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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Eparchy of Pathanamthitta

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Eparchy of Pathanamthitta
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The Pathanamthitta eparchy belongs to the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. It is the seventh eparchy of Malankara Catholic Church.

In a land area of about 2,100 square kilometers, the eparchy is mainly confined to the revenue district of Pathanamthitta.

Pathanamthitta deserves a privileged position in the history of India's evangelization. It is traditionally believed that St. Thomas, one of the apostles of Christ, preached the good news and established seven churches in Kerala and a mission station in Tamil Nadu. One of these churches is at Nilackal (Chayal) which is within the boundaries of the eparchy.

The Episcopal Synod of the Malankara Catholic Church held in 2009, presided over by Major Archbishop Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, decided to form the new eparchy of Pathanamthitta.

It came into existence with the consent of Pope Benedict XVI on Jan. 25, 2010, bifurcating the major archepiscopal eparchy of Trivandrum. Bishop Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom, ordinary of Marthandam, was appointed as the first bishop of the eparchy. The eparchy of Pathanamthitta was inaugurated on March 20, 2010. Bishop Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom took charge of the diocese on the same day.

The diocesan area is basically a hilly region with a considerable number of tribal colonies.

St. Thomas Malankara Catholic Church at Pathanamthitta is the cathedral of the diocese.


Malayalam and English are in use in the territory.


Pathanamthitta has a moderate climate. Temperature ranges between 20 degrees Celsius and 39 Degrees Celsius and experience three seasons: winter, summer and monsoon.


Agriculture is the main occupation of the people. More than 75 percent of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Rubber is the main crop. Other major crops include coconut, pineapple, sugarcane, and cocoa.

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