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 Neyyattinkara

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Diocese of Neyyattinkara
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Pope John Paul II erected the Latin rite diocese of Neyyattinkara, based in southern most part of Kerala state, on June 14, 1996. The origin of Christianity in this area dates back to 1600, when people who received baptism from St. Francis Xavier came and settled in Neyyattinkara, Vlathankara, Amaravila and Parassala.

In 1698, attempts were made to start a mission at Nemom.  In 1707, Jesuit Father Severia Borgis started it.  The first converts were from the Nair community.  The first church in the area was erected in 1775 at Amaravila.

Widespread missionary activities in the diocese began at the dawn of 20th century, when the area was under Quilon diocese. It was the saintly Carmelite Archbishop Aloysius Maria Benziger, archbishop of Quilon, worked hard to spread the faith in area in 1905. His saintly life, powerful leadership, missionary zeal and generous assistance to missionary priests paved the way for the formation of several ecclesial communities.

The diocese of Neyyattinkara was created bifurcating the diocese of Trivandrum in 1996 and Father Vincent Samuel was appointed as its first bishop.

The diocese consists of two taluks of Neyyattinkara and Nedumangad except the area that was erstwhile under the Padroado.

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