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Diocese of Vizagapatam

In the east of India, suffragan to Madras

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Vizagapatam, Diocese of (VIZAGAPATAMENSIS), in the east of India, suffragan to Madras. It is bounded on the north by the River Mahanadi, on the south by the Godavery river, on the west by the Diocese of Nagpur, and on the east by the Bay of Bengal. The Catholic population is 13,356, out of a total of about 9,000,000 inhabitants. There are 16 Catholic churches and 57 chapels served by 28 priests of the Congregation of St. Francis of Sales (Annecy, Savoy), assisted by 6 lay brothers. There are also 66 nuns of St. Joseph of Annecy. The bishop’s residence, the cathedral, and a seminary, with 5 candidates from Savoy under training, are at Vizagapatam. The following are the chief Catholic institutions in the diocese: St. Aloysius’ High School, Vizagapatam, teaching up to matriculation, with 200 pupils, of whom 125 are boarders; St. Joseph‘s High School, Waltair, for European girls with 230 pupils; Telegu schools for caste-girls with 232 pupils; School for Brahmins and Rajput caste-girls at Vizianagram, with 170 pupils; various other Telugu and English schools, primary schools, etc. Total number attending all the schools, 869 boys and 945 girls. Several orphanages supporting 115 boys and 166 girls. Dispensaries in the chief stations of the mission.

History.—Although this district was included within the confines of the Portuguese Diocese of Mylapur from the year 1606, and since 1834 formed part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Madras, next to nothing of missionary work was done here until the year 1845, when it was erected into a vicariate. The first fathers arriving at Vizagapatam found there one old priest, a Theatine, the last survivor of what was known as the Golconda mission. There was only a scattering of Catholics in a few places, mostly either European troops or camp followers. In 1850 their number was estimated at about 4000 at a time when the vicariate included the whole of the Nagpur districts in addition to those of the present diocese. These Nagpur districts were divided off and made into a diocese in 1887, when Vizagapatam also became a diocese, both suffragan to Madras.

Succession of Prelates (Vicars Apostolic):—Theophilus Sebastian Neyret, 1849-1862; John M. Tissot, 1863-1890, became first bishop in 1887; John Mary Clerc, present bishop from 1891.

ERNEST R. HULL


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