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 Hyderabad

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Archdiocese of Hyderabad
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In a land area of 30,814 square kilometers, the archdiocesan territory covers urban district of Hyderabad, which is also the capital of Telangana, the semi-urban district of Ranga Reddy and the districts of Medak and Nizamabad.

The Hyderabad mission had its beginning in 1646 with the arrival of the Portuguese and became an independent vicariate in 1845.  Msgr Daniel Murphy, an Irish priest, was the first vicar apostolic. The vicariate then had a total population of 12 million and the Catholics were around 4,000. The Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME) missioners were among the first to work in the vicariate.

Pope Leo XIII made a proclamation on Aug. 1, 1886, converting all the vicariates in India into dioceses and making all vicars apostolic residential bishops. Thus, Hyderabad became a diocese and Msgr Peter Caprotti, PIME, became the first bishop of Hyderabad. Hyderabad was raised to the status of an archdiocese on Sept. 19, 1953, and Bishop Joseph Mark Gopu was appointed the first archbishop.


In 2016, the population in the archdiocese is 13,716,000.


Languages used in the territory include Telugu, English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Urdu.


According to government state record, the per capita income is Rs 22,520 ($500). Hyderabad is a major drug manufacturing city, known as the pharmaceutical capital of India. It is also known for its food industry, especially poultry, meat and dairy.

IT firms like Microsoft, Wipro, Infosys, Satyam and Oracle India have offices in Hyderabad. The districts of Ranga Reddy, Medak and Nizamabad produc mainly rice, jowar and maize.


The literacy rate in the archdiocesan territory is 62.75 percent.

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