diocese of the Malankara Catholic Church came into existence and His Excellency Most Rev Lawrence Mar Ephraem took charge as its first Bishop.
The installation of His Excellency Most Rev Lawrence Mar Ephraem as the Bishop of Marthandam took place on January 23, 1997 at the Christuraja Cathedral, Marthandam. His Grace Most Rev Cyril Mar Baselios, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Trivandrum officiated the liturgical ceremony, and executed the Papal Bull of the erection of the new Eparchy of Marthandam.
After a prolonged illness, His Excellency Bishop Lawrence Mar Ephraem slept in the Lord on April 8, 1997.
On April 16, 1998 His Holiness Pope John Paul ll appointed Most Rev Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom as the second Bishop of the Eparchy of Marthandam. His Excellency was consecrated as Bishop on June 29, 1998 and was installed as the Bishop of Marthandam on July 1, 1998.
Right Rev. Vincent PaulosBishop of Marthandam
|Born||:||20 February 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 January 1991|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||13 March 2010|
Bishop’s House, Marthandam - 629 165 (Tamil Nadu)
|Area||:||1,665 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam and English.|
The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has entered a new era with the erection of the new Eparchy of Mavelikara. In consultation with the Holy See, the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Catholic Church held in November 2006 took the decision to create the Eparchy of Mavelikara to carry out effective pastoral care for the faithful in the north-western part of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum. The Holy Synod proposed Mavelikara, the birth-place of Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, the founder and father of the Reunion Movement in the Malankara Church in Kerala, as the See from which the new Eparchy can take its name. His Beatitude Moran Mor Cyril Baselios Catholicos, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, by the decree Prot.No. 1/2007, made the formal declaration of the new Eparchy on 01 January 2007 in the Metropolitan Church at Pattom, Trivandrum, in the presence of all the Metropolitans of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. His Grace Joshua Mar Ignathios, the then Auxiliary Bishop and Proto Syncellus of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum, has been appointed the Metropolitan of the new Eparchy of Mavelikara.
The official inauguration of the Eparchy of Mavelikara and the Installation of His Excellency Most Rev. Joshua Mar Ignathios as its first Bishop were held at St Mary’s Church, Punnamoodu, Mavelikara on 16 February 2007. The Holy Qurbono was celebrated by the newly elected Major Archbishop-Catholicos and the Installation was officiated by the Administrator of the Church His Excellency Most Rev. Dr Geevarghese Mar Divannasios. The Eparchy of Mavelikara comprises of the presbyteral districts of Mavelikara and Kollam and parts of the presbyteral districts of Chengannur and Adoor. This coincides with the civil districts of Alappuzha minus the portions that belong to the Archdiocese of Tiruvalla and parts of the civil districts of Kollam and Pathanamthitta. The patroness of the Eparchy is Mary, the Mother of God. The Cathedral of the Eparchy is St Mary’s Church, Punnamoodu, Mavelikara.
Ever since his sacerdotal ordination in 1978, His Grace Joshua Mar Ignathios has been carrying out excellent ministry in the various parishes and mission stations of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum. The present Malankara missions and institutions in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, owe much to the vision and commitment of His Grace Joshua Mar Ignathios for their present stature and rapid growth. The Metropolitan has had an excellent academic career including a doctorate in Educational Administration from the Madras University, Tamil Nadu. He is known as an eloquent preacher and powerful speaker and has an admirable command of many languages, including Malayalam, English and Tamil. He is known for his organizational capabilities too. Besides his manifold commitments in his home Eparchy, he serves the Indian Church in his capacity as a member of several commissions of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference (KCBC) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), including the Labour Commission and Education and Culture Commission of the CBCI. He served the Church of Kerala as the President of the KCBC from October 2009 -13th December 2010. He was the Chairman of Commission for Special schools under the KCBC. At present he is the Chairman of Commission for Vigilance and Harmony, Chairman of the Human rights forum, Chairman of Commission for Laity and KCF and Vice Chairman of KCBC commission for Temperance. He served the Indian Church as the Chairman of Education and Cultural Commission of CBCI for two terms. He was the CBCI representative to NEG FIRE (New Education Group- Foundation for Innovation and Research in Education) as the governing board member. He is also the CBCI representative to St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore as the governing body member. At present he serves the India Church as the Vice President I, of the CBCI. He serves the Syro Malankara Catholic Church as the Chairman of Synodal Commissions for Social action and Laity. He is the President of MITHRA trust in Madras. He is also the trust member of Nilackal Ecumenical trust. He serves the general public of Kerala as the Chairman of Madyavirudhajanakeeyamunnani. The Shashtipoorthy celebration of His Grace was held on 29 January 2010 at Amalagiri.
The 125th birth anniversary of Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, Servant of God, was celebrated, on Sunday, 23 September 2007 at Puthiyacavu, the home parish of Archbishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios.
The parish hall of the church at Kallumala was temporarily converted and arrangements were made to use it as the Minor Seminary of the Diocese till the new seminary buildings would be constructed. The blessing and formal inauguration of the minor seminary was on Sunday 03 June 2007. The foundation stone of the new seminary buildings is laid on 8th October 2007 at Kallumala. The new minor seminary building was blessed on 28 January 2012 by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, the Major Archbishop of the Malankara Catholic Church in the presence of the Metropolitans of the Malankara Church.
The foundation stone of the Amalagiri Bishop’s House was laid on 07 June 2007 at Punnamoodu, Mavelikara. A landmark in the history of the Eparchy was the blessing of the new Bishop’s House. It was blessed on 29 January 2009 by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos in the presence of Bishops of various Churches, cultural and political dignitaries, clergy, religious and faithful.
The foundation stone of the new office complex for the Social Apostolate of the Eparchy (Chethana Integrated Development Society), was laid on 03 March 2008 and the formal inauguration of CHIDS was on 01 May 2010. The official inauguration of the Chethana Training Centre was on 28 November 2013. Yet another humble initiative of the Eparchy is the Alphonsa Agadhi Mandiram, a home for the destitute. The foundation stone of the home for the aged was laid on 19 October 2009 by His Grace Joshua Mar Ignathios and its blessing was on 20th April 2010. The blessing of the foundation stone of St Mary’s Cathedral by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was on 09 September 2009 at Vatican, and the foundation stone for the same was laid by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos on 29 January 2010. The solemn consecration of the Cathedral was on 19-20 September 2013 by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos at the gracious presence of Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio, and all Malankara Metropolitans and Metropolitans of Latin and Syro Malabar Churches. The Eparchy of Mavelikara proudly hosted the 83rd Reunion Celebrations which took place on 18-21 September 2013. The solemn Inauguration of the Mar Ivanios Arts and Science College in Mavelikara, the new venture of the Diocese in higher education filed, was on 27 July 2015. St. John Maria Vianney Clergy home at Kallumala was blessed on 5 July 2016 by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos. Mar Ivanios Smrithimandiram, heritage centre in honour of Servant of God Mar Ivanios, was blessed on 10 January 2017 by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos. The blessing and Inauguration of Mother Teresa Pastoral Centre at Punnamoodu was on 15 November 2017 by His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos.
Various Christian Churches – the Latin Catholic Church, the Malankara Orthodox Church, the Jacobite Church, the Marthoma Church, the Church of South India, the Salvation Army and various protestant denominations – are present in the jurisdictional area of the new Eparchy and they are carrying out active ministry here. The new Eparchy can definitely strengthen and accelerate the common Christian witness in the region. Promising and at the same time challenging pastoral, ecumenical, educational and socio-economic ministry awaits the new Eparchy. The new Eparchy has excellent scope in her ecumenical apostolate precisely because of the powerful presence of so many Christian denominations in the region. The western coast of the Eparchy, which is also the western coast of the state of Kerala, poses serious challenges to the socio-economic and educational apostolate of the Eparchy as the people in this region need special attention and care. The region demands innovative programmes and the required infrastructure, as several sections of the population lack educational, economic and cultural development. Besides Mavelikara being one of the cultural centres of the state of Kerala, the new Eparchy can hope to make considerable contributions in this regard too.
Various Apostolates (Catechetical, KCSL, Youth, Family, Pro-Life, Laity, Biblical, Educational, Teachers’ Guild, Ecumenical and Dialogue, Vincent De Paul, Legion of Mary, Labour, Media and Communications, Social, Dalit, Jesus’ Fraternity and Temperance) organize their ministries in six ecclesiastical districts in order to realize the vision of the Eparchy.
Right Rev. Joshua IgnathiosBishop of Mavelikara
|Born||:||24 May 1950|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 April 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 June 1998|
Amalagiri Catholic Bishop’s House,Punnamoodu P.OMavelikara - 690 101Alappuzha Dist. (Kerala)
By the Apostolic Bull "Quandoquidem Christus" of February 20, 1956, the present civil district of Meerut, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Dehra Dun, Rampur, Moradabad, Bijnor, Garhwal, Tehri, Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Ghaziabad, and Haridwar in west (U.P) were detached from the Archdiocese of Agra and formed into the Diocese of Meerut.
In May 1972, the new Diocese of Bijnor was formed the districts of Bijnor (excluding Dhampur Tehsil), Garhwal, Tehri, Uttarkashi and Chamoli, taken from Meerut Diocese.
The boundaries of Meerut Diocese are: north -Diocese of Bijnor: south-Agra Archdiocese; east-Lucknow and Bareilly dioceses west-Delhi Archdiocese and Simla-Chandigarh Diocese.
The Church of Our Lady of graces, Sardhana, was raised to the dignity of a minor Basilica by Pope John XIII on December, 13, 1961.
|Area||:||28,337 Sq. Kms.|
|Languages||:||Hindu, Urdu, Punjabi, English|
The diocese of Miao, bifurcated from Dibrugarh on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2005. It has an area of 31,445 sq. kms., with 59,000 Catholics, 12 mission stations, 6 diocesan priests, 54 religious priests, 1 religious brother and 21 religious sisters. The parish Church of Miao is the Cathedral of the new diocese and ‘Christ the Light’ the diocesan Patron.
The first bishop of Miao, bishop-elect George Palliparampil, a Salesian of Don Bosco, was director and principal of Don Bosco School in Dibrugarh at the time of his appointment. Bishop-elect George was born in 1954 and was ordained priest in 1982. He has a M. A. in Public Administration and a Doctorate in Sociology. He has been a missionary in Arunachal Pradesh and an educationist of repute.
Right Rev. George Palliparampil ,SDB Bishop of Miao
|Born||:||15 May 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||26 February 2006|
Bishop’s House,Miao - 792 122Changlang Dist. (Arunachal Pradesh)
Right Rev. Dennis Panipitchai , SDBAuxiliary Bishop of Miao
|Born||:||27 July 1958|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1991|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 August 2018|
Bishop’s House, Miao - 792 122 Changlang Dist. (Arunachal Pradesh)
|Area||:||43, 955 sq. kms.|
The Thomas Christains were one community till the historical coonan cross oath in 1653. The event divided the church into various denominations, In order to restore the unity, Mar Ivnios wholeheartedly accepted the communion of the Catholic Church. Mar Ivanios, the prophet of the reunion movement caused the formation and development of the Malankara Catholic Church.
The establishment of the eparchy of Muattupuzha is really a milestone in the stable development of the Malankara Catholic Church in India. Since the geographic area covers the highest number of non catholic Thomas Christians, the mission and vision of the diocese would guarantee the reunion movement much. It was then Metropolitan of the Eparchy of Tiruvalla, His Excellency Most Rev. Geevarghese Mar Timotheos, out of his far-reaching vision of the mission of the Church and for the overall development of the northern region of the Eparchy, took initiatives to bifurcate the Eparchy of Tiruvalla and to erect the new Eparchy of Muvattupuzha. The proposal was accepted by the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, who made canonical provision for the establishment of the Eparchy of Muvattupuzha on 15 January 2003. The Holy Father appointed His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Koorilos as its first Metropolitan. The installation took place on 6 February 2003 at Vazhappilly, Muvattupuzha. His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Koorilos took initiative to organize departments and institutions for the effective realization of the goals set by the new Eparchy. The 76th anniversary of the Reunion Movement was held at Vazhappilly, Muvattupuzha on 20 and 21 September 2006. After five years of leadership in the Diocese His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Mar Koorilos was appointed Metropolitan-Archbishop of Tiruvalla on 2 May 2007. On the same day Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Malankara Catholic Church, His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis appointed Msgr. John Varghese Easwarankudiyil as the Administrator of the Eparchy.
On 18 January 2008 His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Malankara Catholic Church, appointed Very Rev. Dr. Abraham Kackanatt, CEO & Secretary of Pushpagiri Medical Society as the new Metropolitan of the Eparchy of Muvattupuzha. Msgr. Dr. Abraham Kackanatt was consecrated Bishop on 9 February 2008 and he assumed his Episcopal name: Abraham Mar Julios. On the same day he was installed as the Metropolitan of Muvattupuzha.
The Eparchy of Muvattupuzha comprises the civil districts of Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad in Kerala State and Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode and Karur in Tamil Nadu.
Right Rev. Yoohanon TheodosiusBishop of Muvattupuzha and Bishop of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia & Apostolic Visitator to Europe and Oceania
|Born||:||8 April 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 December 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 September 2017|
Vimalagiri Bishop’s House, Vazhappilly, Mudavoor P. O., Muvattupuzha - 686 669 Ernakulam District (Kerala)
Right Rev. Abraham JuliosBishop Emeritus of Muvattupuzha
|Born||:||1 June 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||10 October 1970|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||9 February 2008|
Vimalagiri Bishop’s House,
Vazhappilly, Mudavoor P. O.,
Muvattupuzha - 686 669
Ernakulam District (Kerala)
|Area||:||19626 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Malayalam and Tamil.|
The history of Evangelization in the present Diocese of Muzaffarpur goes back to the 18th century when the Congregation of the Propagation of Faith erected the prefecture of Tibet-Hindustan in 1703 and entrusted it to the Capuchin Fathers of the Italian Province of Picenum in the Marches of Ancona. Father John Francis of Camerion, O.F.M. Cap.was appointed its Prefect.
On March 28, 1980, when Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Patna, the same year Patna Diocese was divided into two units, Patna and Muzaffarpur. Father Benedict J. Osta, S.J. succeeded Bishop Augustine Wildermuth, S.J. as the new Bishop of Patna, and Father John B. Thakur S.J. became the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Muzaffarpur.
On June 24, 1980 in Bettiah, Fr. John B. Thakur was consecrated the Bishop of Muzaffarpur. The period from 1980 till 1998 witnessed a marked expansion of the number of people working in the area.A minor seminary was begun in Muzaffarpur.Likewise a number of Sisters, Brothers and Priests congregations opted to come to Muzaffarpur to work in the Diocese. These were serving in 20 parishes with resident priests, 30 Mission Stations, visited by the neighbouring parishes. High schools, Middle schools, Teacher Training schools and non-formal schools began to abound, as well as Health care Centres and Dispensaries.
By a decree of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, dated August 4, 1998, the Diocese of Muzaffarpur was bifurcated, and the new Diocese of Bettiah was created comprising the five districts of East and West Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan and Saran.
Muzaffarpur Diocese now comprises the following 12 Civil Districts of the State of Bihar: Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Saharsa, Begusarai, Madhepura, Khagaria, Shivhar and Supaul.
Right Rev. Cajetan Francis OstaBishop of Muzaffarpur
|Born||:||30 July 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||9 May 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||22 October 2014|
Bishop’s House,Kalambagh Road,Muzaffarpur P. O. - 842 001 (Bihar)
Right Rev. John Baptist Thakur, SJBishop Emeritus of Muzaffarpur
|Born||:||8 February 1937|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 March 1966|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 June 1980|
Xavier Bhawan, Atma Darshan Campus, P.O. Digha Ghat - 800 011 Patna (Bihar)
|Area||:||27,120 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Santhali|
The Mission of Mysore was separated from the Vicariate Apostolic of Pondicherry on March 16, 1845, to become first a pro-Vicariate, and then in 1850 a Vicariate Apostolic entrusted to Msgr Charbonnaux who was, till then, Co-adjutor to the Bishop of Pondicherry.
In 1886, the Vicariate of Mysore was elevated to a Diocese, and its Vicar Apostolic, Msgr Coadou became its First Bishop, residing, however, in Bangalore. Untill 1940, the Diocese of Mysore included the entire districts of Mysore, Coorg and Kollegal, but on February 13, 1940, by the Apostolic Letter "Felicius Increscente" of Pius XII, Bangalore was separated from Mysore and the Bishop of former Mysore Diocese Bp M.B. Despatures became the Bishop of Bangalore, comprising the districts of Bangalore, Kolar, Tumkur and Chitradurga.
The Diocese of Mysore (as distinct from Bangalore) was reconstituted in 1941 with the addition of the Nilgiris district and part of the Coimbatore district.
