Diocese of Lucknow
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The diocese has a land area of 45,125 square kilometers, covering ten civil districts of Uttar Pradesh; Bahraich, Balrampur, Barbanki, Gonda, Hardoi, Kheri, Lucknow, Shravasthinagar, Sitapur and Unnao. Lucknow is the biggest city in the diocese.

Population

22, 681,894 total

Language

Hindi, Urdu, Awadhi and English are the main languages used.

History

The Diocese of Lucknow owes its remote origin to those courageous and selfless missionaries, especially Capuchin Fathers from Italy, who left their homeland to travel to the huge and then unexplored Asian continent more than 400 years ago. Historical documents prove the existence of European Christian scholars and priests, initially the Jesuits, in the court of Emperor Akbar as early as the 16th century. This movement of the Christian presence in the vast Gangetic plain under the umbrella of the "Mughal Mission" and later on the "Tibetan Mission" was the beginning of Christianity in northern India. There were pockets of Christianity in many places in the empire of Akbar and of later Moghuls, which in subsequent centuries increased with the advent of the British in India.

On Jan. 12, 1940, the huge diocese of Allahabad was divided to create the Diocese of Lucknow, based in Lucknow, at that time capital of the Central Provinces. Both dioceses were under the care of missionaries from the Bologna Capuchin province in Italy. However, Italy being an ally of Germany in World War II, the British administration interned all these missionaries in camps. Hence the nomination of the first Bishop of Lucknow was delayed until after the war.

Capuchin Father Albert Conrad De Vito was appointed the first Bishop of Lucknow on Dec. 12, 1946, and he took possession of the diocese on Feb. 16, 1947. Bishop Angelo Poli of Allahabad was the administrator of the diocese during the intervening seven years.

The diocese of Lucknow comprised 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh, covering an area of 93,000 square kilometers. On Feb. 4, 1989, this large diocese was divided to form the new diocese of Bareilly, covering six districts.

Bishop Albert Conrad De Vito passed away suddenly in 1970 during a home visit to Italy, and Father Cecil de Sa, Vicar General of Bhopal, was appointed the first Indian Bishop of Lucknow. In 1983, Bishop de Sa was transferred to become Archbishop of Agra, and Bishop Alan de Lastic, Auxiliary Bishop of Calcutta until then, was appointed the new Bishop of Lucknow.

In January 1991, Bishop de Lastic was made Archbishop of Delhi, and Father Albert D'Souza, a priest of Lucknow diocese, was appointed the fourth Bishop of Lucknow. Bishop D'Souza was made Archbishop of Agra in March 2007.

On Nov. 8, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, transferred Bishop Gerald John Mathias, a priest of Lucknow diocese who had been serving as Bishop of Simla-Chandigarh diocese since 2000, to become the fifth Bishop of Lucknow . He was installed on Jan. 4, 2008.

Political

Cities are managed by corporations. Villages and small towns are administered by panchayat and municipalities, respectively. These local bodies are elected.

Transportation

The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railways. Lucknow city has an airport.

Economy

Annual per capita income is 16,060 rupees (US$356 as of March 2011). Farming is the main occupation, with wheat, rice, sugar cane and potatoes the primary crops. The diocesan territory also has a large leather industry.

Telecommunication

Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese is well served by local cable TV networks.

Education

47.26 percent literacy rate