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 Thuckalay

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Diocese of Thuckalay
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The diocese stretches overs a land area of 1793.94 square kilometers and covers the whole of Kanyakumari district and the taluk of Shenkottai in Tiruneveli district. Nagercoil is the biggest town in the diocese. Marthondam, Kulithurai and Thuckalay are also important towns in the diocesan area.


The total population as of 2017 was 2,010,200. Tamils and Malayalees form the major ethnic groups.


Tamil, Malayalam and English are the languages used in the diocesan territory.


On Nov. 11, 1996, Pope John Paul II erected the diocese of Thuckalay and appointed Mar George Alencherry as its first bishop. Thus the long cherished aspiration of the faithful of the Kanyakumari Mission and the archdiocese of Changanacherry was fulfilled.


Towns are governed by municipalities, whereas villages and small towns are administered by local bodies called panchayats. Members of the local bodies are elected by adult suffrage.


The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railway. The nearest airport is in Thiruvanathapuram, the capital city of neighbouring Kerala state.


Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese is well connected by local cable TV networks.



The literacy rate here is 81.25 percent.


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