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Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Catholicism in the Philippines

“…500 years have passed since the Christian message first arrived in the Philippines. You received the joy of the Gospel... And this joy is evident in your people … We see it in your eyes, on your faces, in your songs and in your prayers. In the joy with which you bring your faith to other lands …”

~ Pope Francis said in his homily of the Mass at the Vatican on March 14, formally opening the yearlong celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Catholicism’s arrival in the Philippines.

A country of 7,641 islands at the sea of southeast Asia with a population of 109 million, of which more than 10 million are migrants living in almost 100 countries across the world.

Why the Pope calls Filipinos “smugglers of faith”? What makes the local Church so unique?

What is the Catholic population in the country? How many dioceses, bishops are there?

All you need to know about the Church in the Philippines in one click
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Diocese of Kothamangalam

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Diocese of Kothamangalam
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Situated in the centre of Kerala, the eparchy of Kothamangalam with 4,800 square kilometers covers the taluks of Kothamangalam, Devikulam, Kunnathunad, Udumbanchola and Thodupuzha.

Language

Malayalam, English and Tamil are the spoken languages in the diocese.

History

The diocese of Kothamangalam was established in 1956, and was inaugurated in January 1957. Mar Mathew Pothanamuzhy was appointed as the first bishop of the diocese in 1957. On his retirement in 1977, Mar George Punnakkottil was appointed. The Kothamangalam diocese initially encompassed the areas of the current Idukki diocese which was formed in 2002. The diocesan cathedral is St George's Cathedral, located at the High Range Junction. The eparchy covers 12 foranes, with 115 parishes. Kothamangalam is a small town lying on the foothills of the Western Ghats and is referred as “the gateway to the high ranges.” The town is also an important trading center for spices and hill produce.

Kothamangalam is known for its old Christian churches and its prominent educational institutions. St. Thomas is believed to have preached in this place and converted about 240 Brahmin families to the Christian faith.

Climate

The diocese enjoys all four seasons. The winter season starts with the end of the northeast monsoons. In the highlands the climate is cool throughout the year, winter temperatures often fall below 10C.

Geography

It is surrounded by the archdioceses of Ernakulam and Madurai and the dioceses of Kanjirapally, Palai, Idukki and Coimbatore.

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