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Diocese of Allahabad

Diocese of Allahabad

With a land area of 46, 774 square kilometers, the diocese covers 12 civil districts of Uttar Pradesh state: Allahabad, Ambedkarnagar, Faizabad, Fatehpur, Kanpur City, Kanpur Rural (Akbarpur), Mirzapur, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli, Sonebhadra, Sultanpur, and Kaushambi.

Allahabad and Kanpur are the biggest cities in the territory.

Population

41,517,000 people live in the diocesan territory.

Language

Hindi, Urdu and English are the main languages used.

History

The history of the Church in Allahabad is linked to the early missionary expeditions to Tibet and Nepal. The Italian Capuchins of Ancona were commissioned in 1703 to evangelize Tibet. In 1707, six priest reached Lhasa. They were well-received by the Grand Lama and allowed to build a church and a house. For lack of personnel, they had to abandon Tibet twice. In 1741, a third expedition was sent, but this time pressure from the Lamas led to persecution. In 1745 they left Lhasa for Nepal.

During the years 1738-1741, the kings of Bhatgon and Kathmandu asked the missionaries to open a mission in their kingdoms. They provided land and a house for the priests. By November 1767 the mission had recorded 59 baptisms. But in July 1745, a war broke out between Bhatgaon, Patan and Kathmandu. Prithvi Narayan, ruler of the Ghurkas, came to power as liberator of the three kingdoms, and within eight years he conquered the rest of Nepal. He denied the missionaries the royal subsidies granted by his predecessors. Without financial help the missionaries left Nepal for Bettiah.

In 1820, the prefecture of Tibet-Hindustan was elevated to a vicariate based in Agra. In 1825, Father Anthony Pezzoni was appointed vicar apostolic. He left India in 1842, and was succeeded by Msgr. Joseph Anthony Borghi. At the request of Msgr. Borghi, Patna was made a separate vicariate in 1845.

On Sept. 1, 1886, Patna vicariate was elevated to become the diocese of Allahabad and Father Francis Pesci became its first bishop. On Dec. 20, 1890, the local Church was transferred to the care of the Capuchin province of Bologna.

Allahabad remains a large diocese despite losing territory to seven ecclesiastical units. The Capuchins administered it until 1947, when Capuchin Bishop Angelo Poli handed it over to diocesan clergy headed by Bishop Leonard Raymond (later archbishop of Nagpur), its first Indian ordinary.

Political

Allahabad City is managed by a corporation. Villages and small towns are administered by panchayats and municipalities, respectively. These local bodies are elected.

Transportation

Roads and railways exist throughout the diocesan area. The nearest airport is in Varanasi city.

Economy

Per capita income is Rs 16,060 ($359) as of March 2011. Farming is a major occupation with wheat, rice and sugarcane the main crops. Many industries are also located in the diocese.

Telecommunication

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

Education

Nearly 59.02 percent literacy rate exists in the diocese.

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