The archdiocese of Cuttack–Bhubaneswar comprises nine civil districts of Boudh, Cuttack, Kandhamal, Kendrapara, Khurda, Jagatsingpur, Jajpur, Nayagarh and Puri in Orissa state in eastern India.
The diocese of Cuttack was part of the diocese of Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) since 1845, when missionaries of St. Francis de Sales, (MSFS) established parishes and took care of the pastoral needs of the region.
During the First World War, the French Missionaries went back to France. On Jan. 10, 1922, a group of four Spanish Vincentian priests (Congregation of Mission) came to Orissa and they replaced the French MSFS missionaries.
On July 18, 1928, Pope Pius XI declared the Mission of Cuttack “Missio Sui Juris.” Father Valerian Guemes, CM, was appointed its administrator and later as the ecclesiastical superior. In 1937, the Cuttack Mission was elevated to a diocese and made a suffragan of Ranchi archdiocese and Msgr. Florencio Sanz Esperanza, CM, was appointed first bishop of Cuttack diocese in 1938.
In 1948, he retired and Msgr. Paul Tobar Gonzalves, CM, became his successor. On April 18, 1971, Bishop Tobar died and Father Vincent Urbaneja, CM, was elected administrator of the diocese.
On Jan. 24, 1974, the Cuttack Mission was divided into the metropolitan see of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar and the diocese of Berhampur. Msgr. Henry D’Souza was appointed the first archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. He was ordained on May 5, 1974, in Calcutta. In the same year the bishop’s residence was moved from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar, the state capital.
In April 1984, Archbishop D’Souza was called back to the archdiocese of Calcutta. On Aug. 11, 1985, Bishop Raphael Cheenath, SVD, of the diocese of Sambalpur succeeded him as the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
When Archbishop Cheenath retired Bishop John Barwa was selected as archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar on Feb. 11, 2011. Archbishop Barwa was installed on April 2, 2011, at our Lady of Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, Cuttack.
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.
St. Joseph’s Church in Lahore is the oldest Catholic Church in Pakistan that has flourished since the 19th century despite deadly sectarian violence in recent years. The church at Sarfaraz Rafiqui Road in Lahore was established as a wooden structure during the British colonial era, on Oct. 31, 1842, to provide pastoral care to the British soldiers. It completed 180 years this year.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The Cathedral of Good Shepherd in Singapore is a historic National Monument, but it also holds first-class relics of a French saint who brought Catholicism on the shores of city-state two centuries ago. Built in 1847, the Good Shepherd Cathedral is the oldest Catholic Church and mother church of all Catholic churches in Singapore.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.