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 Vijayawada

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Diocese of Vijayawada
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In a land area of 8,734 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers civil district of Krishna. Vijayawada is the biggest city in the diocese. Machilipatnam is an important town in the diocese.


In Vijayawada diocese, the population is 4,730,650 at end of 2017. (The population of the whole country is about 20 million). Most residents are ethnic Telegus.


Telegu, English and Urdu are the languages used in the diocesan territory.


The diocese of Vijayawada comprised in the beginning the whole of Krishna and West Godavari districts and the taluks of Amalapuram, Kothapeta, Razole and Mummidivaram in East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh.

This territory was separated from Hyderabad and made a "Missio sui Juris" by a brief of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide, dated Jan. 10, 1933, and was elevated to a diocese on April 23, 1937.

The diocese of Eluru was bifurcated from Vijayawada on Feb. 26, 1977.


The towns are managed by municipalities. The villages and small towns are administered by elected local bodies called panchayats.


The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads and railways. The nearest airport is in Hyderabad city.


Nearly Rs 22,874 ($468) is the per capital income in the diocesan territory as of July 2009. Farming especially paddy, tobacco cultivation, is done here.


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


Nearly 68.85 per cent is the literacy rate in the diocesan territory.

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