Roman Catholic Diocese of Cochin

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Coordinates: 9°57′53″N 76°14′34″E / 9.964774°N 76.242738°E / 9.964774; 76.242738

Diocese of Cochin
Dioecesis Coccinensis
Fort Cochin cathedral.jpg
Location
Country India, India
Ecclesiastical province Verapoly
Metropolitan Verapoly
Coordinates 9°57′53″N 76°14′34″E / 9.964774°N 76.242738°E / 9.964774; 76.242738
Statistics
Area 235 km2 (91 sq mi)
Population
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2006)
562,746[1]
160,812[1] (28.6%)
Information
Rite Latin Rite
Established 4 February 1558
Cathedral Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Cochin
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Joseph Kariyil
Metropolitan Archbishop Francis Kallarakal
Emeritus Bishops John Thattumkal Bishop Emeritus (2000-2009)
Website
Website of the Diocese

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cochin (Latin: Dioecesis Coccinensis) is a diocese located in the city of Cochin in the Ecclesiastical province of Verapoly in India.

The territory of the diocese of Cochin covers 235 square kilometers in the state of Kerala. It is situated between the Arabian Sea in the west, the Archdiocese of Verapoly in the north and in the east, and the Diocese of Alleppey in the south.

The Diocese's Cathedral church and thus, seat of its Bishop, is Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Cochin. The current Bishop of Cochin is Bishop Joseph Kariyil, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on May 8, 2009.

Historical summary[edit]

The Diocese of Cochin, now diminutive in size due to successive bifurcations in the course of time, once used to be the Mother Diocese of many a bishopric in the Sub-continent. The erstwhile Mother Diocese extended in the west coast from Malabar, down south to Cape Comorin (the present Kanya Kumari and still further down, Ceylon ( now, Sri Lanka ) and stretched along the east coast all the way up, encompassing Nepal, Bangladesh and beyond Burma ( now, Myanmar ) and still further east to Hong Kong, Malacca and Macau.

Date Event From To
4 February 1557 Erected Archdiocese of Goa[2] Diocese of Cochin[1][3][4] was erected as a suffragan diocese (other being Diocese of Malacca) to the Archdiocese of Goa[2]
1599 Territory Lost Diocese of Cochin Archdiocese of Angamalé (erected)(Later name changed to

Archdiocese of Cranganore and suppressed to Vicariate Apostolic of Verapoly)

9 January 1606 Territory Lost Diocese of Cochin Dioceses of Saint Thomas of Mylapore (Tamil Nadu)
1606 Territory Lost Diocese of Cochin as Mission “sui iuris” of Madura (Tamil Nadu)
1659 Territory Lost Diocese of Cochin Vicariate Apostolic of Malabar (erected) (Later name

changed to Vicariate Apostolic of Verapoly)

03 Dec 1834 Territory Lost Diocese of Cochin Vicariate Apostolic of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
19 June 1952 Territory Lost Diocese of Cochin Diocese of Alleppey (erected)

Brief history[edit]

History of the Diocese of Cochin[5][6] begins with the arrival of the Portuguese Missionaries in India. These neo-apostles reached Kappad near Kozhikode on May 20, 1498, along with Vasco Da Gama.

A second expedition under Captain Alvarez Cabral, comprising 13 ships and 18 priests, anchored at Cochin on Nov. 26, 1500. Cabral soon won the goodwill of the Raja of Cochin. He allowed four priests to do apostolic work among the early Christian communities, St.Thomas Christians scattered in and around Cochin. Thus Portuguese missionaries established Portuguese Mission in 1500.

During the reign of Catholic emperor of Portugal John III, more Franciscan friars and priests reached Goa. Along with them a highly trained team of Jesuit missionaries led by Father Francis Xavier reached Cochin. Later, he requested the help of Jesuit General St. Ignatius and the emperor for more missionaries from Portugal. Francis Xavier visited Cochin several times and stayed more than 120 days. He used to offer mass at St. Antony's Church. This church is still at Cochin, known as Lenthapally (Dutch church). At present this church is under the department of the Archaeological Survey of India as an historical monument.

Jesuits, Dominicans, Augustinians and Carmelites followed them. At the arrival of the Portuguese, local converts in Cochin area joined the Roman Latin rite thus the Latin Community was formed.

A monastery of the Franciscans "Santo Antonino" was established in Cochin in 1518 and two others of the Jesuits in 1550 and 1561. In 1553 the Dominicans founded their college and monastery in Cochin.

The whole of the east was under the jurisdiction of the diocese of Lisbon. On June 12, 1514, Cochin and Goa became two prominent mission stations under the newly created Funchal diocese in Madeira. Pope Paul III by the Bull Quequem Reputamus raised Funchal as an archdiocese and Goa as its suffragon, deputing the whole of India under the diocese of Goa.

