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 Kuzhithurai

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Diocese of Kuzhithurai
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Kuzhithurai is a city in Kanniyakumari district in the  Tamil Nadu state. It is the administrative headquarters of Vilavancode taluk. It has a historical seaport which is mentioned in the ancient Indian maps.

On Dec. 22, 2014, Pope Francis erected the diocese of Kuzhithurai out of territory from the neighboring  diocese of Kottar and named Father Jerome Dhas Varuvel, S.D.B., as its first bishop. It has 264,222 Catholics and is a suffragan of the archdiocese of Madurai.


According to 2016 census, Kuzhithurai had a population of 825,359 with a sex-ratio of 1,022 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929.  Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes account for 1.45 percent and .02 percent of the population, respectively.


People speak both Tamil and Malayalam languages.


The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railway. Kuzhithurai railway station is busy place leading to Trivandrum. Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport which is 34 km from the city.


Kuzhithurai municipality spreads over an area of 5 km². The Thamiraparani River flows through Kuzhithurai.


The cultural landscape in the diocese is a mixture of Tamil and Malayalam traditions. Hinduism and Christianity are the major religions in the town.


The average literacy of the town is 85.99 percent compared with the national average of 72.99 percent.

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