In 1878 the territory, which now forms the dioceses of Mangalore, Kannur and Calicut was separated from the Vicariate Apostolic of Malabar by the Bull of Pope Plus IX and entrusted to the Jesuits of the province of Venice as a separate Vicariate Apostolic. Subsequently, this Vicariate Apostolic was raised to the status of a diocese with its Episcopal See at Mangalore and called the diocese of Mangalore. The diocese of Calicut, the 25th diocese of India was erected by an Apostolic Brief “Cum AuctusFideliumGrex”, dated June 12, 1923 of Pope Pius XI, by separating from the diocese of Mangalore that portion of the Malabar district and adding on to it the Wayanad Taluk, till then under the diocese of Mysore. Likewise the area west of the watershed of the Walluvabad Taluk, till then under the diocese of Coimbatore was added to the diocese. By a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide dated January 12, 1960, the Hosdurg Taluk, till then part of the diocese of Mangalore, was added to the diocese of Calicut.

The extent, therefore, of the diocese may be described as the whole of the former Malabar district up to the ponnani river, part of Palakkad district and the area of the watershed of Valluvanad Taluk, with the addition of the present Hosdurg taluk on the north till Chandragiri river. At the time of erection it numbered in all 8000 Catholics, the majority of whom resided in the three old stations along the shore of the Arabian sea, viz. Calicut, Tellicherry and Cannanore. Mainly due to the steady influx of immigrants from Travancore and Cochin, the total Catholic population had risen by 1953 to 91, 384 of which 17,217 were Latins and the rest Syrians. On March 19, 1954 with the erection of the diocese of Tellicherry, the faithful of the Oriental Rite passed under the jurisdiction of the Ordinary of the diocese or Tellicherry. His holiness Pope John Paul II has created the dioceses of Kannur by bifurcating the diocese of Calicut on December 9, 1998 appointing Rt Rev. Dr Varghese Chakkalackal as its first Bishop. The new diocese consists of the revenue districts of Kannur and Kasargod.

For the first 32 years of its existence the diocese of Calicut was entrusted to the Mangalore-Calicut Mission of the Society of Jesus, but with the erection of the independent Vice-Province of Mangalore on May 29, 1955, the territory of the diocese of Calicut was temporarily assigned to the Madurai province of the society of Jesus, pending the erection of the independent Vice-Province of Kerala, which took place on September 27, 1960. The Jesuit Vice- Province became Kerala Jesuit Province in the year 1983. Bishop Paul Perini, S.J. (1923-1932), Bishop Leo Proserpio, S.J. (1938- 1945), Msgr. PancratiusZanolinS.J. (1945-1948) and Bishop Aldo Maria PatroniS.J. (1948-1980) were the prelates of the diocese who belonged to the Society of Jesus. With the appointment of Rt Rev. Dr Maxwell V. Noronha as the Bishop of Calicut, who took charge of the diocese on September 8, 1980, the administration of the diocese passed into the hands of the diocesan Clergy. On May 19, 2002 Rt Rev. Dr Joseph Kalathiparambil was appointed as the fifht Bishop of the diocese by the Holy See. On June 10, 2012, Bishop VergheseChakkalakkal took over the administration of diocese.

Malabar Mission: 1492- 1923
  • 1498 May 20

Rev. Fr Pedro De CovilhamO.S.S.T, the first missionary of Malabar,landed at Kappad along withVasco De Gama.

  • 1498 July 31

Rev. Fr Pedro De Covilham died as a martyr.

  • 1500 September

Under the leadership of Fr Henric Alvaro 8 Franciscan priestslanded at Calicut Port accompanied by the navigator PedroAlvares Cabral.

  • 1500

The Zamorin of Calicut permitted the Portuguese to build afactory cum godown and a chapel

  • 1500 December 1

Mr Michael a Sancta Maria became the first Christianconvert

  • 1500 December 16

Fr Gasper and three Missionaries were killed during theskirmishes between the Zamorin and the Portuguese.

  • 1501 January 15

Four Franciscan priests reached Cannanore with Joao DeNova, a Portuguese navigator.