However 15 years later, on July 3, 1955, by the Apostolic Constitution "Nuntiatur in Psalmis" of Pope Pius XII, these districts of Nilgiris and Coimbatore were again separated from Mysore and erected into Diocese of Ootacamund (Ooty) in Tamil Nadu.
On November 16, 1963, by the Apostolic Constitution "Indicae Regionis Conditio" of Pope Paul VI, three most districts, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Shimoga, were separated from the Mysore Diocese to form the Diocese of Chikmagalur.
The present Diocese of Mysore comprises the four districts of Mysore, Mandya, Coorg & Chamarajanagara. It is surrounded by the Archdiocese of Bangalore, Diocese of Ooty, Calicut, Mangalore and Chikmagalur.
Right Rev. K A WilliamBishop of Mysore
|Born||:||27 February 1965|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 May 1993|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||27 February 2017|
Bishop’s House,# 2939, Mother Theresa Road (B. N.) Road, Lashkar Mohalla, Mysore - 570 001 (Karnataka)
Most Rev. Bernard MorasApostolic Administrator of Mysore
|Born||:||10 August 1941|
|Priestly Ordination||:||6 December 1967|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 February 1997|
No.4, Palmgrove Road,
Bengaluru - 560 047 (Karnataka)
Right Rev. Thomas Antony VazhapillyBishop Emeritus of Mysore
|Born||:||11 April 1940|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 December 1964|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 March 2003|
Prashantha Nilaya, B. N. Road,
Bannimantap B Layout
Mysore - 570 015 (Karnataka)
|Languages||:||Kannada,Konkani, Malayalam, English|
The Archdiocese of Nagpur is situated roughly in the middle of India. It now comprises the districts of Nagpur and Bhandara in Maharashtra state, and the districts of Betul, Chhindwara, Seoni (except the tehsil of Lakhnadon) and Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh. The diocese was originally formed by dismemberment of what was then known as the Central Provinces and Berar, from the Diocese of Visakhapatnam in 1887. It was entrusted to the care of Fathers of St. Francis de Sales.
On July 18, 1932 the Brief "De Romanorum Pontificum" erected the Prefecture of Jabalpur (now diocese) by separating from the Diocese of Visakhapatnam in 1887. It was entrusted to the care of Fathers of St. Francis de Sales.
Again on March 11, 1935, the Decree "Salutis Animarum" of the S.C. of the Propagation of Faith erected the Prefecture of Indore (now diocese) comprising parts of the Diocese of Ajmer, Allahabad and Nagpur, namely, the districts of Hoshangabad and Khandwa.
Further on May 8, 1935, the Decree "Cum Petierit" erected the Diocese of Amravati by taking away from the Nagpur Archdiocese the four districts of Berar (Amravati, Akola, Buldana and Yeotmal) and the three districts of Marathwada (Aurangabad and parts of Parbhani and Nanded. The other parts of Parbhani and Nanded belonged to the Archdiocese of Hyderabad).
On March 31, 1962, the Apostolic Decree "Ad Lucem Sancti Evangelii" erected the Exarchate of Chanda from the three districts of Wardha, Chanda and Adilabad, till then part of Nagpur Archdiocese. This was entrusted to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, of the Syro-Malabar Rite. In 1976 Chanda Exarchate was made into a diocese.
On January 16, 1964 by the Bull "Religio Vera Christique Salus" the districts of Raipur, Durg and Bilaspur were further detached from the Nagpur Archdiocese to form the Prefecture of Raipur which was entrusted to the Pallottine Fathers and later given the status of diocese in March 1974.
In September 1953, Nagpur was raised to an Archbishopric, with Amravati and Chanda diocese as its Suffragans. Most Rev. Eugene D'Souza was the first Indian Bishop and later Archbishop of Nagpur.
Most Rev. Elias GonsalvesArchbishop of Nagpur
|Born||:||4 July 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 April 1990|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 September 2012|
Archbishop’s House, Kamptee Road, Mohan Nagar,
Nagpur - 440 001 (Maharashtra)
|Area||:||59,024 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:|| Hindi, Marathi and English. |
The Diocese of Nalgonda was erected by the Papal Bull "Animarum Utiliati", dated May 31, 1976 of Pope Paul VI. It comprises the civil district of Nalgonda which was part of Warangal diocese and the civil district of Mahaboobnagar, which was part of the Archdiocese of Hyderabad
Right Rev. Joji GovinduBishop Emeritus of Nalgonda
|Born||:||3 May 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||26 December 1969|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 June 1997|
Priests’ Retirement Home
Nalgonda - 508 001 (Telangana State)
His Eminence Cardinal Anthony PoolaApostolic Administrator of Nalgonda
|Born||:||15 November 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 February 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||19 April 2008|
Nalgonda - 508 001
|Languages||:||Telugu, Urdu, Tamil and English|
His Holiness Pope John Paul II erected the Catholic Diocese of Nashik consisting of the territory detached from the Diocese of Pune. The Catholic Diocese of Nashik consist of the civil revenue districts of Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nandurbar and Ahmednagar. All these five districts are in Maharashtra.
Right Rev. Lourdnada (Lourdes) DanielBishop of Nashik
|Born||:||19 February 1947|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 April 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 August 2007|
Bishop’s House, Jail Road,Nashik Road - 422 101(Maharashtra)
|Languages||:||Marathi, Hindi, Konkani, English, Tamil and Malayalam.|
The First Fathers in the area were the Jesuits from Pondicherry in 1700. By 1736 many Telugus had joyfully accepted baptism. After the Jesuit withdrawal in 1773 the people were left without priests for 50 years until the priest of the Paris Foreign Missionary Society came. Though few in number these gallant Fathers kept the faith alive so that the northern area of the Carnatic Mission was erected into Vicariate Apostolic and entrusted to the secular Irish Fathers (Maynooth and All Hallows). To aid these fathers, priests of St. Joseph's Society Mill Hill, London came in 1875 and began working among the Telugus.
The Diocese of Nellore was erected by virtue of the Papal Bull "Ad majus religionis incrementum" dated July 3, 1928; however the communication was sent on November 15, 1928 mentioning that the decree of erection will take effect on November 26, 1928, comprising the civil districts of Nellore, Ananthapur, Chitoor, Cuddapah, Kurnool and Guntur, and Bp Bouter became the First Bishop of the new diocese.
In 1940 the civil district of Guntur became a Diocese entrusted to the secular clergy. In August 1959 the taluks of Allur and Adoni, formerly part of the Diocese of Bellary, were added to the Diocese of Nellore. In 1967, the Diocese of Kurnool was formed out of Nellore with the districts of Kurnool and Ananthapur. In 1976 the taluks of Chitoor and Palmaner from the Diocese of Vellore were added to the Diocese of Nellore. In 1977 the Diocese of Cuddapah was carved out of Nellore with the Districts of Cuddapah and Chitoor. At the time the taluks of Giddalur and Markapur of the Diocese of Kurnool and the taluks of Ongole and Chirala were added to the Diocese of Nellore. Today the Diocese of Nellore consists of the district of Nellore and the district of Prakasam except Adoni taluk.
Right Rev. Moses D PrakasamBishop of Nellore
|Born||:||2 October 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||7 April 1983|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 August 2002|
|Tel(P)||:||0861 - 2320191, 09849165697,(Secretary): (0)7093767379, (Procurator): (0)9704144201|
Bishop’s House, Santhapet,Nellore - 524 001 (Andhra Pradesh)
|Area||:||36,000 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Telugu, Urdu, Tamil and English|
The Latin Diocese of Neyyatinkara was erected by His Holiness Pope John Paul II by the Bull "Ad Aptius Provehendum" dated June 14, 1996. The origin of Christianity in this area dates back to 1600 A.D. The people who received baptism from St. Francis Xavier came and settled in Neyyatinkara, Amaravila and Parassala. In 1698 attempts were made to start Church work at Nemom. In 1707 Nemom Church work was started by a Jesuit Father, Fr Serveria Borgis. The first converts were from the Nair Community. The first church in this diocese was erected in 1755 at Amaravila.
Widespread Church work in the diocese began at the dawn of the present century. It was the saintly Abp Aloysius Maria Benziger ocd, the Co-adjutor Bishop of Quilon in 1900 and Bishop in 1905, who propagated Christian faith in the diocese. His saintly life, powerful leadership, missionary zeal and generous assistance to Fathers paved the way to the formation of several ecclesial communities and erection of many churches.
The erection of the new Diocese of Neyyatinkara and the appointment of Bp Vincent Samuel as its First Bishop were announced by Bp Soosa Pakiam at the Animation Centre, Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram, on July 16, 1996. Bp Vincent Samuel, was ordained the Bishop of the new diocese by Cardinal Joseph Tomko on November 1, 1996 and he took charge of the diocese on November 5, 1996. The diocese consists of the taluks of Nedumangad and Neyyatinkara except the area that was erstwhile under the Padroado.
Right Rev. Vincent SamuelBishop of Neyyattinkara
|Born||:||10 August 1950|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1975|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 November 1996|
Bishop’s House,Neyyattinkara,Aralummood P. O.,Trivandrum - 695 123 (Kerala)
|Area||:||14978 Sq. km |
|Languages||:||Malayalam and Tamil.|
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Nongstoin is a diocese located in the city of Nongstoin in the Ecclesiastical province of Shillong in India. In a land area of 5, 247 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers entire West Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya state.
The real success and growth of the Catholic Church in West Khasi Hills is solely attributed to the zealous missionaries who dedicated and sacrificed their lives for the Gospel. Some of whom need special mention. The seed of Christianity fell in fertile soil sometimes in 1907, where under the capable supervision and direction of the saintly Father Otto Hopfenmuller SDS, Myntri Langduh Shangdiar and his son Raimondus Rai Khardewsaw found grace in the personal animation of Father Valentinus Karffe SDS and were baptized on Jan. 24, 1907 at Rangthong by the Officiating pastor Father Dominicu Dounderer SDS. The seed blossomed and bear fruit. Raimondus Rai later became the first teacher and Catechist of Rangblang. Undoubtedly, Rangblang became the first stronghold of Catholicism in the Western zone of Khasi Hills.
The colossal contribution of spreading the Gospel of Christ in West Khasi Hills, which dominated the Catholic Arena, was none other than the beloved Father Constantine Vendrame SDB from 1922 onwards. His foot-steps were followed by his followers Father Tome, Foglia, C. Attard, Carmelo Spitale and later Fathers Felix Matta, Costa, Albizuri, Toniguzzo and Vanni Desideri and many others.
Fifty six years ago, the nearest Mission station was Marbisu Parish, 76 kilometers away from Nongstoin. The faithful, Catechists and devotees traveled on foot to fulfill their obligations to the Mission station bare-footed for 4 days forth and back. Father Carmel Attard SDB, the stern and fatherly Maltese missionary was there to receive them. Those were the days of trials but bear fruits that lasted till today.
From 1970 onwards, the sacrifice and untiring endeavour of the missionaries boosted the Mission filed in West Khasi Hills (at that time under Assam). The Shillong Diocese felt it necessary to extend the pastoral institutions to the western zone of the diocese. Thus the Parish of St. Peter the Apostle was established on May 12, 1966 at Pyndengrei, Nongstoiñ with Father Emmanuel Albizuri SDB as the first Parish Priest (RIP-Spaniard) and Father John Mary Premoli SDB (an Italian) now in Africa as assistant Parish Priest. These two "bulldozer missionaries" travelled far and wide on foot covering the present 10 parishes and make it possible for the present Diocese to come into existence.
The Diocese of Nongstoin was created by Pope Benedict XVI on Jan. 28, 2006. The Apostolic Nuncio to India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, has ordained Bishop Victor Lyngdoh on April 2, 2006 and installed him as the first Bishop of Nongstoiñ Diocese on April 4, 2006 amidst turbulent torrential cyclonic rain.
Rev. Fr. Anselm NonglangDiocesan Administrator
Nongstoin - 793 119
West Khasi Hills
|Area||:||5247 Sq. km|
The Diocese of Ootacamund came into being by the Apostolic Constitution Nuntiatur in Psalmis of Pope Pius XII, which was promulgated on July 3, 1955. It came into being by partition from the mother diocese, Mysore of which it had been a part from 1941-1955. Comprising the whole of the Nilgiris District and a part of Erode District which lies to the north of river Bhavani. The diocese covers an area of 7,312 sq. kms and has a population numbering 14,60,000 of which 84,900 are Catholics and 51,000 are Christians from other denominations.
The Paris Foreign Mission: In 1773 when Pope Clement XIII suppressed the Society of Jesus, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of Faith handed over the entire Carnatic Mission to the Fathers of the Paris Foreign Mission in 1776. The Paris Foreign Mission had it's headquarters at Pondicherry and the Fathers being few in number; found it impossible to care for the immense territory, which stretched from Pondicherry to Kumbakonam, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Mysore. Finally, despite the difficulties arising from the political situation of those times, two M.E.P Fathers succeeded in getting permission in 1836, to settle in Karumathampatty in the Coimbatore district. Two years later, one of them took charge of the small nascent out-station of Coimbatore at Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri in the Nilgiris. In 1842, a small chapel was built in Ooty to cater to the spiritual needs of the Christian community that began steadily increasing after the completion of the ghat road from Mettupalayam to Ooty .
The New Diocese of Ootacamund: In 1845, Coimbatore and Mysore became separate pro-vicariates apostolic and dioceses with the establishment of the Hierarchy in India by Pope Leo XIII in 1886. Until 1940, the Nilgiris district together with all the territory lying to the North of the river Bhavani was part of Coimbatore Diocese. By a decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of Faith, dated 13th February 1940 it was attached to the Diocese of Mysore. In 1941 Mysore Diocese was reconstituted and Nilgiris District and all the territory to the north of river Bhavani became a part of it. Being a part of the diocese of Mysore for fourteen years, owing to the difficulties arising out of the differences in language, culture and distance Ootacamund was raised to the status of a diocese in it's own right on July 3, 1955.
Bishops of the Diocese: Bishop Antony Padiyara was nominated the first Bishop of the new diocese. He was a great visionary who directed the destinies of the diocese for 15 years. The next bishop was Bishop Packiam Arokiaswamy from the neighbouring Diocese of Coimbatore. He was
natraxone nominated on February 6, 1971. On December 21, 1973, Very Rev. Fr Aruldas James, was nominated the Bishop of Ootacamund. He led the diocese for more than 20 years.
Bishop Antony Anandarayar: On January 12, 1997 Rt. Rev. Dr. Antony Anandarayar was appointed Bishop of Ootacamund. A person endowed with innumerable talents, high calibre, and great administrative capabilities, his zeal and wisdom, his devotedness and kindness, his piety and efficiency, his simplicity and humility, his character and competence make him the good shepherd immensely loved and deeply esteemed by his priests and people. After assuming the responsibility of shepherding the diocese, the diocese of Ootacamund is going forward and prospering under his able administration and guidance. Magnificent churches, beautiful chapels in substations, and presbyteries have been constructed. Bishop Antony Anandarayar has created a new parish and has been responsible for inviting a new religious congregation in the diocese to labour for the poor and oppressed in Chimitahalli a remote parish in the diocese. He is also striving to make parishes self-sufficient and has introduced the slab system wherein parishes according to their income have the obligation to contribute a certain percentage to the diocese annually .
The diocese is divided into five vicariates, each with a Vicar Forane for better co-ordination and administration. His love for the poor and downtrodden is exhibited in his visit to 1500 families in the slums; he is so kind hearted that nobody returns home empty handed after paying him a visit. His primary concern has been providing education to the poor children that they may have a better future. In this venture he has upgraded St. Francis Xavier's High School, Kodiveri into a Higher Secondary School. Thousands of poor children look up to him as a loving father for the help he has offered for their betterment and improvement. He educates many children at various levels in schools and colleges. His motto "to serve in faith and love" has become an attainable reality by his extension of maximum help to the poor and downtrodden.
Right Rev. Arulappan AmalrajBishop of Ootacamund
|Born||:||4 December 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||26 December 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||9 August 2006|
Bishop’s House, Post Box No. 5,
Wood Cock Road,
St. Mary’s Hill,
Udhagamandalam - 643 001
The Nilgiris (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||2,822 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Badaga, Urali, Malayalam, Kannada and English. |
Pope Pius XII by the Bull “Quo Ecclesiarim” issued on July 25, 1950, bifurcated the Diocese of Changanacherry, and out of the territory covered by the Foranes of Palai, Muttuchira, Kuravilangad, Anakkallu (including the present Forane of Aruvithura) and Ramapuram erected the Diocese of Palai as suffragan of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam.
On August 22, 1956 when the Holy See by the Apostolic Constitution “Regnum Coelorum” raised the Diocese of Changanacherry to the status of an Archdiocese and constituted the new Ecclesiastical Province of Changanacherry, the Diocese of Palai became one of its suffragans.
