The old diocese of Mylapore was erected by Pope Paul V on Jan. 9, 1606. The vicariate apostolic of Madras was created on July 4, 1832, and confirmed on April 25, 1834 which was raised to an archepiscopal See on Sept. 1, 1886. The diocese of Mylapore from the very beginning was under the Portuguese missionaries and in 1950 it was passed over to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith.
On Jan. 13, 1952, a portion of the archdiocese of Madras and diocese of Mylapore were dismembered. From the western portion of the archdiocese of Madras, the diocese of Vellore was created. The extreme southern portion of the diocese of Mylapore was made the diocese of Thanjavur. From the remaining portions, a new archdiocese was created on Nov. 14, 1952, to be known as the archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore.
The archdiocesan territory covers a land area of 3,160 square kilometres and includes the city of Chennai (formerly called Madras) and the civil district of Thiruvallur.
The area has a population of 6,984,614, according to the government census in 2004.
Ethnic groups in the territory include Anglo-Indians, Gujarathis, Malayalees, Marwaris, and Telugus. Most of the people speak Tamil. English, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi are also used.
The old diocese of Mylapore was erected by Pope Paul V on Jan. 9, 1606, by an agreement between the Holy Father and the King of Portugal. By virtue of this arrangement which was known as "Padroado," the King of Portugal was vested with special powers to appoint bishops and priests in specified areas and to support them financially in their work of evangelization. The padroado system and the arrangement suffered due to the civil disturbance and transfer of power in Portugal and was finally cancelled by the Holy Father in 1950.
The diocese of Mylapore then came under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith from Oct. 10, 1950. The last padroado bishop of Mylapore Bishop Dom MM Guerreiro was transferred on March 2, 1951, to the See of Nampula in Mozambique in Portuguese East Africa. On Bishop Guerreiro's transfer, his vicar general, Monsignor Francis Arthur Carvalho, was appointed, by the congregation as apostolic administrator of the diocese of Mylapore, a post which he held until the creation of the archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore.
The Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore functions in the capital city of Chennai (Madras). On Nov. 14, 1952, Father Louis Mathias, SDB, was nominated as the first archbishop of Madras- Mylapore. He was enthroned on Nov. 29 of the same year in the Santhome Cathedral Basilica which was officially made as Cathedral of the new Archdiocese, while St Mary's Cathedral was made Co-Cathedral.
According to tradition, St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, walked on the sands of Mylapore and preached the Gospel to the people who embraced Christianity.
He was martyred on St. Thomas Mount, near Mylapore in the year 72 AD and his mortal remains were buried in Santhome in the church which was built by him.
The per capita income in the archdiocesan territory is Rs 27,050 ($611) per annum. The territory has petrochemical, automobile, dairy, fishing, textiles, agriculture, and information technology industries. Chennai city has a major port facility.
The local literacy rate is 81.14 percent.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.