  • 1505 October

Dr Francis Seseo De Almeida, the Viceroy of Portugal builtthe St Angela Fort and St James Church/Chapel attachedto it at Cannanore, with the consent of the king of Kolathiri(Kannur).

  • 1514

There were 344 Catholics in Cannanore. These included theconverts to Catholi- cism.

  • 1516

On the banks of the Kallai river the Portuguese built a godownand a chapel. The work was done under the leadership ofMr Alphonse De Albuqerque. Rev. Fr. Diego Mooeas was theChaplain.

  • 1532

With the help of the Raja of Tanur a chapel was built atChalium.

  • 1543

The great Missionary of the Indies St Francis Xavier arrived onthe shores of Cannanore. This was his first visit to Cannanore.

  • 1549 March 2

Calicut was also blessed by the visit of St Francis Xavier.

  • 1549 March 7

St Francis Xavier paid a second visit to Cannanore.

  • 1549

The Vettathu Raja of Tanur was received secretly as a memberof the Catholic Church. He was called Dom Joao.

  • 1571

The Zamorin destroyed both the Chapel and the fort at Chalium.

  • 1596

With the help of the Zamorin of Calicut, Fr Francis Acosta S.J.and Fr Antonio ShipaniS.J built a Church where the presentCathedral stands.

  • 1603-1611

Rev. Fr JacomoFenichiS.J., popularly known as the Apostleof Calicut, become the parish priest of the Mother of GodCathedral, Calicut.

  • 1657

After the Coonan Cross Oath of 1653, the Pope Alexander VIIsent Carmelite fathers to Kerala.

  • 1663-1741

Kerala came under Dutch domination.

  • 1700

The Malabar Region came under the jurisdiction of the Diocese ofKodungalloor.

  • 1708

The Jesuit Fathers built the Holy Rosary Church near theBritish Fort at Thalassery.

  • 1712

Rev. Fr Earnest HaxoneadenS.J, who was known as `ArnosPadiri’ served as the vicar of the main Church (Mother ofGod Cathedral) at Calicut.

  • 1723

Rev. Fr Dominic John of the Cross O.C.D, came to Mahe as itsfirst Missionary.

  • 1736 December 1

Fr Dominic O.C.D built the Church dedicated to St Theresaof Avila at Mahe which became the first Catholic pilgrimagecenter of Malabar. Fr Dominic is the founder of the MaheMission.

  • 1776

Hyder Ali conquered Tellicherry.

  • 1788

During the conquest of Tippu Sultan the Christians ofMalabar were frocefully proselytized to accept Islam.

  • 1796

The St Joseph’s Boys’ School attached to the main Churchat Calicut was established.

  • 1807

Opening of St Michael’s Boys’ School at Cannanore.

  • 1825

Church in Vythiri.

  • 1834 October 11

Basel Missionaries, namely Rev. Hebich, Rev. Lenar& Rev.Griner started their missionary work at Calicut; Rev. HermanGundert worked as a Missionary at Tellicherry.

  • 1837

The Church in Malabar comes under the jurisdiction of theVicariate of Verapoly.

  • 1850

Church in Mananthavady. – Panamaram cemetery

  • 1862 April 1

St Joseph’s European Girls’ School was opened.

  • 1862 April 1

Mother Veronica of the Passion – a Religious of the Congregationof St Joseph of the Apparition took charge as the first superiorof newly established St Joseph’s Convent. She eventually becamethe foundress of the Apostolic Carmel.

  • 1863

The Church at Malabar came under the jurisdiction of the Vicariateof Mangalore.

  • 1865

Rev. Fr GalandaS.J. started a European school for boys atTellicherry.

  • 1867

Rev. Fr Louis Mari Martelli OCD started the St Theresa’sEuropean Middle School at Cannanore. The school was then runby the Sisters of St Joseph’s of the Apparition.

  • 1868 July 16

The Apostolic Camel Congregation was founded at Bayonne -France, by Mother Veronica of the Passion.

  • 1872 March 4

The first Church of Meppadi was built under the patronage of StFrancis Xavier.