Most Rev. Jacob MurickenAuxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Palai
|Born||:||16 June 1963|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1993|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 October 2012|
|Tel(P)||:||04822-202000 , (0)9995680365|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No.18,
Palai - 686 575
Kottayam Dt. (Kerala)
Right Rev. Joseph KallarangattBishop of Palai
|Born||:||27 January 1956|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 January 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 May 2004|
Bishop’s House, Palai,P. B. No. 18, Pala, P. O. - 686 575Kottayam (Kerala)
Right Rev. Jacob MurickenAuxiliary Bishop of Palai
|Born||:||16 June 1963|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1993|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 October 2012|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No.18,
Palai - 686 575
Kottayam Dt. (Kerala)
Right Rev. Joseph PallikaparampilBishop Emeritus of Palai
|Born||:||10 April 1927|
|Priestly Ordination||:||23 November 1958|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 August 1973|
Palai - 686 575 (Kerala)
|Languages||:||Malayalam and Tamil.|
Pope Paul VI by the Bull “Romani Potifices” dated May 17, 1973 decreed the erection of the Diocese of Palayamkottai. Bp Savarinathan Iruthayaraj was nominated the First Bishop of the Diocese of Palayamkottai.
This diocese was formed from a part of the Archdiocese of Madurai. It comprises the civil Taluks of Tirunelvely, Palayamkottai, Ambasamudram, Tenkasi, Shenkottai, Sankarankoil, Sivagiri, Kovilpatty and a portion of Ottapidaram taluk with a small area from Srivaikuntram taluk.
The territory of the Diocese of Palyamkottai comprises a part of the civil district of Tirunelvely, and a portion of the civil district of Tuticorin.
Right Rev. Antonysamy SavarimuthuBishop of Palayamkottai
|Born||:||8 December 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||26 April 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 December 2019|
Catholic Bishop’s House,John Paul Nagar,Maharaja Nagar P.O.,Tirunelveli - 627 011 (Tamilnadu)
Right Rev. JUDE GERALD PAULRAJ ABishop Emeritus of Palayamkottai
|Born||:||28 April 1943|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 December 1968|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 December 2000|
C/o St. Antony’s Public School,
V. M. Chathiram,
Tirunelveli - 627011 (Tamilnadu)
|Languages||:||Tamil, English, Malayalam, Telugu|
The Eparchy of Palghat was erected on June 20, 1974, through the Decree "Apostolico Requirente", bifurcating the eparchy of Trichur and adding into the territory of the new eparchy a few parishes of the eparchy of Tellichery, which were in the district of Palakkad. It was a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam. The eparchy was inaugurated on September 8, 1974.
The episcopal ordination of Msgr. Joseph Irimpen and his assumption of office as the first bishop of the eparchy took place on the same day. It is now a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Trichur. The eparchy covers an area of 4480 km sq.km and comprises the civil district of Palakkad in Kerala. At the time of the inauguration of the Eparchy it had a total of 16 parishes and 8 stations. The number of diocesan priests was 14 and that of the faithful was 20810. It has now 58435 faithful, 148 priests incardinated to it and 87 parishes and 39 stations. By the grace of God the eparchy is today what it is. The Lord has done great things for the people of God of this area through the pioneering and missionary work of the priests, sisters and the laity under the able and inspiring leadership of Mar Joseph Irimpen. After twenty years of dedicated and loving service Bishop Irimpen retired from his office on December 6,1994. Even after his retirement he, true to his motto, spent his time to love and serve. He slept in the Lord on August 23, 1997. Msgr. Joseph Veliyathil served the Eparchy as its Administrator from December 6, 1994 to February 1, 1997.
Pope John Paul II nominated Bishop Jacob Manathodath, the then Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly as the Bishop of Palghat on November 11, 1996. Bishop Manathodath took canonical possession of the eparchy on February 1, 1997. The eparchy of Palghat was bifurcated and a new eparchy namely Ramanathapuram was erected on 18th January, 2010.
Right Rev. Jacob ManathodathBishop Emeritus of Palghat
|Born||:||22 February 1947|
|Priestly Ordination||:||4 November 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 November 1992|
Noorani P. O., Post Bag No. 4,
Palakkad - 678 004 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Peter KochupurackalBishop of Palghat
|Born||:||29 May 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1990|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 June 2000|
Bishop’s House, Noorani P. O., Post Bag No. 4,Palakkad - 678 004 (Kerala)
|Area||:|| 4480 sq. kms.|
Right Rev. Thomas EusebiusBishop of Parassala
|Born||:||6 June 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||29 December 1986|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 September 2010|
Catholic Bishop’s House, Ayira P.O., KudayalParassala- 695 502 (Kerala)
The Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Catholic Church held in December 2009, presided over by His Excellency Major Arch Bishop Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, decided to form the new Eparchy of Pathanamthitta. Thus the seventh Eparchy in Malankara Catholic Church, the Diocese of Pathanamthitta came into existence with the consent of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, on 25th January 2010. The Diocese is erected bifurcating the Major Archi Episcopal Eparchy of Trivandrum. Most Rev. Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom, Bishop of Marthandam has been appointed as the first Bishop of this new Eparchy.
The Eparchy of Pathanamthitta has been officially inaugurated in a solemn function witnessed by thousands of people at District Stadium (Cyril Baselios Catholicos Nagar), Pathanamthitta on Saturday, 20th March 2010. Most Rev. Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom took charge as the First Bishop on the same day in another function held at Sacred Heart Malankara Catholic Church at Mylapra near Pathanamthitta.
The new Diocese is mainly confined to the revenue district of Pathanamthitta. There are 100 parishes in the Diocese and as many as 89 Priests are serving in the Diocese. The Diocesan area is basically hilly in nature including a considerable number of tribal colonies. The people in the area are keeping their centuries old faith in Christianity. The Nilackal/Chayal Church which was erected by St. Thomas the Apostole is situated in the diocesan area. St. Peter’s Malankara Catholic Church, Pathanamthitta is the Cathedral Church of the new Eparchy. Perunadu-Mundanmala where the Servant of God Arch Bishop Mar Ivanios started the reunion movement is also within the Eparchy.
Right Rev. Samuel IreniosBishop of Pathanamthitta
|Born||:||13 May 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 December 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||13 March 2010|
|Tel(P)||:||0468 - 2223100,09447265950|
Catholic Bishop’s House,St. Peter’s Junction,Pathanamthitta - 689 645 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Yoohanon ChrysostomBishop Emeritus of Pathanamthitta
|Born||:||19 May 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||5 May 1973|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 June 1998|
Catholic Bishop’s House,
St. Peter’s Junction,
Pathanamthitta - 689 645 (Kerala)
|Area||:||2,100 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Malayalam and Tamil.|
The Congregation for the Propagation of Faith erected the Prefecture of Tibet Hindustan in 1703 and entrusted it to the Capuchin Fathers of the Italian Province of Pinenum in the Marches of Ancoa. The first group of missionaries reached Lhasa (Tibet) in 1707 and began a mission there. For nearly 41 years the Capuchin Missionaries worked in Lhasa until a religious persecution forced them to give up their mission and move to Kathmandu (Nepal) in 1745.
Nepal had seen the Capuchin Missionaries working with varying success in Kathmandu since 1715. A new conqueror of Kathmandu valley, Raja Pritvi Narayan, who was not sympathetic to the missionaries, stopped all support to them. The Mission of Nepal was also abandoned in 1769, and the missionaries with 62 Nepalese Christians and five catechumens moved to India. The Nepalese Christians and catechumens settled down at Chuhari near Bettiah. The scene of the Capuchin Mission shifted now to the Indian soil. Father Joseph Mary, OFM Cap., a saintly priest founded the Bettiah Mission in 1745, after the King of Bettiah, Raja Druva Singh had obtained permission from Pope Benedict XIV.
Rome erected the Prefecture of Tibet-Hindustan into a Vicariate in 1812. In 1827 an independent Patna Vicariate was created, comprising of Bettiah, Chuhari, Patna City, Danapur, Bhagalpur, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Nepal and adjacent territories. The saintly Anastasius Hartmann, OFM Cap., was appointed its first Vicar Apostolic. With a Decree of Pope Leo XIII Patna Vicariate became a part of Allahabad Diocese in 1886. The North Bihar Mission with its four stations of Bettiah, Chuhari, Chakhani and Latonah was entrusted to the Tyrolese Capuchins in 1886. In May 1892 the North Bihar Mission was made Bettiah-Nepal Prefecture with Fr. Hilanon of Abtei, OFM Cap. as its first Prefect. In 1919 this Prefecture was dissolved and joined to South Bihar to form the present Diocese of Patna.
Pope Benedict XV by a Decree on September 10, 1919 divided the Diocese of Allahabad into two. The Diocese of Patna was thus created. The Prefecture of Bettiah-Nepal was annexed to the new Diocese. The Holy See entrusted Patna diocese to American Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus. Later on November 13, 1930, after the division of Missouri Province, Patna Diocese was entrusted to the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus. Louis Van Hoeck, S.J. was ordained the first Bishop of Patna on March 1921.
The Third Order Regular (T.O.R.) Franciscan Fathers from Pennsylvania, U.S.A. came to Patna Diocese t assist the Jesuits in 1938. The mission stations of Bhagalpur, Gokhla, Poreyahat and Godda were assigned to them. In 1956 Bhagalpur was made a Prefecture and in 1965 it was created a Diocese with Msgr. Urban Me Garry, T.O.R. as its first Bishop.
The forbidden Kingdom of Nepal was once again open for missionaries in 1951. Thanks to the efforts of Fr. Marshall Moran, S.J. Nepal was made an independent ecclesiastical unit in 1984 and Fr. Antonym Sharma, S.J. was appointed as its first Mission Superior.
On March 28, 1980, Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Bishop Augustine Wildermuth, S.J. and divided the Patna Diocese into two units, Patna and Muzaffarpur. Fr. Benedict J. Osta, S.J. was appointed Bishop of Patna, and Fr. John Baptist Thakur, S.J. as Bishop of Muzaffarpur.
In the year 1999, Patna Diocese was elevated into an Archdiocese. Late Archbishop Benedict J. Osta, SJ, became the first Archbishop of Patna. In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI divided Patna Archdiocese and created Buxar Diocese and Most Rev. William D’souza S.J. became first bishop of Buxar. In 2007 Most Rev. William D’Souza, S.J. of Buxar diocese was elevated as the Archbishop of Patna. On 29th June, 2018, Most Rev. Sebastain Kallupura, the Bishop of Buxar was appointed as the Coadjutor of Patna Archdiocese.
The Archdiocese of Patna has an area of 25,821 Sq.km. It has 11 civil administrative districts of the State of Bihar having a population of approximately 17,846,487. Its Catholic population is 57,602. Patna is the centre of activities of religious founders like Budha, Mahavir Jain, Sikh Guru Govind Singh.
The Archdiocese has altogether 35 mission stations and parishes spread over 11 civil districts of Bihar State. Out of 35 parishes, and mission stations, 29 are rural where the majority of our Catholics approximately 48 thousands live. These Catholics are from Harijan (Dalit) community. The rest of the Catholics are from other Christian community generally known as Bettiah Christians and from tribal group.
Suffragan Dioceses: Bettiah, Bhagalpur, Buxar, Muzaffarpur, Purnea
Most Rev. SEBASTIAN KALLUPURAArchbishop of Patna
|Born||:||14 July 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 May 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 June 2009|
Archbishop’s House, Bankipur, Patna - 800 004 (Bihar)
Most Rev. William D’Souza, SJArchbishop Emeritus of Patna
|Born||:||5 March 1946|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 May 1976|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 March 2006|
Bankipur, Patna - 800 004 (Bihar)
|Area||:||25,821 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Bhojpurio, Maghi|
The great ancestor of our Archdiocese is the Carnatic Church work, which was started around the year 1700. This Carnatic Church work was known as Church work of the Coromandel Coast and also as the Malabar Church work.
Before the establishment of the Carnatic Church work in 1700, the Jesuit Fathers of the Madurai Church work, especially , St. John de Britto came into the Gingee Kingdom after 1660 and preached the Gospel up to the Palar river, South of Madras. Also, some religious belonging to various orders, looked after the spiritual needs of the European communities to a certain extent in their trading centres along the coastal area like Cuddalore, Porto Novo etc., The French Capuchins first settled in Pondicherry in 1674 and the French Jesuits, expelled from Siam (Thailand) also took refuge in Pondicherry in 1693. But, in 1693, the Dutch chased away all the religious from Pondicherry and they could come back only in 1699. While the Capuchins were looking after the Europeans in Pondicherry, the French Jesuits organized the Carnatic Church work for the Indian people.
Boundaries of Carnatic Church work
The boundaries of the Carnatic Church work were as follows: on the south and west, the Pennaiyar River, beyond which were the Madurai Church work and the Mysore Church work - on the east, the Bay of Bengal, and on the north, Kurnool including the Krishna and Godavari areas near the sea shore.
The Church work affected badly
The continual wars in the 18th century, the ruin of Pondicherry town in 1761 and the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1773, hit badly this vast Carnatic Church work.
Jesuits replaced by Foreign Church work Fathers
In 1776, the French Jesuit fathers were replaced at the order of Rome by the Foreign Church work French Fathers. Although the bishop of these new Fathers had all the power of jurisdiction, he was not titled “Vicar Apostolic”, but only “Superior of the Church work of the Coromandel Coast” .Rome successively gave him jurisdiction over the other Church work, in the Madurai, Coimbatore and Mysore areas, affected by the suppression of the Society of Jesus. So, around 1800, the extent of the Carnatic Church work was immense, although the workers were very few.
The Carnatic Church work was reorganized when new Vicariates Apostolic were created: Vicariate Apostolic of Madras in 1832, of Madurai in 1836 - 46 and the Vicariates of Visakapattnam, Mysore and Coimbatore in1845 - 50.
The First Vicar Apostolic and First Archbishop
Pondicherry became a Vicariate Apostolic of the Coromandel Church work on September 1, 1836, with Msgr. Bonnand as the first Vicar Apostolic. This Vicariate Apostolic was raised to an Archbishopric on June 17, 1887, with Msgr. Laouenan as the first Archbishop.
Subdivisions of the Archdiocese
Subsequently, subdivisions of the Archdiocese took place, erecting the new Dioceses of Kumbakonam in1899, of Vellore in 1928 and Salem in 1930 . On a reorganization of the diocese by Rome in1969, Kanjeevaram and Madurantagam taluks of Chinglepet district were transferred to the Archdiocese of Madras and the Tiruvannamalai Taluk to Vellore .
The New Name
As the Archdiocese of Pondicherry extended over the Pondicherry Union territory and the South Arcot district of Madras state, it was given a new title by Rome: ”Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore” on August 7, 1953.
The extent of the present Archdiocese
Originally, this Archdiocese was looking after the ex -French settlements of the Pondicherry Union territory namely Karaikal, Chandranagore, Mahe. Yanam another ex-French settlement which was always looked after by the MSFS Fathers of Vizagapattinam. Chandranagore was re-allocated to the Archdiocese of Calcutta and Mahe to the Diocese of Calicut in Kerala in 1949. The present Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore extends over the Pondicherry and Karaikal districts of the Pondicherry union territory, and the taluks of Cuddalore, Panruti, Vridhachalam, Tittagudi and Chidambaram (exclusive of area south of the river Vellar) of the south Arcot district, and the Villupuram, Gingee, Tindivanam, Vanur, Tirukovilur, Ulundurpet, Kallakurichi and Sankarpuram taluks of Villupuram district in Tamil Nadu.
Most Rev. Francis kalistArchbishop of Pondicherry
|Born||:||23 November 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 December 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 February 2009|
Archbishop's House, 206,Cathedral Street, Pondicherry - 605 001
|Area||:||11, 348 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Tamil, English and French.|
The Poona Diocese consists of the civil districts of Pune, Satara, Solapur, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
Around 1790, the Archbishop of Goa, at the request of Dom Manuel Noronha, a Portuguese officer working in the Peshwa’s army, sent Fr Vincent Joaquim Menezes to minister to the Catholics working in the army of the Peshwas. Fr Menezes resided and said Mass in the house of Dom Noronha. In 1794, with the contribution of the Catholics in the army, a small chapel was built at Nana Peth on a plot offered by the Peshwa. The First Mass was celebrated in this chapel on Christmas Day. These were the beginning of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, commonly known as the City Church.
About 1800 the Vicar Apostolic of Bombay started sending his priests to minister to the Catholics in the Scindia’s army but he stopped this about 1804. In 1835 Fr Britto, a Goan priest working under the Vicar Apostolic acted as Military Chaplain in a Chapel built at Right Flank Lines, Wanowrie. In 1850, St. Patrick’s church, the present Cathedral was built.
Poona was erected into a Vicariate Apostolic by dismemberment from Bombay on March 8, 1854, and entrusted to the Society of Jesus. The Vicar Apostolic of Bombay remained Administrator till the Hierarchy was established in 1886. Bp Bernard Beider – Linden, sj, was appointed its First Bishop.
