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.
In 2017, Thanjuvar diocese has a total population of 5,092,290. Tamils and Telegus are the main ethnic groups here.
Tamil and Telegu are the languages spoken in the diocese.
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.
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.
The diocesan area is well connected in terms of transport infrastructure by roads and railway. The nearest airport is in Trichy city.
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.
Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities here. The diocese is well served by local cable TV networks.
The literacy rate is 76.12 percent.
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.
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.