In 1500 the Portuguese Fathers (Franciscan Friars) reached Cochin and
established the first Portuguese Mission in Cochin, in India. They
were followed by the Jesuits (1542), Dominicans (1553), Augustinians
(1579), Carmelites (1778), and from 1886 by non religious Portuguese
Bishops till 1950. At the arrival of the Portuguese, the Christians in
Cochin area joined the Roman Latin Rite.
St. Francis Xavier visited Cochin on several occasions and offered
Holy Mass in the St. Francis Church where the famous navigator Vasco
da Gama was laid to rest on Christmas day of 1524. A monastery of the
Franciscans "Santo Antonio" 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 "St. Iago Mission" of
Palluruthy was started in 1560 and in 1557 the first printing press in
India was established in Cochin.
Because of its singular prominence, Pope Leo X made special mention of
Cochin in his Decree erecting the Diocese of Funchal in 1514. In 1534,
when the Diocese of Goa was established, Cochin became part of the new
The Diocese of Cochin was erected on February 4, 1557 by Pope Paul IV
in his Decree "Pro Excellenti Praeeminentia". At that time Cochin was
the second diocese in India and it exercised jurisdiction over the
whole of south, east of India, Burma and Ceylon, The first Bishop of
Cochin was a Dominican Friar Dom George Temudo (1557-1567). By the
Decree "Pastoralis Officii" of Pope Gregory XIII (13-12-1572) the
bishops of Cochin were required to take possession of the Patriarchal
See of Goa whenever it became vacant.
In 1663 the Dutch conquered Cochin and destroyed all the Catholic
churches and Institutions in Cochin except the Cathedral and the
church of St. Francis Assisi. During the British conquest of Cochin,
the Cathedral was destroyed. From 1838 until 1886, the Diocese of
Cochin was governed by the Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly. After the
reorganization in 1886 five Portuguese bishops ruled the diocese.
In 1950 the Portuguese Padroado was suppressed and the diocese was
handed over to the native clergy. Dr. Alexander Edezhath (1951-
retired in 1975) was the first Indian Bishop.
The territory of the Diocese of Cochin 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. As per the Executorial
Decree issued soon after the Decree of the erection of the dioceses of
Cochin and Alleppey, provision is made that the Diocese of Alleppey
may have personal jurisdiction of the so called 'Five Hundred
Community' who reside within the territory of the Diocese of Cochin
and in the same way, the Diocese of Cochin may have jurisdiction over
the so called "Seven Hundred Community" in the territory of the
Diocese of Alleppey.
Bishop's House,Fort Cochin, Cochin - 682 001, Kerala, India.
Tel: +91 484 - 2215400, 2215401,
2215402, 2215404 (P),
Fax: +91 484 - 2215404