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 Punalur

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Diocese of Punalur
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Punalur diocese is located in the southern Kerala. It is one of the oldest Catholic centers.

The diocese is bound in the north by alappuzha diocese, Northeast by the Pathanamthitta district, in the east by Thirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, in the south by Thiruvananthapuram district and in the west by Kollam diocese.

In a land area of 5072 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the entire civil district of Pathanamthitta and a few sub divisions.


The diocese is dominated by Dalit (former untouchables) Christians.


Malayalam, English and Tamil are in use in the diocesan territory.


Belgian Carmelite Fathers were the first to preach Gospel here. During the Second World War, the Fathers went back, entrusting the mission to the diocesan clergy.

Punalur was separated from the diocese of Quilon by Pope John Paul II, on Dec. 21, 1985.

Punalur diocese is one of the suffragan dioceses under Trivandrum archdiocese.


The diocese enjoys all four types of climate. The winter season sets in during December and continues till February-end. Winter is followed by the summer season. Its starts in February and continues till May. During summer season many parts of the diocese face drought. Summer is followed by pre-monsoon rains. The southwest monsoon begins either in the end of May or in the beginning of June and fades out by September.

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