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 Jowai

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Diocese of Jowai
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In a land area of 3, 819 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil districts of Jowai, Khliehriat, Rymbai, Shangpung and Sutnga in the state of Meghalaya.


In 2016, total population in the diocese was 435,935. Pnar, War, Garo, Nepalee, migrant Biharis are the major ethnic groups.


Khasi, Pnar, War, Garo and Hindi are the various languages spoken in the diocese.


Diocese of Jowai was erected on Jan. 28, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI, and Father Vincent Kympat was appointed its first bishop. He was ordained on April 2, 2006, by the Apostolic Nuncio to India Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana.


Villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called panchayats and municipalities respectively.


The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads. The nearest airport is in Guwahati.


Per capita income in the diocesan territory is Rs 18,274 ($393) as of January 2010. Farming is prime occupation. Vegetables like potatoes, and cauliflowers and fruits like sweet oranges, arcanuts and beetle leaves are also grown.


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


Jowai is the biggest town in the diocese. One fifth of the land is a reserved forest. The landscape is beautiful and it is a plateau surrounded north by the Assam, south by the plain of Bangladesh, west by the hills of Shillong archdiocese and east by the hills of Cachar district. One fourth of the area is coal mines and lime stones.


Nearly 60 percent is the literacy rate in the diocesan territory.

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