Kannur diocese covers the territory of Kannur and Kasargode districts of Kerala which comprises an area of 4,988 square kilometers.
The total population of the diocesan territory is 2,874,064 as per the 2016 census. Kannur diocese has been a multi-ethnic and multi religious region.
Malayalam and English are the languages used in the diocesan territory.
The diocese of Calicut had been spread out to an area of 13,051 square kilometers in two revenue districts of Kerala namely Kannur and Kasargode. Bishop Maxwell Noronha in consultation with the faithful and clergy requested the Holy See to establish the new diocese of Kannur.
Pope John Paul II created the diocese of Kannur by bifurcating Calicut diocese. In 1999, Dr. Varghese Chakkalakal was elected bishop of Kannur and was consecrated on Feb. 7, 1999.
The erection of the diocese was a historical event for Kannur which has 500 years of Christian tradition. Christian communities existed in South Kerala from the beginning of Christianity but in North Kerala, known as Malabar, evangelization started in 16th century with the advent of European missionaries. Several Portuguese colonies were formed in the 16th century along the coastal belt of the Arabian Sea. A church was built by Dominge Rodrigues in Tellicherry. When the British East India Company established the Tellicherry Fort in 1708, the Jesuit Fathers renovated this church.
In 1736 Father Dominic OCD established a church in Mahe to take care of the spiritual needs of the French Catholics settled here. In 1878 when the South Canara and Malabar region handed over to the Jesuits of the Venice Province, the evangelization of this region took a new turn. In 1923 some parts of Malabar which belonged to the diocese of Mangalore were bifurcated and the new diocese of Calicut was formed. There were about 6,000 Catholics and 16 priests in Calicut, Tellicherry, Kannur, Vythiri and Mananthavady. The diocese of Calicut made giant strides under the leadership of the prelates Paul Perini, Leo Proserpio, Aldo Maria Ptroni and Maxwell Noronha.
Under the patronage of bishop Leo Proserpio, Father Peter Caironi SJ started his mission among the outcaste in Kannur. This was known as Chirakal Mission. Fathers John Sequeira, Joseph Taffrel SJ, James Monthanari SJ, Aloysius Del Zotto SJ, Michael Vendramin SJ and Father Linus Zucol SJ had strived hard to evangelize this mission region. With the selfless service of the missioners, this region has developed into a Catholic stronghold. This mission was under the Calicut diocese until the diocese of Kannur was formed.
The territory is well connected with roads and rails. Thalassery railway station is one of the major railway stations in Kerala. The nearest airport is at Kozhikode, about 93 kilometers away from the city.
The Kannur and Kasargod districts have pleasant climate. South-western monsoons lash the region from June to September and the north-eastern monsoon extends from October to November. The winter season is from December to February. The temperature reaches the maximum in May. The average annual rainfall is 3,438 mm.
The economy of Kannur diocese is mainly based on agriculture. Rubber, coconut and pepper are the main cash. Though this region is industrially backward, handloom/textile is a major industry.
The level of telecommunications infrastructure is average. Almost everyone has a mobile phone in town areas. Most of the homes have television, telephone and internet. In rural areas access to modern communication is very limited. There are no television broadcasting stations but there are a number of private FM stations and government run AM and FM stations in the diocesan territory.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
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.
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
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.
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.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.