On October 20, 1953, the Catholics of Ratnagiri District and those of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Pune, who formerly belonged to the Archdiocese of Goa, were placed under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Poona. On November 30, 1953 the districts of Dharwar and Bijapur, formerly in the Poona diocese were attached to the newly constituted Diocese of Belgaum.
On June 9, 1987 the Holy Father created the Diocese of Nashik comprising four districts, Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar of the Poona diocese and appointed Fr Thomas Bhalerao, sj, as its First Bishop.
The re-dedication of St. Patrick’s Cathedral took place on October 22, 1987. The roof of the old Cathedral collapsed shortly before midnight on July 15, 1984. The outer walls and facade have been retained, but there is now a vault roof of concrete.
His Holiness created the Eparchy of Kalyan on May 19, 1988 which is contiguous with the Archdiocese of Bombay and the Diocese of Poona and Nashik. On August 24, 1988 Fr Paul Chittilapilly was ordained Eparch of Kalyan and the new diocese was formally inaugurated and all Catholics of the Syro-Malabar Rite in the diocese came under his jurisdiction.
Right Rev. Thomas DabreBishop of Poona
|Born||:||23 October 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||31 October 1971|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||27 May 1990|
Bishop’s House,1-B, Prince of Wales Drive,Pune - 411 001 (Maharashtra)
|Area||:||49,678 Sq km|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Kongini, Marathi, Telugu|
Andaman and Nicobar is an Union Territory. It comprises of about 350 islands situated in the Bay of Bengal. Port Blair, a former British Penal settlement, named after Captain Blair of the East India Company, is the Capital of the Union Territory. It is connected both by air and sea to the mainland (Chennai and Kolkatta) a distance of 1300 kms.
The population is a cosmopolitan group of Bengalis, Punjabis, Tamilians, Malayalis, Orissa, Chatishgarh, Jharkhand and a sprinkling from almost all the other states of India.
The Andaman and Nicobar Mission was taken care of by the Archdiocese of Rangoon - Burma. After the independence in 1947, the Holy See handed over the whole area of Andaman and Nicobar to the Archbishop of Ranchi. In 1965 at the request of the Archbishop of Ranchi the Andamans and Nicobar was handed over by the Holy See to the Pilar Fathers Pilar, Goa. On June 22, 1984, His Holiness Pope John Paul II elevated it into a diocese and appointed Most Rev Alex Dias, sfx, once a priest here, its first Bishop.
Right Rev. VISUVASAM SELVARAJBishop of Port Blair
|Born||:||4 January 1966|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 May 1994|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 August 2021|
Deepti Dham, Catholic Bishop’s House,419,M.G. Road, Lamba Line, P. B. 466, P.O. Junglighat, Port Blair - 744 103, (A&N Islands)
Right Rev. Aleixo das Neves Dias, SFXBishop Emeritus of Port Blair
|Born||:||5 August 1944|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1969|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||20 January 1985|
|Tel(P)||:||09434284667,0832-2218549, 2217199 (St. Joseph Home)|
Pilar Monastry, P.O. Pilar, Tiswadi, North Goa, Goa - 4030203
|Area||:||8,293 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, English, Hindi, Bengali and Nicobari.|
Punalur was separated from the Diocese of Quilon and created into a separate unit by the Bull “Verba Christ” of Pope John Paul II, issued on December 21, 1985.
Belgian Carmelite Fathers were the First Fathers of Punalur and of places around Punalur. During the second world war the First Fathers had to go back, entrusting the Church work to the Diocesan clergy.
Bp Mathias Kappil is the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Punalur.
The Diocese of Punalur comprises the entire civil district of Pathanamthitta, taluks of Kottarakara, and Kunnathur, Mavelikara, and several pakuthies of the taluks of Karunagappally and Chengannur.
Right Rev. Selvister PonnumuthanBishop of Punalur
|Born||:||10 August 1956|
|Priestly Ordination||:||19 December 1981|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 June 2009|
Bishop’s House, Elampal P.O.,Punalur - 691 322, Post Bag No. 1, Kollam Dist. (Kerala)
|Area||:||4705 Sq.km |
318,190The Holy Father John XXIII, by the Apostolic Bull, "Exultet Sancta Mater Ecclesia", established the Diocese of Dumka on August 8, 1962. 36 years later hence the Diocese of Purnea is born from Dumka through a declaration of Pope John Paul II on August 11, 1998.
The history of the Catholic diocese of Purnea can be traced back not just to these 36 years, but to almost 236 years. Records show that in 1773 Purnea district of that time was already forming part of the Vicariate of the Great Moghul, which was served by the Jesuits and later by the Carmelites. Subsequently, Rome attached Purnea to the neighbouring Prefecture of Tibet under the Capuchins, with Patna as its headquarters. In 1820 it became part of the Agra Vicariate. By then the Capuchin Fathers had been regularly visiting Purnea from different places. In January 1836 Mgr. Pezzoni visited Purnea accompanied by Fr Florian Toposkia, Polish Capuchin. The latter was appointed as the first resident priest of Purnea to serve the scattered community of European indigo planters who had started settling down in and around Purnea as soon as British rule was established in the district way before the 1770s.
When Patna Vicariate was created on February 7, 1845, Purnea became part of it under the Capuchins. On August 1, 1886 the Indian Hierarchy was established and the Patna Vicariate was suppressed and its territory joined to the Allahabad diocese. Then on June 7, 1887 Pope Leo XIII transferred Purnea district to Calcutta Archdiocese, mainly to provide a territorial link between Calcutta and Darjeeling. Fr Thomas McGonagall, sj, took over at Purnea on December 1, 1888 from Fr Heliodorus, ofm, cap. At this point the parish priest of Purnea was also in charge of the railway colonies from Sahibganj to Burdwan, and used to visit also Rampurhat, Nalhati and even Naya Dumka.
During this time the Loreto Sisters (IBVM) also came to Purnea. They arrived on December 15, 1882 and opened a school, working there till they left for Darjeeling on November 7, 1887.
In 1900 Fr L. Knockaert, sj, took charge in Purnea and worked in the region till 1921 except for a gap of three years. It was he who pioneered the work among the Santhals of the Purnea district. His work led to the opening of Majlispur (now in Raiganj diocese) which today is considered to be the cradle of the Jesuit Santhal Work, and was the launching pad for work among the Santhals of Santhal Parganas. The Jesuits continued their work in Purnea till 1978 to May 1981, Rev. Michael M. Minj, a diocesan priest was the parish priest of Purnea.
On May 3, 1981 the Salesians of Don Bosco began to administer the parish. Soon the Purnea mission witnessed rapid growth and development. Church Work was given priority and new parishes and stations were opened, most of them with their own pucca chapels . Besides these, hostels for boys and girls, schools, parish houses, community centers and other works in the service of the poor sprung up one after another. In this period of history, covering a span of 15 years, Fr. Jesus Gimenez, sdb, played a gigantic role in the development and progress of the Purnea deanery. Katihar, which had been an important part of Purnea, where a church had been in existence from 1940, became a quasi parish in 1980 and a parish on April 26, 1987. Katihar too underwent rapid development and expansion under the care of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and it has given birth to two more parishes; Gopalpur in 1994 and Baghela in 1997.
Kishanganj Station was established with a resident priest-in-charge in June 1983, and it became a parish in 1994. In 1991 Thakurganj was opened as a station under Kishanganj, and then subsequently made it to a parish in 1995, and is being administered by the T.O.R. Fathers.
Raniganj, 47 kms. north west of Purnea had become a station in 1986. It was bifurcated from Purnea to be made and independent parish in 1994. Satmi, 60 kms. west of Purnea too was a place regularly visited by priests from Purnea. A chapel had been built there in 1954. It too became a full-fledged parish in 1994. Banmankhi is another fast-developed Mission-station under Purnea with two resident priests.
Prior to 1849 only a timber, bamboo and straw chapel existed at Rambagh on the outskirts of Purnea. A brick chapel was built in its place and blessed by the Bishop Hartman, the Vicar Apostolic of Patna on August 19, 1849. In 1868 the construction of a brick chapel was started in Purnea itself. The incomplete chapel was used for the first time on Christmas 1871. An earthquake on July 14, 1885 damaged it considerably; but it was subsequently repaired. However another earthquake on January 15, 1953 destroyed it completely and a new church had to be built in the following year. It was enlarged in 1967.
On December 8, 1989, the foundation stone for a big and spacious church was blessed and laid adjacent to the old church. The church was solemnly blessed and dedicated on March 8, 1992 by Bishop S. M Tiru, and now it is the Cathedral of Purnea diocese.
According to the decree of Pope John Paul II the diocese of Purnea consists of the Northern portion of the diocese of Dumka, beyond the river Ganges, viz. the four civil districts of Purnea, Katihar, Kishanganj and Araria of Bihar state, covering an area of 15,733 sq. kms. The diocese has a population of over 63,00,000 people of whom about 21,000 are Catholics. The majority of the Catholic population consists of Santhals, Oraons and Mundas
Rev. Fr. Sahayaraj ConstantineDiocesan Administrator
C/o Bishop's House, Maharajaji Hata
P.O. & Dist. Purnea
Bihar - 854 301 India
Right Rev. Angelus Kujur ,SJBishop Emeritus of Purnea
|Born||:||14 July 1946|
|Priestly Ordination||:||13 April 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 April 2007|
Bishop’s House, Maharajaji Hata, P.O.& Dt. Purnea – 854 301 (Bihar)
Bishop VacantBishop of Purnea
|Area||:||15,733.4 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Santhali and Oraon.|
The Church in India traces its origin to the missionary endevours of St Thomas the Apostle who arrived in India in 52 AD. Due to this apostolic foundation, the ancient Christian Community in India was known as St Thomas Christians. This Church that remained one, holy, catholic and apostolic was autonomous and remained in communion with the Universal Church till the 17th century. A movement to Latinize the Indian Church, with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries resulted in a schism and a portion of this undivided community eventually came into contact with the Jacobites under the Patriarch of Antioch.
Ever since the split there were many attempts for reunion with the Catholic Church. The efforts of the Servant of God Archbishop Mar Ivanios and Bishop Jacob Mar Theophilos paved way to the historical event of Reunion Movement in the Malankara Church. On 20 September 1930 the Universal Church received the Malankara Church into the Catholic communion with its own liturgy, customs and jurisdiction. As the Reunion Movement developed, Pope Pius XI established the Syro-Malankara Catholic Hierarchy for the reunited people and established the Archieparchy of Trivandrum and the Eparchy of Tiruvalla by the Apostolic Constitution, Christo Pastorum Principi of 11 June 1932. The Eparchy of Tiruvalla extended from the River Pampa in the south to the River Ponnani in the north.
The migration of people from Kerala to the southern parts of Karnataka began during 1950s. The pastoral works in Karnataka commenced with the extension of the Eparchy of Tiruvalla on 14 February 1958 by the Holy See with the Decree Prot. 534/43. In the second half of the 1960, Most Rev. Zacharias Mar Athanasios sent Fr Thomas Neriamparambil to explore the possibilities of the extension of the Malankara Mission in Dakshina Kannada. And later in 1967 the first Malankara Catholic Rite Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr Isaac Koottaplackal, who later became the Bishop of Thiruvalla. In the same year Rev. Fr Thomas Thannickakuzhy was appointed Vicar and was sent to South Kanara (Dakshina Kannada) to work among the Malankara faithful living in this region. Desiring to establish the identity of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and to accelerate the Reunion Movement in the newly organized territories, Mar Athanasios requested the Holy See to bifurcate the Eparchy of Tiruvalla and to erect a new Eparchy with Sulthan Bathery as its headquarters. His Holiness Pope John Paul II responded to this request and erected the new Eparchy of Bathery on 28 October 1978. Most Rev. Cyril Mar Baselios was appointed as its first Bishop.
After the erection of the Eparchy of Bathery, there has been a great progress in the evangelization work in Karnataka. However, the distance from the eparchial headquarters as well as the shortage of priests and religious were strong obstacles in organizing the migrated people and founding new missions in this area. In spite of the said difficulties, due to the selfless hard work of priests, both eparchial and religious belonging to the Order of the Imitation of Christ (OIC), and the religious sisters belonging to the congregations of the Sisters of the Imitation of Christ (SIC), the Daughters of Mary (DM), the Deena Sevana Sabha (DSS) and the Holy Spirit Sisters (OSS), new parishes and mission centres were established. The Eparchy and the religious congregations started a few educational institutions also to impart a value-based education to the children and youth irrespective of their social, religious and cultural differences. There arose a desire in the Faithful of the Malankara Catholic Church in this region for ecclesial growth and overall development.
The Holy Episcopal Synod convoked from 17 to 21 November 2008 decided to erect a new diocese in Karnataka State, on the recommendation of Most Rev. Dr Geevarghese Mar Divannasios, the then – Bishop of Bathery, taking into consideration of the geographical, cultural and linguistic differences of Karnataka State. Considering the importance of Puttur and its relation with the various other Churches, the city of Puttur was suggested as the center of the new diocese. His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, the Father and Head of the Church, with the Apostolic Decree Prot No.2/2010, erected the Eparchy of Puttur on 25 January 2010. He also transferred Most Rev. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios from the See of Bathery and appointed him as the first Bishop of the Eparchy of Puttur. The Pro-cathedral of the new eparchy was fixed to be St Mary’s’s Church, Noojibalthila and the Patron Saint of the Eparchy is St Joseph. The official inauguration of the new Diocese of Puttur and the Installation of its first shepherd took place on 15 April 2010 at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Noojibalthila.
The Eparchy of Puttur consists of nine civil districts of Karnataka State with a vast geographical area of 51,950 sq. km. The civil districts are Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Mysore, Chamarajnagar, Kodagu, Mandya, Shimoga, Chickamagaluru and Hassan. At present it has two ecclesiastical districts, namely, South Kanara (Dakshina Kannada) and Shimoga.
His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios submitted his resignation to the Holy Synodal Commission on account of failing health. The Holy Synod had accepted his resignation and the Episcopal Synod in consultation with the Holy See appointed Rev Fr. George Kalayil, then Vicar General, as the interim Administrator of the Eparchy on 24th January 2017, and later he was appointed as the second bishop of the Eparchy by the Holy See by the recommendation of the Episcopal Synod and was consecrated on 21st September 2017 in the 87th Reunion Day Celebration at Mar Ivanios Nagar, Adoor, Kerala opting the name as Geevarghese Mar Makarios, the Saint of Jerusalem. His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, officiated the Installation Ceremony on Saturday 30th September 2017 at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Noojibalthila. The Installation Service was held amidst the concelebrated Holy Eucharist by the Catholicos and His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore delivered the Homily in the function. His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios and other Bishops from KRCBC and KCBC were present in the Eucharistic Celebration. A vast group of civil and social leaders and thousands of faithful thronged the Cathedral premises to witness the Installation Ceremony and also to convey the best wishes and prayers to the new bishop.
His Excellency Geevarghese Mar Divannasios, Bishop Emeritus of the Eparchy of Puttur, who was taking rest in Snehasadan, Tiruvalla on his last days after the voluntarily retirement was called to Eternal Bliss on Monday, 16th January 2018. As his will, burial was in a simple way in the presence of all bishops from Malankara Catholic Church. He is buried near his ‘Predecessors’ tomb in Tiruvalla.
Right Rev. Geevarghese Makarios KalayilBishop of Puttur
|Born||:||16 July 1958|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 May 1986|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||21 September 2017|
Catholic Bishop’s House, Panjala,
Mundoor P.O. - 574 202, Puttur Taluk,
Dakshina Kannada District (Karnataka)
|Area||:||51,950 Sq. km|
The Diocese of Quilon comprises the major part of the civil district of Kollam, the taluk of Karthikapally, portions of the taluks of Mavelikara and Chengannur which lie south of the river Pamba, in the civil district of Alappuzha.
Quilon was one of the seven churches founded by the Apostle St. Thomas, and of the two Bishops, who tradition says, were appointed by the Apostle, one had his See at Quilon (the other being at Cranganore or Angamaly).
The Syrian Christian immigrants from Persia in the 4th century had Quilon as one of their main centres of settlement. In the year about 922 (hundred years after the foundation of kollam city) two Bishops, Mar Seberius and Mar Protasius (also called Apor and Aport) arrived at Quilon with a large following of Christians.
Since the latter half of the 12th century Quilon became the chief centre of Franciscan and Dominican Fathers.
In 1329, Pope John XXII by a Bull "In Perpetuam Memoriam" dated August 9, 1329, constituted Quilon as an Episcopal See the First diocese in the Indies, and at the time, the only one in the country, as Suffragan to the Archdiocese of Sultany in Persia.
By a Bull "Venerabili Fratri Jordano" the same Pope John XXII on August 21, 1329 appointed the Dominican Friar Jordanus Catalani de Severac Bishop of Quilon.
