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 Bombay

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Archdiocese of Bombay
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With a land area of 10,103.4 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil districts of Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban, Thane and Raigad.

Bombay or Mumbai is the biggest city in the archdiocese, and in India too. Thane, Navi Mumbai and Raigad are other important towns in the territory.


The total population is 19,249,203. Bombay has a mix of many communities with native Marathis forming a substantial segment.


Marathi, English, Konkanni, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Gujarati are in use.


The Archdiocese of Bombay has been a Metropolitan See since the time it was elevated by Pope Leo XIII on September 1, 1886.

The ecclesiastical province of Bombay includes the suffragan dioceses of Nashik, Pune, and Vasai.
One hundred and twenty-five years ago in 1886 through a Concordat signed by the Holy See and Portugal and following that through Pope Leo XIII's Bull Humanae Salutis, Bombay (as it was then called) became an Archdiocese, with its own Archbishop.


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


Mumbai has an airport. The city also has a major port and is a major naval facility. It is considered one of the largest cities in the world in terms of population and size.


Annual per capita income is Rs 24,112 ($513) as of November 2009. Mumbai is considered the financial center of the Indian economy. The diocesan area is known for its fishing, ship building, nuclear power plants and naval bases.


Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area, which is also well-covered by local cable TV networks.


Literacy rate is 82.75 percent.

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