When the diocese of Goa was established in 1534, Cochin became part of the new diocese.

The diocese of Cochin was erected on Febr. 4, 1557 by Pope Paul IV in his Decree Pro Excellenti Praeeminentia. The Pope also declared the magnificent Portuguese Church of Santa Cruz as the Cathedral of the new diocese. At that time, Cochin was the second diocese in India and had the jurisdiction over the whole of South, East India, Burma and Ceylon.

The first bishop of Cochin was a Dominican priest Dom George Temudo (1557-1567).

In 1663 the Dutch conquered Cochin and destroyed all the catholic churches and institutions except the Cathedral and the church of St. Francis Assisi. During the British conquest of Cochin, the cathedral was destroyed.

The diocese of Cochin stood witness to many important historical events including the Synod of Diamper which was held on June 10 1599, conducted by the Archbishop, Alexis De Menezes of Goa.

Since 1646, the administration of the diocese was difficult. It was often affected by the conquests of Cochin by the Dutch. Bishops who were consecrated as the bishops of the diocese could not reach here. As a result fractions, rebellions and schisms erupted in the diocese. In order to bring the dissidents back to the mother church, Holy See sent Carmelite Missionaries. Thus was established the Vicariate of Malabar in 1657. In 1709 it was changed into the Vicariate of Verapoly. In 1838 the diocese of Cochin was annexed to the Vicariate of Verapoly. From 1838 and 1886, the diocese of Cochin was governed by the Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly.

On June 23, 1886, Pope Leo XIII promulgated the famous Concordat called Humane Salutis Auctor by which the Diocese of Cochin was restored to its original condition and placed again as a suffragan under the Diocese of Goa. Simultaneously, the Vicariate of Verapoly was raised to archdiocese and the Diocese of Quilon was erected as its suffragan.

After the reorganization in 1886, five Portuguese bishops ruled the diocese. In 1950 the diocese was handed over to the native clergy. Dr. Alexander Edezhath (1951-1975) was the first Indian bishop. He was succeeded by Bishop Joseph Kureethara (1975-1999). After his demise, in 2000 Bishop John Thattumkal was appointed as the bishop of the diocese and he was suspended from his responsibilities over a scandal. Bishop Joseph Kariyil was appointed as the new bishop of Cochin on May 8, 2009 and was installed as the bishop of Cochin on July 5, 2009

Leadership[edit]

Churches[edit]

Of the thirty one[7][8][9][10][11][12]churches, five district churches namely, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Joseph's Kumbalam, St. Antony's Kannamaly, Santa Cruz Perumbadappu, St. Mary' Thankey serve as Forane Churches.

  • 2nd District[8]
    • St. Antony's Church, ( Estd. 1873)
    • St. Thomas The Apostle Church, ( Estd. 1990)
    • St. Louis Church, (Estd.-------)
    • St. Francis Assisi Church, ( Estd. 1980)
    • St. Joseph'S Church, ( Estd. 1968)
    • St. Sebastian'S Church, ( Estd. 1832)
  • 3rd District[9]
    • St. Lawrence Church, (Estd.-------)
    • St. Sebastian's Church, (Estd. 1833)
    • St. Joseph's Church, ( Estd. 1965)
    • St. Lawrence Church, (Estd. 1986)
    • St. Thomas More Church, ( Estd. 1991)
    • Santa Cruz Church, ( Estd. 1965)
    • St. Mary's Church, (Estd. 1978)
  • 4th District[10]
    • Sacred Heart Church, (Estd. 1994)
    • St. Joseph's Church, ( Estd. 1967)
    • St. George's Church, (Estd. 1869)
    • St. Peter's Church, (Estd. 1875)
    • Martin D' Pores Church, (Estd. 1996)
    • Immaculate Conception Church, (Estd. 1977)
    • St. Sebastian's Church, (Estd. 1977)
  • 5th District[11]
    • St. Augustine's Church, (Estd. 1901)
    • St. Joseph's Church, (Estd. 1977)
    • St. Antony's Church, (estd. 1978)
    • St. Francis Xavier's Church, (Estd. 1843)
    • St. Joseph's Church, ( Estd. 1986)
    • Our Lady of Fatima Church,
    • Our Lady of Ransom Church, (Estd. 2004)
  • 6th District[12]
    • Our Lady of Purification Church, (Estd. 1583)
    • St. George's Church, (Estd. 1866)
    • St. Francis Xavier's Church, ( Estd. 1936)
    • Our Lady of Assumption Church, (Estd. 1860)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]