With the settlement of the Portuguese at Quilon in 1502, together with their Franciscan Friars, the territory was under the Franciscans until 1533, when it became part of the Diocese of Goa, re-established as Suffragan to Goa. On April 24, 1838 the territory was placed under the Vicariate of Malabar (Verapoly).
The separation of Quilon, as a new Vicariate Apostolic, suffragan to Verapoly was decreed and was provisionally executed on May 12, 1845, entrusting it to the Belgian Carmelite Fathers, and finally confirmed as a separate Vicariate Apostolic on March 15, 1853. With the establishment of the Hierarchy in India, Quilon again became a diocese on September 1, 1886.
On May 26, 1930, the southern most part of the diocese was cut off and erected as a separate diocese - the Diocese of Kottar. Later, by another decree of the Holy See dated July 1, 1937, the diocese was again divided and the Diocese of Trivandrum was created and entrusted to the Carmelite Fathers while the remaining portion, the most ancient part of the Diocese of Quilon, was entrusted to the diocesan clergy. The diocese was again divided in 1986 and the eastern portion of the Diocese was separated and erected as the Diocese of Punalur.
Right Rev. PAUL ANTHONY MULLASSERYBishop of Quilon
|Born||:||15 January 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 December 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||3 June 2018|
Bishop’s House, Tangasseri P. O., Kollam - 691 007 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Stanley RomanBishop Emeritus of Quilon
|Born||:||4 June 1941|
|Priestly Ordination||:||16 December 1966|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||16 December 2001|
'Porta Caeli' Bishop’s House, Tangasseri P. O., Kollam - 691 007 (Kerala)
|Area||:||1,950 Sq km|
|Languages||:||Malayalam and Tamil.|
The Diocese of Raiganj was erected by Pope Paul VI by the Apostolic Bull "Ut Petrus et Pastor" dated June 8, 1978. The diocese was formed by detaching from the Diocese of Dumka, the district of West Dinajpur and Malda. The West Dinajpur district has been further subdivided into two Districts: North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur. The diocese lies completely in the State of West Bengal.
In 1952 a part of West Dinajpur and Malda were cut off from the Diocese of Dinajpur (now in Bangladesh) and the Prefecture of Malda was erected under the care of the Pontifical Institute of Foreign missionaries of Milan (PIME). But in 1962, when the Diocese of Dumka was erected, the Prefecture of Malda was suppressed and the area was fused with Dumka diocese. Now the area of the former Malda Prefecture plus the Islampur subdivision of former West Dinajpur has become the Diocese of Raiganj.
Right Rev. Fulgence Aloysius TiggaBishop of Raiganj
|Born||:||3 March 1965|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 May 1997|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 August 2018|
Bishop's House, Chotparua, Karnajora P.O., Via Raiganj, Dt. Uttar Dinajpur -733130 (west Bengal)
|Languages||:||Bengali, Santali, Sadri, Oraon|
Before Independence, the entire area was divided in five feudatory states. Up to 1905 no Catholic priest was allowed to enter these feudatory states. The local people, mostly the tribals were suffering under exploitation, oppression, superstition, illiteracy and poverty. Hence, in Christianity they saw a liberating force and around 1989 - 90 there was a strong movement towards Christianity among the Oraon tribe of Jashpur and Surguja feudatory states. Tribal Oraons of both Jashpur and Surguja feudatory states used to walk about 200 kms. to Ranchi to meet the Belgian Jesuit Fathers. The feudal rulers were unable to crush the movements and thousands of tribals were baptized. Since the Catholic priests were not allowed to even to build a shed to live in, the first resident priest lived from 1912 to 1915 in a tent near Ginabahar under a banyan tree. In 1915 he was allowed to build a small hut and in 1917 he got permission to build a presbytery. In the course of time four other mission stations were started but, all the while, missionary activities were severely restricted and monitored by the feudal rulers.
In 1933 a considerable number of the tribals of the neighboring feudal state of Udaipur resolved to embrace Christianity. The feudal ruler of Udaipur vehemently opposed the movement. Till 1941 no Catholic priest was allowed to enter the Udaipur state except when summoned to the sick bed and only four times a year during other time to celebrate Holy Mass. But, he was always under police surveillance and never allowed to stay more than 48 hours.
After independence, in 1948 the feudal rulers were abdicated and their states were merged into India. Indian constitution guaranteed freedom of religion to all. But, the newly formed state government of Madhya Pradesh tried to impose the anti-Christian laws and set up Niyogi Commission. In the midst of oppositions and persecutions, missionary activities continued to progress and number of Catholics continued to increase both in the former feudatory states of Jashpur and Surguja under Belgian Jesuit Frs. Hence, on December 13, 1951 a new Diocese of Raigarh - Ambikapur was erected by dismemberment from Ranchi and Nagpur dioceses. In 1971 Ambikapur became a separate diocese to which the entire district of Surguja was entrusted. And the old diocese became only the Diocese of Raigarh, which is situated, in the eastern part of Chhattisgarh. The territory of the present Diocese of Raigarh comprises the civil districts of Raigarh and Jashpur in the newly formed state of Chhattisgarh.
Right Rev. Paul ToppoBishop of Raigarh
|Born||:||30 June 1957|
|Priestly Ordination||:||24 May 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 May 2006|
Bishop’s House Raigarh,St. Michael’s Church RambhataP. O. & Dt. Raigarh - 496 001(Chhattisgarh)
|Area||:||7,086 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Kharia, Oraon, English, Hindi, Sadri and Chhattisgarhi.|
Raipur was established as a Prefecture by the Papal Bull "Religio Vera Christique Salus" of Pope Paul VI on January 16, 1964, with territory taken from the Archdiocese of Nagpur, comprising the Districts of Raipur, Bilaspur and Durg, all in Madhya Pradesh. It was entrusted to the Southern German Province of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines) which sent the first group of their priests in 1951.
On July 28, 1964 the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith placed the Prefecture as suffragan to the Archdiocese of Bhopal. The same Congregation by its decree of June 16, 1966 detached the District of Bastar (M.P) from the Diocese of Vishakapatnam (A.P) and attached it to the Prefecture with effect from August 15, 1966. On March 23, 1972 Bastar District was separated from Raipur Prefecture and established as an Exarchate (later Diocese of Jagdalpur) entrusted to the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate.
Raipur was erected into a diocese on July 5, 1973 and Msgr John Weidner, sac, was nominated Apostolic Administrator on February 8, 1974. Since 1975, the diocese comprises the Districts of Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg and Rajnandgaon.
Most Rev. Victor Henry ThakurArchbishop of Raipur
|Born||:||1 July 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 May 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||11 November 1998|
|Tel(P)||:||(0)9479029177, (0)9098588887, (Secondary):08109147288|
Archbishop’s House, Byron Bazar,
Raipur - 492 001 (Chhattisgarh)
Most Rev. Joseph Augustine CharanakunnelArchbishop Emeritus of Raipur
|Born||:||6 June 1938|
|Priestly Ordination||:||15 May 1975|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 February 1993|
Seva Niketan, Cherikheri, Mandir Hasaud-492001 Raipur Dt. (Chhattisgarh)
|Languages||:||Hindi, Chattisgrarhi, Oriya, Oraon, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, English|
The Diocese of Rajkot lies at the north western most part of India, stretching over the whole peninsula of Saurashtra and Kutch, covering an area of 109,950 sq kms. It comprises the civil districts Amreli, Bhavnagar, Botad, Dwaraka, Gir-Somnath, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Morbi, Porbandar, Rajkot and Surendranagar together popularly known as Saurashtra, and the district of Kutch in Gujarat State.
By the Papal Bull “De Recta Fidelium” of February 25, 1977, Pope Paul VI erected the new Diocese of Rajkot, separating it from the Diocese of Ahmedabad.
As the Jesuit Vice-Province of Ahmedabad, to whom the Ahmedabad Diocese had been entrusted from its erection in 1948, was unable to provide the personnel to manage this vast territory, and to meet the increasing demands on all fronts, an invitation was made to the Congregation of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) of the Syro-Malabar Rite, to take up work in this Diocese.
An agreement was made between the former Bishop Edwin Pinto SJ of Ahmedabad and the CMI Prior General that certain areas of Ahmedabad Diocese should be handed over to the CMI with full responsibility for their apostolate, with a view to erecting a new Exarchate or Eparchy when the Holy See so decided.
Since 1972, the CMI Fathers have been working in these areas, which have since been formed into the separate Diocese of Rajkot in 1977. Mar Jonas Thaliath CMI was appointed the first Bishop of Rajkot. He was ordained Bishop on May 11, 1977 and was installed on June 19, 1977. Bishop Jonas was called to his eternal reward on November 7, 1981. Fr Victorian Kunneparampil CMI shouldered the administration of the Diocese until Mar Gregory Karotemprel CMI was ordained the second Bishop of Rajkot on April 24, 1983. Mar Jose Chittooparambil CMI was appointed Bishop on July 16, 2010 and ordained and installed as the third Bishop of Rajkot on 11 September 2010.
Initially, St Mary's school Rajkot housed the eparchial offices. In 1983 the Bishop's House was shifted to the present location along Kalawad Road, Rajkot. In 1989 the Pastoral Center of the diocese was opened at the Bishop's House campus. Jeevan Darsan Minor Seminary—the first seminary of the diocese was blessed on 1989 in the same campus. In the year 2000, the diocese was blessed with the Consecration of Prem Mandir, the Cathedral Church of the eparchy, at the Bishop's House campus.
This entire mission territory was entrusted to the Sacred Heart Province (Kochi) of the CMI Congregation in 1978 and was called Rajkot Mission, which eventually grew into the provinces of St. Xavier's, Rajkot and St. Chavara, Bhavnagar. The providence of God lead Bishop Gregory Karotemprel to the foundation of two diocesan congregations, namely, the Society of Devpriya Sisters (DP, foundation in 1989) and the Society of the Sisters of St. Alphonsa (SSA , foundation in 1997). Sisters from 27 Congregations including two diocesan congregations are together doing the missionary activities in the diocese of Rajkot.
Right Rev. Jose Chittooparambil ,CMIBishop of Rajkot
|Born||:||10 December 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 May 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||11 September 2010|
|Tel(P)||:||0281 - 2563889,09426732055 |
Bishop’s House,P. B. No. 1501, Kalawad Road,Rajkot - 360 005 (Gujarat)
Right Rev. Gregory Karotemprel ,CMIBishop Emeritus of Rajkot
|Born||:||6 May 1933|
|Priestly Ordination||:||17 May 1963|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 April 1983|
St. Xavier's Provincial House! P.B No 1504 Kalawad Road, Opp.Praduman Royal Heights, Near A.G. Society, Rajkot -360005
|Languages||:||Gujarati, Kutchi, Hindi and English.|
The Syrian Catholics, mostly the Syro-Malabar Catholics, from various parts of Kerala had started migrating to different areas of Tamiinadu years back, i.e., in the first half of the 20lh century, for the purpose of job, business etc. It was late Mgr. Zacharias Vazhappilly, former Vicar General of the diocese of Trichur who was appointed to coordinate the pastoral activities for the Syro-Malabar migrants in this area. Under the leadership of Mgr. Zacharias a team of priests and religious who were zealous, dedicated and hardworking continued their pastoral care. Eventually the number of migrants increased and it led to the arrangement of more infra-structures for pastoral care. It was thus that the first Forane in this area, i.e., Coimbatore Forane was formed centralizing Ramanathapuram, in the Month of November 1973. That forane comprised of ail the parishes and stations in the extended area of Tamilnadu of the diocese of Trichur. It was a milestone with regard to the pastoral care of the Syro Malabar migrants and the erection of the epachy of Palakkad.
In the light of the application of His Excellency Mar Jacob Manathodath, the Bishop of Palghat, the XVlth Synod of Bishops of the Sy ro-Malabar Church held at Mount St. Thomsts, Kakkanad in August 2008, after having considered the great distance from the eparchial headquarters at Palghat and the geographical, linguistic and cultural differences of the faithful in both areas, unanimously gave its approval for the erection of the eparchy of Ramanathapuram. Thus, after due consultation in the Synod of Bishops and having obtained its consent and the assent of the Apostolic See, and having fulfilled everything required by law, as per the decree of 18th January 2010 with Prot. No 57/2010, His Beatitude Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, by virtue of the authority vested in him and in accordance with CCEO c. 85#1T erected the Eparchy of Ramanathapuram, bifurcating tho eparchy of Paighat. Thus the new eparchy Has its territory comprising the four civil districts of Tamil Nadu namely, Coimbatore, Erode, Karur, Tirupurand its See in the City of Rmanathapuram in the civil district of Coimbatore. Fr. Paul Alappatt, a priest from the Archeparchy of Trichur was appointed as its first Bishop the same day (Prot. 58/2010).
Right Rev. Paul AlappattBishop of Ramanathapuram
|Born||:||21 April 1962|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||11 April 2010|
Catholic Bishop’s House,
14/299-1, Bishop’s House Nagar
Trichy Road, Selvarajapuram
Coimbatore - 641 103 (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||18,525 sq km|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam, English|
The first Belgian Jesuit to enter Chotanagpur was Fr Auguste Stockman. He traveled by bullock cart from Midnapur and after a difficult journey of a fortnight reached Chaibasa on November 25, 1868. His work among the Ho tribe did not yield results, so he moved towards Ranchi district in January 1875.
Other Belgian Jesuits came to Ranchi in 1877 to act as military chaplains to the troops at Doranda (Ranchi). As the prospects of evangelization among the tribals of Chotanagpur were bright, the first mission stations were opened among the Mundas. However, the real impetus came from Fr Constant Lievens, who arrived at Doranda on March 18, 1885. He is often called the Apostle of Chotanagpur. He left Ranchi on August 26, 1892, a broken man. He died at Leuven in Belgium on November 7, 1893. A century later on November 7, 1993 his mortal remains were re-interred in the Ranchi Cathedral. His Cause for Beatification was officially inaugurated at Moorslede, in the Diocese of Brugge (Belgium) on March 15, 2001.
To assist the Missionaries, the Loreto Sisters from Ireland opened a Convent in the red Lodge on Purulia Road, Ranchi, in march 1890. It was here that the Daughters of St. Anne, a Diocesan Congregation, had their beginning in 1897. The Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, Belgium established themselves in the same compound on January 13, 1903.
By 1927 the Ranchi Mission had developed to such an extent that by decree of the Holy See, dated May 25, 1927, it was separated from the Calcutta Archdiocese to form a new Diocese with Ranchi as its Episcopal seat and Msgr. Louis Van Hoeck, sj, as the first bishop. He was succeeded by Rt. Rev. O. Sevrin, sj, in1934, who was pastor for 18 years (1934 - 1952).
As the faith spread and took firm root in Chotanagpur, the Catholic Church was being built up and developed, especially through parishes and schools. Soon the rapid growth of the mission made it imperative to call in other labourers, the S.V.D. Fathers, the Australian and American Jesuits.
For better pastoral care of the faithful, the vast Archdiocese of Ranchi was divided and on June 14, 1951, the Diocese of Sambalpur gave birth to Rourkela Diocese on July 4, 1979 and Ambikapur became a separate diocese on December 14, 1977. On September 19, 1953, the Diocese of Ranchi was raised to the status of an Archdiocese with Sambalpur and Cuttack as its suffargans. On July 2, 1962, the Diocese of Jamshedpur was created. Then in 1968, the Diocese of Patna and Bhagalpur and the Prefecture of Balasore were made suffragans of Ranchi Archdiocese. Again on June 5, 1971 the Diocese of Daltonganj, comprising the civil districts of Hazaribagh (which itself became a diocese on May 12, 1995), and Palamau was carved out of the Archdiocese of Ranchi. In 1980, Muzaffarpur Diocese was formed from a part of Patna Diocese and made suffragan of Ranchi.
The Andamans and Nicobar Islands, became part of Ranchi in 1947, and were since 1966 under the care of the Pilar Fathers, and became a new Diocese on June 26, 1984.
On July 1, 1993, two new Dioceses, Gumla and Simdega, were established with territories taken from the Ranchi Archdiocese. On May 12, 1995 the new Diocese of Khunti was established with territories taken from the Archdiocese of Ranchi. It comprises the whole Khunti civil Sub-division. In 1998 two more new Dioceses were created, North of the Ganges, and made suffragans of Ranchi, Bettiah and Purnea.
Thus the original Ranchi Diocese divided into 14 Dioceses including the present Archdiocese of Ranchi. On March 16,1999 the Ranchi Ecclesiastical Province was bifurcated in anticipation of the creation of Jharkhand. Patna, Capital of Bihar, became an Archdiocese with four suffragans: Bettiah, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Purnea.
