Diocese Map

History of the Diocese

The Catholic Diocese of Gorakhpur of Syro-Malabar rite was erected on the June 19, 1984 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II through the Bull "Exquo Divinum Concilium". Rev. Fr Dominic Kokkat,CST, was appointed its Bishop. St Joseph and St Therese of Child Jesus are its heavenly patrons. The diocese is comprised of seven north eastern districts of the state of Uttar Pradesh viz. Gorakhpur, Deoria, Sant Kabirnagar, Basti, Kushinagar, Maharajganj and Siddharthnagar covering an area of 19,070 sq. kms. It has a population of about 17 million, of which the Catholics and other Christians are a very small minority. The region has Hindi, Bhojpuri and Urdu as its principal spoken languages and has a tropical climate with high humidity. Only a night's journey distance from New Delhi by train, the region shares international border with the Himalayan nation of Nepal.

Ecumenically speaking, the city of Gorakhpur and the region has a presence of CNI protestant churches and other Pentecostal denominations. St Andrew's College, Gorakhpur currently run by the CNI diocese of Lucknow was started as a primary school way back in 1828 and was raised to the status of a college in 1899. This protestant institution was a pioneer in higher education for this otherwise backward region. The Catholic Christian origin in Gorakhpur could be traced back to a group of native Catholics from the then Bethiaraj who migrated to this city as agricultural labourers in the beginning of 1800 during the British period. However, the Handbook of Bengal Mission mentions about the Roman Catholic Church work undertaken by Fr Joseph Maria around 1740 and some Italian fathers under the guidance of the Vicar Apostolic of Patna appeared to have rendered Pastoral service in Gorakhpur. In 1860 Fr Raphael of Livorno was the first chaplain to be appointed in Gorakhpur. He built St. Joseph's Church, now Cathedral, in 1860. In 1886 Gorakhpur became part of the Diocese of Allahabad.

Gorakhpur - Banaras Prefecture was erected in the year 1947 and was entrusted to the dynamic leadership of late venerable Msgr. Jerome Malefant, OFM CAP. In 1958, the headquarters of the Prefecture was shifted to Varanasi. In 1967, the Gorakhpur-Banaras Prefecture got its name changed into Banaras-Gorakhpur Prefecture. In 1970, this Prefecture became the Diocese of Varanasi with Bishop Patrick D'Souza as its first bishop. The bishop of Varanasi cared for this region ably and earnestly until it was handed over to the active missionary apostolate of the CST Fathers from Thrikkakara, Kerala in the light of the agreement by the Prefect Apostolic with Very Rev. Fr. Basilius Panat CST, the founder of Little Flower Congregation (CST Fathers).

In the year 1970 Msgr. Jerome Malefant invited the CST Fathers to come and work in Gorakhpur. In the CBCI meeting held in January 1970 in Ernakulum Msgr. Malefant had expressed his willingness to entrust the three districts of Deoria, Gorakhpur and Basti to the Catholic Oriental Churches for evangelization. Fathers Robert and Boniface are the pioneer CST missionaries of this area. In 1974 a contract was signed by Bishop Patrick D' Souza and the Superior General of Little Flower Congregation. Accordingly in 1975 a batch of six priests came to work in the diocese of Varanasi.More About Cheap Breitling Replica: rolex replica watches. Best replica watches uk for men: rolex replica uk. Cheap rolex replica watches online: rolex replica. In 1976 Bishop Patrick withdrew all the diocesan priests from the districts of Deoria, Gorakhpur and Basti and CST fathers were given charge of the mission stations and the main undivided parish of St. Joseph's Church, Gorakhpur. Rev. Fr. Robert Kalaran CST Fathers was appointed the first CST Parish Priest of St. Joseph's Church, Gorakhpur. More and more CST Fathers came to work in the area assigned to them. The dedication and hard work of the CST Fathers and the cooperation of the laity led to the erection of this diocese. CST Fathers continue to do apostolate within the diocese from the eight CST ashrams established here and in Nepal under the guidance of the Little Flower Province, Gorakhpur- Nepal.

The diocesan apostolates are largely managed and run by the 43 young diocesan priests with the active collaboration of about 200 religious sisters, 8 religious brothers and lay representatives. This leading presence of the diocesan clergy was made possible through a dream Mar Dominic Kokkat CST cherished for the diocese in its very inception. Immediately after the establishment of the diocese, he started a diocesan minor seminary to form the future clergy in accordance with the culture and climate of the place. In this effort, the CST fathers generously collaborated with him by way of forming the diocesan clergy in the minor seminary stage until 1998.

To speed up the rural mission work, the diocesan Congregation of LST sisters with the theresian spirituality (Little Flower) was founded by him in the 1988. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Thomas Thuruthimattam CST as successor to Bishop Dominic. He involves himself in tirelessly inspiring the missionary personnel and the people of God to be faithful to Christ, Church and to the poor and the marginalized. His motto itself "The liberated human being is the manifest glory of God" reveals his vision and message. Taking into consideration the problems typical to this vast area, the diocese has worked out pastoral, ecumenical, Inter religious, educational, rural developmental and health care apostolates under the guidance of Bishop Dominic. They continue to thrive and expand under the new leadership of Bishop Thomas. Desiring to reach out to all categories, the diocese has entered into higher education for girls through the establishment of St Joseph's Degree College for Women and the newly established Fatima School of Nursing with a batch capacity of 40 students towards creation of local health care resources. The works carried out by PGSS (Purvanchal Gramin Seva Samiti), the diocesan social service society, in over 1000 villages of seven civil districts are often considered and admired for its pioneering intervention in the social empowerment and upliftment.


Although backward in social and human development, the region has ironically a rich cultural heritage. Gorakhpur is named after the renowned Guru Gorakshnath who performed "Hath Yoga" and is the seat of the Nath sect with the well known temple Gorakhnath. Gorakhpur is also the home to the Gita Press, publishers of major Hindu scriptures, including the Bhagavad Gita. Kushinagar, 53 km in west of city Gorakhpur, is revered as the site of Buddha's Mahaparinirvana. It is known as the place of death and cremation, that marked his final liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth which is a very holy site for the followers of Lord Buddha. The mystic poet and famous saint Kabir lived and worked in Maghar, a village 20 km from Gorakhpur. Here, most of his poems urging his countrymen to live in peace and religious harmony were composed. Kabir's burial place in Maghar attracts a large number of pilgrims. Munshi Premchand, one of India's great Hindi novelists, had lived in Gorakhpur. Firaq Gorakhpuri (Raghupati Sahay), the famous Urdu poet, grew up in Gorakhpur, where his childhood home still stands. Gorakhpur became one of the major centers of the famous 1857 uprising towards the freedom struggle with the 'Chauri Chaura' incident of 1922. Yet, regrettably Gorakhpur is also a region infected by communal troubles and fundamentalistic challenges. The considerable presence of Muslims adds to the demographic diversity and richness of this region.