The total population is 1,917,892. Tamils are the major ethnic group in the diocese. Tamil, English and Malayalam are the languages used here.
Pope Gregory XIV in 1836 made Madurai an apostolic prefecture. In 1846, it was raised to an apostolic vicariate and entrusted to the Jesuit Fathers. On Sept. 1, 1886, the vicariate became a diocese with the episcopal residence fixed at Tiruchirapalli. Monsignor Alexis Canoz, SJ (1846-1888) was the first bishop of the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli. He was succeeded by Bishop Jean-Marie Barthe, SJ (1890-1913), and later by Bishop Ange-Auguste Faisandier, SJ (1913-1934).
In 1932, Pope Pius XI separated the eastern part of the diocese, known as the Fishery Coast, and created the Diocese of Tuticorin. In 1938, another division was made by Pope Pius XII and the Diocese of Madurai was formed. Then Bishop of Tiruchirapalli, Monsignor J.P. Leonard, SJ (1936-1938) was transferred to the new see and the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli was handed over to the diocesan clergy with Monsignor James Mendonca (1938-1970) as its first Indian bishop. When he retired in 1971, Monsignor Thomas Fernando was transferred from Tuticorin to the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli and administered it till 1990.
Father Gabriel Lawrence Sengol was consecrated Bishop of Tiruchirapalli on Dec. 30, 1990. At his request, Bishop Gabriel was later relieved of his responsibility and Bishop Peter Fernando, Coadjutor Bishop of Tuticorin, was appointed Apostolic Administrator. Bishop Antony Devotta was consecrated and took charge of the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli on Jan. 2001.
In 2003, the Vicariate of Dindigul was bifurcated and the new Diocese of Dindigul was formed on Dec. 28, 2003, with Bishop Antony Pappusamy as its first bishop.
Tiruchirapalli city is governed by an elected mayor and a council of members. Towns are governed by municipalities, whereas villages and small towns are administered by local bodies called panchayats. The members of the local bodies are elected by adult suffrage.
The diocesan area is well connected by roads and railways. Tiruchirapalli has an international airport.
The diocese covers a total land area of 10,448 square kilometers. The diocese covers the district of Tiruchirapalli and parts of Pudukottai and Karur districts. Tiruchirapalli is the largest city in the diocese.
The per capita income here is 17,358 rupees (US$430). Farming is the major source of income. Heavy industries are also located in the area. The textile industry in Karur district is well known.
Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities in the diocesan area. The diocese is well connected by local cable TV networks.
The literacy rate here is 77.9 percent.