Most Rev. Felix Toppo,SJArchbishop of Ranchi
|Born||:||21 November 1947|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 April 1982|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||27 September 1997|
Archbishop’s House,Dr. Camil Bulcke Path (Purulia Road),P. B. No. 5, Ranchi - 834 001, (Jharkhand)
His Eminence Telesphore P Cardinal ToppoArchbishop Emeritus of Ranchi
|Born||:||15 October 1939|
|Priestly Ordination||:||3 May 1969|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 October 1978|
Archbishop’s House,Dr. Camil Bulcke Path (Purulia Road),P. B. No. 5, Ranchi - 834 001, (Jharkhand)
Right Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas,SFXAuxiliary Bishop of Ranchi
|Born||:||9 November 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||24 April 1988|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||30 August 2014|
Auxiliary Bishop of Ranchi
P. B. No. 5, Dr. Camil Bulcke Path,
Ranchi - 834 001 (Jharkhand)
|Area||:|| 5,299 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Mundari, Kharia, Oraon, Sadri and English.|
The new Diocese of Rayagada, bifurcated from the Diocese of Berhampur, in the State of Odisha, will comprise the civil districts of Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri,Nabarangpur,Nuapada and Rayagada; it will be suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
Area of the territory of the new Diocese of Rayagada is 39,368.4 sq.km. with total population of 5,776,630,of which 61,827 is Catholic population. The Diocese has 31 Diocesan Priests, 16 Religious Priests, 95 Religious Sisters, 15 Major Seminarians, 270 Catechists, 24 Parishes, 336 Mission Stations, 8 Religious Houses for Men( 5 Congregations), 26 Religious Houses for Women (10 Congregations), 6 Primary Schools, 6 Middle Schools, 5 High Schools, 1 Hospital, 5 Dispensaries, 2 Creches and 4 Homes for the Aged. The languages spoken are Odia, Telugu, Hindi,English, Saura and Kui.
The Cathedral Church of the new Diocese, dedicated to Mary Queen of the Missions, will be located in the city of Rayagada.
Right Rev. Aplinar Senapati, CMBishop of Rayagada
|Born||:||28 October 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||28 November 1990|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 May 2016|
Social Service Center,Convent Road,Rayagada – 765001 (Odisha)
|Languages||:||Oriya, Telugu, Hindi,English,Saura and Kui|
The Diocese of Rourkela was created by the Papal Bull "cum Cordi" dated July 4, 1979 by taking the entire civil district of Sundargarh from the diocese of Sambalpur in Orissa. At the time of erection of Rourkela, the diocese of Sambalpur, erected in 1951, comprised of the four Orissa districts of Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Bolangir and Dhenkanal.
The new diocese of Rourkela is bounded on the north by Archdiocese of Ranchi and on the South by the diocese of Sambalpur to the west and the north-west lies the diocese of Raigarh, while the diocese of Jamshedpur and Balasore lie to the east and South-East.
Jesuit Missionaries began evangelization of this part of the Chotanagpur Mission, Fr Constant Livens (1856 - 1893) being the most prominent among them. After the Second World War, the Jesuits faced two major problems - personnel and finance. They, therefore, requested the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) who had been working in the neighbouring states of Central India since 1932, to take up the Gangpur Mission in Northern Orissa. The SVDs set their feet in this mission land in 1948. The Late Bishop Herman Westermann, SVD, who had several years of experience in Central India, was ordained the first Bishop of Sambalpur in 1951. During his tenure as well as that of Bishop Raphael Cheenath, SVD (1974 - 1979), mission work in this ecclesiastical territory progressed in leaps and bounds.
Rt. Rev. Alphonse Billung, S.V.D. was appointed the first Bishop of Rourkela on November 3, 1979. Today the Diocese of Rourkela owes a lot to the relentless zeal and indefatigable labour of these eminent personalities, and their co - Missionaries - Priests, Brothers, Sisters, Lay people, generous benefactors and all well-wishers.
Right Rev. Kishor KuKujurBishop of Rourkela
|Born||:||6 January 1964|
|Priestly Ordination||:||7 February 1993|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 September 2013|
Bishop’s House, Hamirpur,P. O. Rourkela - 769 003Dist. Sundargarh (Odisha)
|Area||:||9,675 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:|| Oriya, Munda, Kharia, Hindi, Sadri, English, Oram and Kisan.|
The Diocese of Sagar was first canonically erected on July 29, 1968 as Apostolic Exarchate, by the decree "Quo Aptius" which detached the civil districts of Sagar, Raisen, and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh from the Archdiocese of Bhopal. It was then entrusted to the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate.
By another decree "De Bono Animarum" on April 2, 1973, the civil district of Guna in Madhya Pradesh which formerly belonged to the Diocese of Ajmer-Jaipur, was attached to the then Exarchate by the Sacred Congregation for Oriental Churches.
On February 26, 1977 by the Papal Bull "Divina Verba" of Pope Paul VI, the Exarchate of Sagar was raised to a Diocese and Msgr Clemens Thottungal was appointed its First Bishop.
On his retirement Bp Joseph Pastor Neelankavil, cmi, was appointed the second bishop of Sagar by the Papal Bull "Resonant Saepenumero". He was ordained and installed Bishop on February 22, 1987.
Right Rev. James Athikalam , MSTBishop of Sagar
|Born||:||5 July 1958|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 March 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||17 April 2018|
St. Joseph’s Convent Road,
Sagar Cantt. - 470 001
Right Rev. Anthony ChirayathBishop Emeritus of Sagar
|Born||:||30 July 1941|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 January 1970|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||25 March 2006|
Bishop’s House, P. B.32 Sagar Cantt. - 470 001 (Madhya Pradesh)
The Diocese of Salem comprises the civil districts of Salem and Namakkal. In 1623 Southern Kongunadu, part of Salem district under Madurai Nayakkars accepted Christianity, through Fr Robert De Nobili, sj, and his successors, the Portuguese Jesuits of the Madurai Mission. About 1654, the Italian Jesuits of the Mysore Mission had a residence near Hosur. Hence they spread the Gospel as far as Tiruppathur.
In 1687, the Mysore Mission laboured alone in the entire area of the present diocese. Fr De Cunha, victim of the Dassaries succumbed in 1711 at Kapiganathi near Hosur.
In 1785, during Tippu's Rule, Msgr Champenois, Superior of the Malabar mission was, on his request, entrusted by Rome with the Mysore Mission which took care of Salem. In 1794, he was the First Bishop to visit Salem, then brought under English rule and he left in charge there "Abbe" Dubois, who strove to restore the devastated church. From 1797 Kartenaras from Cranganore intruded into Salem till they left about 1833.
The area continued to depend on the Coromandel Mission, later Vicariate Apostolic of Pondicherry, which in 1886 became an Archbishopric. This set up continued till 1930 except for Hosur Taluk which had been entrusted from 1861 to the care of Mysore and for the southeast which was joined in 1899 to the Diocese of Kumbakonam.
On August 3, 1930 the Diocese of Salem was erected from the parts of Salem district under the jurisdiction of Pondicherry diocese (6 parishes), Kumbakonam diocese (3 parishes), Mysore diocese (1 parish) and in 1943 was added the western portion of Mettur Taluk (2 Parishes). Msgr Henry Prunier MEP, was the first Bishop.
In 1949, the Diocese of Salem was entrusted to an Indian, its second Bishop, Bp V. S. Selvanather, Bishop of Salem till March 1973 when he was transferred to Pondicherry - Cuddalore as Archbishop.
Holy Father, Pope John Paul II has established the Diocese of Dharmapuri detaching the civil District of Dharmapuri from the Diocese of Salem according to the communiqui released on February 28, 1997. The Holy Father has also appointed Msgr Joseph Antony Irudaya Raj, sdb, as the First Bishop of Dharmapuri.
Right Rev. Singaroyan SebastianappanBishop Emeritus of Salem
|Born||:||18 January 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 May 1978|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 October 2000|
Bishop’s House, Post Box No. 703,
2, Court Road, Maravanery,
Salem - 636 007 (Tamilnadu)
Right Rev. ARULSELVAM RAYAPPANBishop Of Salem
|Born||:||18 November 1960|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 May 1986|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||4 August 2021|
Bishop’s House, Post Box No. 703,2, Court Road, Maravanery,Salem - 636 007(Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||9624 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Teluguand English.|
The Diocese of Sambalpur, formerly called "Gangpur Mission" was started by the Jesuit Fathers in 1908. The Divine Word Fathers took it over in 1948. Today it is one of the suffragans of the Archdiocese of Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar.
The diocese was erected by the Apostolic Constitution dated June 14, 1951 by taking over parts of the Archdioceses of Calcutta, Ranchi and Nagpur. Then it consisted of districts of Sundargarh, Bolangir, Sambalpur and Dhenkanal in the State of Orissa. Bp Herman Westermann, svd, was consecrated on July 29, 1951 as its First Bishop who after 23 years of dedicated service, retired on March 16, 1974.
One of the four districts, Sundargarh was separated from the diocese on July 16, 1979 and the Diocese of Rourkela was created. Its First Bishop Bp Aplhonse Bilung, svd, was ordained on November 3, 1979. Abp Raphael Cheenath, svd, who was residing in Rourkela before the division, shifted his residence to Sambalpur on November 18, 1979. Abp Raphael Cheenath, svd, was transferred to the Archdiocese of Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar in 1985. He was succeeded by Bp Lucas Kerketta, svd, in 1987.
After its division the diocese is bounded on the North by the Diocese of Rourkela and on the South by the Archdiocese of Cuttack - Bhubaneshwar. To the West and the North - West lie the Dioceses of Raipur and Raigarh respectively, while the Diocese of Balasore lies to the East and South - East.
Right Rev. Niranjan Sual singhBishop of Sambalpur
|Born||:||20 July 1962|
|Priestly Ordination||:||29 April 1991|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||28 September 2013|
Ainthapali, P. O. Budharaja,
Sambalpur - 768 004 (Odisha)
Right Rev. Lucas Kerketta ,SVDBishop Emeritus of Sambalpur
|Born||:||20 September 1936|
|Priestly Ordination||:||25 October 1969|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 March 1987|
Ainthapali, P. O. Budharaja,
Sambalpur - 768 004 (Odisha)
|Area||:||37,299 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||English, Hindi, Kharia, Mundari, Oraon, Oriya, Sadri|
The Apostolic Exarchate of Satna of the Syro - Malabar Rite was erected by the Papal Bull "In More Est" dated July 29, 1968 and was entrusted to the Vincentian Congregation (Syro - Malabar). Bifurcated from the diocese of Jabalpur, it comprises six civil districts in Madhya Pradesh, namely Sidhi, Rewa, Satna, Panna, Chhatarpur and Tikamgargh. At the inception of the exarchate, there was only one station in the whole area, namely, Rewa. The Exarchate was made a suffragan ad instar to the Archdiocese of Bhopal. Msgr. Abraham D. Mattam, vc, was nominated as its Apostolic Exarch.
On February 26, 1977 by the Papal Bull "Ecclesiarum Orientalium" of Pope Paul VI, the Exarchate was raised to the status of an Eparchy. Mar Abraham D. Mattam was appointed as the first Bishop of Satna, who was consecrated bishop, on April 30, 1977. Installation and the erection of the Diocese of Satna took place on July 31, 1977. He served the diocese for the last 32 years, in his capacity both as the Exarch and the Bishop. Mar Mathew Vaniakizhakkel, vc, was appointed on January 14, 2000, consecrated and installed as Bishop of Satna on April 12, 2000.
As per census of 1991, the population of the area is about 71 lakhs, of which 17% people belong to Schedule Castes and 14% belongs to Schedule Tribes. People of this area are mainly dependent on agriculture.
Right Rev. Joseph KodakallilBishop of Satna
|Born||:||18 December 1965|
|Priestly Ordination||:||31 December 1991|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 September 2015|
Bishop’s House,P. B. No. 22, Rewa Road,Satna - 485 001 (Madhya Pradesh)
Right Rev. Mathew Vaniakizhakkel, VCBishop Emeritus of Satna
|Born||:||22 December 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||18 December 1972|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||12 April 2000|
Vincentian Vidya Bhavan
U. C. College P.O.,
P. B. No.603, Aluva, Kerala - 683 102
|Area||:||45,188 Sq. Kms|
|Population||:||1, 11, 20,815|
|Languages||:||Hindi, Baghelkandi, Bunelkhandi and Urdu|
Right Rev. RAPHAEL THATTILBishop of Shamshabad
|Born||:||21 April 1956|
|Priestly Ordination||:||21 December 1980|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||10 April 2010|
St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church,
Sy. No. 76/60-62, Holy Valley,
Keshogiri P.O., RCI Road,
Balapur – 500005, R. R. Dist.,
It was in 1889 that the Prefecture Apostolic of Assam was erected with Shillong as its headquarter and entrusted to the German Salvatorian Fathers for pastoral works. With the outbreak of World War I (1914-1918), the German Salvatorian Fathers were forced to return to their country and the Jesuits of Calcutta looked after the Assam Prefecture until it was entrusted to the Salesians of Don Bosco in 1921.
With the rapid growth and spread of the Church throughout the North Eastern region of India the Holy See decided to make the Assam Prefecture into a diocese. On 9 July 1934, the diocese of Shillong was erected and Rt. Rev. Louis Mathias S.D.B was appointed the first Bishop of Shillong with the responsibility of offering pastoral care for the whole North Eastern region.
On 1 April 1935 Bishop L. Mathias was transferred to Madras at the sudden death of Mgr. E. Mederlet S.D.B on 12 December 1934. On 9 June 1935, Mgr. E. Bars S.D.B was elected Vicar Capitular to guide the diocese until the appointment of a new Bishop in Shillong. In November 1935, Mgr. Stephen Ferrando S.D.B bishop of Krishnagar, was transferred to Shillong as its Bishop. He arrived in Shillong on 24 January 1936 to be the shepherd of this vast N.E region.
On 23 July 1951 Dibrugarh diocese was erected bifurcating the extensive diocese of Shillong. Again in 1964 Shillong diocese was further divided and the diocese of Tezpur was created. In 1969, Shillong diocese was raised to the status of a Metropolitan See and the Ecclesiastical Province of Guwahati-Shillong was created with Most Rev. Hubert D’ Rosario S.D.B as the Archbishop. Prior to his appointment to Shillong he was the Bishop of Dibrugarh. Shillong had as its suffragan sees the dioceses of Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Silchar. Subsequently the Archdiocese of Guwahati-Shillong was renamed as Shillong-Guwahati on account of the concentration of Catholics in the Shillong region.
The Archdiocese of Shillong-Guwahati was divided again in 1973 to establish the diocese of Tura. Another division of the Archdiocese took place with the creation of Diphu diocese in 1983. On 23 September 1990,Rev. Fr. Tarcisius Resto Phanrang S.D.B was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Shillong- Guwahati. Again Shillong-Guwahati was further bifurcated and the diocese of Guwahati was created in 1992 with Bishop Thomas Menamparampil as the shepherd of the diocese.
On 30 August 1994 Archbishop Hubert D’ Rosario went to his eternal reward and Bp. Resto was elected Diocesan Administrator. On 1 August 1995 Bp. Tarcisius Resto Phanrang was appointed Archbishop of Shillong. On 5 May 1999 Archbishop Resto went to his eternal reward and at his death, Rev. Fr. Michael Marbaniang was elected Diocesan Administrator of the Archdiocese. On 2 April 2000 Rev. Fr. Dominic Jala S.D.B was ordained Archbishop of Shillong.
On 2 April 2006 Most Rev. Lopez Quintana, the Apostolic Nuncio to India, ordained Rev. Fr. Victor Lyngdoh and Rev. Fr. Vincent Kympat as the bishops of the newly created dioceses of Nongstoin and Jowai respectively. At present the Shillong archdiocese comprises of East Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi districts of Meghalaya. Archbishop Dominic has chosen “to grow in the unity of the Holy Spirit ”as the motto to guide him in his ministry as the shepherd of the Archdiocese.
Most Rev. Victor LyngdohArchbishop of Shillong
|Born||:||14 January 1956|
|Priestly Ordination||:||25 January 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 May 2006|
Shillong - 793 003
|Area||:||5196 sq km|
|Languages||:||Assamese, English, Garo, Hindi, Karbi, Khasi, Nepali,Tiwa|
The Diocese of Shimoga in Karnataka, India, was erected on 14th November, 1988 by virtue of the Apostolic Bull of Pope John Paul II, entitled “Id Spectantes.” On the same day, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Ignatius Pinto, Vicar General, Archdiocese of Bangalore was appointed its First Bishop by His Holiness Pope John Paul II through his Apostolic Letter “Bonevolentiam quidem Nostram.” The Episcopal Ordination of the first bishop of Shimoga took place on 31st January, 1989, at the Sacred Heart Cathedral grounds, Shimoga. He was promoted as Archbishop of Bangalore on 10th September 1998 and installed on 25th November, 1998.
