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Explore South Asia's ancient dioceses

Cardinal Cheong

The cathedral of the first diocese in India.

St. Thomas the Apostle, who is believed to have arrived on Kerala’s Malabar Coast in 52 AD, is considered the father of the Catholic faith in India.

Christian communities developed and expanded further when European missionaries arrived in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The history of a few ancient dioceses in Asia can be dated back to 13th century pre-Portuguese mission expeditions.

Find out the oldest diocese in India here.

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Archdiocese of Bhopal

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Archbishop Leo Cornelio
Archbishop Cornelio
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Archbishop Leo Cornelio
Archbishop's House
33, Ahmedabad Palace Road
Bhopal - 462 001
Madhya Pradesh, India

Phone: +91 755 25 40 829, 4234903 (Mob) 09425609199
Fax :+91 755 2544737
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Archbishop Leo Cornelio SVD was born on March 14, 1945, in the coastal city of Udupi in Karnataka. After completing his primary schooling in his native place, he was recruited for the Divine Word Missionary (SVD) and was admitted to Rajeshwar Vidhyalaya, Mhow, in Madhya Pradesh. There he continued his studies from 1958 to 1962.

After completing two years study at Divine Word Society in Mhow, he joined the novitiate (1964-1966) for spiritual and religious formation. He graduated in philosophy and in theology at the Papal Athenaeum, Pune, in 1968 and 1972 respectively.

He was ordained priest in his native parish at Mount Rosary Church, Kallianpur, on Nov. 14, 1972. Soon after his ordination, he joined Gyan Ashram, Mumbai. Later he obtained a master's degree in English literature. In June 1983, he went to Rome for a spiritual and theological course. On his return to India in 1984, he was elected provincial superior of the SVD Central Indian province with its headquarters in Indore. Three years later in 1987, he was re-elected to the same position.

In June 1988, at the SVD general chapter held in Rome, he was elected general councillor.

Besides being well acquainted with several Indian languages he is also proficient in Italian, Spanish, French, German and Indonesian languages.

In 1998, Pope John Paul II appointed him as bishop of Khandwa diocese. In 2000, Pope John Paul II appointed him as a member of pontifical council for migrants and itinerant people; and in 2006 he was reappointed by Pope Benedict XVI for a second term. He is also the chairman of the CBCI Commission for Youth and chairperson of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement. Besides, he is a member of the CBCI Commission for Social Communications and also the financial administrator for the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Regional Major Seminaries at Bhopal and Ashta.

Previous Ordinaries:

  • Archbishop Paschal Topno, S.J. Emeritus (1994-2007)
  • Archbishop Eugene D'Souza, M.S.F.S. (1963- 1994)

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