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 Delhi

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Archdiocese of Delhi
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Archdiocese of Delhi comprises the state of Delhi and districts of Gurgaon, Rohtak, Mahendragarh, Sonepat, Faridabad, Nuh, Jhajjar and Rewari in Haryana state.

Suffragan dioceses are Jammu-Srinagar, Jalandhar, Simla and Chandigarh.


The total population of the archdiocese as of 2013 is 27.5 million.


Christian presence in Delhi and the surrounding areas can be traced back to around 1626.

In spite of the shortage of priests, the archdiocese of Delhi-Simla made sufficient progress and on June 4, 1959, the archdiocese was bifurcated into two separate ecclesiastical units  -- diocese of Simla-Chandigarh and archdiocese of Delhi -- and both were handed over to the diocesan clergy. While Archbishop Joseph Fernandes was renamed archbishop of Delhi, Msgr. John Burke, the then vicar general of Delhi archdiocese, was consecrated on Nov. 1, 1959, as the first bishop of the newly carved out diocese of Simla-Chandigarh. On the same day, Father Angelo Fernandes, the then administrator of Holy Name Cathedral, Bombay, was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Delhi.

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