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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Diocese of Bijnor

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Diocese of Bijnor
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With an area of 30, 664 square kilometers, the diocese covers Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh and districts of Pauri, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Tehri, Uttarkashi and part of Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Bijnor and Haridwar are the biggest towns in the diocese.


The total population in the diocese is 3,071,000.


Hindi, Garhwalee and Urdu are the main languages used.


Pope Paul VI created Bijnor as an apostolic exarchate on March 23, 1972, from Meerut diocese. It was entrusted to the Sacred Heart province of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, and Father Gratian Mundadan, CMI, was appointed apostolic exarch. Its territory lie within Uttar Pradesh state until the new state of Uttarakhand was created in 2000.

Pope Paul VI raised the apostolic exarchate of Bijnor to an eparchy on Feb. 26, 1977, making Exarch Mundadan its first bishop.

On Aug. 14, 2009, Father John Vadakel, CMI, was appointed second bishop of Bijnor. He was installed on Oct. 22, 2009. Bishop John Vadakel retired onAug. 30, 2019 and Bishop Vincent Nellaiparambil took the office on Aug. 30, 2019.


Cities are managed by corporations. Villages and small towns are administered by panchayats and municipalities, respectively. These local bodies are elected.


The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transportation infrastructure by roads and railways. The nearest airport is in New Delhi.


Per capita income is Rs 56,000 ($1,852) as of March 2011. Farming dominates with wheat, rice, sugarcane and vegetables as main crops.


Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese is well served by local cable TV networks.


71.62 percent literacy rate.

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