Diocese of Chanda
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Population

In Chanda diocese, the population is 3,620,160 as of November 2006. (The population of the whole country is more than 1 billion). The main languages used are Marathi, Hindi, Telugu and the tribal dialects of Oraon and Madia.

History

The Diocese of Chanda, the first Syro-Malabar diocese in North India with its own jurisdiction, was established as part of a Latin-rite province even before the Second Vatican Council. Chandrapur means "City of the Moon (Chandra)." During British rule in India, Chandrapur came to be known as Chanda, but in 1964 its name was officially changed back to Chandrapur. In Chandrapur district, Christians numbered 266 in 1901, of whom 48 were Europeans, 14 Eurasians and 204 local people.

Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) priests from Kerala started working in the Diocese of Ambikapur-Raigarh at the request of Jesuit Bishop Sevrin from 1954, but they were not permitted to practice their Oriental rite publicly. There was a proposal in 1959 to divide the diocese and place the CMI priests in charge of Raigarh, where they would be able to exercise their rite freely, but this proposal did not materialize.

In 1960, CMI Prior-General Father Maurus sent a letter to Archbishop Eugene D'Souza of Nagpur requesting that a section of the archdiocese be entrusted to the congregation. Archbishop Eugene wrote to the Apostolic Internuncio, J. R. Knox, and the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith about the proposal, and both the Vatican congregations concerned and the Carmelites accepted the principle of territorial jurisdiction.

Pope John XXIII erected the Ordinariate of Chanda on March 31, 1962, separating its territory — Wardha and Chanda districts in Maharashtra and Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh state — from the Archdiocese of Nagpur and entrusting it to the pastoral care of CMI priests. Monsignor Januarius Palathuruthy, CMI was appointed its first ecclesiastical superior with duties, privileges and faculties of an apostolic exarch on June 12 that year. At a ceremony held at the archbishop's chapel on Aug. 15, 1962, the new ecclesiastical unit of Chanda was formally and canonically erected, and Monsignor Januarius installed as its first superior.

The ordinariate was raised to the status of an apostolic exarchate on July 29, 1968. On Feb. 26, 1977, Pope Paul VI established Chanda as a diocese and Monsignor Januarius was appointed its first bishop. His episcopal ordination followed three months later on May 3. Adilabad was made a separate diocese in June 1999.

Transportation

Most areas can be reached by railway or public bus service.

Economy

Paper mills, coalfields, cement factories, steel plants and bamboo products are available in the region. The main agricultural produce are jowar cereal, rice, wheat, sugarcane, oil seeds and cotton.

Telecommunication

Telecommunication services are widespread. No TV or radio stations broadcast from within the diocesan territory.

Topography

The diocese covers 32,233 square kilometers comprising the civil districts of Wardha, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra state.

Education

Literacy rate is 51 percent.

Culture

Tribal dance and other folk arts and dances of Maharashtra are popular.

New bishop for Oriental Chanda diocese

New bishop for Oriental Chanda diocese Father Ephrem Nariculam was a pastor in Ernakulam and Delhi before serving the Eparchy of Chanda, where he was Rector of the Minor Seminary for seven years.