Roman Catholic Diocese of Cochin

  (Redirected from Apostolic Vicariate of Cochin)

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

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 belonging to the Latin Catholics of Malabar.

Diocese of Cochin

Dioecesis Coccinensis

കൊച്ചി രൂപത
Kathedralbasilika Santa Cruz 2018-04-04a.jpg
CountryIndia, India
Ecclesiastical provinceVerapoly
Coordinates9°57′53″N 76°14′34″E / 9.964774°N 76.242738°E / 9.964774; 76.242738
Area235 km2 (91 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2006)
160,812[1] (28.6%)
RiteRoman Rite
Established4 February 1557
CathedralSanta Cruz Cathedral Basilica in Fort Cochin
Current leadership
BishopJoseph Kariyil
Metropolitan ArchbishopJoseph Kalathiparambil
Bishops emeritusJohn Thattumkal Bishop Emeritus (2000-2009)
Website of the Diocese

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 8 May 2009.

Historical SummaryEdit

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 No 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)

3 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 historyEdit

The 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 20 May 1498, along with Vasco Da Gama.

A second expedition under Captain Álvares Cabral, comprising 13 ships and 18 priests, anchored at Cochin on 26 Nov. 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 a Portuguese Mission in 1500.

During the reign of the 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 12 June 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 suffragan, 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 10 June 1599 in the East Syrian Archdiocese of Angamaly and India, 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 23 June 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 8 May 2009 and was installed as the bishop of Cochin on 5 July 2009


  • Jorge Temudo, O.P. (4 Feb 1558 – 13 Jan 1567), appointed Archbishop of Goa
  • Henrique de Távora e Brito, O.P. (13 Jan 1567 – 29 Jan 1577), appointed Archbishop of Goa
  • Mateus de Medina, O. Carm. (29 Jan 1577 – 19 Feb 1588), appointed Archbishop of Goa
  • Andrés de Santa Maria, O.F.M. (1588 - 1615), Resigned
  • Sebastião de São Pedro, O.S.A. (16 Feb 1615 – 7 Oct 1624), appointed Archbishop of Goa
  • Luis de Brito de Menezes, O.S.A. (27 May 1627 – 29 Jul 1629), Died
  • Miguel Da Cruz Rangel, O.P. (10 Nov 1631 – 14 Sep 1646), Died
  • Pedro da Silva, O.S.A. (8 Jan 1689 – 15 Mar 1691) Died
  • Pedro Pacheco, O.P. (4 Jan 1694 - Sep 1714) Died
  • Francisco de Vasconcellos, S.J. (12 Feb 1721 – 30 Mar 1743) Died
  • Clemente José Colaço Leitão, S.J. (8 Mar 1745 – 31 Jan 1771) DiedClemens Joseph Colaco Leitao
  • Emmanuel Felix Soares (de Santa Catarina), O.C.D. (20 Jul 1778 – 18 Jul 1783), appointed Archbishop of Goa
  • Josephus Marques da Silva, O.C.D. (18 Jul 1783 - )
  • Tomas Manoel de Noronha e Brito, O.P. (17 Dec 1819 – 23 Jun 1828), appointed Bishop of Olinda
  • João Gomes Ferreira (14 Mar 1887 – 4 May 1897) Died
  • Matheus de Oliveira Xavier (11 Oct 1897 – 26 Feb 1909), appointed Archbishop of Goa
  • José Bento Martins Ribeiro (28 Feb 1909 – 21 May 1931) Died
  • Abílio Augusto Vaz das Neves (4 Dec 1933 – 8 Dec 1938), appointed Bishop of Bragança e Miranda
  • José Vieira Alvernaz (13 Aug 1941 – 23 Dec 1950), appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Goa e Damão
  • Alexander Edezhath (19 Jun 1952 – 29 Aug 1975) Resigned
  • Joseph Kureethara (29 Aug 1975 – 6 Jan 1999) Died
  • John Thattumkal, S.S.C. (10 May 2000 – 8 May 2009) Resigned
  • Joseph Kariyil (8 May 2009 - )


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

1st District[7]

