Diocese of Raigarh
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Language

Chhattisgarhi, Oraon, Sadri, Hindi, English

History


The diocese was erected on Dec 13, 1951 by dismemberment from the neighbouring Ranchi and Nagpur dioceses. Bifurcating the civil Sarguja district from Raigarh diocese, Ambikapur diocese was created in Dec. 1977. Bifurcating the civil Jashpur district from Raigarh diocese, Jashpur diocese was formed on March 23, 2006. Jashpur civil district was created in 1999, bifurcating it from Raigarh civil district.

Prior to the formation of the Jashpur diocese, Raigarh diocesan headquarters, like the bishop's house, cathedral and the various diocesan offices, were located at Kunkuri, a small town in Jashpur district. After the bifurcation of the Jashpur diocese, the church headquarters at Kunkuri went over to Jashpur diocese, about 45 km away from Jashpur district headquarters. After the bifurcation of the Jashpur diocese, the Raigarh diocesan headquarters are located in Raigarh town.

Since the entire diocesan infrastructure went over to the new Jashpur diocese, the Raigarh diocese looks like a new diocese without a proper bishop's house and the parish church has become the cathedral.

The church had been mainly concentrating in the development of the people of the newly formed Jashpur diocese, since that area had more and active Catholics, mostly Oraon tribals.

The present Raigarh diocese was not very developed, since the area had lesser Catholics, who were mostly Oraon tribal Catholics and some local dalit Catholics (former untouchables), who are not active in the faith. Many Oraon Catholics from the neighbouring Jashpur diocese have migrated to here for employment.

Former prelates were: 1. Oscar Severin S.J. (1951 - resigned in 1957); 2. Stanislaus Tigga (1957 - 1970); 3. Francis Ekka (1971 - 1984); 4. Victor Kindo (1985 - transferred to the newly formed Jashpur diocese in 2006)

Geography


The diocesan territory covers a land area of 8,354 square kilometers and includes the entire Raigarh civil district. Major towns are Raigarh, Sarangarh, Kharsia, Gharghoda, Leonga and Dharamjaigarh.There are 6 Tahsils in the diocese which is located in the central Indian Chhattisgarh state. The population of the area was 1,265,084 at the end of 2002. The neighbouring dioceses are: Raipur, Jashpur, Ambikapur, Raurkela and Sambalpur dioceses. Raigarh is the headquarters of the district and the diocese. The town is on the bank of river Kelo. It was the capital of Raigarh dynasty and is known for kathakali dance, temple, palace and Bhupdevpur waterfall.

Singhapur, 40 km away Raigarh, is known for its caves, with archeological value. Ramjharna, in the north-west of Raigarh, has numerous small, but beautiful waterfalls. The 105 square km. wildlife sanctuary at Badalkhol is inhabited with various animals and birds like tiger, panther, antelope etc. Kabra Pahari, 16 km away Raigarh, has ancient caves with pre-historic paintings. Sarangarh, 45 km south-west of Raigarh, has palace, sanctuaries, and dams. Daramjaigarh, 77 km north-west of Raigarh, is known for its silk thread center. There are also many rice mills, coalmines and factories making gudaku (tobacco).

Economy


Villagers mostly depend on farming. Mostly they cultivate paddy - one crop a year. Poor depend on agricultural and other manual labour. Private Jindal Steel Company is established here.

Culture


Tribals, dalits (mostly Sathnamis, Chauhan), backward castes, high castes, business people