  • 1878

The Society of St Vincent de Paul, the second of its kind in India,was started at the Mother of God Cathedral at Calicut.

  • 1878 December 10

The Bishop – elect of Mangalore, Dr Nicholas Maria PaganiS.J., of the Jesuit Province of Venice, reached Mangalorealong with eight Jesuit Missioinaries.

  • 1879

Rev. Fr Augustine MulloorS.J. was appointed Vicar of theMother of God Cathedral at Calicut.

  • 1884 March 22

The Apostolic Carmel Sisters opened Sacred Heart Girls’School at Tellicherry.

  • 1886 August 30

The Santa Cruz Church on Bank Road, Calicut, was renovated.

  • 1898

Rev. Fr Adigard began his praiseworthy mission workamong the Adivasis of Manathavady.

  • 1900

Bathery Church.

  • 1907

Per Souvenir

  • 1909 October 26

Rev. Fr Armond Jean Marie Jeffrino started his missionaryapostolate among the Kurichiar community by building aChurch at Kaniambatta, Pallikunnu.

  • 1910

Rev. Fr FaustinAranha built a Church at Kanhangad.

  • 1919

Providence Girls’ School was opened on the premises of StJoseph’s Convent and School.

  • 1921

Rev. Fr Paul Rozario Fernandez established the Kolayad Mission.

  • 1922

Rev. Fr John Baptist GalandaS.J. opened a Malayalammedium School at Tellicherry.

  • 1922

Rev. Fr Milbank Francis Barboza S.J. was appointed Vicar of theMother of God Cathedral, Calicut.

  • 1923 June 12

Pope Pius XI bifurcated the diocese of Mangalore to form theCalicut diocese, which comprises the Malabar area.



On 12th June 1923 Malabar was separated from the Dioceseof Mangalore and formed the Diocese of Calicut. The first Bishopappointed was Rt. Rev. Dr. Paul Perini S.J. The prime Catholic centresthen were Calicut, Tellicherry, Kannur, Vythiri and ManantavadyBesides these there were chapels in Shoranur, Malappuram, West Hill,Chalil, Dharmadam, Thayyil, Pallikunnu and Kolayad. The Churchin Mahe was under the Pondichery Diocese. Now there are 69churches including Parishes and Mission centres.

When the Diocesewas erected there were only about 6000 Catho- lics. The Catholicpopulation of the Diocese now are about 50250. 12 Jesuits and4 Diocesean priests did the work of shepherding the flocks. Nowthere are 103 priests both Religous and Diocesan priests serve in theDiocese. The Apostolic Carmel was the only religious congregation forwomen in the Diocese and they had three convents and fifty sistersdoing service in the educational of field. Now there are 58 conventsof various congregations and 700 sisters render their service in theschools, hospitals, nursing homes and orphanages. In the place of 12schools there are 115 schools in the Diocese now. Bishop Paul Perinigave priority to the development process of the Diocese duringhis episcopate. His Lordships brought Sisters of Charity from Mangaloreto render charitable service in the Diocese. On 21st October 1923St.Vincent’s Home was opened in Calicut and admitted homelesschildren and women there. With the blessing and cooperation ofthe Bishop, Brother Aloysius SpinellyS.J. established St. Vincent’sIndustrials in Calicut which rose to the level of a first gradeIndustry in South India. The institute gave technical training tothe poor and jobless labourers and made job opportunities formany. In order to achieve self sufficiency for the Diocese HisExcellency bought the Chellotte Estate and turned it into a coffeeandtea plantation estate. Mr. W.F. Gifford was appointed as thefirst superintend of the Estate. His Lordship Bishop Perini S.J. whowished to set up a strong foundation for the Diocese passed awayin Bangalore on 28th June 1932. After the demise of the first Bishop,the administration was looked after by Rt. Rev. Fr. Benyamin MariaRanzaniS.J. He was able to bring the Sisters of the Ursulines ofMary Immaculate to the Diocese in the year 1934 and the Sistersof the Bridgetine order in 1937. He the Holy Redeamer Churchat Marikunnu and the church of Our Lady of Lourdes atPerintalmanna.