Explore South Asia's ancient dioceses

Cardinal Cheong

The cathedral of the first diocese in India.

St. Thomas the Apostle, who is believed to have arrived on Kerala’s Malabar Coast in 52 AD, is considered the father of the Catholic faith in India.

Christian communities developed and expanded further when European missionaries arrived in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The history of a few ancient dioceses in Asia can be dated back to 13th century pre-Portuguese mission expeditions.

Find out the oldest diocese in India here.

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Diocese of Chiang Mai

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Diocese of Chiang Mai
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The Diocese of Chiang Mai, in the northern region of the Kingdom of Thailand, was erected in 1959.

The diocesan covers a land area of 89,483 square kilometers and includes all eight northern provinces. These are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao and Phrae.

The diocese is the 3rd largest diocese in the country with many conversions and baptisms. It is home to many hilltribes. The Catholics are mostly from the mountain villages, and still live in poverty. 

In 2005, the total number of Catholics in the Diocese was 46,022, of which about 70 per cent are from the different tribes living in the highlands. 

With the exception of the city of Chiang Mai, which is a tourist area, most of the people are farmers and depend largely on land cultivation. 

There are 32 parishes and a good number of mission stations here. In addition, there are 22 Catholic centers under the care of a limited number of diocesan and Religious missionary priests.

The diocese provides Christian and general education for children and youths from the highlands. 

The website of Chiang Mai Diocese is available (only in Thai) at:www.chiangmaidiocese.org

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