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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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Diocese of Jhansi

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Diocese of Jhansi
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Jhansi diocese is in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. It has an area of 29,418 square kilometers with seven civil districts: Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, and Mahoba.

Important cities in the diocese are: Jhansi, Lalitpur, Mahoba, Banda and Hamirpur.

Population

There are 4,535 Catholics, representing 0.046 percent of 9,389,886 people in the territory as of 2016. Followers of other religions are Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.

The diocese has 28 parishes and mission stations.

Most of the Catholics are migrants and are railway employees, who live in the towns. Local Catholics are few.

Language

People in the diocese speak Hindi, Urdu, Bhundelkhandi and English.

History

The diocesan territory, which belonged to the Allahabad diocese, was detached in 1929 and was entrusted to the Maltese Province Capuchins, who were working in Allahabad diocese.

Though the area was declared a prefecture on Jan. 12, 1940, it remained without its prefect due to World War II. On Jan. 21, 1946, Msgr. Francis Xavier Fenech, O.F.M. Cap, was appointed its prefect apostolic.

On July 5, 1954, the prefecture was raised to a diocese and  Msgr. Fenech became its first bishop.

Msgr. Baptist Mudartha was appointed its auxiliary bishop in 1963. He succeeded Msgr. Fenech as its first Indian bishop in August 1967.

On Feb. 10, 1999, civil districts of Bhind, Datia, Gwalior, Morena, Shivpuri and Sheopur, belonging to the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh state, were detached from Jhansi diocese to form the diocese of Gwalior.

Economy

Most of the people in the region belong to the middle class, backward community and they are farmers. They cultivate wheat, paddy, gram and groundnut.

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