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 Kothamangalam

Bishop George Punnakottil
Bishop George Punnakottil
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Bishop George Punnakottil
Bishop's House, P.B. No. 6, Kothamangalam, Ernakulam district, Kerala, India - 686 691.
+91-485-28 62 236, +91-485-28 62 692, +91-485-28 61 625
Fax :+91-485- 28 61 625
[email protected]

Bishop George Punnakottil was born on Sept 13, 1936 at Thazhavankunnu. After matriculation in 1953 from Infant Jesus High School Vazhakulam he joined the Minor Seminary at Kothamangalam. He did his philosophical studies at St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary Mangalapuzha. He studied theology at Pontifical Urban University in Rome. He was ordained a presbyter in Rome on Oct 18, 1961. He did a licentiate in the study of the Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and received a doctorate in Biblical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University Rome.
His first appointment in the Eparchy was as Assistant Parish Priest of St.George's Cathedral Kothamangalam. In 1968 he joined the staff of the St.Thomas' Apostolic Seminary Vadavathoor as Professor of the Sacred Scripture and Theology. He obtained a master's degree in International relations from the Vanderbilt University of Nashville, Tennesse State in 1976. He was a visiting scholar in Union Theological Seminary in 1978. In 1976 he served as professor at St.Thomas' Apostolic Seminary Vadavathoor and as Vice Rector and Editor to the periodical Bible Bhashiyam.
He has written a number of scholarly articles in periodicals and two books on the Bible. He was appointed Bishop of Kothamangalam on Feb 16, 1977. His episcopal ordination was on April 24, 1977. At present he holds the offices of Chairman, Episcopal Commission for St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary Alwaye; Chairman of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) Commission for Ecumenism and Dialogue; Member of the Pontifical Council for the Cultural Treasures of the Church, Rome and Member of CBCI Standing Committee.
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