The Second Bishop Most Rev. Gerald Isaac Lobo was ordained Bishop by Archbishop Most Rev. Ignatius Pinto, on the 20th March 2000 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
On March 19, 2014 the Holy Father Francis appointed Msgr. Francis Serrao SJ as the Bishop of the Diocese of Shimoga. He was appointed as the third bishop of Diocese of Shimoga and was ordained as Bishop on 07 May, 2014 by Archbishop Most Rev. Salvatore Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio of India, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Shimoga.
The Diocese of Shimoga comprises of the civil districts of Shimoga, separated from Chikmagalur Diocese, and Chitradurga dismembered from Bangalore Archdiocese. Diocese of Shimoga is the eighth Latin diocese in Karnataka and a suffragan of the Metropolitan See of Bangalore. On 15th August 1997 the State Government bifurcated the district of Chitradurga and created the district of Davanagere. Presently, therefore, Shimoga Diocese comprises of three civil districts: Shivamogga, Davanagere and Chithradurga.
The Total extent of the territory of the Diocese is 22,893 Sq. K.ms. The total population according to the 2011 Census is Census is 53, 57, 706 of whom 18,903 are Catholics.
Right Rev. Francis Serrao ,SJBishop of Shimoga
|Born||:||15 August 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 April 1992|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 May 2014|
Bishop’s House, Malligenahalli, Sagar Road,Shimoga - 577 205 (Karnataka)
|Area||:||22,893 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Kannada, Tamil, Konkani, Malayalam, |
Simdega Catholic Diocese was created by His Holiness Pope John Paul II by his letter dated 22nd May 1993, with the territory taken from the Archdiocese of Ranchi. Most Rev. Joseph Minj was the first bishop of Simdega who was consecrated at St. Anne’s Cathedral Samtoli on 24 August 1993. “Let Christ increase” (Jn. 3:30) was his motto. He was retired from his office on 11th February 2008 and simultaneously, Most Rev. Vincent Barwa, and the auxiliary bishop of Ranchi was appointed by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, as the bishop of Simdega. Simdega began a new life with giving message “Believe in Jesus” (Acts 16:31).
Simdega Catholic Diocese is situated in southern part of Jharkhand state and the eastern part of India. It covers the whole ten blocks of civil district of Simdega, with a total area of 3761.2 square kilometers. The total population is 6, 40,200 and Catholic population is 2, 06,139. The Christians are in majority and contributing a major part of development in the area of Education, Social, Economic and cultural development. Simdega is the Tribal district and the main inhabitants of the district are Oraon, Munda and Kharia. The Catholic Church has covered the whole district of Simdega. It has 37 parishes, 06 Mission Stations, 47 Convents, 109 Diocesan Priests, 38 Religious priests, 17 Religious brothers, and 275 Religious sisters. The diocese is running 116 primary schools, 39 middle schools, 31 high schools, 3 Inter colleges and 2 English medium schools other than the Religious institutions. The diocese has also 2 social development centers and many health centers serving the people all over the district of Simdega. The Church has played a great role in the life of tribal people.
Agriculture is the major source of livelihood of about 90% of the total population and it depends on the monsoon. Simdega district has about 32% forested area and cultivated land is about 134,024 hector out of which 16,367 hector area only is irrigated. Therefore the majority of the families do not earn enough to get for themselves and their families the most basic economic necessities. The main rivers are Sankh, Palamara, Deo and Girma. Simdega is only town in the district. Simdega is considered as the most under developed and poor district. It is known only for ‘Hockey’ when the tribal boys and girls have reached at the national and international level.
Right Rev. Vincent BarwaBishop of Simdega
|Born||:||18 October 1953|
|Priestly Ordination||:||2 May 1984|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 November 1998|
Bishop’s House Samtoli,P. O. Gotra,Dt. Simdega - 835 235 (Jharkhand)
|Area||:||3761.2 sq. km |
|Languages||:||Hindi, Mundari, Oraon, Kharia, and Nagpuria|
Shimla-Chandigarh diocese has a long history. The Archdiocese of Shimla was created in 1910 when it was separated from the Archdiocese of Agra, the mother diocese of all North India. Very Rev. Fr Anselm E. J. Keneally, ofm cap., Superior General of the Friars minor Capuchins was appointed as the first Archbishop of this new Archdiocese, and he was consecrated in Rome on January 1, 1911. The church of St. Michael and St. Joseph in Shimla built in 1885 by Lord Ripon the Catholic Viceroy of India became the Cathedral of new Archdiocese. The century of history of this Archdiocese witnessed great changes and has been affected. by the changed political and ecclesiastical history of the country as a whole. The greatest of these was the partition and Independence of the country, which separated a large portion of the Vicariate of Punjab from our country to form the new diocese of Lahore in Pakistan. The realignment of the states, the creation of the new city of the Chandigarh and its Union Territory status have all influenced the history of the diocese and have had their effect in the structure and development of the diocese.
When the political capital of the country was shifted to Delhi the Catholic population was placed under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Shimla thus becoming the Delhi - Shimla Archdiocese and the See shifting to Delhi. Archbishop Sylvester P. Mulligan was the first Archbishop of Delhi - Shimla Archdiocese, which comprised of the present states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and the Union - Territory. Archbishop Sylvester P. Mulligan was succeeded by Archbishop Joseph Alexander Fernandes. In 1959 the Archdiocese of Delhi - Shimla was dismembered to form Shimla as an independent diocese and thus beginning the history of current diocese with Bishop John Burke as its pastor. In the year 1966 Bishop John Burke was succeeded by Bishop Alfred Fernandes the Vicar General of Archdiocese of Hyderabad. He was transferred to the See of Allahabad in 1970.
The foundation of the new city of Chandigarh gave rise to a new concept of urban Punjab and the political and social life of people began to shift and centre around the new city. Even though the bishop kept Shimla as headquarters of the diocese, he was forced to remain in Chandigarh to be closer to the people and their lives till finally Bishop Gilbert B. Rego shifted the residence to Chandigarh and the diocese came to be, known as Shimla - Chandigarh diocese.
The present Diocese of Shimla - Chandigarh has a total area of 83,560 sq. kms. and is spread in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. The Diocese of Shimla-Chandigarh consists .of the civil districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur, Shimla, Solan and Sirmour in Himachal Pradesh, Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Panipat, Kaithal, Jind, Hissar, Bhivani and Sirsa in Haryana state; Patiala, Sangrur, Mansa, Bhatinda, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar in Punjab state; and the Union Territory of Chandiqarh. This vast area accounts for a population of about 17,00,000 of which a mere 0.02% is Catholic that is about 13,500. There are pockets of other Christian denominations too. The area is the home of Sikhism and the other great religions of India. Hinduism and Islam still predominate the region making it a real mission land.
The Catholic community is itself a Kaleidoscopic picture of the variety of ethnic and cultural groups with independent linguistic identity, from different socio-economic background, yet united together in their faith in Christ around one pastor. Today the diocese has 30 parishes, 32 stations and the pastoral activities of these centers are taken care by 85 priests of the diocesan clergy and seven different religious congregations. The pastoral educational and social activities are shared by 22 other congregations of religious brothers and sisters spread in 39 communities.
With the appointment of Bishop Gerald John Mathias, the Diocese of Shimla -Chandigarh enters into a new phase of its history. May his leadership and guidance be blessed with abundance fruits in this far-flung vineyard of the Lord.
Right Rev. Ignatius Loyola MascarenhasBishop of Simla-Chandigarh
|Born||:||3 June 1949|
|Priestly Ordination||:||17 December 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||3 April 2009|
Bishop’s House,Sector 19A,Chandigarh - 160 019
|Area||:|| 83,566 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, English, |
The area of the Sindhudurg diocese is 21,000 sq. kms. consisting of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts and Kolhapur district (leaving out the city of Kolhapur) which consists of the talukas of Ajra, Gadhinglaj, Panhala, Budhargad, Kagal, Radhanagri, and Shahuwadi. The total population of the diocese is about 53,65,706 with 29,794 Catholics. The main language of the Catholics is Konkani at home and Marathi outside.
Prior to 1953 Bijapur and Dharwar were under the diocese of Poona, and Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg were under the Archdiocese of Goa. In 1953 Bijapur and Dharwar were cut off and added to the Diocese of Belgaum and, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg were included in the Diocese of Poona.
Already in 1953 there was a move by Bishop Andrew D’Souza to cut off the four northern districts – East and West of Khandesh, Nashik and Ahmednagar, due to great distance from one end of the diocese to the other; difficulty in travelling by both rail and road; different cultures of the faithful, difficulty in gathering priests even for retreats and monthly conferences. This materialized only in 1987 when, due to the initiatives of Bishop Valerian D’Souza, Bishop Emeritus of Poona, the new Diocese of Nashik was created with the districts of Nashik, Jalgaon, Dhule and Ahmednagar, on June 9 1987, with Rev. Fr. Thomas Bhalerao sj as its first Bishop.
As mentioned above, the Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg Districts were part of the Archdiocese of Goa till 1953 after which, because of political reasons, these districts were attached to the Diocese of Poona. Goa today is one - hour drive by car from the nearest parish, while these parishes are eight hours drive from Pune (about 400 kms.)
The people in the diocese have Goan culture because they migrated from Goa 200 years ago. The customs and traditions are Goan and entirely different from those of the people of Pune and urban cities. The process to create a new diocese began in March 2001.
The diocese, which was erected on 5th July 2005 was a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Bombay. Now, since 25th November 2006 it is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Goa.
Right Rev. Alwyn BarretoBishop of Sindhudurg
|Born||:||22 December 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||13 October 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||5 October 2005|
Oros Budruk, Tal. Kudal
Dt. Sindhudurg - 416 812
|Languages||:||Konkani, Marathi, English|
Pope John Paul II by the Bull dated July 3, 1987 decreed the erection of the Diocese of Sivagangai. The new Diocese of Sivagangai was bifurcated from the Madurai Archdiocese. Bp S. Edward Francis was the First Bishop of the New Diocese.
The territory of the Diocese of Sivagangai comprises the two civil districts of Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai. It has fifty-seven Parishes.
The foundation for the marvellous growth of the new Diocese of Sivagangai would be the labours and martyrdom of our patron saint, St. John de Britto, who was put to death at Oriyur on February 4,1693.
Right Rev. Stephen Antony PillaiApostolic Administrator Of Sivagangai
|Born||:||25 September 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 January 1971|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 May 2005|
Bishop’s House,Britto Nagar, Melur Road,Sivagangai - 630 561 (Tamil Nadu)
Right Rev. J SusaimanickamBishop Emeritus of Sivagangai
|Born||:||25 September 1945|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 January 1971|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 May 2005|
St. Benedict’s Monastery
Arul Nagar, Karungalakudi,
Cholapuram - 630557
Sivagangai Dt. (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||8,353.2 Sq Kms |
The diocese of Srikakulam was erected in 1993 carving it from the civil district of Srikakulam and the Taluks of Kurupam, parvathipuram, Cheepurupalli and Gummalakshmipuram of Vizianagaram District. The geographical area of the diocese is 8,542 square kilometers. It was bifurcated from the erstwhile diocese of Visakhapatnam and erected a separate diocese on the August 4, 1993, with Most Rev. A. Innayya as the first bishop of Srikakulam.
The diocese was started with 35,000 Catholics, 14 parishes, and few resources for caring to the spiritual, pastoral, social, economical and educational development of the vast population of the area. With the strenuous efforts and zeal of Bishop, priests and religious the task of building up of the Church in Srikakulam diocese has been speeded up still more and today it has more than 50,000 Catholics, 22 parishes, 32 priests, 75 sisters and 154 catechists.
Socio-economic conditions of the people
The geographical area of the diocese could broadly be divided into two regions like the coastal belt and upland region. The people living in these regions are predominantly the agricultural labourers as agriculture is the main occupation. The people living in the plain and upland region do have the advantage occupations like working in the forest, collecting the products from the forest like gum, fire wood, timber, honey, tamarind etc. and vending the same to the people of the plain areas either in exchange of the other commodities or for cash.
The Srikakulam district is the second largest one in the state of Andhra Pradesh having the highest concentration of the Scheduled Tribes living across the Western Ghats, either at the foot or the top hills. The tribes like Savaras, Jatapus, Gadabas and Kons are widely seen in this forest area. They make their lives mostly depending upon the forest while some cultivation their pretty extent of lands.
The people living in plain areas of Srikakulam and parts of Viziangaram are the agricultural labourers. In almost all the villages majority of the population are scheduled castes. There are also some people who do possess some extent of lands ranging from 0.50 to 2.50 acres. Since the income derived form these lands is not adequate to supplement the maintenance of their families, they are forced to work in the fields of the rich of the area as agricultural labourers. In any case the daily income of a poor family does not exceed Rs. 35 to 40/-. In most of the family one can see that the children also go for work just to supplement the income of their parents. Hence the literacy percentage in the diocese is very low.
The diocese with its limited resources trying to raise this literacy percentage among the Catholics with whom the priests and nuns have free access. Even for the pastoral activities in the parish level, the people are not in position to contribute much to the church; just because of their poverty. Seeing their condition the Church also does never force the people to pay for the celebrations or functions. At this juncture the diocese with its limited available resources is managing most of the functions or celebrations in the parish/deanery/diocesan level.
Right Rev. A InnayyaBishop Emeritus of Srikakulam
|Born||:||2 May 1937|
|Priestly Ordination||:||4 January 1965|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||29 June 1989|
Bishop’s House, Balagathope,
Srikakulam - 532 001 (Andhra Pradesh)
Right Rev. Vijaya KuRayarala, PIMEBishop of Srikakulam
|Born||:||15 October 1969|
|Priestly Ordination||:||29 August 1998|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 September 2019|
Bishop’s House, Balagathope,
Srikakulam - 532 001
|Languages||:||Telugu, Oriya and English|
Right Rev. Antonysamy Peter AbirBishop of Sultanpet
|Born||:||7 April 1952|
|Priestly Ordination||:||1 May 1979|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||16 February 2014|
Bishop’s House,Matha Kovil Street,St. Sebastian's Cathedral,Sultanpet,Palakkad- 678 001Kerala.
The Diocese of Tellicherry, erected by the Bull 'Ad Christi Ecclisiam Regendam' dated December 31, 1953 of His Holiness Pope Pius XII of happy memory, as a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, is for the Catholics of the Syro - Malabar Church who migrated to Malabar region of the erstwhile Travancore and Cochin States. The boundaries of the new diocese were the same as those of the Latin Diocese of Calicut. But later, as Catholics of Syro - Malabar Church migrated even to the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the boundaries were extended to the present Latin Diocese of Mangalore, Chickmangalur, Mysore, Shimoga, and Ootacamund by a decree of the Holy See dated April 29, 1955.
Most Rev. George NjaralakattArchbishop Emeritus of Tellicherry
|Born||:||23 June 1946|
|Priestly Ordination||:||20 December 1971|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||7 April 2010|
Hollow Way Road, P. B. No. 70,
Thalassery P. O. - 670 101
Kannur Dt. (Kerala)
Most Rev. Joseph PamplanyArchbishop of Tellicherry
|Born||:||11 December 1969|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 December 1997|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 November 2017|
Hollow Way Road, P. B. No. 70,
Thalassery P. O. - 670 101
Kannur Dt. (Kerala)
Most Rev. George ValiamattamArchbishop Emeritus of Tellicherry
|Born||:||16 September 1938|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 November 1963|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 May 1989|
Hollow Way Road, P. B. No. 70,
Thalassery P. O. - 670 101,
Kannur Dt. (Kerala)
|Catholics||:||2 94 757|
|Languages||:||Malayalam and English|
On May 10, 1964, His Holiness Pope Paul VI raised Tezpur to an Episcopal See, and nominated Rt. Rev. Orestes Marengo SDB DD, Bishop of Dibrugarh, as the Administrator of the newly erected Diocese of Tezpur. He was installed at Tezpur and took charge of the Diocese on August 23, 1964. By his pastoral care, Bishop Marengo was able to consolidate the many new Christian communities and to bring about the over all development of the Diocese. He resigned in 1969. Rt. Rev. Joseph Mittathany was nominated the second Bishop of the Diocese on June 26, 1969, and he was ordained Bishop and installed on September 27, 1969.
The Bhutan formed part of the Diocese till 1976. It was separated and attached to the Diocese of Darjeeling by the Decree “Quo Facilius” (Jan 20, 1975).
John Paul II erected the Diocese of Imphal, Manipur on April, 2, 1980 and transferred Rt. Rev. Joseph Mittathany from Tezpur to Imphal as its first Bishop. The See being vacant, Rev. Fr. Mathew Kottaram was elected the Vicar Capitular. Rt. Rev. Robert Kerketta SDB DD, who had been Bishop of Dibrugarh from 1970, was transferred to Tezpur, and took charge of the Diocese on January 31,1981.
