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?

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Archdiocese of Trichur

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Archdiocese of Trichur
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In a land area of 2,000 square kilometers, the ecclesiastical province of Trichur comprises the metropolitan Thrissur archdiocese with suffragan dioceses of Irinjalakuda and Palakkad.

The ecclesiastical province’s capital is Trichur, the cultural capital of Kerala. Majority of the population are Hindus.

The Christianity traces its origin back to the Apostolate of St. Thomas, who landed at Crangannore (Kodungallur) in the present district of Trichur in the year 52 AD. According to tradition, he founded the first Church in India at Palayoor.

The present archdiocese of Trichur was begun as a vicariate apostolic on May 20, 1887, and was erected as diocese in 1923 and a Metropolitan See in 1995. It was the biggest diocese in India in Catholic population until the dioceses of Palghat and Irinjalakuda were bifurcated in 1974 and 1978 respectively. The significance of Trichur as the cradle of Christianity in India, the most ancient diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, was reiterated during the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1986.

The word 'Trichur' is the anglicized form of the Malayalam name of the town 'Thri-Siva-Perur', meaning the town of Lord Siva. The name is appropriate, for Trichur derives its main glory from Vadakunnathan Temple, (Vadakunnathan, Lord of the North, is a name of Siva) that dominates the topography of the town.


Malayalam language is in use. English, a mandatory subject in public schools, is widely spoken and understood.


Thrissur basically enjoys four types of climate such as winter, summer, southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon. The coastal areas record a maximum temperature of 32 degree Celsius and a minimum of 22 degree Celsius. The interiors record a maximum of 37 degree Celsius during the summer.


Thrissur is located at the central of Kerala state with a coastal line.

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