Explore the Oldest Dioceses in South Asia

Cardinal Cheong

The cathedral of the first diocese in India.

It is believed that Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle,
who is said to have reached the Malabar Coast of Kerala in 52 AD.

Christian communities developed and expanded further when
Portuguese missionaries arrived in the 13th and 14th centuries.

History of a few oldest dioceses in India as the cradle of Indian Christianity
can be dated back to the 15th century.

Find out which is the first diocese in India here.

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Archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore

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Archbishop Francis Kalist
Archbishop Kalist
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Archbishop Francis Kalist
Archbishop's House,
P.O. Box 193, 206 Cathedral St.,
Puducherry-605001, India

Phone: (0413)233.47.48; 233.99.11
Fax :420.15.03
Email: [email protected]

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Francis Kalist of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Pondicherry-Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu on March 19, 2022.

Archbishop Kalist was born on Nov. 23, 1957, in Reethapuram, Kanyakumari district of Kottar Diocese. He attended elementary school in Reethapuram and joined St. John’s minor seminary of Sardhana, Meerut, and later joined St. Albert’s major seminary, Ranchi, to study philosophy and theology. Archbishop Kalist was ordained priest on Dec. 30, 1982, in Meerut, and was incardinated in the same diocese.

After ordination he held the following positions: 1982-1984: vicar, Sacred Heart Church, Roorkee; 1984-1986: vicar, St. Pius Church, Bachraon; 1986-1989: pastor, St. James Church, Sirsanal Village; 1989-1995: pastor, St. Paul’s Church, Christnagar; 1995-1999: pastor, St. Francis Church, Swar; 1999-2002: rector, St. John’s minor seminary and administrator of Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of Graces, Sardhana; 2002-2008: rector, St. Francis Xavier Regional Philosophate, Etmadpur, Archdiocese of Agra and from 1992 to 2002 he was diocesan director of evangelization.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as the third bishop of Meerut on Dec. 3, 2008, at the age of 51 and was ordained bishop on Feb. 8, 2009. He is currently the chairman of the CCBI Commission for Women and the Episcopal Advisor of National Charismatic Service Team.

Archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore became vacant on Jan. 27, 2021, following the resignation of late Archbishop Antony Anandarayar, who passed away on May 4, 2021, due to COVID-19-related illness.

Previous Ordinaries:

  • Archbishop Antony Anandarayar (10 Jun 2004 Appointed - 27 Jan 2021 Retired)
  • Archbishop S. Michael Augustine (1992-2004)
  • Archbishop V. S. Selvanathar (1973-1992)
  • Archbishop R. Ambrose (1955-1973)
  • Bishop R. Ambrose, Coadjutor (1954-1955)
  • Bishop R. Ambrose, Auxiliary (1953-1954)
  • Bishop Mark Gopu, Auxiliary (1948-1953)
  • Archbishop A. S. Colas (1930-1955)
  • Archbishop Morel (1909-1929)
  • Archbishop Joseph Gandy (1892-1909)
  • Archbishop Laouenan (1886-1892)
  • Bishop Joseph Gandy, Coadjutor (1883-1889)
  • Bishop Laouenan, Vicar Apostolic (1868-1886)
  • Bishop Godelle, Vicar Apostolic (1861-1867)
  • Bishop Godelle, Coadjutor (1857-1861)
  • Bishop Bonnand, Vicar Apostolic (1836-1861)
  • Bishop Bonnand, Coadjutor (1833-1836)
  • Bishop Hebert, Superior of the Carnatic Mission (1810-1835)
  • Bishop Champenois, Superior of the Carnatic Mission (1791-1810)
  • Bishop Champenois, Coadjutor (1786-1791)
  • Bishop Brigot, Superior of the Carnatic Mission (1776-1791)

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