The Diocese of Guwahati was erected by the Apostolic Decree “Opitulante Quidem Domino” (30, March 1992). 15 Centres of the then Diocese of Tezpur in the Civil Districts of Kokhrajhar, Dhubri, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamrup, Morigaon and part of the District of Nagaon were taken to form part of the new Diocese. The Diocese of Guwahati was inaugurated on August 16, 1992. Further Guwahati diocese was again bifurcated and the diocese of Bongaigaon was created on May 10, 2000. Reorganization of the Ecclesiastical Province of Shillong-Guwahati took place on August 1, 1994 and it provided for the creation of 3 Provinces in the region- Guwahati, Shillong and Imphal. Tezpur became a suffragan of Guwahati along with Dibrugarh, Diphu and Bongaigaon
On December 7, 2005 the Holy See announced yet another bifurcation of Tezpur and the creation of the Diocese of Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, with Rt. Rev. John Thomas Kattrukudiyil (of Diphu Diocese) as its first Bishop. The Erection of the Diocese and Installation of Bp. John Thomas took place on March 12, 2006.
The Diocese of Tezpur today comprises the Civil Districts of Darrang, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji on the North bank of the Brahmaputra; Rupahihat, Kaliabor and Samuguri Subdivisions of Nagaon District on the Southern Bank of Brahmaputra. Bp. Robert Kerketta after shepherding the diocese of Tezpur as its Bishop for a long glorious period of 27 years retired on December 3, 2007 and is succeeded by Rt. Rev. Michael Akasius Toppo as its new Bishop.
Right Rev. Michael Akasius ToppoBishop of Tezpur
|Born||:||8 May 1955|
|Priestly Ordination||:||26 January 1986|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||2 March 2008|
|Tel(P)||:||03712 - 220193, 09435082361,06003813567|
Bishop’s House,Tezpur - 784 001Sonitpur Dt. (Assam)
|Area||:||15,320 Sq. Km|
|Languages||:||Assamese, Hindi, English, Sadri, Uraon, Mundari, Kharia, Boro Kachari, Mishing, Nepali, Bengali and Garo.|
His Holiness Pope John Paul II erected the diocese of Thamarassery on April 28, 1986 by the Bull "Constat Non Modo" bifurcating the diocese of Tellicherry. The new diocese consists of the two revenue districts of Calicut and Malappuram.
Bishop Sebastian Mankuzhikary, Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam was appointed the first Bishop of Thamarassery on the same day by the Bull "Pro Munere Nostro de Singulis". The Diocese was formally inaugurated and the Bishop took charge on the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle of India, July 3, 1986 at the Sacred Heart Church, Thiruvambady.
Bp. Sebastian Mankuzhikary died on June 11,1994. Bp. Jacob Thoomkuzhy from Mananthavady was transferred to Thamarassery and he took charge on July 28, 1995. When he was made the Archbishop of Trichur, Bp. Paul Chittilapilly from Kalyan took charge of the diocese on February 13, 1997.
Right Rev. Remigiose InchananiyilBishop of Thamarassery
|Born||:||26 July 1961|
|Priestly Ordination||:||26 December 1987|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||8 April 2010|
|Tel(P)||:||0495 - 2223019, 07034313282|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 1Thamarassery P. O.- 673 573Calicut Dt. (Kerala)
|Area||:||5,893 Sq. kms.|
The Diocese of Thanjavur covers the entire area of the District of Thanjavur and the newly formed districts of Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur (with the exception of two Taluks, namely Kumbakonam and Papanasam). The diocese also covers seven Taluks of Pudukkottai and one Taluk of South Arcot district.
The Diocese of Thanjavur originally forming part of the southern portion of the ancient Dioceses of Mylapore, was separated from Mylapore and erected into a Diocese on November 23, 1952 by the Holy See by the Bull of erection "Exprimaevae Ecclesiae". The town of Thanjavur was made the Episcopal See and the Sacred Heart Church, Thanjavur, the Cathedral.
The Diocese of Thanjavur is bounded on the east by the Bay of Bengal, on the west by the boundaries of Trichy and South Arcot districts, on the north by the river Vellar and on the south by Ramnad district.
The territory constituting the present Diocese of Thanjavur, had been the fruitful field of heroic labours of Portuguese Padroado Fathers from Goa and other Fathers such as the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Foreign Missionary Society of Paris, the Salesians and members of the Diocesan Clergy.
Bp R. A. Sundaram was appointed the First Bishop of Thanjavur.
Right Rev. M Devadass AmbroseBishop Emeritus of Thanjavur
|Born||:||6 October 1947|
|Priestly Ordination||:||5 August 1974|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||24 September 1997|
Post Box. No. 204,
V.O.C. Nagar Post,
Thanjavur - 613 007 (Tamilnadu)
|Languages||:||Tamil & English|
On November 11, 1996 through the Bull, "Apud Indorum" His Holiness Pope John Paul II erected the new Diocese of Thuckalay and appointed Mar George Alencherry its First Bishop. Thus the long cherished aspiration of the faithful of the Kanyakumari Mission and the Archdiocese of Changanacherry was fulfilled.
Thuckalay the first Syro - Malabar diocese of Tamilnadu is a municipal town in the district of Kanyakumari. Thuckalay is 55 kms. South of Thiruvananthapuram and 35 km. North West of Kanyakumari. N.H 47, the National Highway, passes through Thuckalay. The Diocese of Thuckalay comprises the district of Kanyakumari and Taluk of Shenkottai of Tirunelveli District. The language of liturgy is Tamil.
It is in fitness of things to recall with gratitude the three Archbishops by whose paternal care the Church work has grown to a level that has led to the formation of the Diocese of Thuckalay. His Grace the Late Mar Mathew Kavukatt, the founder of the undertaking nursed it and helped it grow and expand. His Grace Mar Antony Padiyara who was well versed in Tamil won over the hearts of the Tamil - speaking people. The work has grown considerably during the fifteen years of his service. Under the pastoral care of His Grace Mar Joseph Powathil the Church work has grown further. The thirty seven years of the mission work was done by the Archdiocese of Changanacherry and the keen interest taken by His Grace, Mar Joseph Powathil led to the formation of the Thuckalay Diocese.
At the time of erection of the diocese, this diocese was granted jurisdiction over the whole Kanyakumari District and the Taluk of Shenkottai of Tirunelveli District in 1996. Total area came to 1,793.94 sq. Kms. Kanyakumari is the southernmost part of India. This District was formerly a part of Thirukkochi State. In the year 1956 on 1st November, Kanyakumari was separated from Kerala and added to Tamilnadu State. The main language of this place is Tamil, but some do speak Malayalam. The Diocese has its Liturgy in Tamil language.
The territory of the diocese of Thuckalay is extended by the Supreme Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis, on 9 October 2017 from Kanyakumari to Mathurai including the districts of Kanyakumari, Thirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram, Viruthunagar, Sivagangai, Theni and Madurai of Tamilnadu and at present the total area comes under this diocese is 32,374.30 sq. Kms..
Now the Diocese of Thuckalay has 57 parishes and 11 Mission Centres (Total 68), which have the strength of about 30,130 people. At present 51 diocesan priests, 5 non incarnated priests from other dioceses, 25 religious priests (CMI - 14, MCBS – 7, MST – 2, and SDB – 2), and 290 religious sisters belonging to 16 Congregations and a Secular Institute are serving the Diocese of Thuckalay.
The Diocese of Thuckalay in its Church extends its concern for the spiritual, educational, social, health, economic and other needs of the people irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
Right Rev. George Rajendran, SDBBishop of Thuckalay
|Born||:||14 April 1968|
|Priestly Ordination||:||29 December 2003|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||16 September 2012|
Bishop’s House,P. B. No. 12, Thuckalay P. O.Kanyakumari District - 629 175 (Tamilnadu)
|Area||:||1,793.94 sq. kms.|
|Languages||:||Tamil and Malayalam.|
In 1836 Pope Gregory XIV made Madurai into an Apostolic Prefecture; in 1846 it was raised to an Apostolic Vicariate and entrusted to the Fathers of Society of Jesus. On September 1, 1886 the Vicariate became a diocese with the Episcopal residence fixed at Tiruchirapalli with Msgr Alexis Canoz, sj, as its First Bishop and the territory was called the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli.
In 1923 Pope Pius XI separated the South Eastern part of the diocese known as the Fishery Coast and made it into a separate Diocese of Tuticorin. In 1938 again the South Western portion was divided and made into the Archdiocese of Madurai by the Bull "Si inter infideles".
The present Diocese of Tiruchirapalli comprises Tiruchy and Manaparai taluks of Tiruchirapalli district, Kulitalai taluk of Karur district, Dindigul, Vedasandur and Palani taluks of Dindigul district, and Kulathur taluk of Pudukkottai district. The diocese consists of 74 parishes grouped into four Vicariates, Vicariates of Tiruchirapalli, Manaparai, Dindigul and Keeranur.
Right Rev. S ArokiarajBishop Of Tiruchirappalli
|Born||:||24 October 1954|
|Priestly Ordination||:||8 January 1981|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||15 August 2021|
Bishop’s House, P. B. No. 14,
12 A, Convent Road, Melapudur,
Tiruchirapalli - 620 001
|Area||:||12,144 Sq. km|
|Languages||:||Tamil, Malayalam and English.|
The Mar Thomas Syrian Christian Community of Kerala was an autonomous Church in the unity of the Catholic Church, ever since its foundation in 52 A.D. by St. Thomas, the Apostle. They remained one body and flourished in the course of years, But in the seventeenth century, due to the intervention of the Portuguese fathers, a schism occurred. A good section of the Syrians eventually became Jacobites under the Patriarch of Antioch.
Ever since the schism, attempts at reunion were made. On September 20, 1930, the Reunion Movement took shape with the reunion of two eminent Jacobite Prelates the late Archbishop Mar Ivanios and late Bishop Mar Theophilos. It was a triumph of ecumenism, as their reunion took place as a Church, accepted with its liturgy, customs and jurisdiction. Thus it prepared a way for a complete reunion of the Jacobite-Orthodox Church of Kerala.
As the Reunion Movement developed speedily, Pope Pius XI established the Malankara Hierarchy for reuniting the people and created the Archdiocese of Trivandrum and the Diocese of Tiruvalla, by the Apostolic Constitution, "Christo Pastorum Principi", dated June 11, 1932.
Accordingly the Diocese of Tiruvalla was erected on November 6, 1933 and Bp Jacob Mar Theophilos was enthroned as its First Bishop. The diocese extended from the River Pampa in the south to the River Ponnani in the north and from the Arabian Sea in the west to the Western Ghats in the east. The Diocese was further extended to the north from the River Ponnani by the Decree of the Sacred Congregation for Oriental Churches by Prot. N. 534/43. dated February 14, 1958 and brought under it the whole Malabar region of Kerala the civil districts of Coimbatore and Nilgiris, and Karoor taluk in Tiruchirappally district of Tamil Nadu and the districts of Mysore, Mandya, Coorg, Hassan, Chickmangalur, Shimoga and South Kanara of Karnataka.
Pope John Paul II, by the Apostolic Constitution of October 28, 1978, separating the civil districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode and Canannore of Kerala ,Niligiris of Tamil Nadu and Coorg, Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, South Kanara, Chickmanglur and Shimoga of Karnataka from the Diocese of Tiruvalla, created the new Diocese of Bathery which was inaugurated on February 2, 1979.
Pope John Paul II sent His Eminence Cardinal Wladyslaw Rubin, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as his delegate to the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Reunion Movement, which was held in December 1980 at Kottayam, in the Diocese of Tiruvalla. The Golden Jubilee of the Establishment of the Diocese was celebrated in January 1984 at St. Johns Cathedral Tiruvalla. His Eminence Achille Cardinal Sylvestrini, the Prefect of the Oriental Congregation visited the Diocese in February 1996.
Most Rev. Thomas KoorilosMetropolitan Archbishop of Tiruvalla
|Born||:||28 March 1959|
|Priestly Ordination||:||30 December 1985|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||17 July 1997|
Marygiri, P. B. No. 4, Tiruvalla - 689 101
Pathanamthitta District (Kerala)
St. Thomas the Apostle, according to the Indian tradition, landed at Kodungaloor (Cranganore), the capital of the then Chera Empire in the year 52 A.D. Persians, Greeks and Romans found Kodungaloor as an Important centre for their trade.
St. Thomas preached the gospel wherever he went, and founded churches, Including one at Palayur of this Archdiocese. The apostolate of St. Thomas was fruitful among the people of Kerala. According to Malabar tradition seven Christian communities were formed in seven different places before he was martyred in 72 A.D. His body was brought to Mylapore and buried in a holy Shrine.
From the 4th century, St. Thomas Christians established relationship with the Church of Persia. Bishops who came to India from that Church also had their residence at Kodungalloor while they held the title of the "Metropolitan and gate of all India". The 'Metropolitan' changed his residence from Kodungalloor to Angamaly in the 16th Century due to certain Political reasons. After the death of Mar Abraham in 1588 St. Thomas Christians were subjected to the Latin Bishops from 1699 and continued to be so until 1887.
H.H. Pope Leo XIII of illustrious memory by the epoch making bull "Quod Jam Pridem" of May 20, 1887, separated the Syrian Catholics of Malabar from the Jurisdictions of Padroado as well as the Vicariate of Verapoly and erected for them two Apostolic Vicariates Trichur and Kottayam. The Vicariate of Trichur had within its territory two of the most ancient Christian centres ie, Kodungalloor and Palayoor, the former being the cradle of Christianity in India. Msgr. Adolphus Edwin Medlycott was the first Vicar Apostolic of Trichur.
Nine Years later, by the Brief "Quae Rei Sacrae" of July 28, 1896 the same Holy Father reorganised the two Vicariates into three: Trichur, Ernakulam and Changansserry with Indians of the Syro Malabara rite as their Vicars Apostolics Mar John Menacherry became the first native Vicar Apostolic of Trichur.
The rapid and remarkable progress that the Syrian Catholics made under the Indian bishops in the course of a few years was highly appreciated by the Holy See and as a result, on December 21, 1923 by the Bull "Romani Pontifices" of Pope Pius XI, the Syro - Malabar Hierarchy was established, raising Ernakulam to the status of a Metropolitan See and having Trichur, Changanaserry and Kottayam as its suffragan Eparchies. Mar Francis Vazhappilly was the First Bishop of Trichur.
In 1887 the Vicariate of Trichur was bounded on the East by the Western Ghats, on the south by the Periyar (Aluva), on the West by the Arabian Sea and on the North by the river Bharatha. When by "Quae Rei Sacrae" of July 28, 1896 the three Syrian Vicariates were erected, the river Chalakudy was made southern boundary of Trichur Vicariate.
Pope Pius XII, by the Bull "Saepe Fidelis" of April 29, 1955 extended the jurisdiction of the bishop of Trichur to the whole of the Diocese of Coimbatore. On June 20, 1974, Pope Paul VI by the Bull "Apostolico Requirente" divided the Eparchy of Trichur erecting the Eparchy of Palakkad which consisted of the civil districts of Palakkad and Coimbatore. Again on June 22, 1978, Pope Paul VI separated the entire taluk of Kodungalloor, greater part of Mukundapuram and small portions of Paravoor and Aluva to the north of the river Chalakudy from the Eparchy of Trichur and erected the Eparchy of Irinjalakuda by the Apostolic Bull "Trichuriensis Eparchiae".
Pope John Paul II inaugurated the centenary celebrations of the Eparchy of Trichur on February 7, 1986 at St. Thomas Nagar Trichur, in the presence of about one million people. On May 20, 1987 the centenary day was celebrated. The concluding functions on 9th August 1987 were presided over by Simon Cardinal Lourdusamy the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. The eparchial renewal project - Evangelisation Decade - was inaugurated on December 30, 1990.
The long awaited expectation of the faithful of Trichur Eparchy was fulfilled on May 18, 1995 when the Pope John Paul II raised Eparchy to the Metropolitan status, Eparchies of Irinjalakuda and Palakkad as its suffragans and Bishop Mar Joseph Kundukulam as its first Metropolitan Archbishop.
The present Archieparchy of Trichur has the following boundaries - North: Bharathapuzha in Malappuram district and Trichur - Palakkad district boundary; West: Arabian Sea; East: Trichur district boundary; South: Southern boundary of Valapad village and Karuvannur, Karanchira, Kurumali, Mupliyam river.
Most Rev. Andrews ThazhathArchbishop of Trichur
|Born||:||13 December 1951|
|Priestly Ordination||:||14 March 1977|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 May 2004|
Catholic Archbishops House, Post Box No.706, Thrissur - 680005 (Kerala)
Right Rev. Tony NeelankavilAuxiliary Bishop of Trichur
|Born||:||23 July 1967|
|Priestly Ordination||:||27 December 1993|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||18 November 2017|
Archbishops House, Thrichur- 680005 (Kerala)
Most Rev. Jacob ThoomkuzhyArchbishop Emeritus of Trichur
|Born||:||13 December 1930|
|Priestly Ordination||:||22 December 1956|
|Episcopal Ordination||:||1 May 1973|