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 Khunti

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Diocese of Khunti
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In a land area of 3, 365 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers Khunti civil district.


In Khunti civil district, the population is 971,000 as of 2016. Major tribal groups are Munda, Oraon, Gond, Chick-Baraik, Gorait, Karmali, Lohra, Mahli and Birhor.


Languages used in the diocesan territory are Hindi, Sadri, Mundari and Oraon.


The first Catholic Father in Chotanagpur was Father Augustine Stockman, SJ, whose work began in 1868 in Chaibasa. He was the first to preach the Gospel in the four parishes in the Munda region, over a period of more than 20 years. In 1885, Father Constance Lievens SJ, the "Apostle of Chotanagpur", settle in Torpa, western part of the diocese. The tribal Mundas flocked to Torpa to hear him.

Father John Baptist Hoffmann's mission to the Mundas began in 1893. His outstanding contributions lay in his struggle for the rights of the tribals. He also set up a co-operative bank to free the people from the tyranny of money-lenders and his invaluable work on Mundari language and culture is seen in his 16 volume "Encyclopedia - Mundarica" which he worked after his repatriation to Germany in 1915.

In 1928, the archdiocese of Calcutta gave birth to the diocese of Ranchi. Bishop Louis Van Hoeck SJ was selected as the first bishop.

In 1952, Ranchi became an archdiocese with Archbishop Nicholaus Kujur SJ as its first archbishop.

The diocese of Khunti was established by Pope John Paul II with southern territory taken from the archdiocese of Ranchi. Khunti diocese comprises the whole civil subdivision of Khunti and the parish of Bandgaon in West Singhbhum district. The Catholic population of the diocese consists mostly of scheduled tribes, chiefly Mundas. Bishop Stephen M. Tiru, bishop of Dumka, was transferred to Khunti on May 12, 1995, as the first bishop of the new diocese. Bishop Binay Kandulna was appointed bishop of Kunti on Nov. 30, 2012. The diocese had been vacant since the death of Bishop Stephen M. Tiru in March 2012.


Khunti has one parliamentary constituency comprising Khunti and Simdega civil districts. There are three state assembly seats in the diocese.


Transportation mode in the region is road.

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