  • Santa Cruz Basilica,(Estd.1505), Fortkochi
  • Church of Our Lady of Hope, (Estd. 1605), Vypin
  • Our Lady of Life Church], (Estd.9th Century), Mattancherry
  • St. Peter & Paul, (Estd. 1857), Amaravathi, Fortkochi
  • Holy Family Church, (Estd. 1901), Nazreth
  • St. Joseph's Bethlehem Church, (Estd. 1974), Chullickal
  • Stella Maris Church, (Estd. 1955), Willington Island
  • St. Mary's Church,(Estd) Kochery

2nd District[8]

  • St. Thomas The Apostle Church, ( Estd. 1990), Santhome
  • St. Louis Church, (Estd.9th Century), Mundamveli
  • St. Francis Assisi Church, ( Estd. 1980), Kaattipparambu
  • St. Joseph'S Church, ( Estd. 1968), Cheriyakadavu
  • St. Antony's Church, ( Estd. 1873), Kannamaaly
  • St. Sebastian'S Church, ( Estd. 1832), Chellanam
  • St.John The Baptist Church Anjilathara,

3rd District[9]

  • St. Sebastian's Church, (Estd. 1833), Thoppumpady
  • St. Joseph's Church, ( Estd. 1965), Chirackal
  • St. Lawrence Church, (Estd. 1986), Palluruthy
  • St. Thomas More Church, ( Estd. 1991), Palluruthy
  • Santa Cruz Church, ( Estd. 1965), Perumpadappu
  • St. Mary's Church, (Estd. 1978), Edakochi
  • St. Lawrence Church, (Estd.9th Century), Edakochi
  • St.Joseph's Church Maduracompany, Palluruthy
  • Santa Maria Church Perumpadappu.

4th District[10]

  • St. Joseph's Church, ( Estd. 1967), Kumbalangy North
  • Martin D' Pores Church, (Estd. 1996), Kumbalangy North
  • Sacred Heart Church, (Estd. 1994), Kumbalangy
  • St. Peter's Church, (Estd. 1875), Kumbalangy
  • St. George's Church, (Estd. 1869), Pazhangaad, Kumbalangy South
  • Immaculate Conception Church, (Estd. 1977), Ezhupunna
  • St. Sebastian's Church, (Estd. 1977), Neendakara
  • St.Martin De Pores Church Kallencherry
  • Holy Maries Church Azhikakam
  • San Jos Church Kumbalanghi

5th District[11]

  • St. Augustine's Church, (Estd. 1901), Aroor
  • St. Joseph's Church, (Estd. 1977), Kumbalam
  • St. Antony's Church, (Estd. 1978), Arookutty
  • St. Francis Xavier's Church, (Estd. 1843), Eramallore
  • St. Joseph's Church, ( Estd. 1986), Vallethode
  • Our Lady of Fatima Church, Kodamthuruth
  • Our Lady of Ransom Church, (Estd. 2004), Chandiroor
  • Little Flower Church Perumbalam
  • St Sebastian's Church Kaarunyapuram

6th District[12]

  • St. George Church, (Estd. 2017), Arasupuram
  • St. Antony's Church (Estd. 2015), Pathirapally
  • St. Sebastian's Church, ( Estd. 2016), Areeparambu
  • Our Lady of Assumption Church, (Estd. 1860), Poomkavu
  • St. Francis Xavier's Church, (Estd. 1936), Vayalar
  • St. George Church, (Estd. 1866), Arthumkal
  • St. Mary's Church, (Estd. 1832), Thankey

In 9th century there were only 3 parishes in West Kochi They are 1) St.Lawrence Church Edakochi, 2) Our Lady Of Life Church Mattancherry, 3) St.Louis Church Mundamveli

Saints and causes for canonisationEdit

  • Servant of God Lawrence Puliyanath[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c | Diocese of Cochin
  2. ^ a b Archdiocese of Goa - suffragan sees of Cochin and Malacca
  3. ^ Diocese of Cochin erected | Original Catholic Encyclopedia Archived 2015-11-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ | Diocese of Cochin
  5. ^ Official Diocese of Cochin website
  6. ^ Diocesan directory | Archived 2011-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b | List of Parishes - 1st District Archived 2011-09-05 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b | List of Parishes - 2nd District
  9. ^ a b | List of Parishes - 3rd District
  10. ^ a b | List of Parishes - 4th District
  11. ^ a b | List of Parishes - 5th District
  12. ^ a b | List of Parishes - 6th District
  13. ^ "Saints & Blessed – CCBI". Retrieved 17 October 2019.

External linksEdit