Holy See–India relations
India-Holy See relations refers to bilateral relations between the India and Holy See, which is sovereign over the Vatican City. Formal bilateral relations between the two exist since 12 June 1948. An Apostolic Delegation existed from 1881. The Holy See has a nunciature in New Delhi while India has accredited its embassy in Bern, Switzerland to the Holy See as well. India's Ambassador in Bern has traditionally been accredited to the Holy See. In a break from tradition, it was announced in October 2020 that Jaideep Mazumdar, India's ambassador to Austria would be the next ambassador to the Holy See. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli was appointed as the Apostolic Nuncio to India in March 2021.
Connections between the Catholic church and India can be traced back to the apostle St. Thomas, who, according to tradition, came to India in 52 AD. Bishops were sent to India from Syria as early as the 6th or 7th centuries. There is a record of an Indian bishop visiting Rome at the time of Pope Callixtus II (1119–1124).
The diplomatic mission was established as the Apostolic Delegation to the East Indies in 1881, and included Ceylon, and was extended to Malaca in 1889, and then to Burma in 1920, and eventually included Goa in 1923. It was raised to an Internunciature by Pope Pius XII on 12 June 1948 and to a full Apostolic Nunciature by Pope Paul VI on 22 August 1967. India initially had a legation to the Holy See, with the Minister at Berne accredited as Minister to the Holy See. The Indian mission was raised to the status of an embassy led by an ambassador in 1965.
There have been three Papal visits to India. The first Pope to visit India was Pope Paul VI, who visited Mumbai in 1964 to attend the International Eucharistic Congress. Pope John Paul II visited several places in India including Chennai in February 1986 and then again visited New Delhi in November 1999. Several Indian dignitaries have, from time to time, called on the Pope in the Vatican. These include Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1955, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1981, Prime Minister I.K. Gujral in September 1997, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2000 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2021. Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat represented the country at the funeral of Pope John Paul II. External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj led a delegation to the Vatican for the canonisation function of Saint Teresa of Calcutta in September 2016, when she also called on Pope Francis. She was accompanied by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee.
Indian ambassadors to the Holy See
|1949||1951||Dhirajlal Bhulabhai Desai||Minister|
|1953||1954||Yezdezard Dinshaw Gundevia||Minister|
|1954||1955||Abid Hasan Safrani||Chargé d'affaires|
|1955||1958||Mohan Sinha Mehta||Minister|
|1958||1961||M. K. Vellodi||Minister|
|1962||1964||Mohamed Abdul Rauf||Minister|
|1964||1965||Vishnuprasad Chunilal Trivedi||Minister|
|1965||1967||Vishnuprasad Chunilal Trivedi||Ambassador|
|1968||1970||Mohamed Azim Husain||Ambassador|
|1977||1978||Uma Shankar Bajpai||Ambassador|
|1978||1979||Amba Prasad||Chargé d'affaires|
|1985||1986||Om Parkash Aggarwal||Chargé d'affaires|
|1986||1990||Ashoke Sen Chib||Ambassador|
|1990||1994||Madhaw Keshav Mangalmurti||Ambassador|
|1994||2000||Kizhakke Pisharath Balakrishnan||Ambassador|
|2000||2002||Niranjan Natverlal Desai||Ambassador|
|2002||2005||Praveen Lal Goyal||Ambassador|
|2005||2006||Snehi Desh Bandhu||Chargé d'affaires|
|2008||2009||Ajaneesh Kumar||Chargé d'affaires|
|2013||2014||Nagendra Prasad||Chargé d'affaires|
|2014||2015||Mysore Kapanaiah Lokesh||Ambassador|
- A. E. Medlycott, (1905) "India and the Apostle Thomas"; Gorgias Press LLC; ISBN 1-59333-180-0.
- The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 5 by Erwin Fahlbusch. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing - 2008. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-8028-2417-2.
- Leslie W. Brown (1956). The Indian Christians of St Thomas, an Account of the Ancient Syrian Church of Malabar. University Press.
- "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Thomas Christians". Newadvent.org. 1 July 1912. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Robert Silverberg, The Realm of Prester John, pp. 29–34.
- "Report of the Ministry of External Affairs 1948-49". Retrieved 15 March 2021.
- "To the first Ambassador of India to the Holy See (March 25, 1965) | Paul VI". www.vatican.va.
- "Apostolic Nunciature, India & Nepal".
- "Pastoral Visit of His Holiness John Paul II to New Delhi". Vatican.va. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Pope Tells Nehru Of Duty To Seek True World Peace". The Catholic Northwest Progress. Vol. 58, no. 28. 15 July 1955. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
- Tribune News Service. "PM Modi meets Pope Francis at Vatican, invites him to visit India". Tribuneindia News Service. Retrieved 31 October 2021.
- "DAS BEIM HL. STUHL AKKREDITIERTE DIPLOMATISCHE KORPS – Die Apostolische Nachfolge" (in German). Retrieved 15 March 2021.