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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 Thanjavur

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Diocese of Thanjavur
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The diocese covers a land area of 9,583 square kilometers and includes the entire civil districts of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam (except for the two taluks or civil administration units of Papanasam and Kumbakonam in the district of Thanjavur). It also covers six taluks of Pudukottai district and two taluks of Cuddalore district. Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam are considered important towns of the area.

Population

In 2017, Thanjuvar diocese has a total population of 5,092,290. Tamils and Telegus are the main ethnic groups here.

Language

Tamil and Telegu are the languages spoken in the diocese.

History

The diocese of Thanjavur was erected by bifurcating the diocese of Mylapore on Nov. 23, 1952. The diocese of Thanjavur is the result of the work of the Portuguese Padruado Missionaries from Goa; Franciscans, Augustinians, Jesuits, Paris Foreign Missions Society (MEP), Salesians and the diocesan clergy.

On March 25, 1953, Bishop R.A. Sundaram became the first bishop of Thanjavur. Under his leadership, the diocese developed steadily. He retired in 1986 after 33 years of episcopal ministry. His successor, Archbishop P. Arokiaswamy, took charge on Nov. 26, 1986. He retired in July 1997. Father M. Devadass Ambrose was ordained bishop of Thanjavur on Sept. 24, 1997.

Political

Towns are governed by municipalities, whereas villages and small towns are administered by local bodies called panchayats. The members of the local bodies are elected by adult suffrage.

Transportation

The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads and railway. The nearest airport is in Trichy city.

Economy

The per capita income here is Rs 16,261 ($362) as of November 2006. The districts of Thanjavur and Thiruvarur are collectively called the "rice bowl" of Tamil Nadu. The area known as Cauvery Delta is well known for its farming as the river Cauvery flows through it. Fishing is a major industry in the Nagapattinam district.

Telecommunication

Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities here. The diocese is well served by local cable TV networks.

Education

The literacy rate is 76.12 percent.

Culture

Carnatic music, one of the two classical music styles of India, originated in this area. Every year, thousands of Carnatic musicians visit Thiruvayaru to pay homage to Sri Thyagaraja, founder of the classical tradition. This area is also known for its folk arts such as shadow puppetry and the traditional Karakatam dance.

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